Western New York
Lake Ontario and tributaries: Rough waters have impacted fishing of late. The most consistent fishing has been in 350 to 450 feet of water, with a mix of steelhead and kings in the top 100 feet. Spoons work best up high; flasher-fly combos work best down deep. Cold water could be found down 50 feet so patterns for this time of year are messed up, according to Wes Walker at The Slippery Sinker. There have been some fishing in the 100- to 150-foot range, too. Some browns can be found inside of 40 feet off Olcott and Wilson. Because of the cold water, some browns can also be caught off the piers. In Eighteen Mile Creek in Olcott, the river water was in the mid-60s so the bass were also starting to turn on all the way to Burt Dam.
Lake Erie and tributaries: Bass fishing has been good and walleye is starting to pick up more during the day. Shiners are the top bait and the best action has been around the breakwalls, with the winds often keeping anglers off the big water. Look for depths 25 to 35 feet, as well as around the rock piles for bass. Those same areas are producing some walleye, too. Trolling worm harnesses around the breakwalls will see a few fish caught, but many will be smaller. Some bigger ones will be mixed in. If you can get on the lake, look for nighttime action taking place off Hamburg. Better daytime action has been reported around Dunkirk and Barcelona areas. The Dunkirk fishing pier will be closed for renovations for the next several weeks.
Upper Niagara River: With muskie and bass seasons now open, fishing pressure has increased. Northern pike, perch and other panfish can also be caught throughout the upper river and even into the Erie Canal. The Hooked on the Tonawandas fishing derby in the Erie Canal is set for June 25-26, the same weekend as the state’s free fishing days. Check out www.bgcnt.org for details.
Lower Niagara River: The dreaded moss has finally arrived in larger quantities to take some of the joys out of fishing in this productive stretch of water. There were actually a few steelhead still hanging around, but it’s anyone’s guess how long that will be. Bass were a better option, but the moss really limits how much time you can keep your lures in the water.
Chautauqua Lake: Muskie anglers were doing well in the northern basin of the lake by pulling perch-colored crankbaits between Long Point and Chautauqua Institution in 20 to 32 feet of water – also between Warner’s Bar and Prendergast Point. Bass have been hitting on plastics like imitation worms and crawfish (four-inch pumpkinseed has been hot). Topwaters have been working around weedbeds at first light and in the evening just before dark. Some bass have started to move back into the shallows in Ashville and Warners bays, according to Craig Robbins of Jamestown.
Orleans County: After the storms and winds earlier this month, Lake Ontario is still trying to settle out to what are more normal conditions. Right now the picture is scattered but the best area seems to be the 300- to 400-foot range, with fish coming deeper in the water column. On Lake Alice, fishing has slowed a bit, with bluegill still be fairly active. With the regular bass season now open there should be plenty of action along all our shorelines and even on the Erie Canal.
Central New York
Lake Ontario: Brown trout fishing has slowed, but some were still being taken real early in the morning in 20 to 30 foot of water. Lake trout were producing the most action near bottom in 100 feet of water.
Oneida Lake: Walleye fishing has been hit or miss, with fish still scattered from shallow to deep water.
Oswego River: Anglers were getting a few walleye, channel catfish and smallmouth bass. For the walleye, try using large stickbaits after dark.
Salmon River: Some yearling brown trout stocked several weeks ago were providing some action.
Sodus and Irondequoit bays: Some northern pike were being taken in Sodus on spoons or large minnows. Look for yellow perch and black crappies in the bays with small minnows. Try worms for the bullhead and bluegill.
Sandy Pond: A few walleye were being taken on stickbaits or jigs.
Finger Lakes/Southern Tier
Cayuga Lake: Lake trout were still being found in a variety of depths, from 50 to 100 feet of water. Both trolling and vertical jigging were productive.
Seneca Lake: Lakers were being taken by anglers trolling in 120 to 150 feet of water.
Keuka Lake: Lake trout action was good for anglers vertical jigging or trolling in 80 to 100 feet of water. Fishing alewives (sawbellies) near the bottom in 50 to 60 feet of water was also working.
Canandaigua Lake: Trolling near bottom in 125 to 200 feet of water was producing some lake trout. Browns were being taken on stickbaits and spoons trolled near the surface on the south end.
Owasco Lake: Trolling 40 to 80 feet down over 100 feet of water has been yielding lakers.
Otisco Lake: Bluegills were biting on small jigs fished under a bobber along shore. For walleye, try casting stickbaits from the causeway after dark or trolling during the day with stickbaits
Skaneateles Lake: Smallmouth bass and rock bass were being taken near shore.
Susquehanna, Chenango, Tioughnioga and Unadilla rivers: Look for walleye in the deeper pools with jigs or crankbaits. No reports of late on bass, but the rivers were in good shape.
Whitney Point Reservoir: Try minnows or small jigs around woody structure near shore for crappies, and jigs or worm harnesses for walleye around the old river channel.
Lake Champlain’s “regular” bass season opened a week ahead of the statewide kickoff, with smallmouth action good in the northern end and the southern end of the lake yielding good numbers of largemouths.
Cool weather kept water temps at ideal levels on the West Branch of the Ausable River, with most of the action sub-surface. Green drakes were seen on the Salmon River in Malone as well as the Saranac River in some sections (the main stem).
The fishing, both fresh and saltwater was outstanding during this report period. Saltwater anglers had to contend with relatively windy conditions, but there was enough fishable weather for anglers to score big on stripers, blues and fluke, as well as find the first sharks in quantity this season.
During the past few seasons the ocean fluke fishing was very spotty. This year, the ocean fluke fishing really started to heat up, with numerous fluke between 10 and 15 pounds reported. Whole squid, large strip baits, Peruvian spearing and large bucktails tipped with bait all accounted for doormat fluke. The best fishing was off Montauk Point and west of Moriches Inlet. But since these fluke are chasing schools of squid they move around a lot between 40 and 80 feet of water outside all the South Shore inlets and on the artificial reefs, which consistently held large fluke this report period. Quite a few sea bass were caught on the reefs. A few ling and porgies were caught on the artificial reefs as well.
The inshore and North Shore fluke fishing has been generally spotty. The water in the South Shore bays was stained due to the windy conditions, making the inlets on an incoming tide the best area this report period. Anglers working the shallow water in the back of the bays were able to catch a few keepers fishing bucktails tipped with spearing, squid or Gulp! baits threaded directly on to a hook.
The striper fishing was outstanding. Anglers casting bucktails and swimmers in the State Boat Channel, the jetties along the South Shore and on the edges of the inlets found excellent fishing, with most stripers between 8 and 12 pounds. Clam chummers working the South Shore inlet bridges, rips and ocean bars caught their limit of keepers, with numerous 30-pound bass reported, which are large stripers for clam chummers, as well as up to dozen or more stripers per angler caught during a tide. Both tides were productive, with the nod going to the outgoing tide when it coincided with times of low boat traffic.
There were a lot of bunker in the North Shore harbors and the South Shore bays. Anglers fishing live bunker caught using a cast net or snag hook were catching numerous stripers between 30 and 40 pounds, with a few breaking the 40-pound mark. June is the customary big striper month, and this June is no exception. The best fishing has been in the inlets during the night tides as well as in the ocean just outside the inlets.
Off Montauk Point, boats caught stripers in the 20-pound class, with a few 30-pound fish, trolling parachute jigs and pork rind combos, as well as tubes. The boats were limiting out quickly and switching over to porgies or fluke. Similar action was reported off Orient Point, with most boats drifting bucktails in The Gut.
On the North Shore, there were stripers in all the harbors, making them prime targets for flyrodders, kayakers and small boat anglers. Bucktails, swimmers, bunker chunks and live bunker were all productive.
Mixed in the stripers in all areas are bluefish. They range from 3 pounds to 12 or more pounds depending on the school, with the largest bluefish in the inlets and ocean. The nighttime bluefish was outstanding in the western Sound and in New York Bight and east to Jones Inlet. Diamond jigs or bunker chunks were both excellent producers. There was excellent bluefish action reported for blues over 10 pounds reported in Shinnecock Inlet at night on bunker.
Scott Jeffery at East End Bait and Tackle reported that porgies were caught at Jessup’s Neck and at Greenlawns. The porgy fishing off Montauk Point and from Port Jefferson to Orient Point was excellent, with anglers reporting several 3-pound plus porgies in their limits. Clams were the most productive porgy bait. Scott also reported that blowfish have shown up in the Shinnecock Canal. A few blowfish were scattered around in the South Shore bays.
The shark fishing season is under way with blue, thresher and mako sharks all showing up in good numbers. The best fishing has been around the 30-fathom line, with sharks of all three species in the 200-pound class common and threshers over 300 pounds reported. Expect the shark fishing to improve until the middle of July.
The freshwater fishing was excellent, as the air has been fairly cool and with the exception of a few days of rain, and the water is cool and clear. Largemouth bass, yellow perch, crappies and bluegills were caught in all the lakes and ponds where they reside. Small plugs, poppers, streamers and PowerBaits all worked very well. I noticed more freshwater anglers this report period than any other this year. Everyone I spoke with reported good action.
Anglers on Great Sacandaga Lake were picking up a mix of walleye, northern pike and the occasional brown trout. On Lake George, most of the attention has turned to bass unless your boat is rigged to go deep for lakers and salmon. Expect plenty of boat traffic June 25-26 during New York’s Free Fishing Days.
Southeastern New York
The east of Hudson reservoirs were offering decent fishing for a mix of bass, trout (browns and lakers, depending on the water) and panfish. Not hearing much of late, however.
The region’s storied trout waters were in decent shape for mid-June – wadeable and fishable, with cool water temps. All were offering some early-morning and late-day dry fly fishing. Nymph fishing has been productive. Try the faster pocket water as well, with a stonefly pattern always good choice.
St. Lawrence River: Pike and bass were providing decent action in weedy areas. Not hearing much on the walleye front. Windy weather limited fishing at times.
Black Lake: The opening of bass season has boosted fishing pressure; remember, there’s a 15-inch size minimum if you plan on keeping any bass.