New York Outdoor News Fishing Report – March 9, 2018
Western New York
Action for trout has been good. The tributaries off Lake Ontario and Lake Erie opened back up again and anglers were catching trout consistently before the rains came. All the tributaries were high and muddy but improving quickly at last check. Both Twelve Mile Creek in Wilson and Keg Creek were flowing nicely, according to Wes Walker at The Slippery Sinker in Olcott. Over at Burt Dam and Eighteen Mile Creek, water levels have already started to come down and there was about a foot visibility. There should be some fresh fish around. Ice fishing is questionable at this stage of the game. Caution is advised if you do go.
Shore fishermen like Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls have been casting yellow jigs to take steelhead and brown trout. For boaters, use eggs or minnows when the wind isn’t out of the south or southwest. When it is, use a MagLip or a Kwikfish off a three-way rig.
The Western New York Sport and Travel Expo at the Erie County Fairgrounds in Hamburg runs from March 8-11. There’s free parking and displays in four different buildings covering everything from fishing to hunting, tourism destinations to outdoor-related products. Check out www.eriepromotions.com for more information.
Lake Erie tributaries and harbors: Steelhead fishing was pretty good before the latest blowout. Creek levels have been running high but some are getting close to fishable levels. Any measurable rain will bring levels back up. Creeks were wide open to the lake and there has likely been an influx of fresh steelhead. Hitting the streams just as they drop back to fishable levels is a good bet.
Ice is now gone from Dunkirk Harbor. Anglers at the city pier have been catching good numbers of steelhead, especially in the morning. Most steelhead are 18-19 inches and are hitting spoons and live minnows. The boat launch is free of ice, but launch docks may not be in yet. Barcelona Harbor is worth a try for steelhead also.
Niagara River: Upper river color and clarity looks good, but be cautions of floating woody debris. At this time of year, anglers typically catch the occasional rainbow trout at Broderick Park and along Bird Island Pier. Target trout by casting spoons and spinners or drifting egg sacs or minnows.
Recent steelhead action has been good in the upper drifts for boaters and shore anglers. Controlled drifting with a three-way rig and egg sacs, shiners or flatfish lures works well for boaters. Three-way rigs with shiners have produced decent walleye catches in the mid-river drifts. Currently (Jan. 1 through March 15) there is a daily limit of one walleye with a minimum length 18 inches in the lower river.
Lake Ontario and tributaries: Harbors are now ice-free and a few boaters have started working the Lake Ontario shoreline for brown trout. Trolling with smaller stickbaits run behind planer boards is the top tactic in 6-20 feet of water. Key on areas near tributary and harbor outflows that have slightly warmer water. Watch out for floating debris.
Eighteenmile and Oak Orchard creeks were currently running high and muddy but may have improved by now. Most of the freestone streams were still a bit high and stained, as well. The very smallest streams may be more fishable. Expect fresh fish to have moved in on this high water event.
Chautauqua Lake: Ice was deteriorating. Once the ice clears, there should be good walleye fishing opportunity for boaters until the season closes on March 15.
Central New York
Ice conditions have deteriorated on many waters and it’s pretty much over now for the hard-water crowd. We can’t, at this stage of the game, point anglers to any safe ice, especially since conditions can deteriorate rapidly. Shorelines were especially hard hit, making access to the ice dangerous in places. Areas subject to run-off, old holes and pressure cracks also became larger.
There other fishing hotline/reports available for the area. A few of them are: waynecountytourism, oswegocountytourism, and oneidalakefishingreport.
Lake Ontario: With the warmer weather and higher flows, steelhead were being taken in some of the tributaries with egg sacs or beads working.
Oswego River: The river was running high from snowmelt and rain. The flows made shore fishing difficult if not impossible, so we’re not hearing much.
Remember, the bridge to Leto Island is closed, and there are mandatory PFD zones on the river.
Salmon River: Running high and fishing has been challenging over the last few weeks. Fish are around but it’s been difficult to get them to bite.
Oneida Lake: Ice and shoreline conditions varied around the lake and there were also reports of large holes and expanded pressure cracks. Please use caution and your own good judgment if deciding to venture out. Just a reminder that on Oneida Lake walleye must be 15 inches and the daily limit is three fish.
Sandy Pond: Not hearing much and ice fishing may no longer be an option.
Sodus Bay: Fishing may be on hold until open water arrives.
Finger Lakes/Southern Tier
Fishing options are limited as ice fades into open water, but waterfowlers awaiting the snow goose migration need wait no longer. Some avid waterfowl hunters, especially those with huge spreads for the white geese, reported good action.
Warm water (bass, pike, etc.) angler diary cooperators are needed for Seneca, Keuka, Canandaigua, Hemlock and Canadice lakes. If interested please contact Region 8 fisheries staff at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (518) 226-5343.
Cayuga Lake: Shore anglers were beginning to target brown trout in their typical casting locations. Trollers, too, will be hitting the lake soon – some already have.
Seneca Lake: Nothing to report – not even from the perch fishing crowd.
Canandaigua Lake: No report.
Owasco Lake: Open-water fishing for lake trout should be a good option now and will only get better as waters warm. The south end ice is gone.
Otisco Lake: Nothing to report.
Skaneateles Lake: Rainbow trout should be available for open-water anglers.
Susquehanna, Chenango, Tioughnioga and Unadilla rivers: Rivers are currently blown out and nothing is happening on the fishing front.
Whitney Point Reservoir: The biggest news is the “Almost Annual” Crappie Derby was held on Feb. 18 and attracted its typical huge crowd of anglers. Ice conditions have since deteriorated, however, and things may now be on hold until open water arrives.
Schroon Lake: Anglers were picking up a few salmon as ice conditions deteriorated.
Lake Champlain: Use caution if you head out. Fishing has been slow.
South Bay (Lake Champlain): A few late-season anglers are out but they aren’t catching much. Shore ice was sketchy.
Fourth Lake: Ice was hanging in there, with a few perch being pulled.
There was a lot of freshwater action during the first half of this report period as the weather was mild and relatively rain-free. Anglers were rewarded with brown and rainbow trout from the Carlls River at the Southards Pond bridge and downstream to the outflow into Argyle Lake. Other productive areas were Belmont Lake, and the Carmans and Nissequogue rivers. A few sunfish and small largemouth bass were mixed in with the trout. The choice of bait or lure depended on the angler’s preference; anglers drifting worms, casting spinners or fly-casting streamers all shared the water, and all did well.
The warming water has put the carp on the feed for anglers fishing Belmont Lake and Argyle Lake. Corn and doughballs were equally productive. During the second half of this report period, the runoff from the heavy rains silted-up the water and kept most anglers off both the lakes and streams.
The codfish fishing showed improvement compared to the last few report periods. Most of the cod caught were shorts, with the keeper to short ratio about 1-in-5 to 1-in-10, depending on the day, location, and tide. Pool fish were typically between 8 and 12 pounds. Overall, the best fishing was on the East End wrecks between Moriches and Shinnecock inlets, where there were a few ling mixed in with the cod. The cod fishing off Montauk Point and in New York Bight was slow.
There were no mackerel or herring reported this report period.
At last check, Great Sacandaga Lake was still offering safe ice. But keep an eye on changing conditions.
Lake George, too, remained an option, but shore ice was fading in some areas and use caution if you head out.
Southeastern New York
With ice no longer offering hard-water action, things are going to be pretty quiet in the region from now until the April 1 trout opener.
Not hearing much now, but that will change in a few weeks when the trout season opens. Conditions were, at last check, shaping up for a reasonably tolerable kickoff on April 1, but that can change quickly.
While ice is fading even in the North Country, waterfowlers were enjoying superb action on snow geese as the flights pour in from the south.
St. Lawrence River: Shoreline ice was going fast in many spots. Use extreme caution if you want to take one last shot on the hardwater.
Black Lake: Ice anglers were taking their last shots, with crappie offering up the most action.
Chaumont Bay: Safe ice the key word now; spring ice can become soft in a matter of just hours. The Chaumont River was pushing warm water into the bay, which may eat the ice from below, especially near the bridge and in small fractures in the ice around the launch area. Slow walleye bite, but a decent perch bite – sporadic but when the school comes around every 30 mins or so they bite. Also, the northerns have returned to the bay to stage for spawning. Several double-digit fish have been caught.