Western New York
Lake Erie and tributaries: It’s tough to find open water in many of
the tributaries. If you do, use egg sacs, egg imitations or small
jigs tipped with a spike or waxworm and fished under a float.
Dunkirk Harbor has some open water at the warmwater discharge of
the power plant. Fish the platform or pier with spoons, spinners or
Upper Niagara River: Only report has been on the Buffalo boat
harbor, where ice fishing has been mostly in the inner harbor. Some
anglers are doing some venturing to other areas, but caution is
advised. Smelt were hitting waxworms or spikes on micro-jigs. Perch
were hitting emerald shiners, but most have been smallish.
Bluegills were hitting jigs tipped with grubs.
Chautauqua Lake: Snow and an upper crust was posing some problems
getting around on the ice. Yellow perch action continued to be
good, but the perch size has been small. For bigger perch, target
the deeper holes with jigging spoons tipped off with emerald
shiners or fathead minnows. You may catch a walleye from those
deeper holes, too.
Lake Ontario and tributaries: Pete Marotta with Feather and Fur
Bait Shop on Route 425 in Wilson reports that fishing was decent,
with up to 10 inches of ice in the harbor. Both steelhead and brown
trout have been caught through the ice, as well as northern pike,
panfish and yellow perch up to 12 inches. One trout stretched out
at 29 inches. Ice fishing over in Olcott was also going on, with up
to six inches being reported away from the main channel, according
to Wes Walker at The Slipper Sinker. The main channel had only
three inches, so caution is advised.
Lower Niagara River: Trout fishing has been more consistent, with
Lake Erie finally getting some ice cover. Trout have been reported
from Devil’s Hole to the mouth of the river off Fort Niagara –
perfect timing for the Roger Tobey memorial steelhead contest
sponsored by the Niagara River Anglers Association on Feb. 12.
While boat fishermen have the advantage of moving around to seek
out active fish, shore fishermen can get to places that the boat
guys can’t. Minnows, Kwikfish and egg sacs are the best options for
drifters; tossing spoons or spinners, as well as jigs tipped with
bait or egg sacs fished under a float will work from shore. Check
out niagarariveranglers.com. for tourney details. Capt. Steve
Drabczyk of Lewiston fine-tuned that a bit further reporting that
the steelhead wanted emerald shiners; lakers wanted golden shiners.
They also caught some on three-egg pink egg sacs. While they fished
Artpark to take a limit catch, other drifts on the river, like
Stella, were also producing. Pat Nowak of Lewiston boated the first
steelie of his life – a 12-pounder – using an emerald shiner.
Central New York
Lake Ontario: Maxwell Creek has finally frozen over so steelhead
fishing will be on hold until we get a thaw. Braddock’s Bay has
been good for northern pike, with a foot of ice being reported.
Bluegills were hitting in many of the bays and are being caught
five feet under the ice on small jigs.
Oneida Lake: Conditions have been tough, according to Dan Fox.
Walking was hard but 4-wheelers are getting stuck. Big Bay was
still good for panfish, but plan on drilling many holes. The main
body of the lake was producing perch and walleyes but, as always,
with this lake it is hit or miss. Both perch and walleye were
taking Fox’s Northland photo image spoons. The Constantia area was
producing walleye and perch in 10 to 25 feet of water. North Bay
was producing walleye and perch, too. Ice thickness varied from 6
to 10 inches in most places.
Oswego River: The cold temperatures have resulted in more slush
forming on the river, making fishing difficult. Anglers were still
catching steelhead and brown trout in the Kiddie Pool and Lock 7
with white bucktail jigs or egg sacs (pink or chartreuse mesh)
fished under floats. Use caution when fishing.
Salmon River: With the cold weather, the lower river is iced up,
and slush has been forming on the remainder of the river. The
steelhead bite has slowed down with the cold snap. Sometimes
fishing can be better during the midday period. Anglers fishing egg
sacs (white or pink mesh), nymphs, woolly buggers, beads and pink
worms in the deeper holes were still getting some steelhead.
Sandy Pond: Perch fishing was still good, but conditions were not.
Lots of snow and slush made getting around on the ice very
difficult. Putting down a dead minnow on a bare hook about 3 feet
from your jigging hole is working for the bigger perch. Pike
fishing remained good, according to Dan Fox.
Sodus Bay: Use caution and your own good judgment if venturing out
as ice thickness reports vary greatly. Yellow perch fishing
continued to be hot one day and slow the next, so keep searching
for fish if you’re not having luck. The area around Newark Island
has been producing good catches of perch. Good baits have been
small jigs tipped with spikes and Swedish Pimples or Kastmasters
with waxworms or perch eyes. Some northern pike were being taken on
tip-ups with large minnows fished around Leroy Island.
Irondequoit Bay: Anglers were getting yellow perch but you need to
weed through a lot of small fish to find the bigger ones. Bring a
variety of baits like spikes, mousies, waxworms or perch eyes; it
changes from day to day what they want. If not catching fish keep
searching. And use caution with the varied ice thickness.
Genesee River: No new fishing activity to report.
Finger Lakes/Southern Tier
Hemlock Lake: At the south end, ice was good at least out to the
drop-off at last look. Anglers fishing near the drop-off could
catch chain pickerel, bass, sunfish or trout. When ice sets up over
deep water, anglers head there for lake trout.
Canadice Lake: Anglers should check ice thickness if they plan to
fish the deeper sections. Anglers were catching good numbers of
smelt at night on glow jigs with grubs. Jigging with spoons in deep
water was producing lake trout.
Silver Lake: Jamie Brolinski of Lewiston reported a good bluegill
bite in the southern part of the lake, especially for some bigger
fish. Small jigs tipped with waxworms or plastics have been
working. Try your luck in 5-10 feet of water. The occasional
crappie was also showing up. Good reports of northern pike fishing
have been coming in, too. Use a tip-up with a minnow. For perch,
try in deeper waters, 25-35 feet deep.
Honeoye Lake: The bluegill bite has been decent in 8-12 feet near
weed edges or open pockets within the weeds. Tip-ups set in shallow
areas catch mostly largemouth bass and chain pickerel. Tip-ups set
deeper for walleye were catching more bass than walleye.
Conesus Lake: Anglers were fishing most areas of the lake, but the
ice over the deepest section was still suspect at last look. The
north end was still producing good numbers of bluegill, but the
keeper to throwback ratio was dropping. Tip-ups with larger golden
shiners produced some nice northerns.
Seneca Lake: Atlantic salmon and brown trout continued to hit for
anglers trolling near the surface with streamers and stick baits.
Yellow perch were being taken in the south end in 25-35 feet of
water on perch minnows.
Keuka Lake: Anglers were catching yellow perch on fathead minnows
in the Penn Yan area. There was 5 inches of ice being reported out
to about the 20-foot depth range.
Owasco Lake: There were reports of anglers fishing the south end,
but that’s all we’ve got at this point.
Canandaigua Lake: Anglers were fishing the north end late last
Cayuga Lake: There are reports of anglers getting out on the north
end. Use caution as ice thickness always varies greatly on Cayuga.
Fishing for perch has been slow. Anglers trolling around
Taughannock Point were still getting Atlantic salmon and the
occasional brown trout on stick baits fished off planer boards and
spoons fished down to 60 feet.
Skaneateles Lake: There were anglers getting out a little ways on
the north end, but fishing had been slow.
Otisco Lake: North end anglers were still catching a mix of
bluegills and pumpkinseeds on small jigs and plastics tipped with
Waneta and Lamoka lakes: Bluegill fishing had picked up on Waneta
but fishing continued to be slow overall.
Whitney Point Reservoir: The Crappie Derby was held Jan. 29,
attracting nearly 2,000 anglers. The fish were tight-lipped at last
check, so keep searching and trying different baits until active
fish are found.
Susquehanna, Chenango, Tioughnioga and Unadilla rivers: Anglers
braving the cold and fishing the deeper holes with stick baits or
jigs tipped with minnows were catching some walleye.
Lake Champlain: Norm at Norm’s Bait and Tackle in Crown Point
reports fishing has been pretty good for perch, but the smelt
anglers have yet to see a good run. Some slammer perch were being
taken on Westport Bay, while Willsboro Bay was yielding an
occasional salmon and some smallish perch. The snowstorm last week
may have created tough travel conditions on the ice. Pickerel and
pike were being caught regularly on South Bay.
Raquette Lake: Plenty of lakers being caught, but very few
Schroon Lake: Some tough traveling on the ice, but some lake trout
and salmon, as well as smelt, were being taken.
The codfishing off Montauk Point continued to be hot, with open and
charter boats reporting typical catches between one and two dozen
cod, with high-hook anglers landing around 40 cod on the best days.
Most boats have been targeting the waters south of Block Island.
Captain Desmond O’Sullivan of the Celtic Quest reported that bait
has been outproducing jigs on most trips, and that the typical pool
cod has been running between 12 and 20 pounds, with about half of
the cod keepers. A few large ling have been coming over the rails
with the cod.
Mike at Saltwaters Bait and Tackle also reported the excellent
codfishing off Montauk Point as well, as a few cod on the
deep-water wrecks, 20-plus miles off the South Shore. Mike also
reported that white perch are being caught in Santapogue Creek near
Taco Bell, in the Connetquot River, and in Carlls River just below
the Argyle Lake spillway, on worms and small jigs. Trout were
caught in Argyle Lake and Rattlesnake Creek on worms and Power
Baits. In addition, herring were caught off the Captree Pier and
off the new pier in Fire Island Inlet near the superintendent’s
house, with the best bite early in the morning. Mike noted that the
herring, trout and white perch is the typical winter fishery and he
expects it to continue throughout the winter, with these fish
showing up at their usual spots around the region.
Bernie’s Bait and Tackle reported that boats running to 17 Fathoms
have been returning with a mixed bag of ling, blackfish and cod,
but reported that the best codfishing has been off Montauk Point.
Herring were being caught at the 69th Street Pier and the Coney
Island Pier. Also, the open boat Brooklyn has been targeting winter
mackerel when the weather permits. The last few trips have been
slower than those during the middle of the month, but the mackerel
continue to be caught.
With all the snow on the ground, the waterfowl season has slowed
considerably, with most of the geese and ducks moving south looking
for open water and grass fields.
Ice conditions on Lake George were very sloppy at last report, and
the snowfall likely didn’t help. Fishing had yet to heat up.
Thompson Lake was yielding a few brown trout and some pickerel. The
snowstorm has limited fishing activity on many waters.
Southeastern New York
John Miller at Bob’s Sport and Tackle reports tough traveling
conditions on the ice, but some pretty good fishing. Anglers on
Muscoot Reservoir were picking up a mixed bag of trout, perch,
crappie and bluegill. East Branch (Sodom) Reservoir was offering up
plenty of white perch and the occasional walleye, while West Branch
Reservoir anglers were connecting on trout despite low water
Vly Pond in Schoharie County was yielding panfish of good quality
if not quantity. Travel was tough on the ice, as it seemed to be on
many waters due to snow and slush. Big Pond in Delaware County was
slow, with an occasional trout or bass.
St. Lawrence River: Pike have provided consistent action, but perch
weren’t far behind. On Lake Ontario’s Chaumont Bay, perch fishing
was great at last check.
Black Lake: Fishing had picked up as of late, with plenty of pike
and crappie, perch that were generally on the small side, and bass
as well (release those).
Henderson Harbor: Dan Fox reported about 10 inches of ice most
places as of late last month. The schools of perch move around the
harbor quite a bit and finding them can be challenging. Keep
drilling and moving. There are a lot of perch and when you find
them it’s great. He uses plastics to entice these fish but minnows
usually work well.