New York Outdoor News Fishing Report – Aug. 25, 2017
Western New York
Lake Ontario: The hottest action out deep had been for steelhead off Wilson and Olcott. Boats have been heading out to 400-500 feet of water for salmon and trout, but mosts of the fish have been nice steelhead taken on spoons. Flasher-fly will work for trout, but if there are kings and cohos around those seem to be the best baits to use. The DW 42nd spoon keeps popping up as one popular bait; for spinnies, white on white, white two-face, and chrome green dot flashers with stud fly, purple or lime mirage fly have worked best, but other colors are working, too. A few salmon have started to make it in closer to shore, but the best and most consistent fishing has been out deep. The Niagara Bar was producing some nice fish as well. John Van Hoff of North Tonawanda did well with flasher-fly 90 feet down over 100 feet of water right at the drop-off. He caught a dozen nice kings to 25 pounds. Out of Wilson, Capt. Mike Johannes has been reporting fish about 8 miles out, but fish were also available in the 100- to 200-foot depth range. Spoons and flasher-fly again here. has been the hot bite. Meat will also work for kings as we move closer to the time when salmon will be making their way into the ports where they were stocked.
The Fall Lake Ontario Counties Trout and Salmon Derby kicked off on Aug. 18 and runs through Labor Day.
The Greater Niagara Fish Odyssey Derby, ends Aug. 27, with six species categories for the adults and a Grand Prize of $3,000. For the kids, it’s free to enter with loads of merchandise prizes and trophies. Sign up at any of the LOC weigh stations or at www.fishodyssey.net. This is for Niagara, Orleans and Erie counties. Many thanks to Jim and Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctors in Olcott, who do a lion’s share of the work behind the scenes, such as the website and the leaderboard. This is a great way to get the whole family out to enjoy the waters of Western New York.
Niagara River: Action both above and below Niagara Falls has been dominated by bass, but the walleye fishing can be pretty good, too. Bass are liking crayfish and shiners, in that order. Walleye were hitting worm harnesses and other spinner-worm combinations. Yellow sally rigs are a local favorite in the lower river. Mike Fox of Lewiston led one lucky fisherman into catching the biggest bass in the Independent Living bass contest, a 5.5-pound smallmouth that hit a crayfish on the Stella Drift, right in front of his house! Capt. Ernie Calandrelli of Lewiston also hit the top walleye on the same drift, using the same bait as Fox – a softshell crab.
Chautauqua Lake: Anglers continued to report a solid walleye bite in both basins. In the north basin, vertical jigging techniques have produced good numbers in 20-30 feet of water. Blade baits, jigging Rapalas, Swedish Pimples and leadhead jigs with a nightcrawler or minnow are good offerings. Trolling for walleye along the deepest, center section has been productive in the south basin. Anglers were catching a few short walleye for every keeper, which is good news for future fishing. Handle and return short walleye with care. Weedbeds are top spots for a mix of yellow perch, white perch, bluegill and white bass. Small minnows are producing perch and white bass. Worms or small jigs with a wax worm work well for bluegill. It’s prime time for top-water largemouth bass action over weeds in the nearshore zone.
Inland trout streams: The region’s trout streams had moderate to slightly lower flows at last check. There are some tricos and caddis hatching in the area. Stimulator patterns and terrestrials (ants, beetles, grasshoppers) will also draw trout to the surface. Productive offerings for spinning anglers include worms, salted minnows and small in-line spinners.
Orleans County: The midwater fishing, around the 200-foot mark, has started to come on with mostly salmon in the catches. The offshore fishing has moved out to almost the Canadian border and was producing a good mixed bag of both salmon and steelhead. The baits being used are all over the place, so the best advice is to use what you have the greatest confidence in and then change as needed. Remember, there are two great ports to fish out of. The marinas at Point Breeze have been working all season long to provide the very best of service while fighting the high-water conditions, as has the great crew at Bald Eagle Creek Marina. On Lake Alice, around the Waterport Bridge, catches of bluegill are good but a lot of smaller fish are in the mix. Bass fishing on Lake Alice remained good to very good in the upper reaches. On the lower stretches of Oak Orchard Creek a good mixed bag of warmwater species was being taken. And anglers are reporting plenty of long-nosed gar as well.
Central New York
A number of county web sites offer good information on fishing in the region, including bait shops, guides, etc. A few examples are: Onondaga County (fishonondagacounty.com); Oswego County (visitoswegocounty.com); and Wayne County (waynecountytourism.com). Oswego and Wayne counties also have a weekly fishing hotline on their web pages.
Lake Ontario: Strong winds scattered the salmon around and they were being found in 150 to 650 feet of water. Keep covering water until you mark fish. When found, the chinook salmon fishing continues to be very good with cut-bait and flasher/flies producing the most action. Try for smallmouth bass in 20 feet of water with crayfish, tube jigs or drop-shot rigs.
Oswego River: The river level was finally down a bit. Look for smallmouth bass with crayfish or tube jigs; also, try crayfish for sheepshead.
Remember, the bridge to Leto Island is closed, and there are mandatory PFD zones on the river.
Salmon River: Things are quiet on the river this time of year, which is normal. A few smallmouth bass were being caught.
Oneida Lake: Water color varied greatly, from clear to green, depending on what area of the lake you’re fishing. Walleye were being taken in deep water by anglers trolling with worm harness or blade baits. When anglers find them, yellow perch fishing has been good on small minnows. Gizzard shad should be getting big enough for the bass to start targeting them. So keep an eye out for surface feeding activity while you’re out there. If you see any get to the area quickly and try surface lures, swimbaits or lipless crankbaits.
Sandy Pond: The DEC launch is open again. Use caution and watch your wake while boating in the bay.
Sodus and Irondequoit bays: Use caution when boating as the lake level is running high at this time, and most bays have a 5 mph speed limit.
Finger Lakes/Southern Tier
Cayuga Lake: Keep an eye out for weed mats and other debris, as they have been an issue for some anglers when trolling. Spiny water fleas have also been a nuisance for some anglers when trolling. Sometimes using a heavier pound monofilament helps to avoid some of the fleas, as does trolling with lines that don’t run straight “up and down” as lines fished off downriggers do. Instead, try trolling with wire and Dipseys, or copper. Vertical jigging is also another option if fleas get too bad. Anglers continued to have good luck catching lake trout either by trolling or vertical jigging. Trolling 60 to 90 feet down over 90 to 120 feet of water has been a good starting point, as has vertical jigging in 65 to 95 feet.
Seneca Lake: Spiny water fleas were becoming more abundant and can be a nuisance when trolling.
Keuka Lake: Fleas were becoming more abundant and can be a nuisance when trolling. That said, lake trout were hitting on alewives fished near bottom in 120 feet of water. Vertical jigging at the same depths with plastics has been working well, also producing lake trout. Smallmouth bass were being caught 15 to 20 feet down over 30 to 60 feet of water. Live minnows or a jig and Twister Tail have been productive. Panfish were being taken in 20 to 30 feet of water on worms.
Canandaigua Lake: Nothing to report.
Skaneateles Lake: Trolling 40 to 50 feet down over 60 to 80 feet of water with small spoons was producing lake trout and an occasional rainbow trout. Look for smallmouth bass in 10 to 20 feet of water; try perch-colored Rapalas, tube baits, drop-shots, topwaters, and wacky-rigged Senkos. Rock bass should be biting in the same areas and on the same baits.
Owasco Lake: Weed mats and water fleas were making trolling difficult at times. Lake trout were being taken 50 to 60 feet down on spoons or flasher and flies. A few rainbow trout were also being caught at that depth.
Otisco Lake: Look for largemouth bass in and around the weedbeds with creature baits, rubber worms or tubes. For tiger muskie, try casting or trolling with large spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, stickbaits or swimbaits. Don’t forget the wire leaders even if you’re not targeting tigers; it will help save some of your expensive bass baits from being bitten off.
Whitney Point Reservoir: Try along shore for smallmouth bass using crankbaits, spinnerbaits or tube jigs. Look for walleye along the old river channel with jigs or worm harnesses.
Chenango, Tioughnioga and Susquehanna and Chemung rivers: White marabou jigs were working for smallmouth bass, walleye and rock bass around Rock Bottom Dam and Goudy Station. Small silver blade spinners are also working for smallmouths in the riffle areas. Fishing around hard structure (rocks, logs, etc.) with minnows or nightcrawlers was producing smallmouth bass and also catfish. The rivers were in great shape and smallmouth fishing has been outstanding at times, and if conditions stay this way it could shape up for a superb fall.
West Branch of the Ausable River: Keep an eye on water temps, but cool nights have keep the river in decent shape. A little rain would help. The folks at the Hungry Trout Fly Shop in Wilmington say early mornings are still going to fish the best, but evening nymphing and terrestrial fishing should prove to be productive again with falling water temps and rising flows. Fish big attractor patterns like a Fat Albert or Flying Ant in tandem with nymphs – “hopper-dropper” style. Or fish two dry flies – a tiny gnat or trico behind a big foam pattern. Bug activity was relatively low at last report, so make use of an assortment of terrestrial patterns.
Lake Champlain: Anglers battled some windy conditions earlier this month but still caught good numbers of lake trout in 90 to 110 feet of water, and some fish hit double digits. A few steelhead and landlocked salmon were also boated. Bass action on the big lake remained very good, and topwaters are an option early and late.
Anglers fishing any saltwater shore have been rewarded with snappers that were between 5 and 6 inches long. Small tins, such as Johnson Sprites and Kastmasters, snapper poppers, small plastic baits, and the tried-and-true spearing fished under a bobber all worked well. The top bait now that the snappers have grown a bit was small live killies fished under a bobber. Moving water is more important than the bait or lure that you choose. Also, don’t overlook brackish water, such as the Carlls River where Argyle Lake flows into the canal and the Patchogue Canal, as these areas tend to hold a lot of juvenile bunker, which in turn attracts the snappers. Bring a cast net and give the juvenile bunker a try for larger snappers. Another fun way to catch snappers is with a light fly rod and any flashy fly. A fast-two-handed retrieve has been a good tactic. It’s important to note that in some areas juvenile weakfish are mixed in with the snappers and must be released.
Chris Meloro reported that anglers fishing live snappers off the beach at Cedar Point County Park on the East End caught keeper weakfish. Anglers live-lining snappers in the mouth of the South Shore inlets did well with keeper fluke as they were able to get through the large numbers of sea robins that are now all over most fluke grounds. Fluke to 6 pounds were reported.
Most anglers fishing in the South and North Shore bays reported catching a lot of short fluke, a few keepers, along with tons of sea robins. A few blowfish have been caught on small squid strips. The best fluke action has been in 60 to 90 feet of water from New York Bight to Shinnecock Inlet. But this fishing has been spotty offshore and a lot of moving around was necessary to find the fluke. Bob Rose at Bob’s Bait and Tackle reported that Cholera Banks had very good fluke fishing.
Bob also reported that the blue claw crabbing in the Great South Bay has been very good. He noted that anglers crabbing at night often have a tougher time than those using traps during the day, since the crabs tend to follow the moon phases when they come to the surface. So on some nights the keepers are all over the surface, while other nights it’s a slow pick.
Along the North Shore, anglers reported catching small stripers off the beaches and in the back bays on small swimming plugs as well as on 1/0 size spearing imitation flies. The striper fishing was slow along the South Shore, but anglers fishing the bunker schools outside the South Shore inlets reported catching a few keepers. There were quite a few reports of small makos, brown and small thresher sharks attacking these schools of bunker in water as shallow as 20 feet. Also, schools of Spanish mackerel are mixed with the bunker.
Offshore anglers were reporting a more consistent mix of sharks around the 20-fathom line, which is typical for this time of the year. Small makos, threshers and brown sharks make up much of the catch. A few big bluefish attacked the baits meant for sharks. Also, anglers fishing any floating offshore structure, such as lobster pot floats, caught mahi on bucktails and plastic baits. There were plenty of keeper sea bass caught on the South Shore artificial reefs, but anglers had to fish through a bunch of shorts. Further offshore in 90 feet of water and deeper, anglers reported limits of large sea bass and plenty of ling. The Canyons have been hit or miss for the yellowfin.
Scott Jeffery at East End Bait and Tackle reported that there are plenty of porgies to go around. Jessups and Rogers Rock were all productive on clam chum and clam baits. A few kingfish and blowfish were mixed in as well. The Shinnecock Canal was holding snappers, porgies, sea bass, triggerfish, kingfish and plenty of sea robins and a few fluke. It is a good idea to check the lock schedule and fish when they’re closed. Cocktail blues made an appearance in the afternoons in Shinnecock Bay. The first reports of false albacore have also come in. They are moving in and out of the South Shore inlets with no real pattern.
The false albacore fishing was much more productive off Montauk Point. Small Deadly Dicks and other thin tins and epoxy flies all caught these false albacores. There was also a very a good mix of sea bass to 4 pounds, porgies to 3 pounds, and fluke to 7 pounds reported off Montauk Point.
The freshwater action remained largely unchanged as the fish have settled into their summer patterns where the best action occurs at first light or late in the afternoon. Spinnerbaits, plastic worms and plugs for largemouths as well as worms and grubs for panfish throughout the area.
Lake George: Bass anglers have the option of going deep (35 feet or better) for smallmouth bass, or staying up top for exciting top-water fishing for both smallmouths and largemouths. Experienced trollers continue to score on lake trout and landlocked salmon.
Saratoga Lake: A tough summer fishing pattern, but anglers are still picking up some good largemouth bass.
Southeastern New York
April 1 was the start of the new Freshwater Fishing Regulation Guide: April 1, 2017-March 31, 2018. You can obtain a copy from a licensing agent or view it at Summary of Freshwater Fishing Regulations on the DEC website, located at www.dec.ny.gov.
Croton Falls Reservoir has been about as good as any water in the region, with some solid white perch and largemouth bass and, despite summer conditions, the occasional hefty brown trout. Some solid browns have also been caught in Rondout Reservoir.
Beaverkill and Willowemoc: Both rivers were clear. They do get warm by afternoon so watch water temps. Morning fishing only is advised. Tricos midges and some Olives are about early in the day. Small nymphs and terrestrials are a good choice. The Horton section of the Beaverkill remains closed to fishing.
Delaware East Branch: Wadeable at last check. It has some morning tricos and midges while late day there are mostly Olives and some Isonychias, as well as a few Sulphurs mainly in the upper reaches. Nymph fishing can be productive.
Delaware West Branch: Wadeable and floatable. There were still some Sulphurs in the upper reaches. There are more Olives and Isonychias on cloudy days. Spinners are important late morning. Olives are fairly dependable, especially on cloudy days, and are present both early and late. Hatch intensity can change from day to day. The river did fish well for late July and has been dependable this summer. The “slop” is not a problem at present. Fish can be very selective.
Esopus: Had some color above the portal. Stream flows were good for wading. Hatches are spotty and are a mix of Sulphurs and small Olives. Nymphs may be the way to go.
Neversink: Was at a normal summer flow and in good condition. Below Bridgeville water temps were once again warming but above Bridgeville water temps were good. There are some Tricos in the late morning and Caddis and Olives close to dark. Beetles fished along the banks also work very well. Olive Woolly Buggers fished deep and slow are often effective.
Delaware Main Stem: The river gets warm below Buckingham. Nymphs are a good choice. There are some Tricos in the morning. Hatches can be unpredictable on this river but Olives are dependable through October.
St. Lawrence River: Some solid smallmouth have been taken, but they’ve been scattered in waters as shallow as a few feet down to about 35 feet. Not hearing much lately on walleye or muskie.
Black Lake: Richard at Chapman’s Sport Shop and Marina reports the best action of late has been for smallmouth bass and bluegill. Anglers can experience explosive smallmouth action on top-water offerings, and bluegill fishing will only intensify heading into the fall. So, too, will crappie action, but right now bluegill have been more common. Walleye action has slowed as the lake has warmed.