Ice action starts, but conditions spotty in many areas

Western New York

Lake Ontario and tributaries: Stream fishermen have been doing well
in places like Eighteen Mile and Twelve Mile creeks – good numbers
of fish with eggs or egg imitations still prompting fish to hit.
Jigs tipped with wax worms are also working very well. The second
annual Wilson Harbor Ice Fishing Derby set for Feb. 11 has been
cancelled for this year. Steelhead fishing in Johnson Creek had
been hot, from the dam in Lyndonville to the lake. The Oak was
still doing well, too, but changing weather conditions can always
be a factor this time of year.

Lake Erie and tributaries: All the tributaries have fish in them
and it’s just a question of deciding where you want to fish. That
could all change, however, when serious winter weather arrives on
the scene. The Dunkirk Harbor area is usually a good bet; target
the warmwater discharge with live bait or egg sacs.

Upper Niagara River: As waters cleared the fishing improved ,
especially off Broderick Park for perch. Squaw Island and the Bird
Island pier are worth a look for trout.

Lower Niagara River: Lower Niagara River action was very good for
trout, but it could change if weather conditions alter fishing. The
river seems to be very active for steelhead, brown trout and lake
trout right now; ditto for the Niagara Bar for lakers and browns. A
few walleye were also being caught. Shore fishermen have been doing
well in the Devil’s Hole area around the high hole. Fishing with
Capt. John DeLorenzo and Mike Fox, an angling trio earlier this
month boated more than a dozen fish from the Devil’s Hole – mostly
brown trout. Hot tickets were egg sacs and minnows.

Chautauqua Lake: The cold weather that has arrived on the scene
will undoubtedly lock the launch ramps back up again. Ice was still
limiting any lake action – all crummy, unsafe ice that did nothing
for the fishing, according to local guide Craig Robbins. That,
however, could have changed by now so it’s always worth a look for
updated conditions.

Orleans County: The weather roller coaster continued, which hasn’t
helped ice anglers. All of the tributaries within Orleans County
have started to form ice only to be taken away again by the
upswings in temperature. The good news is that steelhead/rainbow
fishing remained at a very good, with some late brown trout action,
as well. With the lack of ice at last look, perch fishing has been
spotty at best. The hard-water crowd has been playing the waiting
game and growing a little impatient at this point.

Central New York

Lake Ontario: Many of the tributaries still have brown trout and
steelhead in them; small egg sacs, single eggs and small
(1⁄32-ounce) white jigs fished under floats all have been working
well. Maxwell Creek had a few coho salmon being taken still along
with the steelhead and brown trout.

Oneida Lake: Due to the wind and cold temperatures last week few
anglers were out, so there is no fishing information to report. The
only ice fishing reports were that a couple of brave anglers had
ventured out onto Big Bay. Beyond that, nothing was happening at

Oswego River: Brown trout and steelhead were still being taken from
the bridge to the dam, especially by anglers getting out in drift
boats. Estaz eggs, egg sacs, trout beads, and woolly buggers were
all working for the browns and steelhead.

Salmon River: There were steelhead being caught throughout the
river, with most of the angling pressure from Pineville to Altmar.
Good baits continued to be trout beads (10mm), egg sacs (blue, pink
and chartreuse mesh), pink PowerBait trout worms, streamers,
stonefly nymphs and egg-imitating flies.

Sandy Pond: Nothing to report.

Sodus Bay: No safe ice to report. Perch fishing continued to be
good for anglers getting out in boats. Fishing around the islands
or around docks with fathead minnows was working for some jumbo
perch. Whether ice has made it impossible to get out into the open
water, we haven’t heard.

Irondequoit Bay: Yellow perch fishing has been good for anglers
getting out in boats around the channel. The bigger perch were
coming from 20 to 30 feet of water on minnows. No safe ice at last
check, but there could be enough ice around now to make boat
fishing difficult.

Genesee River: Not hearing much right now, probably due to the

Finger Lakes/Southern Tier

Cayuga Lake: Lake trout and Atlantic salmon were still being taken
around Taughannock by anglers trolling with spoons or flashers and
flies. Just a reminder that Finger Lakes tributary fishing ended at
sunset on Dec 31. There are a few exceptions, however, so please
review Finger Lakes and Tributary Regulations.

Seneca Lake: Yellow perch fishing has been good in the Watkins Glen
area, in 25 to 30 feet of water, with spikes and fathead minnows.
Anglers fishing farther north, around Severne, in 10 feet of water
were getting more perch, but they were running smaller. Fishing
from the pier in Watkins Glen has been good for smallmouth bass,
perch and some very large bluegills. Trolling from the surface down
to about 45 feet, over 70 feet of water has been producing a mixed
bag of Atlantic salmon, brown trout, and lake trout. Streamer flies
and small spoons have been working well.

Keuka Lake: Jigging around The Bluff was producing good numbers of
lake trout in 100 to 120 feet of water. Plastics and spoons were
both working.

Waneta and Lamoka lakes: Not hearing anything beyond anglers
awaiting safe ice conditions.

Owasco Lake: Nothing new, with anglers awaiting safe ice at last

Otisco Lake: Nothing to report, outside of no safe ice.

Canandaigua Lake: Nothing to report.

Skaneateles Lake: The launch was closed on Jan. 13. Shore fishing
with marshmallow and worm rigs usually works for rainbow trout this
time of year.

Susquehanna, Chenango, Tioughnioga and Unadilla rivers: There were
some reports of walleye anglers doing very well in parts of the
Susquehanna, but changing weather conditions can impact the ability
to get on the water.

Whitney Point Reservoir: Walleye and yellow perch were being taken
before dark at the spillway. Although the annual crappie derby was
cancelled, ice conditions earlier this month were teetering between
“safe” and “don’t chance it.”


On Lake Champlain, the two gates are open that allow ice anglers to
access Kings Bay and Catfish Bay, according to the DEC. The town of
Champlain has improved the shoulder of Point Au Fer Road, directly
west of Scales Road, allowing easier access for snowmobiles and
ATVs. However, the town asks ice anglers to please park as far off
Scales Road as possible so emergency vehicles and snowplows can
safely pass, and to also obey the “No Parking” signs along Point Au
Fer Road.

As far as the fishing action on the big lake, there were reports of
decent perch action up north, as well as some crappie, perch and
pike success in South Bay.

Not hearing anything of late on Schroon Lake, but the north end off
Fowler Avenue should be locked up and yielding lakers and salmon.
Anglers were fairly excited recently with ice conditions on Tupper
Lake/Simon Pond, since the water locked up and got a good freeze
without the heavy snows that often create sloppy going for

Long Island/NYC

Cod and ling were reported on the deeper water wrecks out of all
the South Shore ports. Fresh skimmer clams or cod jigs, both with
large grub and squid teasers were excellent producers so be
prepared to fish both as the top producer changes day to day. Most
of the codfish were just over the size limit to 10 pounds. Party
and charter boats reported that pool cod were typically around 15
pounds. Depending on the wreck, large ling have accounted for
approximately one-third or more of the catch. A few out-of-season
porgies and sea bass were also in the mix.

Off Montauk Point, the codfish tended to be larger than out of the
South Shore ports, with the occasional pool fish around 30 pounds
reported, and most pools taken by a 15- to-20 pound cod. Jigs
typically out produced bait. Most boats fished Block Island Sound
or Cox’s Ledge. Some trips have been so productive that captains
are recommending that anglers implement a voluntary 10-fish limit.
The Viking Fleet reported that the ocean temps remain relatively
warm for this time of year. Dogfish are still around but should be
should be gone soon. Lucky trips also accounted for a good mix of
mackerel when the schools were intercepted.

The winter mackerel season has kicked off, reports the open boat
Brooklyn VI fishing the New York Bight. Their first trip of the
season had anglers taking home an average of a 5-gallon pail of

The herring action from the South Shore inlet docks and jetties,
including the Captree Piers, the Sheepshead Bay Walk Bridge,] and
the Montauk Harbor jetties, was excellent on Sabiki rigs. Moving
water is the key, with the top of the incoming tide the best
choice. The herring action on the North Shore has been slow.

Chuck at the Archery Forum reported that the crossbow and shotgun
seasons were off to a great start on state land on the east end and
that J. R. Wilson took a doe at first light on opening day with a
crossbow. The bucks have shed their antlers, perhaps stressed due
to the lack of acorns on the ground, and they have become easier to
hunt. But some have been mistaken for does.

Guy Zummo

Capital District

Not hearing a lot from the Brant Lake crowd, although they’ve been
on the ice for some time now. Most of the reports have focused
simply on the fact that anglers are now on the ice, which is the
case at Round Lake and Saratoga Lake.

A few walleye and pike have been taken on Sacandaga Lake. At last
check, anglers were not yet on Tomhannock Reservoir ice. Ditto for
Lake George, where the freeze-up almost always occurs late. Keep
checking on for the most up-to-date reports on Lake
George and numerous other waters.

Southeastern New York

Not hearing any reports of safe ice conditions, and last week’s
warming trend will likely keep it that way.


This is kind of the in-between season, in which trout anglers have
a tough time finding the right conditions to get out on rivers that
are still open to fishing, while the ice fishing crowd awaits
colder weather and safe ice. Neither group has had much to cheer
about of late.

Thousand Islands

St. Lawrence River: Plenty of ice and, at times, good numbers of
perch and pike. Anglers have been hitting Eel Bay, Chippewa Bay,
Lake of the Isles and Goose Bay pretty hard.

Black Lake: Anglers are out on the ice – notably in Rollaway Bay,
where there were reports of decent bluegill and crappie action.
Check with Chapman’s Sports (315-324-5265) in Hammond, too, for
condition updates, or go online to the website
for updated info.

Categories: Archive, New York Fishing Reports

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