Western New York
Lake Ontario: Despite record high water levels in the lake, salmon and trout fishing continued to be good. Some good fishing was being reported by John Van Hoff of North Tonawanda while fishing out of Wilson and Olcott. Best depths were 60 to 100 feet down over 200 to 300 feet of water with spoons and flasher-fly combos. Salmon up to 23 pounds were reported. The last day of the month, Capt. Bob Stevens of Sunrise Charters sends word that he did well on salmon west of Wilson in 150 to 170 feet of water so spring action is continuing. East winds have helped to keep salmon boxed in off the shores of Niagara USA.
Niagara River: The lower section below Niagara Falls was still holding some trout like lakers and steelhead. Kwikfish lures worked for Capt. Arnie Jonathan of Lockport. They boated walleye, bass, suckers and silver bass. One sucker was a potential state record had they known. Capt. Frank Campbell of Niagara Falls had a few banner days on smallmouth bass casting the shoreline with stickbaits and jerkbaits. MagLips were working for trout, fished off three-way rigs. The silver bass action continued to be very good for drifters and shoreline casters. From shore, try tossing jigs or spinners.
Upper Niagara River: Bass fishing continues to be good. The regular season opens June 17. Some walleye were being caught at the head of the river and at the head of Strawberry Island on worm harnesses and jigs. Capt. Ryan Shea of Tonawanda also likes to target large carp this time of year on some of the flats, using crayfish imitation flies. Seek out the flats where these fish will be spawning. They can be a lot of fun!
There was still a state of emergency along the Lake Ontario shoreline for high water levels. This isn’t really going to affect the fishing that much, but the Niagara County sheriff is asking that boats creating a wake stay at least 600 feet from shore. This doesn’t include trolling. Caution is advised for floating debris when you are out in the lake moving around. The problem seems to be launching. The best spot to be right now is the town of Newfane Marina in Olcott. Fort Niagara has an open launch but you need boots up to your knees or above. Golden Hill State Park launch is closed and Wilson-Tuscarora Park is day to day (but you need hip boots there, too). It’s worth the effort for the good fishing.
Orleans County: The Point and the lower stretches of Oak Orchard Creek were offering a mixed bag of fish, including pike, white bass and perch. On Lake Alice, things have slowed a bit but anglers are still catching white perch, bluegills and some crappie.
Central New York
Lake Ontario: Use caution when boating as the lake level is up at this time and there is likely to be debris floating around. Boaters are also being asked to observe a “No Wake” zone within 500 feet of the Lake Ontario shoreline.
Brown trout fishing remained good for those anglers able to get out on the lake. Stickbaits or small spoons were still working, either fished off boards or off downriggers in 10 to 25 feet of water. Move out to deeper water, 60 to 140 feet, for chinook salmon and lake trout.
Oswego River: High water levels still made shore fishing difficult, with the exception of the area behind the “Hotels.” Some walleye have been taken by anglers fishing early or late in the day. Freshwater drum (sheepshead) are also being caught in the river.
Salmon River: Things are quiet on the river this time of year though a few steelhead were still being caught, along with some smallmouth bass. Some 2-year-old brown trout were stocked around Pineville and the 2A parking areas.
Oneida Lake: Walleye fishing has been OK, with fish being taken in both shallow and deep water. Yellow perch were biting in deep water for anglers using small jigs or minnows.
Sandy Pond: Due to the high water level, the DEC boat launch was closed until further notice.
Sodus and Irondequoit bays: Use caution when boating as the lake level is running high, as are the bays, and there is likely to be debris floating around.
Finger Lakes/Southern Tier
Cayuga Lake: Certainly the discovery of VHS in the lake was bad news and the big news, but anglers continued to catch Atlantic salmon and brown trout by trolling on or near the surface with stickbaits or small spoons. Lake trout were being taken by anglers trolling or vertical jigging over a variety depths out to about 140 feet. Look for yellow perch on the north end with small minnows.
Skaneateles Lake: Yellow perch were hitting on the north end for anglers using small minnows. Check both shallow and deep until you find fish. Smallmouth bass should be up shallow and the regular season kicks off June 17.
Owasco Lake: Use caution when boating as there is likely to be debris floating around with the recent rain and high water events. The Emerson Park boat launch was still being worked on so launching may require some patience on a busy day.
Otisco Lake: Anglers fishing from the causeway with large minnows under bobbers have been getting some tiger muskies. But tiger fishing has been slow for anglers fishing from boats. Walleye season has also gotten off to a slow start. Trolling stickbaits is generally a good early-season tactic for walleye, as is casting stickbaits from the causeway. Bass were being taken in shallow water – both largemouths and smallmouths.
Whitney Point Reservoir, Chenango, Tioughnioga and Susquehanna rivers: The constant rain events have kept conditions fluctuating so no new information to report. When the rivers have been fishable smallmouth bass action has been great.
Lake Champlain: The annual Rotary Classic fishing derby saw some fine lake trout catches, topped by a 14-pound, 11-ounce fish. A landlocked salmon of 8 pounds, 11.5 ounces was also weighed in. But much of the focus will now turn to bass.
West Branch of the Ausable River: Has been running high but when conditions settle dry fly action has been very good. Hungry Trout guides reported some Green Drake activity on the northern rivers like the Salmon and Chateaugay. And the Ausable’s signature West Branch Stonefly hatches are occurring more and more consistently.
Anglers needed to contend with heavy rainfall during much of this report period, often combined with high winds. But anglers who did get out reported very good fishing in general. The one issue to note is the early appearance of the brown tide in the Great South Bay. When the brown tide is bad, fluke, stripers, bluefish and weakfish tend to move into the inlets and ocean, thereby slowing the fishing in the back bays. All reports are indicating that the fish movement has not occurred as of late.
June is typically the big fish month for striped bass and this June is starting off excellently. Stripers in the 30-pound class were being caught throughout the report area, with the New York Bight, lower New York Harbor and Western Long Island Sound holding the greatest numbers of trophy bass. The water temperatures were in the high-50s, which is comfortable for the large stripers and has resulted in the stripers moving into the back of the bays as they work their way eastward. This has resulted in excellent fly and light-tackle fishing in the back of Jamaica Bay near JFK Airport and on the North Shore around City Island, Manhasset, and Hempstead bays. A good number of weakfish were caught by anglers targeting stripers in the western bays and in the Peconic bays. The large stripers have been working their way east as expected.
These large stripers are targeting bunker, as evidenced by Vinny Radziul’s 32-pound striper caught on a green bunker spoon trolled mojo style on a 3-way swivel above an 8-ounce parachute jig in 50 feet of water off the Round House in the Rockaways. Capt. Chris Cullen of the Island Current Fleet reported that large bluefish have been mixed in with the stripers in the western Sound, resulting in outstanding fishing both day and night on fresh bunker chunks, with the night tides generally the most productive.
The striper fishing from the Nassau County line east was also excellent, with most fish between 8 and 20 pounds and a few 30-pound plus stripers reported. All methods were working, including clam chumming both the inlets and deeper holes in the bays, such as in the State Boat Channel between Zach’s Bay and Captree Boat Basin. Surfcasters had their best fishing from the inlet jetties and the Ponquogue Bridge at first light and during the week when boat traffic was low. In all areas, there was an equal or greater number of bluefish caught with the stripers. Live eels fished at night around the inlet rocks have produced some of the largest stripers, those over 20 pounds for surfcasters.
The porgy fishing is in full swing, with the best fishing reported from the western Sound out to around Port Jefferson and improving in all areas to the east daily. Other hot areas include The Peconics around Rodgers Rock and Jessup’s Neck, and the artificial reefs off the South Shore. Limits of porgies up to 3 pounds were reported in these areas for most anglers. A fair number of 4-pounders were reported. The best bait was the standard fresh skimmer clam strips. The Shinnecock Canal yielded smaller porgies on the north end, as well as a blowfish when the locks were closed.
The fluke season is off to an excellent start, with anglers reporting a larger number fluke in the 3- to 4-pound range and above than during the past few seasons. The largest fluke were caught from the South Shore inlet mouths out to 60 feet of water around the large schools of squid on whole squid, bucktails and squid combos and strip baits. Fluke on both sides of the keeper limit were reported throughout the entire report area, with the action good to excellent. Surfcasters did well bouncing bucktails and diamond jigs off the bottom in the South Shore inlets and off the North Shore beaches. Basically, anywhere that anglers cast a line they caught fluke. There are a fair number of sea robins mixed in with the fluke.
Off Montauk Point, the striped bass and bluefish action was good and improving for anglers trolling the reefs and rips using parachute jigs and tubes. The porgy fishing was good, especially along the northside, with steady action reported. A fair number of 3-pounders were reported. The best fluke fishing was along the south side, with pool fish in the 4- to 6-pound class. A lot of large sea bass were caught and released by anglers targeting porgies and fluke, which is a good indicator of a productive sea bass season.
The freshwater fishing remained excellent in all areas. Largemouth bass to 3 pounds were reported in the larger lakes and ponds, and in the Peconic River on plastic worms, spinnerbaits and swimmers. Bluegill, crappie and yellow perch were caught on worms, small jigs and spinners. Anglers fishing minnows reported larger crappie as well as pickerel. Trout were still being caught in decent numbers in all areas that received a spring stocking, as well as a few brackish water trout being reported from Bubbles Falls. Overall, the freshwater fishing this report period was the best of the season.
Lake George: Lake trout action remained solid, with anglers connecting at depths of 50-60 feet, deeper at midday. Smallmouths were also available at 25-35 feet for anglers dragging tubes.
Saratoga Lake: A focus on largemouths is expected for the regular-season opener. Not hearing anything on walleye of late.
Brant Lake: Bass action was decent, and brown trout were being found at about 30 feet down using a lead core setup.
Southeastern New York
With the Hudson River striper blitz pretty much over, look for the angling attention to focus on the east of Hudson reservoirs for bass.
Beaverkill and Willowemoc: High and off color late last week.
Delaware East Branch: High and unwadeable at last check, but with some decent surface activity all the way to Hancock.
Delaware West Branch: Running high. Hatches are mostly Sulphurs with some Grey Fox, Caddis and spinners.
Esopus: The recreational release is over and fishing is possible again when the river subsides.
Neversink: Unwadeable. Nymph fishing has been productive.
Delaware Main Stem: High, but continues to fish well this season. It has good water temps down to Callicoon. There were some Drakes but more Sulphurs, Caddis and Isonychias. There was a decent mix of mayflies and Caddis along with some Golden Stones.
St. Lawrence River: Not hearing a lot on the fishing front; rainy weather may be impacting fishing pressure. But pike, bass and perch have been reported by those who have gotten out on the water.
Black Lake: Richard at Chapman’s Sport Shop and Marina in Hammond reports walleye fishing has been solid amid the wet weather and downright nasty conditions at times. Bluegill anglers were scoring well on spawning fish, and crappie fishing was decent.