New York Outdoor News Fishing Report — June 2, 2017
Western New York
Lake Ontario: Water levels remain extremely high, resulting in some boat launch closures. Boaters on Lake Ontario should be on the lookout for floating debris at all times. King salmon action was improving off Niagara County, with the best fishing between Niagara Bar and Wilson. Catches seemed to be on the rise, but with salmon tournaments on consecutive weekends, specific information on water and lure depths was tough to find. Anglers have done well for a mix of trout and salmon off the Niagara Bar drop, with king salmon, steelhead and lake trout all mentioned. Spoons, flasher-fly combos and meat rigs are good salmon offerings. As waters clear, look for the brown trout bite to pick back up inside 25 feet of water. Plenty of coho salmon have also shown in the nearshore zone this spring.
Harbors were high and muddy and pier sites were dangerous due to high and rough water. Fishing was on hold in those areas.
Lower Niagara River: There were still steelhead and lake trout hanging around the upper drifts. Some charters did well, especially on three-way rigs and minnows. Smallmouth bass and white bass were showing in the river as well, with smallmouth bass catches better in the lower section of river. Remember, bass fishing in the lower river is by catch and release only, artificial lures only until the 3rd Saturday in June. The NYPA fishing platform has been closed due to high water at times. Anglers can call 716-796-0135, ext. 45 for updates.
Lake Erie and harbors: The nearshore walleye night bite was on, with anglers now seeing good catches. Trolling minnow-type stickbaits at around 2 mph over rocky areas in 6-15 feet of water was the typical program. Shorehaven Reef, Bournes Beach, Green Hills, Van Buren Bay, Evans Bar, off Hamburg and near the mouth of Smokes Creek are good spots to try. The yellow perch action has gone cold. If you can locate perch schools, a fluorocarbon rig with live emerald shiners works well. Open-lake smallmouth bass fishing has been productive. Anglers have been catching large bass in 10-35 feet of water, with better numbers at the deeper end of that range. Good spots to try include Myers Reef, Seneca Shoal, Evans Bar and Van Buren Reef. Many smaller reefs, rock piles and humps will hold bass as well. Tube jigs, jigs with twister tails, deep diving stickbaits, live minnows and crayfish are good bass baits. Anglers continued to see a good smallmouth bass bite around Buffalo Harbor’s outer breakwalls.
Lake Erie tributaries: Smallmouth bass fishing was a little tougher with clear conditions on the small to medium-sized tributaries. Woolly Buggers and minnow imitations are good smallmouth bass bets for fly anglers, and spinning anglers generally do well with stickbaits, minnows and jigs with grubs fished under a float. The lower section of Cattaraugus Creek is a top spot for channel catfish. Nightcrawlers, chicken livers, raw shrimp or cut bait fished on the bottom works well, especially at night.
Upper Niagara River: Waters have cleared and water temperatures are now over the 50-degree mark. Look for an improved bass and panfish bite along river shorelines. Harbor, bay and slack areas are also a good bet for a mix of bass, sunfish and perch. Bass fishing is by catch and release only, artificial lures only in the Niagara River north of the Peace Bridge, until regular season opens on third Saturday of June. A few trout have been caught along Unity Island. Walleye often show along the island in late spring as well.
Chautauqua Lake: The walleye bite has been best along shorelines at night, with stickbaits working well in 5-15 feet of water. During the day, target walleye in deeper waters with vertical jigging programs. Yellow perch continued to hit off Mayville, Dewittville and near the bridge. Bluegill and bullhead were readily available along the shoreline.
Orleans County: Rain off and on will not help the water level in Lake Ontario any time soon. According to the Army Corps of Engineers, the Lake Ontario water level was still more than 30 inches above normal for this time of year but the level was not expected to go any higher last week.
When boats get out on Lake Ontario, good catches of both chinook salmon and lake trout are being reported out in 250 to 300 feet of water, but watch out for those white sandbags that are floating out there in the trash line.
The Orleans County Open Tournament will be held on June 10-11, with the Condor Derby taking place on June 9. This year there are two great ports to fish out of, Point Breeze and Bald Eagle Marina.
The water level on Lake Alice has started to drop and the water clarity is improving by the day. White bass seems to be plentiful especially around the Kenyonville Bridge area.
Central New York
Lake Ontario: Use caution when boating as the lake level is up at this time and there is likely to be debris floating around. Boaters are also being asked to observe a “No Wake Zone” within 500 feet of the Lake Ontario shoreline. Brown trout fishing remained good for those anglers able to get out on the lake. Stickbaits or small spoons, fished off boards or downriggers were the normal way to go. Some nice-sized browns have been taken so far, and a few chinook salmon have also been caught recently. Trolling these baits along the mud-lines has been working; if fishing clear water, try using planer boards to get the baits away from the boat.
Oswego River: High water made shore fishing difficult if not impossible.
Salmon River: A few dropback steelhead remained available, but fishing pressure is low. Try salmon egg sacs with blue, pink or chartreuse mesh, pink trout worms, single egg pattern flies, beads or a nightcrawler.
Oneida Lake: Anglers were picking up walleye both shallow and deep.
Sandy Pond: Due to the high water level, the DEC boat launch was closed until further notice.
Finger Lakes/Southern Tier
Cayuga Lake: Anglers were catching Atlantic salmon and brown trout by trolling on or near the surface with stickbaits or small spoons. Some lake trout were being taken by anglers trolling or vertical jigging over a variety depths out to about 140 feet. Look for yellow perch at the north end.
Skaneateles Lake: Yellow perch were hitting on the north end for anglers using small minnows; check both shallow and deep till you find fish.
Owasco Lake: Use caution when boating as there is likely to be debris floating around with the recent rain and high water events.
Otisco Lake: Trolling stickbaits is generally a good early season tactic for walleye, as is casting stickbaits from the causeway. For anglers taking advantage of the catch and release bass season there were some smallmouths and largemouths being taken in shallow water near shore.
Whitney Point Reservoir, Chenango, Tioughnioga and Susquehanna rivers: Walleye season started on May 6 but with the high water there was nothing to report. Conditions were starting to improve, however.
Lake Champlain: The big lake’s bass season kicks off June 10, a week ahead of the statewide opener.
West Branch Ausable River: Conditions are improving greatly and fishing has been good for nymph fishermen as well as dry fly anglers.
The saltwater fishing season is in full swing. The summer flounder (aka fluke) season opened to excellent inshore fishing as well as decent ocean fishing. The big early-season fluke like cooler waters and until late mid- to late-June move inside the bays and harbors to feed on squid, killies, shrimp, spearing and a variety of inshore baitfish. This year is no exception, as Mike as Saltwaters Bait and Tackle reported fluke up to 8 pounds caught in the State Boat Channel between Jones and Fire Island inlets. Scott Jeffery at East End Bait and Tackle reported that fluke to 6 pounds were caught off Green Lawns in Peconic Bay. Good fishing was also reported in the back of Jamaica Bay.
A few keeper fluke and lots of shorts were caught in the South Shore inlets and off the North Shore beaches. Anglers fishing the ocean and mid-Sound were rewarded with keeper fluke, but generally not as large as the inshore doormats. In all areas, the usual squid and spearing combo, bucktails tipped with squid or PowerBaits, and for flyrodders, Clouser Minnows dressed to imitate spearing, all produced their fair share of fluke.
The porgy fishing is improving in all areas, including Rodgers Rock, off Port Jefferson and off Montauk Point’s north side. June is traditionally a hot month for porgies and all reports indicate that this June will not disappoint. The key to early-season porgy fishing is to use plenty of clam chum and fresh clam strips for bait.
The weakfish have been caught in all their usual spots, such as in the Peconics and off Ocean Beach. During the past few seasons the weakfish arrived around mid-May, with the best fishing occurring in June. This pattern should hold true for this year. Sandworms and small bucktails tipped with sandworms, plastic curlytails or squid were all productive.
Winter flounder continued to be caught. The best reported fishing was from the inside of Sore Thumb in Fire Island Inlet. A few small porgies and short stripers were caught by flounder anglers who were fishing bloodworms.
The striper season is in full swing. Whether your preference is surfcasting, inshore plugging, clam bellying or fly-fishing, there were stripers to be caught. During this report period there was an influx of stripers into the South Shore inlets, providing some excellent fishing from the jetty rocks, with the best reports coming from the Shinnecock Inlet jetty. Most stripers are just below keeper size, but more and more keepers continue to be reported each week. Flyrodders scored with stripers along the North Shore beaches using spearing and bunker patterns and on the flats in Shinnecock Bay using crab patterns. The largest stripers continued to be caught on live bunker fished in Jamaica Bay, the South Shore inlet mouths and in the western Sound. Bunker chunks fished in the East River in front of the United Nations Building, off the flats south of Governor’s Island and under the Verrazano Bridge yielded stripers in the teens to high 20-pound class.
Bluefish were being caught everywhere the stripers were being caught and on the same baits and techniques. Many of these blues are well over 10 pounds and are deep inside the bays and harbors and just outside the inlets feeding on bunker. This report’s hotspots were the back of Jamaica Bay, off the Ponquogue Bridge and in the Quoque Canal.
Anglers fishing the Shinnecock Canal caught a mixed bag of porgies, blowfish, fluke and sea robins. Weakfish should show up on the north end of the canal in the next week or two.
The freshwater fishing was excellent. Largemouth bass, panfish, trout and pickerel are all being caught in the local lakes and ponds. The larger bodies of water, including Laurel Lake, Wildwood Lake, Forge Pond and Lake Ronkonkoma have yielded the best largemouths, some over 3 pounds.
The area’s trout waters were offering up good fishing, with levels returning to normal and temps finally warming. The Battenkill, Mettawee and Kayaderosseras are worth a look.
Southeastern New York
Anglers were taking their last shot at Hudson River stripers before the fish head back south of the George Washington Bridge and into the salt.
Conditions were generally good on the region’s storied trout waters. Look for Green Drakes any time now on those waters where they are typically seen – notably the Delaware’s East Branch.
St. Lawrence River: Pike action has been superb in many of the typical locations, such as Chippewa Bay.
Black Lake: Some reports indicate walleye action has been decent, but those anglers usually remain tight-lipped on when, where and how.
Chaumont Bay: Walleye action has been decent, but the biggest news remains the new state record channel cat caught in the bay.