Western New York
Lake Ontario and tributaries: Fishing for salmon and trout has been on fire, as evidenced by the leaderboard of the Summer Lake Ontario Counties Trout and Salmon Derby. John Van Hoff of North Tonawanda targeted the waters off Wilson in 100-plus feet of water and in two days of fishing had 60 releases! He ended up catching 30-something salmon and some nice steelhead, including one that made it onto the board of the LOC Derby. It didn’t seem to matter what he threw at them as far as his spoon selection, or how he fished them – riggers, copper lines, Dipsy Divers. It was the best fishing he’s seen in years. Go to www.loc.org for a complete leaderboard update.
Lake Erie and tributaries: According to Capt. Terry Jones of First Class Bass, smallmouth have been going good in 30 to 35 feet of water. Best bait for him has been a coffee green pumpkin tube jig or crayfish. Best walleye fishing has been near the international line in 50 to 60 feet of water, with worm harnesses or stickbaits doing the trick. Off Dunkirk, good walleye reports have been coming from 80 to 90 feet of water near the line, 35 to 50 feet down with stickbaits.
Upper Niagara River: Moss was still an issue but manageable.
Lower Niagara River: Moss was still a factor but it seems like things are slowly starting to subside. Lisa Drabczyk at Creek Road Bait and Tackle in Lewiston reports the better action has come around the Coast Guard station and the green can, but it’s been difficult. The slack water near the Fort Niagara launch ramps has produced a few bass as well. A few walleye have been reported, too.
Chautauqua Lake: The largemouth bass bite has been good in the southern basin of the lake, according to Craig Robbins. Ashville Bay and Lakewood Bar seem to be holding good numbers of fish. Black and blue pig and jig combinations are working well in the weed pockets.
Orleans County: The Erie Canal Derby has ended. Speaking of derbies, the LOC Summer Derby has seen the 30-pound mark for chinook salmon broken. The waters of Lake Ontario off Orleans County have been very productive with a great mix of fish, but chinook salmon have made up the majority of catches. Fishing has moved out to the 400- to 450-foot range but there are still some fish being produced on those inside waters. What started out slowly has sure picked up to some great fishing on the big lake.
Lake Alice was still producing some nice catches of crappie and some great catches of bass.
On the Erie Canal, catches of both catfish and sheepshead were being reported all along the system.
Central New York
Lake Ontario: A few chinook salmon were being caught in 80 to 200 feet of water. Conditions keep changing, so if not marking fish keep searching. Spoons, flashers and flies, or flashers and cut-bait were all working; with shades of green being a good color at the moment. Brown trout were being taken on spoons fished in 100 feet of water.
Oneida Lake: Walleye fishing continued to be challenging, but some anglers were getting them on blade baits fished in 20 to 25 feet of water, or trolling with stickbaits in 25 to 30 feet of water. There was a Hexagenia (mayfly) hatch taking place on the lake, and there were reports of walleye having them in their stomachs. So between the mayflies and gobies walleyes are likely well fed at the moment. Smallmouth bass were being taken around the shoals on drop-shot rigs, tubes or live crayfish.
Oswego River: Anglers were getting a few walleye, channel catfish and smallmouth bass. For the walleye, try using large stickbaits after dark. For the catfish, try cut bait or nightcrawlers.
Salmon River: Not much to report
Sodus and Irondequoit bays: Look for largemouth bass along the weed edges with plastics or crankbaits. Try over the vegetation or along shore with topwaters or weightless worms. Early morning has been best for the bass.
Sandy Pond: For largemouth bass, try flipping or pitching bass jigs or plastics into the vegetation. Try weedless top-water baits over the vegetation.
Finger Lakes/Southern Tier
Cayuga Lake: For bass, try fishing in 10 feet of water around vegetation with stickworms. Lake trout were still being taken in 80 to 100 feet of water. Both trolling and vertical jigging were working for the lakers.
Seneca Lake: Weed mats have been an annoyance, so be prepared to deal with them if trolling. Lake trout were being taken by anglers trolling 50 to 75 feet down over 80 to 100 feet of water.
Keuka Lake: Some lake trout were being taken by anglers jigging in 60 to 90 feet of water around The Bluff area.
Canandaigua Lake: Lake trout were being taken on spoons or flasher and flies fished 55 to 80 feet down over 100 to 130 feet of water.
Owasco Lake: Try along the shoreline for smallmouth bass using weightless worms, tube jigs or topwaters. Trolling 40 to 80 feet down over 100 feet of water has been working for the lake trout. Weed mats have been an issue for trollers.
Otisco Lake: Tiger muskie fishing has improved, with fish hitting on stickbaits, swimbaits and spinnerbaits. Largemouth bass were hitting on tube baits or creature baits flipped into the vegetation on the north end of the lake.
Skaneateles Lake: For smallmouth bass, try topwaters, tube jigs, drop-shot rigs, or a Ned-rig.
Susquehanna, Chenango, Tioughnioga and Unadilla rivers: Water levels have risen a bit, thankfully. For smallmouth bass, try small crankbaits, tube jigs, topwaters and the Ned-rig. Look for walleye in the deeper holes with bucktail jigs or crankbaits.
Whitney Point Reservoir: For the smallmouth bass try small crayfish colored crankbaits fished along shore, or tube jigs. Look for channel catfish on the north end or off Keibel Road; night crawlers are always a good choice.
Lake Champlain: The bass factory that is Lake Champlain showed itself to the pro anglers during the recent FLW tournament on the big lake. But don’t overlook the lake trout fishery; some double-digit fish are being taken by trollers.
The West Branch of the Ausable got a welcome shot of rain, but keep an eye on water temps during hot weather. Fish early and get off the river if water temps approach 70.
The saltwater fishing has remained excellent. The South Shore fluke bite slowed during the first half of the report period, with improved fishing of late. The slower fishing can be partially attributed to the brown water in the bays due to algae, typical for this time of year, as well as the warming of the water itself, which moves the fluke into the inlets and ocean. Anglers found the best bet for fluke along the South Shore was in the inlet mouths and offshore in 80 to 90 feet of water, but the fishing was spotty at times outside all the South Shore inlets, with the keeper ratio about 1 in 5. Squid and spearing combos, Gulp! baits and bucktails tipped with spearing were all solid choices.
Scott Jeffery at East End Bait and Tackle reported good fluking in Shinnecock Bay, off Rampasture Point, in the East Cut and the Basket area as well. The incoming tide was best, with the cleaner water flooding the bay. Anglers fishing around Rodgers Rock and Robins Island caught plenty of good-sized porgies. Clams and worms are both working, along with some clam chum. Stripers were caught on the night tides around Cow’s Neck and the small inlets around the Shinnecock Bay. Poppers and white bucktails were the top lures. Porgies were caught from on the jetties at the north end and the south end of the Shinnecock Canal, along with some fluke, blowfish and blues when the tide was running.
The fluke action along the North Shore was consistent, with the best action on the East End and off Orient Point, where fluke in the 3- to 5-pound class were reported. Off Montauk Point, the best fluke action was along the south side. The porgy fishing in both areas was excellent.
The striper and bluefish action has slowed along both shores, with anglers reporting fewer and smaller fish, with most stripers around 10 pounds or less and blues under 5 pounds. The largest stripers, around 20 pounds with the occasional 40-pounder, were caught off Montauk Point by anglers trolling parachute jigs and live porgies, as well as by anglers fishing under the schools of bunker on both shores. Eels drifted at night in the South Shore inlets produced a few quality stripers in the 30-pound class.
The offshore action was excellent, with schools of bluefin reported as close as 60 feet of water that are feeding on large schools of sand eels. The blue shark fishing remained solid, with fish between 125 and 200 pounds reported in 180 feet and deeper, but the blue shark fishing was showing signs of slowing as the offshore water temperatures climbed into the 70s. Closer to shore in 120 to 150 feet of water, the mako and thresher shark fishing improved, with a few sharks reported inside the 20-fathom line. The makos averaged around 125 pounds and the threshers around 200 pounds, with a few larger sharks reported. A few mackerel were caught by anglers targeting fluke and sea bass. There were a good number of whales offshore feeding on the sand eels.
The sea bass season opened to a few days of excellent fishing, but the fishing has quickly slowed on all the commonly fished areas, such as the artificial reefs, inshore wrecks and mussel beds.
There were some quality sea bass to 4.5 pounds caught on the deeper and less-fished wrecks. Some of the best sea bass fishing was off Fishers Island and in Block Island Sound. Large porgies, many over 3 pounds were mixed in with the sea bass as well as a few teen-sized bluefish feeding on the porgies.
Surfcasters did well fishing the inlet mouths for stripers at night and bluefish during the day. Eels and large swimmers, such as the Gibbs bottle plug, were the top striper producers. Bunker chunks, tins and poppers accounted for most of the bluefish action. Clams caught a few stripers during the day. Bucktails tipped with spearing bounced off the bottom during the day caught a good number of keeper sized fluke. Flyrodders were doing well with fluke bouncing Clouser minnows off the bottom.
The freshwater fishing has been very good. Yellow perch were caught on spinners in Argyle Lake, as were a few largemouth bass. Sunfish were caught on worms and fly rod poppers. Similar action was reported in the lakes and ponds throughout the report area as well as in the Peconic River. Carp were caught on doughballs in the larger lakes.
Lake George: The folks at FISH307 report good bass fishing; you’ll find smallmouths in depths of 15-25 feet. Landlocked salmon action has been good at 30 to 60 feet, while lakers are on the bottom from 100-130 feet.
Walleye anglers were working for a few fish on Great Sacandaga Lake. Saratoga Lake has been yielding largemouths.
Southeastern New York
Kensico Reservoir continues to yield both brown trout and lakers, while smallmouth bass action has been solid at Bog Brook Reservoir. For largemouth bass, Ashokan Reservoir and New Croton Reservoir are worth a look.
Tailwaters were in decent shape for mid-July, thanks to some recent rains. Freestones got some much needed water and water temps were good at last check. However, air temps were warming and water levels slowly dropping so water temps will likely be an issue later in the day on both the Beaverkill and Willowemoc. Both the main stem and West Branch were floatable.
St. Lawrence River: Northern pike were providing the most consistent action, but they may be found in deeper water with the warm temps.
Black Lake: Richard at Chapman’s Sport Shop reports bass action has been very good on topwaters and crankbaits, while the bluegill bite continues to be red hot.