NY: Ice season winds down; trout season kickoff looms Issue: 6
Western New York
Lake Erie and tributaries: The small to medium-sized streams will
clear first and when they do fishing should be good for trout.
Harbor action at Dunkirk could be good if the water is clear
enough. Egg sacs, spoons or spinners are good for starters – from
the platform or from boat.
Upper Niagara River: The perch action at Beaver Island marina was
good to very good but the ice is history now.
Chautauqua Lake: Ice action is questionable. Perch fishing
continued to be good up until the last rains, but calling ahead to
a local tackle shop may be the way to go.
Lake Ontario and tributaries: You are at the mercy of Mother Nature
this time of year. Good numbers of fresh trout were showing up at
the dam and the rock wall at Burt. Anglers were doing well on
chartreuse beads and egg sacs. Jigs tipped with wax worms was also
producing some fish. There was open water in all of the
tributaries, including streams and rivers to the east like the Oak
Orchard River. Fair to good catches of trout were reported just
prior to the rain.
Lower Niagara River: Look for turbid conditions slowing things down
for a bit in the lower Niagara. Action was split between Devil’s
Hole and Artpark. When the waters clear again, look for action to
Central New York
Lake Ontario: All tributaries are running very high at last check;
when they settle back down steelhead fishing should pick up.
Oneida Lake: Ice conditions were rapidly deteriorating. Use extreme
caution and your own good judgment if deciding to venture
Oswego River: Unfishable as of last week.
Salmon River: The Director of the Oswego County Emergency
Management office last week issued an advisory for fisherman on the
Salmon River due to the high water conditions.
Sandy Pond: Good numbers of yellow perch were still being caught
with black tear drops, glow baits, Caty jigs and Kastmasters tipped
with small minnows or spikes all working. Ice conditions may not
allow safe fishing by now.
Sodus Bay: Ice reports vary greatly and can change quickly this
time of year. Be extra careful around the shoreline, old holes,
cracks or flowing water areas.
Irondequoit Bay: No safe ice to report.
Finger Lakes/Southern Tier
Seneca Lake: Atlantic salmon and brown trout continued to hit for
anglers trolling near the surface down to about 50 feet with
streamers, stick baits and flasher and flies. Yellow perch were
being caught around Severne Point and a few northern pike were
being taken of the pier.
Keuka Lake: No safe ice to report.
Owasco Lake: No safe ice.
Canandaigua Lake: Not an option for ice anglers.
Cayuga Lake: Anglers trolling around Taughannock Point were still
getting Atlantic salmon and the occasional brown trout on stick
baits fished off divers or planer boards. The surface down to about
60 feet has been good.
Skaneateles Lake: Nothing to report.
Otisco Lake: Not sure if there’s any safe ice by now.
Waneta and Lamoka lakes: No safe ice to report.
Whitney Point Reservoir: No safe ice.
Susquehanna, Chenango, Tioughnioga and Unadilla rivers: All rivers
were unfishable at last check.
Usually, anglers are still hitting the hardwater in late March.
That is the case on some waters, such as Lake Champlain, where
smelt and perch action was decent. But we haven’t heard a lot of
detailed reports aside from sloppy ice conditions that have made
for tough travel, uncomfortable fishing and difficulties in
removing ice shanties ahead of the March 15 deadline to have them
off the water.
The herring fishing has improved with the warming ocean
temperature. Jim at Bernie’s Bait and Tackle reported that the
Sheepshead Bay Walk Bridge, 69th Street Pier, the Steeplechase Pier
in Coney Island, and the Canarsie Pier have all experienced a good
run of herring during the late evenings into the dark. Offshore
anglers working 17 Fathoms and the wrecks around the Mud Hole,
including the Three Sisters, caught a mix of cod and
On the freshwater scene, Jim reported that the ice covering the
ponds throughout Queens and Brooklyn has melted, with freshwater
anglers reported a mix of panfish and bass. John at Terminal Tackle
reported that trout are being caught on worms, spinners, and flies
at Whites Pool, Caleb State Park and Blydenburgh County Park. Trout
and bass are hitting spinners fished in the Twin Lakes in
The codfishing off Montauk Point remains excellent. Both jigs and
bait are working well and the daytime bite has been hot. Most boats
are drifting and looking for large schools of cod. A few cod have
also been reported on the South Shore wrecks.
While not a typical hunting report, I was invited to attend the
South Shore Waterfowlers Association March meeting by my friend and
member, Bill McGinley, where master falconers Bob Young and Sonny
Squiciarino discussed hunting with falcons and hawks. They brought
a gamut of beautiful birds, including Harris and red-tailed hawks,
a peregrine falcon and an American kestrel, as well as a falcon
from Peru. Bob and Sonny discussed how they hunt these birds, as
well as the requirements, licenses and housing requirement for
these birds. Joining the Falconers was Cathy Horvath from WINOOR
(Wildlife in Need of Rescue and Rehabilitation), a nonprofit
organization that provides professional care for sick, injured and
orphaned wildlife in the Nassau and western Suffolk County area.
Cathy’s birds included barn owls, screech owls, as well as a
beautiful eagle owl.
The South Shore Waterfowlers Association members are a great bunch
of hunters who have provided me with numerous hunting reports, have
kept me informed on the latest changes and trends in waterfowl
hunting, and they have always welcomed me at their meetings. A
thank you to the group for their help.
Lake George is usually a late-ice option in March, but use caution
and call ahead to FISH307. Beyond that, we can’t in good conscience
direct anglers to any waters where there may be safe ice. Next up
on most anglers’ agenda will be the open-water season for trout and
the Hudson River striper action.
Southeastern New York
Ice fishing is out of the question, and most anglers are looking to
the open water now. We’re not sure what trout waters will be
stocked by DEC prior to the April 1 opener, but usually there are a
couple in the region that do receive fish before the season
Not any safe ice fishing options in the region, and the Catskill
trout waters were both closed and running at unfishable levels.
Most anglers were keeping an eye on the rivers for the traditional
April 1 trout opener.
St. Lawrence River: There may still be some ice fishing options.
Northern pike were being caught in some spots earlier this month,
and perch action was solid around Round Island and Chaumout Bay.
Bluegills and crappie were being taken by anglers in Lake of the
Isles. Use caution at this stage of the season especially.
Black Lake: Sloppy ice conditions, but still some fishing
possibilities provided you use extreme caution.