Western New York
Lake Ontario and tributaries: Chuck Booker of Amherst reported that there were a few fish caught off the Olcott piers recently on the lake side of the piers. While spoons are normal hardware for casting there, it was Rattletraps that made the difference and it produced two kings and a steelhead for Ricardo Davila. A few slugs of salmon made it up into the harbor but no further than that, according to reports. A few browns were at the dam. Hopefully, some rain will trigger some sort of a run in the Eighteenmile Creek. Don’t forget that the King of the Creek, All in the Same Boat Tackle salmon contest will run to Nov. 6. There is a boat and a shore category. Call 716-638-4158 for more info. Over in Wilson Harbor, there has been a good bite on northern pike, according to pastors Dave Emmons and Nate Hlad of Newfane. Try casting spinnerbaits. Wilson Pier is a good spot for browns, too. If you want to make it out into the lake for some trolling action, the better bite has been out deep for a mix of immature kings and some trout. Spoons are the way to go. Anchoring up at the pier heads in Olcott is another option to try and cast for kings. Lake trout season is closed through the end of the year.
Lake Erie and tributaries: The walleye bite was going strong from west of Sturgeon Point to straight off Cattaraugus Creek in 65-75 feet of water. There has been considerable fishing pressure in that area and all were catching fish. One report in particular indicated a good bite off Cattaraugus Creek in 75 feet of water. Best catches were on Renosky stickbaits in green, orange or purple. Worm harnesses have caught walleye as well, along with white bass, yellow perch and sheepshead.
The late-season yellow perch bite seems to finally be kicking in, with anglers reporting catches in a number of locations. Anglers have seen decent to good catches off Van Buren Bay in 63 feet of water, off the Purina plant and Cattaraugus Creek in 70 feet of water and west of Sturgeon Point from 68-foot depths to the international line. A recent DEC netting survey also showed perch concentrations off Evangola in 77 feet of water. Emerald shiners are the key bait for perch, but dippers have struggled to find them lately. Buffalo area anglers report decent smallmouth bass fishing. Anglers were averaging a modest five or six bass each in the area encompassing Seneca Shoal to the Round House. Many of the bass were between 3 and 5 pounds.
Walleye anglers are starting to catch some steelhead, suggesting they may be staging in deeper water. Lake temperatures need to drop before they move closer to creek mouths. Pink salmon seem to be more abundant this year, as many have been caught by walleye anglers over the summer. Pink salmon look a lot like steelhead or coho in the open lake, but can be distinguished by larger spots on their back and tail, and a more deeply forked tail. As they move into the streams, males will develop a distinctive hump behind their head. Pink salmon range 19 to 22 inches and 3-4 pounds.
Upper Niagara River: Bass action should start to pick up as water temps start to cool down. Ditto for muskie action.
Lower Niagara River: Anxious anglers were waiting in force to try and catch king salmon. Capt. Steve Drabczyk reported he caught three kings in Devil’s Hole. Then some Facebook posts went up and Capt. Ernie Calandrelli reported a five for nine day on kings, so it appears to be picking up a little bit. Rain will help. Treated egg skein off three-way rigs is best for the boaters. The NYPA Fishing Platform is still one of the hotspots for your best chance for a king salmon. Casting spoons, spinners or rattlebaits can catch fish, but the best is yet to come. Other shore anglers have been using spoons, spinners and jigs to take a mix of fish, including bass and walleye. River water was down to the 60s. Bass fishing continued to be spotty. Look for the active fish by moving around the river and the green can at the mouth. Live bait like shiners or crabs will work; tubes, too.
Chautauqua Lake: The south basin has been the best spot for walleye lately. Focus on depths over 14 feet, and troll with stickbaits and worm harnesses near the bottom. A mix of bluegill and yellow perch were available around weedbeds in 8-12 feet of water. Panfish will hit a variety of baits, including nightcrawlers, small minnows, small tube jigs and ice fishing jigs with grubs. Deep, rocky points are good spots for smallmouth bass, using live crayfish or tube jigs. Trolling along deep weed edges with large stickbaits and bucktail trolling spinners is a good bet for muskellunge.
Orleans County: Cooler temperatures have the salmon population slowly moving towards their spawning grounds. The biggest concentration of salmon on Oak Orchard Creek seemed to be by the deep hole at the bridges area. More cooler weather and perhaps some rain should speed up the pre-spawn movement. Water levels on all of the tributaries within Orleans County were at slightly below levels to low levels for this time of year. With no great amount of precipitation in the near future these levels should remain. On Lake Alice, bluegills were still being taken by the Waterport Bridge and now some crappie are starting to show up. Bass are becoming more active and should increase in activity as temperatures cool down. Don’t lose out on some great fishing, food, friends and prizes at the St. Mary’s Archer’s Club Catch and Release Derby, which will be held Oct. 19-21. It is truly one of the great events of the fall fishing season.
Central New York
A number of county web sites offer good information on fishing in the area, including bait shops, guides, etc. A few examples are: 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.
Lake Ontario: Some salmon were still being taken in the lake around river mouths. Look for fish in 60 to 90 feet of water with cut bait, J-plugs, spoons and flasher and flies.
Oneida Lake: Fishing has been challenging over the last few weeks but some yellow perch were starting to be caught from deep water on small minnows. Cooler temperatures should help jumpstart the fall walleye bite.
Oswego River: Some salmon are being taken off the wall and walkway and also by the dam. Early and late in the day has been best. Rain and cooler weather is needed as the river is still low and warm.
Remember, the bridge to Leto Island is closed, and there are mandatory PFD zones on the river.
Salmon River: The river was still low and prompted the closure of the Lower Fish Fishing Area. Chinook salmon, along with a few cohos, were starting to make their way into the river and are now being found throughout the river; the most activity was still taking place in the lower river and estuary areas.
Sodus and Irondequoit bays: Look for largemouth bass along the weed edges with plastics or crankbaits.
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: Lake trout fishing continued to be good in 80 to 140 feet of water. Both trolling and vertical jigging were effective. Some Atlantic salmon were being taken 40 to 50 feet down over the same depths. For largemouth bass, look along the outside weed edges with plastics or crankbaits.
Keuka Lake: Some lake trout were being taken by anglers jigging in 60 to 100 feet of water around The Bluff area. Trolling with spoons or flashers and flies 90 feet down over 135 feet of water has also been working.
Seneca Lake: Lake trout were being taken by anglers trolling with flashers and flies, or spoons fished 75 feet down over 100 to 120 feet of water.
Canandaigua Lake: Rainbows were hitting on spoons fished 60 to 65 feet down over 75 to 95 feet of water. Lake trout were being caught at the same depths but 70 to 85 feet down.
Owasco Lake: Trolling with spoons or flasher and flies 50 to 90 feet down over 120 to 150 feet of water has been producing some lake trout and a few rainbows.
Otisco Lake: The lake level is way down, so be extra careful when boating. Tiger muskie fishing continued to be good for anglers casting swimbaits, chatterbaits, swim jigs and spinnerbaits. Largemouth bass fishing as been a little harder over the last few weeks, but some were being taken in the north end and also along the causeway.
Skaneateles Lake: The lake level is down. Trolling small spoons down 35 to 70 feet over 100 to 150 feet of water was yielding some lake trout and rainbow trout. For smallmouth bass try drop-shot rigs, tubes or flukes from near shore out to 30 feet of water. Rock bass and a few yellow perch were being caught along shore.
Susquehanna, Chenango, Tioughnioga and Unadilla rivers: A word of caution for anglers headed to the Susquehanna River: with the current low water levels, launching and retrieving boats at many of the launch sites remains difficult, or impossible. Fishing with tube jigs in the deeper holes was producing some nice smallmouth bass, with natural colors working best.
Also, a number of muskies were tagged on the Chenango and Susquehanna with gray Floy tags (which look like a piece of spaghetti) placed by the dorsal fin. If you catch one of these tagged fish, do not remove the tag if releasing the muskie. Instead, write down the tag number and report the tag number, date of catch, location, and length to 607-753-3095; or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If keeping the muskie please report the same information.
Whitney Point Reservoir: For walleye, try trolling with worm harnesses or jigging with a bucktail jig tipped with nightcrawler in the old river channel.
Lake Champlain: Not a lot of fishing activity taking place now, with the Northern Zone hunting seasons nearly in full swing. But those getting out were reportedly slamming some good smallmouth bass that were in a feeding frenzy as waters cooled. Vertical jigging for lake trout remained a legitimate option as well.
Backcountry brook trout ponds were yielding some fish for those willing to put in the effort to reach their hotspots.
On the West Branch of the Ausable, water levels were low but temps were conducive to fishing.
In general, there were few reports during this report period due to the windy and rough conditions combined with the continued threat of thunderstorms. The offshore fishing during this report period was especially quiet due to the windy and rough conditions. The few offshore reports that did come in were largely mahi and a few small thresher sharks actually caught inshore.
The ocean temperature was in the low 60s, which has improved both the striped bass and bluefish bite. Jose from Saltwaters Bait and Tackle reported that schools of sand eels have moved into the surf at the Robert Moses Beaches and that anglers have been catching small bass and bluefish, with Robert Moses Field 2 the recent hot beach. Jose also reported that boat anglers fishing the South Shore inlet bridges and inlet bars did well on stripers between 20 and 35 inches using clam bellies. A few small bluefish were mixed in with the stripers.
The night eel bite for stripers in the South Shore inlets has improved, but most of the fish caught remain in the high teens. A few stripers were also caught during the day on eels in the inlet mouths, but the fishing was slower than during the night tides.
A few weakfish were reported mixed in with the stripers and bluefish in all areas. But the best weakfishing was reported by Joe at Bernie’s Bait and Tackle, who reported that there were still a good number of weakfish caught on sandworms in the back of Jamaica Bay. Joe also reported that the porgy fishing has good on bloodworms and sandworms at the Marine Parkway Bridge, with a few stripers and bluefish mixed in.
There are large schools of 3- to 4-inch long spearing in the South Shore bays and the North Shore harbors. Small stripers and bluefish, as well as snappers are targeting these baitfish, setting up perfect conditions for flyrodders fishing epoxy minnows, small Deceivers and other spearing imitations. Anglers fishing bucktails with small teasers were also doing well, especially at the edges of channels and inlet mouths. The majority of these spearing have been hanging out in 3 to 5 feet of water, close to jetties and channel edges.
The fluke season is closed, so the majority of the bottom fishing was focused on sea bass and porgies. The ocean bite was slow the first half of this report period due to the bottom being churned up, but there was improvement during the second half of the report period. Those anglers who did make it out were largely on open and charter boats working the wrecks and reefs off the South Shore and the rock piles and reefs in the Long Island Sound. The fishing was spotty, with some days very good and others slower due to the water conditions. When the fishing was very good anglers reported limits of porgies, many in the 3-pound class and numerous large sea bass, which have begun moving inshore due to the cooling waters. This fishing will improve during the next few weeks. Blackfish are mixed in with the porgies and sea bass, which was a good sign for the season opener on Oct. 5.
Off Montauk Point the sea bass and porgy fishing has been excellent, with limits reported by most anglers. A few codfish were mixed in with the porgies, reports the Viking Fleet. The best fishing was in Block Island Sound. Fresh skimmer clam was the top bait.
The day and nighttime diamond jigging for bluefish in the Sound has been excellent from the city line out to Orient Point. Many of these blues are in the mid-teens. A few stripers were mixed in with the bluefish.
There are plenty of blue crabs and snappers in all the bays and harbors. The snappers are very active and are feeding predominantly on spearing, so the standard rigs consisting of spearing fished under a bobber, snapper poppers and small tins all worked well.
The freshwater fishing improved with the cooling water. Yellow perch, sunfish and largemouth bass, along with a few chain pickerel and crappie were reported from nearly all the ponds and lakes. The best fishing was reported by anglers working the early mornings and late afternoons. The trout fishing is improving, especially in the Carlls River for anglers fishing worms and small spinners.
Tip of the week: Though there is still plenty of good fishing left, many anglers have put down the fishing rods and picked up the bows or guns and headed to the woods. This makes getting new fishing information very difficult. So, don’t expect too much new fishing information in coming weeks.
Fishing licenses are now good for 365 days; check to make sure your license is still valid before heading out on the water. April 1 was also the start of the new regulation guide, effective April 1, 2016-March 31, 2017. You can obtain a copy from a licensing agent or it can be viewed online at Freshwater Fishing Guide on the DEC website (www.dec.ny.gov).
Not hearing a lot on the fishing front now, with the Northern and Southern zone hunting archery deer – and bear – seasons open.
Lake George, however, was reportedly still yielding smallmouth bass and, for those going deeper, a mix of lake trout and landlocked salmon.
Southeastern New York
Hudson River: Water temps were slowly dropping, which should improve the bass fishing. Every fall, largemouth bass start to make their annual movement to the rivers major tributaries. Anglers have success using a variety of baits; the key is being at the right place at the right time on this tidal fishery. Big smallmouth bass also start to show themselves, focus on main river points, “suckholes” and sunken barges. Popular baits in the fall include shallow running crankbaits, spinnerbaits, tubes and top-water plugs.
Some good fall bass fishing locations in addition to the Hudson River are: Ashokan Reservoir, Chodikee Lake, Onteora Lake, Greenwood Lake, Swinging Bridge Reservoir, Toronto Reservoir, Wappingers Lake, Wallkill River, Lower Esopus Creek, Rondout Creek, Stissing Pond, Sylvan Lake, Muscoot Reservoir, Croton Falls Reservoir and White Pond.
In the Wallkill River, smallmouth bass and walleye fishing can be really good. Try crankbaits and curly-tailed grubs. In the Rondout and Lower Esopus creeks, look for largemouth bass holding close to blowdowns and brush piles. Jigs and Texas-rigged creature baits typically work well.
Anglers have been reporting nice-sized trout, bass and panfish in Croton Falls, Cross River, Titicus and Kensico reservoirs. Trout fishing has been good throughout most of the Croton watershed.
Smallmouth bass were biting good on green pumpkin-colored tube jigs on the Rondout and Ashokan reservoirs. This time of year look for big brown trout cruising the shorelines.
Beaverkill and Willowemoc: Both rivers are low and in poor condition, although water temps are no longer a problem. Hatches are sparse under the current conditions. Some Caddis are around most days but few fish are rising to them. Most fish are not looking up so Caddis nymph is a better choice, as are small soft hackles.
Delaware East Branch: Remains fishable even though it’s lower than normal. There have been some Olive hatches usually in the afternoon as well as some Caddis. Terrestrials remain a good choice. The river below East Branch has decent water temps but is low.
Delaware West Branch: There were some Olives, Caddis and Isonychias on the water. Some light-colored streamers are a good choice on this river in the fall and not just during high water flows. Bright streamers are quite popular but often a small, more natural looking streamer works better. Nymphs can often be very effective, with small pheasant tails and soft hackles being good choices.
Esopus: Clear but low for this time of year. Surface activity is late day with some Isonychias. Hatches are spotty but nymphs have been effective. A good rainfall will pull those larger fish from the reservoir. This can be a great river for nymph fishing.
Neversink: The river is low, making for some spooky fish. And it closes to fishing Oct. 15, which includes the no-kill stretch in the gorge.
Delaware Main Stem: At a decent fishing level at last check. Hatches are Olives, Caddis and some Isonychias. Nymph fishing the faster sections with a pheasant tail or prince nymph has been effective. Soft hackles are also a good option. Like other rivers, hatches are hard to predict and spotty but generally late afternoon. Water temps are not a problem. Surface activity has been slow.
St. Lawrence River: Muskie hunters are beginning their serious efforts on the big river, but we have yet to hear of any big fish landed – yet.
Black Lake: Not a lot of fishing taking place, although bluegill action should be good and the walleye bite picking up. Most of the focus is on whitetails now.