New York Outdoor News Fishing Report – Dec. 1, 2017
Western New York
Lower Niagara River: The stairs into the Niagara Gorge at Devil’s Hole State Park were set to reopen after having been closed all summer so they could be rebuilt. The stairs had been expected to be closed until next spring, but the reopening is great news for shore fishermen who like to cast for trout in the Devil’s Hole area of the river.
Lower river trout fishing has been good from both boat and shore. Rain and wind in Lake Erie can sometimes impact the river fishing. Conditions were near perfect at last check and steelhead were cooperating nicely along the Artpark shoreline. Boaters were bouncing egg sacs off three-way rigs to take some nice steelhead. Of course, you will catch some lake trout along the way. Be careful with them and release the fish immediately. Lake trout season is closed until Jan. 1 in New York waters and Dec. 1 in Canadian waters. Other baits you should try if the egg sacs don’t work for you include plugs like MagLips and Kwikfish. Minnows will also catch you a fish or two, as will egg imitations like yarn flies. From shore, any egg or egg imitation will catch fish, as will spoons, spinners and jigs. Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls was still doing well off the New York Power Authority fishing platform to catch walleye, trout and the occasional coho salmon. He was using homemade jigs.
Upper Niagara River: Muskie fishing was good, according to Capt. Chris Cinelli of Grand Island. He caught three on last month using large common shiners. In the Niagara Musky Association’s Tim Wittek Memorial Musky Tournament, a total of 28 anglers competed – catching 16 fish for the day. The top fish was a 50.5-incher caught by Jeremy Schneider of Stratford, Ontario using a homemade body bait. Second place was John Pensyl of Lockport with a 48-inch fish jigging a Red October tube. Third place was Schneider with a 46-inch muskie caught while jigging a Red October tube. All the fish were released unharmed to fight another day. Other notable catches included a 46-inch muskie reeled in by Daniel Lacko of Kenmore, a 43-inch fish hauled in by Andrew Lacko of Kenmore (Dan’s father) and Andrew Porzio of East Aurora with a 40-inch muskie. The season closed on Nov. 30 in the upper river and around the state – except in the lower river and Lake Ontario. That season closes on Dec. 15.
Lake Ontario and tributaries: The Lake Ontario tributaries like Eighteen Mile Creek were still muddy at last report. Some salmon were still struggling to swim around as the browns and steelhead are now taking over. While eggs and egg imitations are still good baits to use, anglers seemed to switch over to more of a live bait presentation like crawlers, wax worms and spikes, according to Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctors.
Orleans County: All of the tributaries within Orleans County were offering very fishable conditions for brown trout, steelhead/rainbow trout and even some fresh salmon yet. On the lower stretches of Oak Orchard Creek, perch fishing has slowed a bit, northern pike were spotty and bass were still fairly active. Keep in mind the “regular” bass season ended Nov. 30 and now it’s catch and release until the third Saturday of June next year.
On Lake Alice, fishing for all of the species has slowed slightly.
The Erie Canal has been partially dewatered, but from what we’ve been told will be refilled to check on some work that is being done. This means that when they do the final dewatering for the year, it will provide water for tributaries well into December this year.
Central New York
We have hit that time of year again when, though there is still plenty of good fishing left, many anglers have pulled their boats for the season and are starting to focus on hunting more than fishing.
Oswego and Wayne counties have weekly fishing hotlines on their web sites as well and would be another good option for fishing reports; Oswego County (visitoswegocounty.com); and Wayne County (waynecountytourism.com). Though Onondaga County doesn’t have a weekly fishing report , their web site is another good source of fishing information in the region (fishonondagacounty.com).
Lake Ontario: Steelhead and brown trout were being taken in the tributaries on egg sacs, beads or egg-imitating plastics. There were also some trout being caught in the lake by anglers casting spoons.
Oswego River: High flows made shore fishing tough. Anglers getting out in drift boats were catching steelhead and brown trout.
Salmon River: Steelhead were being taken on egg-imitating flies, plastics or real egg sacs. Anglers covering water were having the best luck. The Upper Fly Section is now closed.
Oneida Lake: Walleye were being taken by anglers casting stickbaits from shore just before and after dark. Fishing stickbaits in 10 to 15 feet of water during the day was also producing walleye. Anglers still fishing for bass are getting smallmouths in 10 to 20 foot of water; keep in mind it’s now a catch-and-release, artificials-only game for the bass now.
Sodus and Irondequoit bays: Yellow perch fishing has been good for anglers fishing the bays with small minnows.
Finger Lakes/Southern Tier
Cayuga Lake: With the high water a few weeks ago some Atlantic salmon and brown trout did enter the tributaries. Some stealth will likely be required to catch them, however, when the streams clear and the flow drops.
Skaneateles Lake: Anglers fishing in 15 to 25 feet of water were getting a mixed bag of lake trout, rainbows and yellow perch.
Susquehanna River: Serious walleye anglers have been on the river, notably in the Hickories Park stretch in Owego.
Fishing has pretty much come to a halt, which is typically the case during the height of the deer and bear seasons. It will likely stay that way until safe ice arrives. Until then, the popular website adkhunter.com is a good source of what’s happening in the deer woods.
The striped bass and bluefish fishing off the South Shore remained outstanding. These fish are attacking the massive schools of adult bunker in 30 to 50 feet of water. Anglers snagging and live-lining bunker, trolling bunker spoons on wire or fished as a mojo rig reported catching stripers between the high teens and 30 pounds, with the occasional 40- to 50-pounder reported. The best fishing for these trophy stripers was reported between Jones Inlet and the Jersey coast, evidence that the big bass are moving south as the water temperature drops. The bluefish ranged between 12 and 20 pounds, and occasionally larger. A few thresher sharks were caught on live bunker in the same area.
Anglers fishing bunker chunks on the bottom reported schools of dogfish attacking the baits from time to time. A few Atlantic sturgeon were caught and released by anglers fishing bunker chunks. When the bunker were hard to find, anglers diamond jigged stripers between 8 and 15 pounds and teen-sized bluefish consistently as these fish moved along the beaches, feeding on sand eels.
Anglers fishing the inlets targeting stripers using clam bellies reported limits of stripers between 8 and 20 pounds, along with the occasional bluefish. Surfcasters fishing the inlet jetties between Shinnecock and Deb’s inlets and the beaches on both sides of the inlets reported catching stripers between 5 and 15pounds, with the occasional 20 pounder. The best bite was at dawn and late afternoon, with poppers the top lure. During the day, poppers and tins were productive.
Off Montauk Point, most boat anglers reported catching stripers in the 20-pound class and bluefish around 12 pounds on trolled parachute jigs, umbrella rigs and tubes all fished on wire or diamond jigged in the rips. Surfcasters and fly-rodders reported similar sized stripers and blues caught off the north side of the Point and behind the town to Ditch Plains. Large bottle plugs and darters were productive both during the day and night, with tins a good choice during the day. Fly-rodders did well on large sand eel patterns. Anglers fishing under The Light reported similar fishing on bucktails tipped with pork rinds or twistertails.
The best striped bass and bluefish fish action in the Sound was reported by anglers diamond jigging and bunker chunking in the mid-Sound. The striper fishing was best in the western Sound where there were still large schools of bunker. East of Port Jefferson, there were more bluefish than stripers in the mix. Kayakers fishing the harbors and the mouth of the Nissequogue River reported good fishing on small swimmers, poppers and tins. Fly-rodders fishing the same areas did well casting spearing imitations at dawn and in the late afternoons.
The blackfish season is in full swing, with outstanding fishing reported off Block Island, Fishers Island, the South Shore wrecks in 90 to 120 feet of water and in the Sound. The blackfish range from just keeper size to 8 pounds, with pool fish approaching 10 pounds. The top baits were green and white crabs. Large sea bass, many to 5 pounds, and porgies to 3 pounds were mixed in with the blackfish, creating excellent ground fishing. On the deeper wrecks, anglers fishing fresh clams or diamond jigs reported catching keeper codfish. A lot of anglers were targeting stripers, then after limiting out, or when the tide slows, switched over to blackfish, porgies and sea bass.
Along the North Shore beaches and jetties, and the South Shore jetties, the blackfish action was good, with most of the fish shorts, but there were enough keepers to make the trips worthwhile. A good mix of porgies and sea bass rounded out most trips. The top bait for the porgies and sea bass was fresh clams, with green crabs the top bait for blackfish.
There was a lot of wind during the last weekend of this report, keeping most anglers tied to the dock But the good news is that the freshwater fishing was very good. This is the first report since the spring where trout dominated freshwater fishing. Brown and rainbow trout responded to the cooling water and were caught on worms, streamers, and small swimmers. The hot spot was the Carlls River outfall from Southards Pond.
Not hearing a lot on the fishing front with deer and bear seasons in full swing in the Southern Zone.
New York Antler Outdoors has a popular website as well as a Facebook page that shows off deer and bear harvests around the state.
Southeastern New York
A reminder that from Nov. 1 to May 1, all persons aboard a pleasure vessel less than 21 feet must wear a Personal Floatation Device (PFD) while underway.
Not hearing much from anglers lately; it’s hunting season now.
Fishing options are now limited with the season ending on some waters and colder weather taking hold. We’re not hearing much on the region’s trout waters still open to fishing.
St. Lawrence River: Muskie hunters are out in search of the biggest fish of the season, but beyond that we’re not hearing much.
Black Lake: With angler pressure down sharply during hunting season, it’s still a good time to target crappie and bluegill.