NY: Deer seasons winding down; anglers await first ice Issue: 25

Western New York

Lake Ontario and tributaries: Eighteen Mile Creek and Burt Dam
continued to be a good area for salmon and trout. Anglers were
reporting a mix of coho salmon (but dwindling), brown trout and
steelhead, according to Wes Walker at the Slippery sinker. Egg
sacs, egg skein, and egg imitations like beads and flies will all
catch fish, but some of the fishermen were starting to switch over
to jigs and wax worms. Fisherman’s Park along Route 78 is no longer
charging for admission but the parking lot remains open. Perch
action is Wilson has been decent. If you want northern pike, both
Wilson and Olcott harbors have been producing a few of those toothy
critters. If you can get on the piers, casting for trout is still
an option. To the east, the other tributaries seem to be on the low
side. Keg was still blocked at the mouth. The Oak Orchard River
received some help from the dewatering of the canal and fish
numbers have been good. Perching in Irondequoit Bay continued to be
decent. And fishing circles are still talking about the recent St.
Lawrence River musky caught – then released – last month that was
60 inches long with a 29½-inch girth. Check out Page 1 of this
issue for the whole story. That said, muskie season closed Dec. 15
on the Niagara and St. Lawrence rivers as well as Lake

Lake Erie and tributaries: Not too much has changed, with creek
flow moving up and down with the amount of precipitation we
receive. As waters start to subside, your best bet for fish numbers
will probably be Eighteen Mile Creek and Cattaraugus Creek. Mother
Nature has not been too kind to boat fishermen chasing perch. They
are still available off the Catt and Sturgeon Point in the 45- to
70-foot range.

Upper Niagara River: Muskie season in the upper river and Lake Erie
is now closed for the season. If you’re fishing for bass, it’s all
catch-and-release and you can only use artificial lures. Casting
for trout at the head of the river might be one of your best
options at this point, from Squaw Island or the Bird Island

Lower Niagara River: Lower Niagara River action could be hampered
by muddy water. That didn’t seem to deter anglers working Devil’s
Hole with Capt. Frank Campbell last month. Despite poor weather,
wind and a mix of rain and snow, his customers still managed to
boat nine steelies from The Hole. Use Kwikfish or egg sacs to take
fish. Lake trout season opened up on the Canadian side of the river
on Dec.1. The New York side will open on Jan. 1. Muskie season
closed Dec. 15. A word of caution for anglers drifting Devil’s Hole
or Artpark: the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has some trap nets
set out (marked by buoys) in the high hole at Devil’s Hole and
along the Artpark drift, making for some difficult drifting
options. Some brown trout are also being caught, mostly in the
lower drifts. Remember the minimum length of steelhead and domestic
rainbow trout is 21 inches. There was a surplus stocking of
rainbows planted in the lower river last month.

Chautauqua Lake: With the closing of muskie season, the action is
focusing on perch around the bridge near Bemus Point. Target
outside the weeds in 10-20 feet of water with shiners or small
minnows. A few crappie are also being caught. If you target bass,
remember that you must use artificial baits now and it’s
catch-and-release fishing.

Orleans County: The de-watering of the Erie Canal has begun again
so flows on all of the tributaries within Orleans County should be
at a normal to slightly high levels for the next few weeks. Rain
can only add to the extended length of good water levels. The
slightly stained water clarity as of late last month means that
orange and chartreuse color patterns should be the predominant
colors for some time now.

Brown trout fishing on all of the tributaries was being reported as
good to very good. Steelhead/rainbow trout were beginning to show
up in good numbers. With the colder weather, the steelhead/rainbow
fishing should continue to improve.

That cooler weather should also improve the perch fishing, which
has been very hit and miss to this point.

Ice fishing is just a dream at this point, with a real cold snap
not predicted for several weeks.

Central New York

Lake Ontario tributaries: Anglers getting out in boats were
enjoying some fine near-shore brown trout and steelhead fishing.
Stick baits and spoons were working. Maxwell Creek and Bear Creek
continued to produce brown trout and steelhead. Pink egg sacs and
small (1⁄32-ounce) jigs fished under floats have been working well.
A few steelhead and brown trout were also being taken by anglers
casting from piers with spoons at tributary mouths.

Oneida Lake: The nighttime shore walleye bite has slowed down.
Casting from shore just before and after dark with stick baits in
black and silver and blue and silver usually works well for this
shore bite. Walleye fishing has been good during the day for
anglers using jigs in deeper water. Yellow perch were being taken
in 10 to 20 feet of water around weedbeds. The docks have been
removed from the South Shore launch.

Oswego River: High flows at last check made some areas of the river
unfishable. Brown trout and steelhead fishing has been good from
the bridge to the dam. Estaz eggs, egg sacs, trout beads, and
woolly buggers are all working for the browns and steelhead.

Salmon River: The river was running high at last look, so check
before you go and always use caution. There were steelhead being
caught throughout the river, with most of the angler pressure
coming between Route 2A and the lower fly zone. Good baits
continued to be trout beads (10mm), egg sacs (blue, pink and
chartreuse mesh), streamers, stonefly nymphs and egg-imitating
flies. The upper fly-fishing area closed Nov. 30 and will reopen on
April 1.

Sandy Pond: No new fishing activity to report, and that will
probably be the case now until first ice.

Sodus Bay: Perch fishing continues to be very good. Fishing around
the islands or at the mouth of Second Creek with fathead minnows is
yielding some jumbo perch.

Irondequoit Bay: Yellow perch fishing has been very good for
anglers getting out in boats. The bigger perch were coming from 20
to 30 feet of water on minnows. A few steelhead were being taken in
the river.

Genesee River: At last report there were steelhead being taken in
the river with egg sacs and egg-imitating plastics. High water was
a challenge, however.

Finger Lakes/Southern Tier

Cayuga Lake: There were reports of Atlantic salmon in some of the
tributaries and anglers were getting them on egg-imitating flies
and streamers. Lake trout and Atlantic salmon were being taken
around Taughannock by anglers trolling with spoons or flashers and
flies. Perch were being taken in the north end in 10 to 15 feet of
water on fathead and larger minnows.

Seneca Lake: Yellow perch fishing has been good in 20 to 30 feet of
water around Painted Rock and also off the pier in Watkins Glen.
Small minnows and grubs have been working. Brown trout and Atlantic
salmon were being taken on the surface by anglers trolling or
casting with streamers and stick baits.

Keuka Lake: Jigging for lake trout around the Bluffs in 90 to 110
feet of water with chartreuse or white plastics has been working
very well for lake trout.

Waneta and Lamoka lakes: Few anglers have been out so there is no
new fishing activity to report. Muskellunge season closed Nov.

Owasco Lake: There have been a few rainbow and brown trout caught
in the inlet recently.

Otisco Lake: No new fishing activity to report. Casting stick baits
off the causeway after dark usually produces some walleye this time
of year.

Canandaigua Lake: Rainbow trout and a few brown trout were hitting
spoons and flashers and flies fished down 45 to 60 feet over 90 to
150 feet of water. A few lake trout were being caught near bottom
in 90 to 120 feet of water.

Skaneateles Lake: Shore fishing with marshmallow and worm rigs has
been productive for rainbow trout. Rainbows were also being taken
on streamers cast or trolled near the surface. Yellow perch were
scattered but some nice-sized fish were being taken when they’re
located. One dock has been removed; the launch will remain open as
weather permits.

Susquehanna, Chenango, Tioughnioga and Unadilla rivers: Nothing new
to report.

Whitney Point Reservoir: Fishing the spillway with fathead minnows
under floats, jigs or stick baits has been working well for
walleye. A few walleye and yellow perch are being taken in the


Deer hunters have taken their last shots in the Northern Zone, but
small game remains a good option throughout much of the winter.
Some good bucks were taken in the final two weeks of the season
despite less than ideal weather and a general lack of snow in the
region. Not much to report now on the fishing side until some of
the region’s smaller lakes and the Lake Champlain bays lock up to
allow ice anglers to kick off their season.

Long Island/NYC

The striped bass fishing was spotty in its final days as the large
schools of stripers have broken up into smaller pods. The best
catches west of Montauk Point occurred under flocks of birds
feeding on the baitfish pushed to the surface by the feeding
stripers. When the stripers were found, the fishing was good. Off
Montauk Point, Scott Leonard at Star Island Yacht Club reported
that striped bass fishing was very good for anglers fishing live
herring caught just outside the Montauk Harbor jetties and fished
at North and Pollack rips and at Midway. The surf fishing for
stripers was slow in the season’s final days, with a few stripers
in the 24- to 30-inch range under the light and in Turtle Cove. An
occasional bluefish is being taken on tins with the stripers, but
for the most part, the blues have moved on.

Scott also reported excellent blackfishing, sea bass and porgies on
the south side of Block Island at Southwest Ledge. There has also
been a good showing of codfish in the same area. Frank at Bernie’s
Bait and Tackle reported a few cod caught off Breezy Point and in
the Ambrose Channel, as well as some good blackfishing at 17
Fathoms. Also, ling in the 2- to 3-pound range have been caught
from shore between the Verrazano Bridge and the 69th Street Pier;
these are very good-sized ling from the shore. There are herring at
the Coney Island Pier and at sunset at the Sheepshead Bay Walk
Bridge. Scott Jeffery at East End Bait and Tackle reported that cod
have been caught in 35 feet of water outside Shinnecock Inlet,
which is good news for the upcoming winter season.

On the North Shore, John at Glen Cove Sports shop reports a few
blackfish off Tappan’s, Morgan’s, Crescent, and Prybil beaches
between Matinecock Point and Peacock Point. The key is to keep
moving down the beach every 20 minutes or so looking for the fish.
John noted that blackfish lie on the down-tide side of the rocks,
so the location of the blackfish changes during each tide

Bill McGinley reported excellent pheasant hunting in the Rocky
Point Preserve, with him, Charlie Witek and Mike Mucha hunting with
Bill’s dogs Molly and Rose harvesting eight birds. Bill reported
similar harvests by other hunters in the area.

John Adams, President of the South Shore Waterfowlers, reported a
large number of sea ducks, surf scoters, oldsquaw and eider ducks
on the island. The brant were also in good number for opening day.
The majority Canada geese and puddle ducks were still holding
upstate as the local temperatures have been very mild.

Chuck at the Archery Forum reported that the late rut for deer
should be taking place. Most of the first rut occurred during the
warm weather, and the forecast is calling for colder weather, which
should make the late rut more productive.

Guy Zummo


Capital District

Southern Zone hunters, at least the muzzleloader toters, are
finishing up their deer season. Beyond that, we’re not hearing much
and probably won’t until the ice fishing opportunities

Southeastern New York

Not a lot to report, with many sportsmen out hunting or simply
waiting for the ice fishing opportunities to come.



Midges will be common all winter as long as rivers remain ice-free.
It was actually a good fall for dry fly fishing. Streamers and
nymphs continue to be an option. The Beaverkill and Willowemoc were
running to high to wade at last check, and only the no-kill
stretches remain open. There were still some afternoon olives
about, and streamers and nymphs fished deep during non-hatch
situations can be effective. The East Branch of the Delaware is now
closed to fishing. The West Branch was too high to wade at last
check, but from the “Gamelands” downstream is open to fishing. The
Neversink is now closed. The Main Stem of the Delaware was
floatable. Some good fish have been caught on streamers and there
were small BWOs about later in the afternoon. The Esopus is closed
to fishing.


Thousand Islands

St. Lawrence River: The biggest news on the river was also the
biggest catch in recent years – a 60-inch muskie in the final days
of the season. A 54-incher was landed on the Canadian side as

Black Lake: Deer season has ended, but small game and waterfowl
possibilities still exist. On the fishing front, there’s not enough
activity to get a read on what’s happening on the lake. But the
hard-water season probably won’t be far off.

Categories: Archive, New York Fishing Reports

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