New York Outdoor News Fishing Report – June 29, 2018
Western New York
Lake Erie and harbors: There were still some walleye available at night in the near-shore shallows, but that bite is tapering off. The daytime action has been decent to good at mid-depth areas, including some limit catches. Out of Buffalo, anglers were catching walleye off the windmills in 30-40 feet of water. Productive methods include trolling with worm harness or stickbaits near the bottom, or by slow trolling (1 mph or less) with a bottom-bouncing rig and worm harness. From Sturgeon Point to west of Dunkirk, depths of 40-50 feet were good starting points. Depths around 40 feet off Van Buren Bay have been a hotspot. Worm harnesses or stickbaits run within 10 feet of bottom is a good tactic. Working the deeper edges of the walleye spawning structures is also worth a try.
Smallmouth bass were still biting well in the Lake Erie harbors and the catches are improving around the near-shore reefs and shoals. 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. A drop-shot rig with tubes, plastics or live bait works well when fishing deeper waters.
Lake Erie tributaries: There were still smallmouth bass in all of the Lake Erie tributaries, with best numbers in the larger streams. Cattaraugus Creek was in prime shape and was the best option.
Niagara River: Shore anglers can catch a variety of warmwater species at sites throughout the upper Niagara River. Catches of bass, yellow perch, white bass, sheepshead and sunfish are common at shore sites in late spring. Some walleye have been showing along Unity Island.
Surprisingly, there were still plenty of steelhead in the lower river and some boats have had double-digit catch days. Enjoy it while it lasts, as warming waters will push them back to the lake soon. A bottom-bouncing rig with minnow or flatfish lure works well for steelhead in the upper drifts. Decent numbers of smallmouth bass were available from Devil’s Hole to the Niagara Bar. Boaters can target bass by drifting with bottom bouncing rigs with tubes, plastics or flatfish lure or by casting towards shore with jerkbaits, stickbaits and spinners. Live shiners and crayfish are also good bass baits. Anglers were also catching some white bass on live bait, as well as the occasional walleye.
Lake Ontario and tributaries, harbors and piers: King salmon action remained strong, but fish were moving around, requiring a bit more searching. The better king bite has been between 80-200 feet of water from Wilson to Hamlin, on lures run 50 to 80 feet down. Spoons continued to get most attention, but some of the bigger kings (over 20 pounds) have hit flasher-fly combos. Off the Niagara Bar, depths of 200-250 feet of water has been productive. Anglers targeting kings were also catching some lake trout, coho salmon and the occasional steelhead or Atlantic salmon.
At harbor sites, anglers can catch a variety of warmwater fish, including largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, northern pike, bowfin, yellow perch, rock bass and other sunfish. You never know what you will catch next.
DEC requests your help with recovering heads from coho Salmon caught in Lake Ontario in 2018. DEC biologists are comparing coho salmon stocking strategies by mass marking and/or tagging all stocked coho salmon in 2016-2018, and wild versus stocked coho salmon by clipping adipose fins in 2016-2018. For more information on data to include with coho heads and freezer locations for drop-off, see Coho Salmon Head Collection page on DEC’s website.
Chautauqua Lake: The walleye fishing continued to be quite good, with a few slow days mixed in. The best action has been tight along weedlines. Trolling slowly, at less than 2 mph, with worm harnesses has been effective. Cast or trolled stickbaits produce catches, as well. Muskellunge fishing has been fair along weedlines. Try trolling large stickbaits along weed edges or casting large stickbaits over weedbeds and retrieving toward open water. Largemouth bass were biting well around docks and around weedbeds.
Central New York
Lake Ontario: Brown trout fishing continued to be good on the big lake, with browns being taken by trolling with stickbaits or small spoons in 20 to 40 feet of water. Chinooks and a few cohos were being taken in 100 to 150 feet of water. Lake trout were being found in around 120 feet of water.
Oswego River: Look for walleye in the river with large stickbaits. Sheepshead were hitting on crayfish. Tube baits or live crayfish would be good bait choices for bass.
Remember, the bridge to Leto Island is closed, and there are mandatory PFD zones on the river.
Salmon River: Fishing has slowed down, which is normal for this time of year.
Oneida Lake: Walleye action has slowed down some but fish were still being taken in 15 to 35 feet of water, with blade-style baits and bucktail jigs. Bass season has kicked off so expect more boat traffic as the tournament season will be starting. Many bass were still shallow but there were also some on the shoals. Plastics, bass jigs, crankbaits and topwaters would be good lure choices. Remember there are a lot of nice-sized pickerel in the lake so you may want to use a wire leader if throwing an expensive lure.
Sandy Pond: Some walleye and yellow perch were being taken.
Sodus and Irondequoit bays: Bass fishing has been good in the bays. Start shallow and move out deeper if not catching fish, try plastics, spinnerbaits or topwaters.
Finger Lakes/Southern Tier
Keuka Lake: Fishing alewives or white tube jigs near the bottom in 70 to 90 feet of water was producing lake trout. Some lakers were also being caught on small spoons trolled 40 to 50 feet down over 90 feet of water.
Seneca Lake: Some lake trout were being taken in 100 to 150 feet of water.
Canandaigua Lake: Not hearing anything lately.
Cayuga Lake: Lake trout were being taken in 90 to 150 feet of water by anglers vertical jigging. Anglers trolling were doing better fishing in the 150- to 200-foot range. Look for largemouth bass on the north end with spinnerbaits, bass jigs or topwaters.
Skaneateles Lake: Fishing tube baits or drop-shot rigs along shore should produce some smallmouth bass, rock bass and maybe some perch. Look for lake trout 40 to 50 feet down.
Owasco Lake: Lake trout and a few brown trout were being caught by anglers trolling with spoons. Vertical jigging is also a popular tactic.
Otisco Lake: Bass were being taken in shallow water and around docks on stickworms (Senko-style baits) or jigs. Look for tiger muskies with stickbaits or large spinnerbaits. So far walleye action has been slow.
Whitney Point Reservoir: Slow trolling with worms around the Islands was producing some nice-sized walleye.
Chenango, Tioughnioga, Chemung and Susquehanna rivers: Try for smallmouth bass with topwaters or tube baits and look for walleye in the deeper holes with jigs or crankbaits. The rivers were in great shape at last check; maybe a little on the low side. If hot weather persists, fish the riffles in the more heavily oxygenated water.
It’s a great time to fish the Adirondacks’ many lakes and ponds. We haven’t heard a lot from the backcountry brook trout crowd, but that’s typical of those tight-lipped anglers who don’t want to reveal their hotspots. Bass action should be excellent in the Saranac Chain of Lakes and other waters.
On Lake Champlain, tourney anglers connected on smallmouths and largemouths, and trollers were scoring on both lake trout and landlocked salmon.
The West Branch of the Ausable was in good shape, but keep an eye on water temperatures and give the fish a break if they approach 70 degrees. That said, cool nights have kept conditions just right for the trout. Stonefly patterns should bring up fish.
Trophy striped bass continued to be caught off the South Shore, as evidenced by Suffolk Marine’s Striped Bass Tournament where the leaderboard was topped with two 50-pounders followed by a bunch of 40-pounders. As expected, the largest stripers have shown signs of moving east, with the biggest fish reported from Moriches Inlet to Shinnecock Inlet. These trophy stripers are feeding on the schools of bunker located in 30 to 60 feet of water. Not all schools held stripers, so the key was to work each bunker school until the stripers were found. In between looking for bunker schools, anglers did well trolling Mojo rigs with a combination of a bunker spoon and a weighted shad tail, or umbrella rigs and parachute jigs trolled on wire. The striped bass bite off Montauk has been spotty. Surprisingly, there were very few bluefish mixed in with the stripers in most areas.
The best reports of big bluefish came from the western and central Sound. Nonstop action was reported from anglers fishing the open boats during the night trips. Bunker chunks and diamond jigs all caught large bluefish.
Very good striper fishing was reported in the Western Sound, with schoolie to 30-pound plus stripers taking bunker chunks fished along the bottom and on trolled bunker spoons and Mojo rigs during the day. The night bite on bunker chunks and diamond jigs by boat anglers has been excellent. Fly rodders were reported very good fishing casting spearing imitations among the rocks on both sides of the western Sound.
There was a decent weakfish bite near Ocean Beach and a few of the deeper channels in the Great South Bay, including the State Boat Channel. The best action was before first light since boat traffic can be heavy in these areas, which quickly puts the weakfish off the feed. Bucktails tipped with squid strips or Gulp!, small diamond jigs as well as an assortment of plastic baits fished on a jighead and bounced off the bottom all produced weakfish between 2 and 5 pounds.
There was still a good number of 4- to 6-pound fluke caught in Great South Bay, but they are moving their way from the shallower water into the deeper channels toward Jones and Fire Island inlets. There were plenty of fluke in and surrounding the inlets along the South Shore. The best tide was the incoming tide. The keeper to short ratio was about 1 in 10, and there are plenty of sea robins to wade through. Larger fluke were feeding under the schools of squid in the ocean between 30- and 80-feet of water, with a keeper to short ratio about 1 in 5. Overall the fishing was generally sporadic. The best baits remain the traditional spearing and squid strip combo, followed by tipped bucktails and plastic baits when the tides allow them to be fished effectively, typically from the last hour of outgoing tide through the first hour of the incoming tide as the currents are slower. Anglers fishing the shore on both the inside of the inlets and the adjacent ocean beaches did best casting bucktails and plastic baits on a jig head and bouncing them along the bottom as the current carried them down current.
Along the North Shore, the best fluke fishing was reported by anglers fishing 15- to 30-feet of water. Squid and spearing combo were productive, but the best action was generally reported by anglers bouncing bucktails off the bottom. There were a good number of reports of porgies mixed in the catch by anglers fishing baits. The best fishing was reported along the central portions of the North Shore.
The North Shore porgy bite remained excellent. There are plenty of smaller porgies with a mix of fish to 3 pounds being reported by anglers fishing nearly all the beaches using clams and sandworms. Larger porgies were reported by the boats fishing from Port Jefferson to Orient Point as well as in the Peconics and Gardiners Bay. Clams baits and clam chum remained the best combination. Excellent porgy fishing was reported off the northside of Montauk Point.
Scott Jeffery at East End Bait and Tackle reported that the Shinnecock Canal is still producing fluke but few keepers. The cocktail blues have been here and some keeper bass in the dark. The northern end has the porgies. The Shinnecock inlet has seen a few fluke during the day along with blues most afternoons and bass on bucktails in the dark. Also, anglers clam chumming the Ponquogue Bridge reported stripers to 36 inches.
There was very good reports of yellowfin and bigeye tuna caught by the New Jersey boats working the canyons as their water temperatures are a bit warmer than the New York canyons and shark grounds. A few sharks were reported harassing the bunker schools, mainly small makos. Bluefin tuna, blue sharks and makos should be caught with regularity from the 30-fathorm line out in the next few weeks.
The freshwater fishing for largemouth bass has been very good, especially in eastern Suffolk County. The best bite has been during first light and at dusk. Crankbaits, plastics and poppers have all been productive, with fish to 3 pounds reported. As expected, the panfish remained cooperative with bluegills, yellow perch and crappies all caught on small jigs, spinners and trout worms. There are reports of carp being caught by anglers fishing dough balls and corn in the larger lakes.
Great Sacandaga Lake has been yielding some walleye on either side of the legal limit, but anglers were having better luck very early or very late in the day, especially on weekends when recreational boat traffic picks up.
Saratoga Tackle and Archery was set to launch its Tuesday night Bass Challenge tourneys on Saratoga Lake, but the initial results were not available at press time.
Lake trout and smallmouth action was decent on Lake George, as anglers again fished early and late in the day to avoid the peak of recreational boat traffic.
Southeastern New York
The Pepacton Reservoir was yielding some brown trout for ambitious trollers (it’s a rowing game on the reservoir) but as water temps rise the fish will likely go deeper.
On Rondout Reservoir, smallmouth action was reportedly good. And Muscoot Reservoir is almost always worth a look for largemouths.
Beaverkill and Willowemoc: Both rivers were low and clear and in decent shape for late June but warming at last look. Water temps need to be watched closely. Some large Olives were about in the morning, while evening hatches have been mostly spotty Sulphurs, some spinners and Caddis. Small nymph patterns have been effective. There were decent hatches most evenings. Insects can vary, but mostly it was spinners, Caddis and Sulphurs. There was a decent amount of surface activity and a fair number of different hatches both early and late in the day. Hatches have been dependable, with a variety of bugs including Gray Fox, Sulphurs, Olives and spinners.
Delaware East Branch: Has fished well and was at a normal summer flow. It was wadeable at last check and actually an ideal wade level. It was too low to float. There were Sulphurs, Olives and late-day Caddis hatches. Like other rivers, the best dry fly fishing has been late day. There were spinners in various sizes, as well as Caddis and small Olives (especially on cloudy days). There was also some spinner falls. Caddis were present most days, with most activity early and late. At this time of year, fishing is decent all the way to Hancock.
Delaware West Branch: There were some spinners and BWOs in the morning and a reduced flow from Cannonsville would make for good wading conditions. There were a fair amount of Sulphurs as well as Olives and spinners and some decent Caddis activity. The river can be crowded at times, more so in its upper reaches
Esopus: Was at a wadeable level. The portal was closed. There were some Caddis and spinners.
Neversink: Some late-day Olives and Caddis and some Sulphurs late day, as well. There has been some good Sulphur activity and small Olives. Cloudy days bring out the Olives. Late day seems to be most productive. The river needs rain. It was too warm to fish below Bridgeville.
Delaware Main Stem: Was fishing well. There is a large variety of flies at times, usually late in the day. Look for Sulphurs, Isonychias and spinners. It has probably the best hatches but this is a moody river. This is a Caddis river with a good number of Caddis species.
Summer fishing often means unpredictable hatches. At this time of year terrestrials and small nymphs are good choices.
St. Lawrence River: Take your pick right now: perch, bass or northern pike. The perch bite has been exceptional this year.
Black Lake: Much of the attention has now turned to bass, and top-water action may be picking up now. Fish early and late during the hot weather.