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Adirondacks Fishing Reports

Adirondacks Fishing Report - February 5th, 2016

Schroon Lake: Anglers were icing a decent number of lakers and the occasional salmon. The best ice conditions at last check were at the north end (which is always the first to lock up) and off the town beach.

Lake Champlain: Anglers have been out on the ice, with decent perch action in the north end and panfish and pickerel reported further south, near Ticonderoga. That said, it’s been a frustrating year, with ice conditions seemingly always on the brink of becoming unsafe. At least one vehicle plunged through the ice, and late last month a pair of anglers became trapped when conditions deteriorated and they lost their route back to shore. They were rescued unharmed.

A number of other waters in the North Country offered safe ice, but keep an eye on changing conditions and always use caution. It seems this winter most of the talk has been about the availability of safe ice rather than who is catching what.

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Capital District Fishing Reports

Capital District Fishing Report - January 22nd, 2016

Great Sacandaga Lake: Anglers were on, but there were few reports. A few pike have been taken.

Saratoga Lake: Still a waiting game.

Lake George: Not yet.

Piseco Lake: If the ice is safe, it’s a great place for lake trout in quantity, if not quality.

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Catskills Fishing Reports

Catskills Fishing Report - February 5th, 2016

Not a lot happening, with trout anglers content to tie flies and attend winter events like the Feb. 6 Fly Fest at the Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum. Ice fishing really hasn’t been a legitimate option since the warm up.

Catskill Flies

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Central New York Fishing Reports

Central New York Fishing Report - February 5th, 2016

A reminder that from Nov. 1 to May 1, all people regardless of age, aboard a pleasure vessel less than 21 feet, must wear a Personal Floatation Device (PFD) while underway. 

A number of county web sites offer good information on fishing in the area, including bait shops, guides, etc. Among them: Onondaga County (fishonondagacounty.com); Oswego County (visitoswegocounty.com); and Wayne County (waynecountytourism.com). Oswego and Wayne counties also have a weekly fishing hotline on their web page as well.

Tip of the week: When jigging for bluegill or crappie, cover the entire water column by working your lure from just under the ice to just off bottom. It’s not uncommon for fish to be 5 feet down over 10 feet of water.

Lake Ontario: A few steelhead were still being caught in Maxwell Creek, and brown trout and steelhead were being taken in Irondequoit Creek.

Oneida Lake: There have been a lot of anglers out on Big Bay with 4 inches of ice being reported. The warm-up likely impact conditions, so check with Bartel Road Bait & Tackle for updates; they will also likely have information on the status of the New York State Ice Pro-Am Tournament Series event set for Feb. 13.

Oswego River: The area has received some lake-effect snow and cold temperatures, making fishing difficult. When anglers are able to get out they’re still getting steelhead and brown trout on egg sacs or beads.

Remember, the bridge to Leto Island is closed, and there are mandatory PFD zones on the river. 

Salmon River:  The cold weather and snow has made fishing difficult; slush ice has also been a problem. Most of the steelhead activity was still taking place in the mid-to-upper river. For the steelhead try salmon egg sacs with blue, pink or chartreuse mesh, pink trout worms, single-egg pattern flies or nymphs; bottom-bouncing or float fishing these baits are both working, depending on the day.

Irondequoit Bay: No report of late.

Sodus Bay: Quiet.

Silver Lake: Ice anglers have been fishing the south end. Anglers have not been venturing too far north since the middle of the lake was still open at last report. South end anglers reported slow fishing for bluegill, perch and northern pike.

Honeoye Lake: There was some big news on the lake, and it came in the form of a big fish – a 40¼4-inch northern pike caught by Rich Wood of Honeoye Falls while fishing hard water for the first time ever. He was using a tip-up rigged with a shiner and although the catch occurred during the New York State Ice Pro-Am Tournament Series event, Wood wasn’t entered. He was simply helping out tourney director Tim Thomas that day. The fish topped the 20-pound mark and DEC officials say it’s the biggest northern they’ve ever heard of being taken from Honeoye.

The south end had some safe ice at last look, and anglers have been fishing out of the state launch. Ice was not ready over deeper water or at the north end but things could have changed by now. South end anglers reported decent catches of bluegill and perch, with the occasional crappie. Tip-ups with shiners generally produce catches of largemouth bass and chain pickerel in shallower areas, with the chance to catch a walleye as well. Bass fishing on Honeoye Lake is open through March 15, and anglers are permitted a daily limit of 5, with a 12-inch minimum length.

Keep an eye on conditions and use caution if you go. Rescue crews pulled pair of anglers from the water last month after they broke through the ice near Trident Marine.

Sandy Pond: Not hearing a lot, and ice conditions may be the reason.

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Finger Lakes/Southern Tier Fishing Reports

Finger Lakes/Southern Tier Fishing Report - February 5th, 2016

Cayuga Lake: Have yet to hear any reports of safe ice; the north end typically offers the first hard-water shot. Anglers trolling near the surface were getting some Atlantic salmon but it’s getting difficult to get out on the open water now. A reminder that Finger Lakes Tributary fishing closed on Dec 31; a section of Fall Creek remains open however, for catch-and-release angling.

Seneca Lake: Not hearing much of late since the warming trend.

Canandaigua Lake: Open water was an option for perch at last check. But not many boats are out.

Owasco Lake: No report.

Otisco Lake: Ice is sadly lacking.

Skaneateles Lake: The state launch was closed for the season and we haven’t heard of any hard-water reports.

Susquehanna, Chenango, Tioughnioga and Unadilla rivers: The warm spell last weekend pretty much killed any ice fishing opportunities.

Whitney Point Reservoir: There is 5.5 inches of ice being reported on the pond and 5 inches on the channel. You can check the status of the upcoming crappie derby web page at www.crappiederby.com.

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Long Island/NYC Fishing Reports

Long Island/NYC Fishing Report - February 5th, 2016

The good news is the outstanding herring fishing that materialized during this report period. Bernie’s Bait and Tackle reported that anglers are catching buckets full of herring at the Coney Island, 69th and Canarsie piers. The herring fishing is reported to be the best it has been in years.  The best fishing occurred during high tide or an hour before sunset. Sabiki rigs were the most productive setup.

The cold snap has frozen most of the ponds and lakes, limiting the majority of the freshwater fishing to targeting trout in the stream inlets into the lakes and in the deeper stretches of the feeder streams. Small swimming plugs, spinners, Berkley trout baits and small streamers all accounted for brown and rainbow trout. Many of the trout caught are the 2-year-old fish stocked in the spring that have grown to 14-plus inches.

Most anglers are targeting cod on the rock piles and reefs off Montauk Point and on the wrecks between Montauk Point and Moriches Inlet.  The fishing was reported to be very good, with most anglers catching between 6 and 10 keeper cod. The average cod is just keeper size up to 8 pounds. Pool fish were around 10 pounds. A few boats fishing New York Bight reported similar fishing.  Fresh skimmer clams were the top bait, with diamond jigging slow this report period. Jumbo bergalls, a few ling and pollock were mixed in with the cod.  

There were no white perch reported as of late but anglers were fishing the brackish water in the hope of the fishing materializing.

The Suffolk County deer season over, but small game remains an option. There have been no reports of late.  

Guy Zummo

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Southeastern New York Fishing Reports

Southeastern New York Fishing Report - February 5th, 2016

Not hearing a lot now on the heels of the warm spell. Prior to that things were looking good, with some of the bays freezing over on the east of Hudson reservoirs. Things may have come unraveled by now, however.

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Thousand Islands Fishing Reports

Thousand Island Fishing Report - February 5th, 2016

St. Lawrence River: Anglers were pounding the perch at last check, notably on Eel Bay. Lake of the Isles has yielded perch, pike and crappie. Goose Northern pike are usually in the mix as well, sometimes when you’re targeting panfish. Expect a break off or two.

Black Lake: Crappie and bluegill remained an option, with walleye and northern pike also in the mix. Keep an eye on ice conditions, however.

Chaumont Bay: Ice conditions have been sketchy, but anglers have been out and dealing with the yo-yo temperatures and winds. Chaumont Hardware offers the best up-to-date condition reports on its website:


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Western New York Fishing Reports

Western New York Fishing Report - February 5th, 2016

Lake Ontario and tributaries: The big news has to be that the hard water is supporting some anglers in the back bay at Wilson. Perch, pike and the occasional trout have been reported, and the best baits have been minnows, spikes, wax worms and a variety of Maki plastics. All the smaller streams were frozen, but there was some open water at Burt Dam and Eighteen Mile Creek, according to Wes Walker at The Slippery Sinker. Small jigs tipped with a wax worm and fished under a float have been one of the most popular approaches, but don’t rule out using one of the Lazy Larry’s beads that imitate a trout egg. The water has come down a bit and it’s not as stained as it was. Steelhead and the occasional brown were being caught.

Lake Erie and tributaries: Not too much going on in the streams with the cold weather and snow. Most areas were iced up. Water temps in the big lake were at 33 degrees so we could start to see some ice forming soon.

Upper Niagara River: The water has been muddy and limited fishing conditions. When it clears, look for the trout action to pick back up around Broderick Park and around Ferry Street.

Lower Niagara River: Water was muddy at last check. Capt. Frank Campbell was doing some experimenting with some of the Pautzke UV Fire Brine in a new green color and actually changing the color of his minnows as he fished the Devil’s Hole area of the lower river. Conditions weren’t the best but they were fishable. Fishing alongside a couple of other boats, Campbell’s green minnows out-produced the other boats three or four to one. Capt. Matt Yablonsky reported that when the waters clear the Bar should continue with some excellent action. Not hearing too much from the shore fishing guys. Spoons, spinners and beads will all catch fish when it starts to clear up but water clarity has been tough of late. Remember that the Roger Tobey Memorial Steelhead contest is set for Feb. 6 in the lower river. Call 716-998-8910 for more info or stop in at Creek Road Bait and Tackle in Lewiston.

Wilson Harbor: The harbor was frozen over and had ice about 4 inches thick in the back (west end) of the bay at last check. Ice gets thinner as you get closer to state boat launch. Water was reportedly murky.

Buffalo Small Boat Harbor: The inner harbor has frozen over with about 4 inches of ice. Anglers should avoid the area closer to the breakwall and harbor entrance, as ice in those areas is unsafe. Anglers have been fishing the harbor and are reportedly catching smaller yellow perch and sunfish.

Chautauqua Lake: The entire lake is now ice covered. The narrows by Long Point and the north basin were open at last look, so ice was not ready in those areas. Anglers have been fishing the sheltered bays of the south basin. Ice was still too thin over deeper sections of the south basin. Anglers fishing Burtis Bay reported light catches of yellow perch, bluegill and crappie. Keep an eye on changing conditions and use caution if you head out.

Orleans County: Warm temperatures, especially last weekend, didn’t help the ice anglers and ice conditions.  But they did provide for melting snow and increased water flow in all of the tributaries within Orleans County. Please be aware of your surroundings if wading in the tributaries and watch out for floating chunks of ice and other debris. On Lake Alice by the Kenyonville Bridge they were catching both rock bass and bluegill before ice conditions deteriorated. On Oak Orchard Creek, both spawned and fresh steelhead, along with some spawned-out brown trout have been taken near the power plant.

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Archive »Fishing Tips

Ice formula: When should I set my hook for walleyes?

When fish strike, timing your hookset can determine whether or not sportfish emerge from your ice hole.

All the rage: soft plastics for winter panfish

The idea of consistently putting panfish on the ice with soft plastics has become more than just an experiment.

Secret tip-up tactics for the heart of winter ice fishing

Walleye and northern pike anglers alike should employ a simple, old school, multi-species technique throughout the hard-water season.

Monitoring and catching ice walleyes during a dusky bite

Employ this hard-water strategy with an angling partner during the mid-ice period unfolding right now.

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