Western New York
Fall Trout Stocking: DEC’s Randolph Fish Hatchery has conducted its annual fall stocking of broodstock trout in select Allegany and Cattaraugus county waters. All breeder trout stocked are over 2 years old and are stocked in waters where trout fishing is permitted all year. The following waters have been stocked as of Oct. 13: Case Lake received 300 brown trout (15-26 inches”) and 25 rainbow trout (28 inches); Quaker Lake received 150 brown trout (21-26 inches) and 200 rainbow trout (15 inches); Red House Lake received 250 brown trout (15-26 inches); Allen Lake received 200 brook trout (15-20 inches), 50 brown trout (15 inches) and 25 rainbow trout (21 inches).
Inland trout fishing: Fall can be a good time to fish the inland trout streams, as trout are on the feed and many other anglers have shifted their focus to the Great Lakes tributaries. The area trout streams have moderated to lower flows. The statewide trout season closed on Oct. 15 (Great Lakes tributaries excluded). However, a number of inland streams are open to trout fishing all year. Check the Special Regulations by County to see what streams are open to trout fishing beyond Oct. 15.
Lake Ontario and tributaries: Wes Walker at The Slippery Sinker in Olcott reported a fresh push of kings, but it was a smaller school of fish. The numbers of browns in Eighteen Mile Creek have increased, too. With water temps now below 60 degrees, the steelhead won’t be far behind. Pike and perch are regulars in Wilson and Olcott harbors. Some browns and steelies are being reported in Wilson, too, but in much smaller numbers. When you can get on the piers at Olcott, browns and a few coho salmon were reported. Spoons and spinners work off the piers, but you can drift egg sacs or skein under a float, too. The latter works at the dam, along with egg imitations. In the King of the Creek contest run by All in the Same Boat Tackle in Newfane, it was Josh Wittcop as the grand prize winner in the stream division with a 27.93-pound king. Bob Rustowicz took the boat division with a 29.85-pound salmon.
Upper Niagara River: Muskie action has picked up a little. In the Niagara Musky Association’s Tim Wittek Memorial Tourney, the top three fish were caught trolling, jigging and casting – in that order. Ken Szymanski of Buffalo was the top fish catcher with a 48-inch muskie. Quite a few smaller fish were also reported. All were released unharmed. The muskie season in the upper river and Lake Erie will end on Nov. 30. Bass action should also be picking up in that section of river. The “regular” bass season also ends Nov. 30.
Lower Niagara River: Not too many salmon are left in the Devil’s Hole area. Those salmon have been replaced by trout. Shore anglers were doing well along Artpark on lake trout and the occasional steelhead. Casting spoons or spinners should produce fish. Best colors have been green and orange, but don’t be afraid to mix it up. Egg sacs or egg imitations under a float should trick a trout or two as well. Boaters are also focused on either Artpark or the Niagara Bar at the mouth of the river near Fort Niagara. Kwikfish or Mag Lips fished off three-way rigs are the way to go. Remember that lake trout season is closed so release those fish as quickly as you can – unharmed. If you are targeting bass, try drifting a minnow or toss out a tube jig
Lake Erie and harbors: Most boat launch sites have pulled their launch docks, so don’t forget your waders. Boaters have located some yellow perch this in 55-65 feet of water between Sturgeon Point and Evangola State Park. But it’s best to do some searching before dropping anchor.
Lake Erie tributaries: Stream conditions have been pretty good thanks to periodic rainfall. However, it seems that only fair numbers of steelhead have moved up into the creeks thus far. Anglers on the lower section of Cattaraugus Creek continued to see the best catch numbers. In The Catt above Gowanda and on all other streams, steelhead were scattered throughout in lower numbers. Catches have been better for anglers covering more water and fishing every possible pool, seam and undercut. At last check, Cattaraugus Creek has ideal flow and color. The small to medium-sized streams were clear and had moderate to lower flows. Use light fluorocarbon tippet, small baits, small hooks and move with stealth during clear conditions. Lake Erie steelhead commonly hit natural baits like egg sacs or worms, flies such as egg imitations, black stoneflies, streamer and bugger patterns, and lures like minnow-type stickbaits, in-line spinners and small spoons.
Chautauqua Lake: The open-lake season is winding down, but fishing prospects are still good. Anglers continued to catch good numbers of sizeable yellow perch around weed beds in 8-15 feet of water. Small minnows, worms and small tube jigs work well. Sunfish are also available around weeds and will readily hit worms or small jigs tipped with a grub. Target walleye in the deeper section of the south basin by trolling stickbaits or worm harnesses. Vertical jigging around the deeper holes of the north basin is also a good bet for walleye. Target muskellunge by trolling outside weed edges with large stickbaits.
Orleans County: There were still some fresh salmon entering the tributary system, along with an ever increasing number of brown trout, steelhead and a fair number of Atlantic salmon. Flows on Oak Orchard Creek were at a moderate level with clear water, and the other tributaries were running low and clear.
Parking and meals at the Archer’s Club has ended for the season, but you can still access that stretch of The Oak by walking down the hill. On the lower stretches of Oak Orchard, perch and smallmouth bass were still being caught, but most were small.
Lake Alice was still giving up bass and bluegills but the numbers were decreasing.
With the firearms deer season now open fishing pressure has dropped off dramatically.
The Erie Canal has closed for dewatering.
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.
Also, a word of warning, many of the dock structures at the DEC boat launches will be removed shortly or may have been removed already, so please plan accordingly. Some DEC docks that have been removed are: Port Byron and Mud Lock (Seneca River), Bonstead Road (Oneida River), and South Shore (Oneida Lake).
Lake Ontario: Not hearing much now.
Oneida Lake: Walleye should be available for shore casters just before and after dark, but with deer season in full swing reports are hard to come by.
Oswego River: A few steelhead were being taken.
Salmon River: Most of the action centers now on brown trout and steelhead, and with deer season in full swing, fishing pressure is down.
Sodus and Irondequoit bays: Largemouth bass, yellow perch and a few northern pike were still being taken.
Finger Lakes/Southern Tier
Cayuga Lake: Nothing to report.
Seneca Lake: Not hearing anything from the perch crowd.
Owasco Lake: The inlet has been yielding some browns and rainbows. Egg sacs or egg imitating flies and plastics are usually good bait choices.
Otisco Lake: Tiger muskies have been hitting on swimbaits, chatterbaits, swim jigs and spinnerbaits.
Skaneateles Lake: Docks have been removed so not much happening.
Susquehanna, Chenango, Tioughnioga and Unadilla rivers: The rivers were in great shape at last look and bass and walleye fishing has been very good at times.
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 email@example.com. If keeping the muskie please report the same information.
Chemung River: Was in great shape and offering up plenty of smallmouth bass as well as the occasional walleye between Elmira and the New York-Pa. border.
Whitney Point Reservoir: A few anglers and a few walleye.
Not hearing anything now on the fishing front. Check the popular website www.adkhunter.com (operated by New York Outdoor News contributing writer Dan Ladd) for news on what’s happening on the Adirondack deer hunting scene, as well as in the Southern Zone of the state.
The big news this report period are the large stripers and monster bluefish that have been attacking the schools of bunker all around the Island, especially along the South Shore from New York Bight to Shinnecock Inlet. These fish are keyed in on the large adult bunker schools, making diamond jigging or trolling wire generally spotty when the bunker schools were evident. When the bunker schools are absent, wire-lining bunker spoons or large swimming plugs, and trolling deep diving swimmers such as Mann Stretch 25s caught their share of large stripers and bluefish.
The best fishing was reported by anglers snagging then live-lining the bunker. Bluefish over 15 pounds and well into the 20-pound class were dominating the upper half of the bunker schools. This is the largest concentration of gorilla bluefish that I have reported for several years, and this includes those alligator blues that are caught in the deep while fishing for sharks. The stripers, mostly between 20 and 30 pounds with numerous 40-pounders reported, were cleaning up after the blues as well as attacking the bunker from the bottom of the schools.
When the schools of bunker are not on the surface, anglers fishing fresh bunker chunks under schools marked on their sonar or in the area where the schools were last spotted had a steady pick of fish. The best fishing occurred in 35 to 55 feet of water, depending on the location of the bunker. A few spiny dogfish were caught on the bunker chunks fished on the bottom.
The striper fishing in the East River was excellent for anglers drifting live eels during the day near the United Nation’s building reported Dan Webber, who along with three friends caught about 20 keeper stripers during the last three hours of the outgoing tide. A few bluefish in the 10-pound class were also caught.
Boaters also did well clam chumming the inlet bridges and bars along the South Shore, with most stripers in the low teens and bluefish weighing less than 10 pounds. Stripers to 40 pounds continued to be caught by anglers drifting live eels in the inlets, with the best results reported during the outgoing tide after sunset.
The surf action has picked up along the Island. On the South Shore, the best action was reported on the west sides of the inlets, but the action has been good from most beaches. Fresh bunker chunks, especially the head, were the top producer during the day. Large swimmers, such as the Atom 40 and bottle plugs, caught more fish during the night tides. At dawn and dusk, large poppers were the way to go. On the North Shore beaches, swimmers, such as Red fins, as well as tins were the better choice. Also, large bunker imitations, 3/0-fully dressed Deceivers and similar flies did well when fished during both the day and night on fly rods.
The blackfish action remained very good, with many fish over 4 pounds reported. Pool fish were typically around 6 pounds on the South Shore artificial reefs and inshore wrecks. On the offshore wrecks, off Block Island and Fisher’s Island, 8-pound blackfish were typically pool fish and a few 10-pound fish were reported. In all areas, limits of blackfish were common. The blackfish action was excellent on both sides of the Sound. Green crabs, white crabs and hermit crabs all caught blackfish, but these fish tend to zero in on one bait during certain tides and days, so anglers carrying all three crab baits generally outfished those who did not.
Limits of sea bass to 3.5 pounds and larger were caught in the same areas as the blackfish and on the reefs and deeper offshore wrecks. Porgies were mixed in with the sea bass, with many 3-pound fish reported. Fresh skimmer clams were the top bait for both fish. Codfish were mixed in with sea bass and blackfish on the deeper wrecks, those deeper than 120 feet of water, and in Block Island Sound.
Shore anglers fishing the rocky points and rocky bottoms along the North Shore did well on blackfish and sea bass when using crabs, especially when attached to a floating jig. Along both shores, anglers fishing the jetties also did well on blackfish and sea bass. There were good reports of sea bass and blackfish reported from the shores of Staten Island. Clams produced porgies and sea bass in these same areas.
There were no freshwater reports as of late.
A reminder that from Nov. 1 to May 1, all persons – regardless of age – aboard a pleasure vessel less than 21 feet in length must wear a Personal Floatation Device (PFD) while underway.
Southeastern New York
Not much fishing happening now; it’s deer season.
Beaverkill and Willowemoc: Very low at last look.
Delaware East Branch: Was is in decent shape, with some Olives in the afternoon. Fishing above Shinhopple is prohibited.
Delaware West Branch: Hatches were spotty in the afternoon. Releases are subject to change at anytime. There were some Olives and Caddis around. 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 also be very effective, with small pheasant tails and soft hackles good choices. This river is open for fishing from the Pa. game lands downstream.
Esopus: Closed to fishing due to extremely low water conditions. (See story on Page 6.) The reservoir is very low and it doesn’t look as if conditions will improve the rest of the fall.
Neversink: Closed for the season.
Delaware Main Stem: Was in good shape and wadeable. Think subsurface but look for Olives in the afternoon. Nymphs and streamers are good choices. Surface activity has been slow. Think nymphs and soft hackles during non hatch situations. Any hatches are spotty and later in the afternoon.
St. Lawrence River: Still awaiting the news of a big muskie or two being caught. It’s that time of year.
Black Lake: Not hearing anything now on the fishing front, and it will probably remain that way until safe ice arrives.