NY: Bass opener shifts focus to smallies and bucketmouths Issue: 12
Western New York
Inland Trout Streams: Most of the area’s trout streams are now in
great shape. March browns, sulphurs, grey foxes and caddis flies
are all hatching and fly anglers can see good results using the
appropriate imitations. Productive offerings for spinning anglers
include worms, salted minnows and small in-line spinners. If you’re
a catch-and-release angler and use spinners, it’s good idea to
outfit your spinners with a single hook rather than a treble hook.
The region’s stocked trout lakes are also a good option. Allen
Lake, Science Lake, Quaker Lake, Red House Lake, New Albion Lake,
Lake Flavia, Case Lake and Harwood Lake were all stocked with trout
Lake Ontario and tributaries: Wes Walker at The Slippery Sinker in
Olcott is reporting that most of the boats have been heading out to
350- to 400-foot depths, targeting the top 50 feet of water to
catch a mixed bag of immature salmon, trout and the occasional
mature king. Spoons are working well, with a glow alewife a hot
bait for some. Pike, bass and perch were being reported from Wilson
and Olcott harbors and off the piers. A few trout were also being
Lake Erie and tributaries: The near-shore walleye bite at night has
been good for trollers using stick baits and worm harnesses. Focus
in 8 to 15 feet of water and troll around 2 mph. The daytime bite
was also getting better. Bass fishing continued to be good to very
good on tubes or live bait. Focus on 10- to 40-foot depths around
structure like Myers Reef and Seneca Shoal.
Upper Niagara River: Some perch and panfish were being reported
around the river. Grand Island was producing a few pike in places
like Big Six Marina and off some of the creeks.
Lower Niagara River: Trout were still hanging around and the
warmwater fish species like bass were slowly starting to turn on.
Be sure to mark your calendar for the Wagon Wheel Opening Day Bass
Contest set for Saturday, June 18. Entry fee is $20 and the best
two fish will win the cash prizes based on the number of entries.
For more information call 716-283-9861.
Chautauqua Lake: The walleye bite has been decent under low-light
conditions in 2-6 feet of water. Anchor or drift outside the weeds
and cast stick baits toward shore. Anglers can also catch walleye
from shore or dock at night. Largemouth and smallmouth bass catches
were good inside 10 feet of water on tubes, plastics and stick
baits. Some nice schools of crappie have been found in the deeper
flats toward the middle of the lake. Perch fishing was still good
all around the lake.
Orleans County: Fishing on Lake Ontario is picking up, with some
great fishing being reported in the 100- to 200-foot depth range. A
mixed bag is being taken down 50 to 60 feet. On Lake Alice, great
catches of bluegill and crappie are being reported, along with some
bass and pike. On Glenwood Lake, the catch seems to be mostly bass
and pike, and the same is being reported at the wide waters on the
Erie Canal. Oak Orchard River and Johnson Creek anglers are
reporting catches of perch, bass and pike.
Central New York
Lake Ontario: The near-shore brown trout fishing continued to be
very good. Trolling during the early morning with stick baits or
small spoons near shore in 15 to 30 feet of water was producing
fish. Lures were being fished off planer boards and also off
downriggers. Fish have spread out some, so keep covering water
until fish are found. Perch were being taken in the estuaries on
Oneida Lake: Walleye fishing continued to be good one day and slow
the next. Fish were being taken in both shallow and deep water from
10 to 30 feet. Bucktail jigs tipped with night crawlers, and blade
baits were still working. Bass fishing has also been very good for
anglers fishing the catch-and-release season, with tube baits and
bass jigs still working well. Carp fishing has been really good,
with some huge fish being taken on fruit-flavored packbaits.
Onondaga Lake: The lake and rivers are finally down and carp
fishing has picked up. The main lake, Inner Harbor and Seneca River
have been producing carp in the 30-pound range.
Oswego River: Steelhead and brown trout were still being taken on
stick baits or egg sacs. A few walleye were being caught on stick
baits or leeches.
Salmon River: There were still a few steelhead and occasional brown
trout being caught. There were also reports of some Atlantic salmon
being spotted in the upper river.
Sandy Pond: Walleye fishing has picked up on the pond, with
crankbaits, worm harnesses and jigs working. Some yellow perch were
being taken on small minnows.
Sodus Bay: Yellow perch were being taken in bay on small minnows.
Black crappies were being taken in 10 feet of water on small jigs.
Northern pike action has been good in 10 feet of water on minnows
Irondequoit Bay: Yellow perch were hitting on minnows north of the
bridge, and some pike were also being taken A few browns were still
being caught on spoons cast off the pier.
Finger Lakes/Southern Tier
Cayuga Lake: Lake trout were hitting for anglers trolling with
spoons or flashers and flies both off downriggers and Dipsey
Divers. Fishing 65 feet down over 120 to 200 feet of water has been
a good starting point. Brown trout and Atlantic salmon were being
taken on spoons fished 55 to 80 feet down over 110 to 130 feet of
water. Bass, pickerel and some perch were being taken in the north
Seneca Lake: Fishing remained good for Atlantic salmon and brown
for anglers fishing stick baits and spoons from the surface down to
about 20 feet. Good colors have been silver and black, silver and
blue or silver and chartreuse. Lake trout were being taken on green
Spin Doctors and flies fished off Dipsey divers (200 to 230 feet
back) and off downriggers down 55 to 105 feet.
Keuka Lake: Lake trout were being taken by both trolling and
Waneta and Lamoka lakes: Perch were still being caught on small
minnows. Black crappies were hitting on small minnows and pickerel
fishing has been good on spoons and spinnerbaits Bullhead fishing
has slowed but a few were still being taken on night
Owasco Lake: Lake trout were being taken on the north end by
vertical jigging in 65 to 95 feet of water. Pike are hitting in the
south end of the lake.
Otisco Lake: Bass were beginning to spawn in the shallows. Tiger
muskies have been seen following lures but overall few have been
hitting. A few walleye were being taken trolling during the day and
casting stick baits off the causeway after dark.
Canandaigua Lake: Yellow perch and black crappies were being caught
on the north end with small jigs and minnows fished under
Skaneateles Lake: Smallmouth bass were hitting for anglers fishing
along shore. Lake trout, rainbow trout and Atlantic salmon were
being taken trolling.
Susquehanna, Chenango, Tioughnioga and Unadilla rivers: Carp and
catfish are being taken on the rivers, but attention will
undoubtedly turn to bass when the season opens June 18.
Whitney Point Reservoir: Walleye were being taken by anglers
trolling or drifting with worm harnesses. Fishing slow is producing
more fish. Walleye were also being taken in the spillway on leeches
fished under bobbers.
The region’s trout streams have finally rebounded from last month’s
high water conditions and outright flooding. Reports were great for
the West Branch of the Ausable River, the Saranac River, the
Chateaugay River and the Marble River. And those high waters may
now be a blessing, keeping water temperatures low well into the
summer. Backcountry brook trout anglers scored well even into early
Lake Champlain is another story. The big water remains above flood
stage, making for difficult launching and a challenge in avoiding
debris. Things are improving, however, and with the bass season now
open more boats are expected to be on the water, flood stage or no
The saltwater fishing has been absolutely outstanding. Striped
bass, from schoolies to fish in the 30-pound class, were caught in
the inlets and on skimmer clams and clam bellies fished at the
inlet bridges and rips in all the South Shore inlets.
The offshore the striped bass fishing was fantastic, reports Mike
at Saltwaters Bait and Tackle, with numerous stripers in the
50-pound class being caught on live bunker fished under the acres
of bunker schools located between Fire Island and Jones inlets.
Mike also reported that there are plenty of blowfish in the Great
In the western Sound, John at Glen Cove Sports Shop reported
stripers into the 30-pound class being caught at Morgan’s Beach,
Tappan Beach and Crescent Beach on bunker chunks and swimming
plugs. Tins, poppers and swimming plugs have also been producing
schoolie stripers and bluefish to 10 pounds in the coves and
harbors in the western Sound. Another hot technique has been
casting unweighted Peruvian spearing into the schools of
John also reported outstanding porgy fishing, with porgies to 3
pounds caught on high-low rigs baited with clams on worms at the
same beaches as the stripers. John recommended baiting each hook
with different bait until the fish show a preference to one bait,
and also move around until you find the fish. With so many stripers
and porgies being caught, John noted that there is no reason to
keep your limit on each trip and to release a few fish for next
The offshore fluke fishing has been improving, with fluke to 8
pounds caught at the Fire Island Reef. Inshore, the fluke fishing
has been excellent at the OBI sandbar on spearing and squid combos,
and on Gulp! baits. Most of the fluke have been shorts, with a few
keepers. I saw a large keeper fluke caught in the channel in front
of Tanner Park while running my boat back to the slip, so the fluke
are deep into the back bays.
Steve at Wego Fishing Bait and Tackle reported that there are tons
of sand eels in the eastern Sound and that surf-casters are doing
well fishing Kenny’s Beach and Truman’s Beach out to Orient Point.
Fluke and porgies are also being caught in the same areas. In the
Peconic Bay, fluke, porgies and tons of bluefish were caught at the
Lawns, The Oyster Factory and into Gardner’s Bay. The striper
fishing during the day has been hot at The Gut and improving at
night on Storm Shad, bucktails and diamond jigs during the day.
Shinnecock Bay was loaded with cocktail blues; look for the busting
fish or diving birds.
Captain Scott Jeffery of East End Bait and Tackler reported that in
Gardner’s Bay the fluke are at Jessup’s and around Robin’s Island,
with squid spearing combos working well. Blues are all over
Gardner’s Bay. Huge porgies are at Roger’s Rock for those using
chum with clam or worm baits. Good reports of blowfish have come
back from the Gardner’s Bay. The Shinnecock Canal has seen some
decent fluke, with fish to 4 pounds, along with blues on tins at
dawn and dusk and bass to 25 pounds in the dark on live bait. The
porgies are showing on the north end of the canal as well. The
blowfish have moved out into Gardner’s and Shinnecock bays. The
areas around Indian Island continue to see both bass and blues at
dawn and dusk. The Shinnecock Inlet is seeing a great bite on bass
for those dunking fresh clam or bunker chunks; bucktails and dark
swimming plugs have done some damage on them as well in the dark.
The Ponquogue Bridge is holding some nice bass in the dark on both
clam and live baits. The beaches to the east of Shinnecock Inlet
have seen a few blues on tins and bait.
Off Montauk, the striped bass fishing has been excellent on diamond
jigs and live bait. The porgy fishing has also been excellent, but
the fluke fishing has been inconsistent.
The offshore fishing has really kicked off, with bigeye tuna being
caught at The Canyons and large yellowfin tuna to 95 pounds caught
about 100 miles southwest of Moriches Inlet. Bluefin tuna have been
reported at the rock piles. All the tuna are being caught on the
troll. The blue shark fishing was excellent with sharks being
caught as close as the NA Buoy.
The freshwater fishing has been excellent, with panfish, pickerel
and largemouth bass being caught in all the ponds and lakes,
including the Peconic River.
Hudson River striper action has slowed, and a few herring were
still being caught earlier this month. Most of the attention will
turn to bass if hasn’t already. Catch-and-release fishing for
smallmouth bass was very good on Lake George, and the traditional
season opens June 18. Stream action for trout is also a good option
on waters like the Battenkill, Kayderosseras and Mettawee.
Southeastern New York
Bob’s Sport and Tackle in Katonah reports that Croton Falls
Reservoir has been red hot for brown trout, with a 10-pounder
reported as well as a few 6s and 7s. White perch action has been
good at Titicus and Cross River reservoirs, while Muscoot Reservoir
has yielded decent numbers of crappie and yellow perch.
The good news is that the region’s trout waters were, at last
check, in superb shape. The better news is that it’s a great time
of the year to see heavy hatches of insects. That said, it’s a
challenge during multiple hatches to key in on which insect the
trout are feeding on. You’ll likely see sulphurs, green drakes,
caddis, isonychias and gray fox, depending on what water you visit.
BWOs are often seen in the mornings, as well.
St. Lawrence River: Crappie were still providing some action
earlier this month, and perch have gone deeper, to about 30-35
feet. Northern pike action has been consistent on
Black Lake: Richard at Chapman’s Sports (315-324-5265) reports that
lake levels are returning to normal and so is the fishing, with
northern pike offering up lots of action and walleye doing well,
too. Bluegill and crappie round out the list, but the attention
will soon shift to bass. Remember there’s a 15-inch size minimum
for Black Lake bass.