Western New York
Lake Erie tributaries and harbors: Most creeks are back to a fishable level; Cattaraugus Creek was higher with muddy conditions at last look, but things can change fast on the tribs. Steelhead fishing has been pretty good in all creeks and the consistently cold weather extended steelhead fishing opportunities through April. It’s recommended that anglers avoid actively spawning fish on creeks that support natural reproduction, such as Chautauqua Creek, Cattaraugus Creek and its tributaries.
Anglers at Dunkirk Harbor pier continued to report good steelhead catches. Casting spoons and spinners is a good bet. A few trout generally show in Barcelona as well. The inner Buffalo Harbor is finally ice-free. Yellow perch are usually cooperative in the harbor right after ice out.
Niagara River: High winds pushed tons of ice through, over and around the ice boom at the head of the Niagara River. The upper and lower Niagara River was packed full of ice and fishing was on hold until that ice clears. The NYPA fishing platform was closed on April 4 due to high water; call 716-796-0135 ext. 45 for updates on the fishing platform.
Lake Ontario and tributaries, harbors and piers: Anglers have seen decent steelhead catches on the Lake Ontario tributaries when conditions have permitted. Some fresh fish have been reported. The small to medium-sized freestone streams are good options. Eighteenmile Creek was running a little high and stained, but was fishable.
Lake Ontario: When weather permits, it’s expected that the good brown trout bite will resume along the shoreline from Fort Niagara to Rochester. Previously, trollers were catching lots of brown trout in the 2-pound range, with the occasional lunker mixed in. Key on depths of 10-20 feet near stream/harbor mouths, in murky waters or in areas with a slightly higher water temps. Trolling with small to medium-sized stickbaits or spoons run 75-100 feet behind planer boards was the top tactic. Lures run directly behind the boat get less trout attention.
Spring casting at pier sites is often productive for trout. Spoons and spinners are a good bet. Yellow perch were showing at Olcott Harbor and in the low end of Oak Orchard Creek. Bullhead were showing at Wilson Harbor, the lower stretch of Twelvemile Creek and Oak Orchard Creek.
Chautauqua Lake: Anglers reported decent crappie catches in Ashville Bay Marina. Light numbers of crappie were showing in other marina and canal locations, along with decent numbers of perch. Some canals were skimming over with ice on colder nights. Look for improved crappie action in the canals when warmer temperatures arrive. Traditional open-lake crappie spots include Ashville Bay, Burtis Bay, Cheney Point, Lakewood Bar, Rock Island, Grass Island, Bemus Bay, Whitney Bay, Dewittville Bay, and the flats off Mayville. Small jigs tipped with a small minnow, one-inch tube or other small plastic and fished under a pencil float works well for crappie. Look for bullhead along shorelines, especially during low-light periods.
Inland trout fishing: Many inland trout streams were still swollen from the latest batch of rain. The smaller and spring-fed streams might be your best bet if those conditions persist.
Among the region’s waters recently stocked with trout were:
Allegany County: Dodge Creek (Clarksville), Clarksville Town Pond (Clarksville), Little Genesee Creek (Bolivar), Genesee River (Wellsville, Amity), Dyke Creek (Andover), Cryder Creek (Independence), Black Creek (West Almond), Canaseraga Creek (Burns), California Hollow Brook (Bolivar), Hunt Creek (Alma), Root Creek (Bolivar), Canacadea Creek (Almond, Alfred), Caneadea Creek (Rushford), Belmont Rod & Gun Club Pond (West Almond), Vandermark Creek (Scio, Ward), Chenunda Creek (Willing).
Cattaraugus County: Forks Creek (Great Valley), Great Valley Creek (Great Valley, Ellicottville), Wrights Creek (Humphrey), Mansfield Creek (Mansfield), South Branch Cattaraugus Creek (East Otto), Beaver Meadow Creek (Ellicottville), Connoisarauley Creek (Ashford), Bone Run (South Valley), Guernsey Run (South Valley), North Branch Sawmill Run (South Valley), Little Conewango Creek (Conewango), Paisley Park Pond (Randolph), County Ponds A & B (Randolph), Quaker Run (Cold Spring), Bay State Brook (Red House), Red House Brook (Red House), Science Lake (Red House), Harwood Lake (Farmersville), Case Lake (Franklinville), Quaker Lake (Cold Spring), Elton Creek (Freedom), Haskell Creek (Hinsdale), Five Mile Creek (Allegany), Rice Brook (Carrollton), Birch Run Pond #1 (Allegany), New Albion Lake (New Albion), Ischua Creek (Franklinville), Franklinville Retention Pond (Franklinville), Lake Flavia (Dayton), Perrysburg Conservation Club Pond (Dayton), Crandall Pond (Ashford), Maples Club Pond (Otto).
Chautauqua County: Goose Creek (Harmony, North Harmony), Clay Pond (Poland), Cassadaga Creek (Stockton), West Branch Conewango Creek (Villenova), Canadaway Creek (Arkwright), Mill Creek (Gerry).
Erie County: Cattaraugus Creek (Yorkshire), East Branch Cazenovia Creek (Aurora, Holland), Little Buffalo Creek (Lancaster, Marilla), Eighteenmile Creek (Boston Town Park), Cayuga Creek (Lancaster), Sprague Brook County Park Ponds (Concord), Clarence Main Park Pond (Clarence), Ellicott Creek (Amherst).
Niagara County: Oppenheim Park Pond (Wheatfield), Hyde Park Lake (Niagara Falls), Gill Creek (Niagara Falls).
Wyoming County: Buffalo Creek (Java), Beaver Meadow Creek (Java), Cattaraugus Creek (Arcade), Little Tonawanda Creek (Middlebury), Tonawanda Creek (Orangeville), East Koy Creek (Gainesville), Oatka Creek (Warsaw), Perry Park Pond (Perry), Letchworth Park Pond (Genesee Falls).
Orleans County: Warming water temps definitely triggered an acceleration of steelhead spawning and spring migrations. Water temperatures in Oak Orchard Creek were poised to head into the 50s. By steelhead standards the flows were real nice, at slightly high and stained with about 1-2 feet of visibility at last check. There’s plenty of water and stain for cover for fish to be anyplace they want to be in the river. Look for your most consistent action downstream of the dam around post-spawn dropback spots or gravel where the steelhead/rainbows are spawning.
“Fresh” fish could arrive to the party at any time and go right to gravel – so action right at the dam may be slowing for steelhead. Some suckers are also being reported. Even a few smallmouth are in the mix now, too. Fishing pressure has been real light. Most anglers are reporting at least a couple of hook-ups on a morning’s effort. The other area smaller tributaries were hanging on probably to the last of the decent action now and before water temps spike up high on medium and slightly stained flows.
Small boat trollers and shore casters had been on hold due to the cold and windy weather. With stable wind and near shore water conditions and warming weather now, look for good action again. Fish as soon as you can now to take advantage of the springtime cool conditions before tributary and lakeshore water temps warm too much, sending the steelhead and browns back to Lake Ontario.
Central New York
Remember that from Nov. 1 to May 1, all persons aboard a pleasure vessel less than 21 feet must wear a PFD while in motion.
Also, a reminder that there other fishing hotline/reports available for the area online. A few of the websites are:
Lake Ontario: When the weather cooperates and anglers can make it out they are starting to get some brown trout trolling with stickbaits or spoons near shore.
Oswego River: High flows at last check and we’re not hearing much from anglers.
Remember, the bridge to Leto Island is closed, and there are mandatory PFD zones on the river.
Salmon River: Steelhead were being taken on egg sacs and egg-imitating flies, with the upper river producing the most action. The Upper Fly Section opened April 1.
Oneida Lake: Anglers pretty much sitting tight now until the walleye opener, although bullhead might be a decent option from shore.
Sodus Bay and Irondequoit bays: Anglers getting out in boats have been getting some yellow perch and black crappies.
Spring trout stocking
Among the region’s waters stocked recently with trout are:
Cayuga County: Fall Creek.
Cortland County: Durkee Park Pond, Merril Creek, East Branch Tioughnioga River, West Branch Tioughnioga River, and the Otselic River.
Madison County: Chenango River, Chittenango Creek, Oneida Creek, and Sangerfield River.
Genesee County: Spring Brook (Byron), Dewitt Pond (Batavia), Oatka Creek (Le Roy).
Monroe County: Oatka Creek (Wheatland).
Ontario County: Canandaigua Outlet (Phelps, Manchester).
Livingston County: Sugar Creek (Ossian).
Onondaga County: The county’s trout waters are stocked by Carpenter’s Brook Fish Hatchery. Their stocking hotline is (315) 689-0003 and a stocking list can also be viewed at fishonondagacounty.com. Among the waters recently stocked are: Butternut Creek, Carpenter’s Brook, Fabius Brook, Furnace Brook, Geddes Brook, Green Lake, Limestone Creek, Ninemile Creek, Onondaga Creek, Pools Brook, Skaneateles Creek, and Spafford Brook.
Finger Lakes/Southern Tier
Lake Ontario: Steelhead were being taken in many of the tributaries on egg sacs or beads. When the weather cooperates and anglers can get out on the lake they are getting brown trout in 10 to 20 feet of water on stickbaits and small spoons.
Cayuga Lake: Rainbow trout fishing has been good in the tributaries as the cold spring has delayed spawning and kept fish in the streams longer. So far the brown trout and Atlantic fishing has been slow for anglers trolling on the south end; some warmer temperatures are likely needed to get this bite going.
Skaneateles Lake: The launch is now open for the season, and one dock was in at last check. Rainbow fishing has been good in the tributaries as the cold spring has delayed spawning and kept fish in the streams longer. Anglers getting out on the lake are catching yellow perch on small minnows.
Owasco Lake: Rainbow action remained good in the tributaries.
Otisco Lake: Nothing to report.
Whitney Point Reservoir: Pretty quiet now until the walleye kickoff next month, although the reservoir might be worth a visit when the weather warms for crappie or bullhead.
Chenango, Chemung, Tioughnioga and Susquehanna rivers: Rivers were still running high and not much fishing taking place of late.
Spring trout stocking
Among the region’s waters recently stocked with trout are:
Broome County: Chenango Lake, Dudley Creek, East Branch Nanticoke Creek, and Nanticoke Creek.
Chenango County: Genegatslet Creek and the Otselic River.
Chemung County: Eldridge Lake, Park Station Pond, Wyncoop Creek, Cayuta Creek, Newtown Creek, Sing Sing Creek, and Post Creek.
Schuyler County: Cayuta Creek.
Steuben County: Cayuta Creek, Post Creek (Hornby), Cohocton River (Cohocton, Avoca), Meads Creek (Campbell), Canaseraga Creek (Dansville), Canisteo River (Hornellsville), Bennett Creek (Greenwood).
Tioga County: West Branch Owego Creek, Owego Creek and the East Branch of Owego Creek.
Tompkins County: Salmon Creek and Fall Creek.
The North Country’s late arrival of spring is even later this year, but backcountry brook trout anglers are poised to head to their favorite ponds for the typically productive ice-out trolling. On the West Branch of the Ausable, water temps have been slow to warm, with the Hendrickson hatch still a couple of weeks off. The region’s trout waters are receiving stockings, however, and anglers have been plying those waters with some success.
The big news this report period was the excellent largemouth bass and pickerel fishing in the Massapequa Reservoir and Southards Pond. John at Trophy Tackle reported that the runoff from the recent cold rains that flows into the feeder streams is settling to the bottom of the reservoir and ponds pushing the warmer water to the surface. This, combined with the March trout stockings, have but the largemouths on the feed. The key to catching these largemouth, many above three pounds and some as large as pounds pounds, is casting lures several inches long to mimic the stocked trout. These same lures are catching pickerel up to 18 inches.
The trout fishing has been very good in all the stocked waters. Small spinners, swimming plugs, worms and streamers all caught rainbow and brown trout up to 14 inches. Yellow perch and sunfish were mixed in with the trout in the lakes. In the brackish waters, white perch were caught on grass shrimp, worms and small spoons and spinners.
The winter flounder season has started off better than experienced over the past few seasons, with flounders being reported both in the western Sound and in the South Shore bays. Anglers reported that the best action was in water 10 feet or less with a dark, muddy bottom. The action was best during the mid-morning to mid-afternoon period when the sun’s rays heated up the bottom, putting the flounder on the feed. Heavy clam and mussel chum used with bloodworms or sandworm baits was the most productive combination.
John at Trophy Tackle reported good flounder fishing in Sore Thumb and in the channel behind Oak Beach, both located in Fire Island Inlet. The blackfish season opened on April 1. There were no reports of blackfish as of late but expect the action to pick up when the water warms a few degrees.
The striped bass season north of the George Washington Bridge opened on April 1, with anglers reported fish from 12 to 28 inches taking plugs, bucktails and plastic baits. In the marine waters south of the George Washington Bridge, the season opened April 15. Anglers fishing for flounder in the western sound are reporting a good number of small stripers taking the baits meant for the flounder. Also, anglers making a few catch-and-release trips confirmed the Western Sound reports. When the water warms up a couple of degrees, expect the bass fishing to heat up quickly, with the action starting in the western Sound then progressing eastward as the water warms. The South Shore usually is a week or two behind the western Sound. By May 1, the stripers will be showing up off Orient and Montauk points in appreciable numbers.
The open and charter boats continued to fish the offshore wrecks for cod, hake, ling and pollock. The fishing has improved, with angler catching their limits of cod. Pool-winning cod or pollock on the deeper wrecks were reported to be about 25 pounds, with the inshore wrecks producing pool fish around 15 pounds. The Montauk boats reported fair codfish action in Block Island Sound, with pool fish around 10 pounds. Fresh skimmer clams were the bait of choice, with the top anglers adding a white, pink, or red jelly worm or Twister Tail teaser 18 inches above the bait for added attraction.
A few charter boats were making the long run to the edges of The Canyons, targeting tilefish with fair to good results. These trips typically run through May and are by reservation only. Contact the captain prior to sailing as these tilefish are caught in 200-plus feet of water and special tackle is required.
With the cold weather of late finally beginning to turn around, more anglers are taking to the region’s trout waters as DEC’s stocking efforts swing into high gear.
Sportsmen are also busy doing their pre-season scouting ahead of the April 21-22 youth turkey hunt weekend, as well as the May 1 regular-season opener.
Southeastern New York
Many of the region’s trout waters have been stocked by the DEC. Among them:
Dutchess County: Ten Mile River, Webatuck Creek, Swamp River, Roeliff Jansen Kill, Crum Elbow Creek, Sawkill, Fishkill Creek, Sprout Creek, Wappingers Creek.
Putnam County: Diverting Reservoir, West Branch Reservoir, East Branch Croton River, West Branch Croton River, Croton Falls Reservoir.
Westchester County: Kensico Reservoir, Titicus Reservoir, Cross River Outlet, Cross River Reservoir, Stone Hill River, Mianus River, Amawalk Inlet, Peekskill Hollow Brook, Waccabuc River, Titicus River, Croton River, Amawalk Outlet.
Orange County: Ramapo River, Moodna Creek, Shawangunk Kill, Neversink River, Shingle Kill, Rutgers Creek, Walton Lake, Round Lake, Wawayanda Creek.
Rockland County: Ramapo River, Minisceongo Creek, North Branch Minisceongo Creek, Mahwah River, Stony Brook, Pascack Brook, Cedar Pond Brook, Sparkill Creek.
Ulster County: Plattekill Creek, Sawkill Creek, Yager Stream.
Sullivan County: Callicoon Creek, East Branch Callicoon Creek, North Branch Callicoon Creek.
All rivers were high due to melting snow and rain but levels were coming down. The region’s trout waters were mainly clear at last look.
Beaverkill and Willowemoc: Both rivers offered some wade fishing.
Delaware East Branch: In good condition and is wadeable. Warm and sunny days usually bring out th midges and the stoneflies..
Delaware West Branch: Floatable only. A streamer pattern would be a good choice.
Esopus: Was still up a little. Try the tribs for spawning rainbows.
Neversink: Was in good shape and is fishable. There were some reports of fish being caught on streamers and nymphs.
Delaware Main Stem: Floatable but too high to wade at last check.
At this time of year look to the slower water as fish are still in their winter homes. Streamers should be fished slowly. Shallow water warms faster so look to water less than three feet in depth.
St. Lawrence River: Many anglers are awaiting the walleye opener, but perch and bullhead are legitimate options right now, and the waters are slowly warming.
Black Lake: Crappie, perch and bullhead right now as spring slowly arrives up north.