New York Outdoor News Fishing Report – July 13, 2018
Western New York
The Lake Ontario Counties (LOC) Trout and Salmon derby kicked off June 30 and runs through July 29. The summer contest offers up $29,000 in cash prizes. Included in the mix is a $10,000 Grand Prize for the largest salmon and $1,750 in weekly prizes – $1,000 for salmon and $250 each for lake trout, brown trout and rainbow/steelhead each week. If you’re fishing this month on Lake Ontario, it’s worth rolling the dice and taking a chance. Last year it was Sandra Brown from Pennsylvania, fishing the Niagara Bar during the LOTSA in-club tournaments, who walked away with the big prize. Find out more at www.loc.org.
Fishing for salmon and trout continued to be good off the ports of Wilson, Olcott and Point Breeze. While east winds have put a bit of a damper on the comfort end of things, it hasn’t seemed to affect the fishing that much. Capt. Joe Gallo of Two Bulls Sportfishing out of Wilson has seen consistent fishing right in front of his home port 40 to 80 feet down over 100 to 160 feet of water. He also caught fish in 250 to 300 feet of water, running a couple of afternoon trips with Capt. Alan Sauerland of Instigator Charters. Spoons, flasher-flies and cut bait on Twinkie rigs all produced fish. One afternoon. they were 14 for 18 on salmon and trout in four hours of fishing. Capt. Mike Johannes of On the Rocks Charters caught a limit for his customers hitting those same waters and running primarily a spoon program of Green Hulk and Geezer spoons. He was hitting some fish up high using sliders off his riggers and 100-foot and 200-foot copper line setups. The lake was a good place to be during the heat wave. Cooler water temperatures serve as a natural air conditioner.
In the Erie Canal, the 28th Annual Stephen Harrington Erie Canal Fishing Derby kicked off July 4 and runs through July 15. All of the details can be found online at www.eriecanalderby.com. This year’s event will remember its founder, who passed away last fall. As far as the Niagara River is concerned, there were still a few trout hanging around the river. Devil’s Hole in the lower river has produced a few steelies and the upper river has a few trout hanging around, too. Capt. Joe Czyrny of Anglers Obsession Charters hit a brown trout while drifting a worm harness in the upper river. For the most part, though, it’s been bass and walleye. Live bait like minnows, shiners and worm harnesses is a good approach. Tubes, drop-shot rigs and body baits will catch fish, too. Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls was in his canoe working the waters around Cayuga Island and actually caught a walleye in Cayuga Creek. Some nice largemouth are in the main river around the island, too. He’s still hitting an occasional pike but they are starting to scatter.
The New York State Summer Classic statewide tournament started July 1. For more information go to www.nyssummerclassic.com. And if you missed the Summer Bash kids fishing contest on Hyde Park Lake in Niagara Falls, you really didn’t. With the rain issues, that event was rescheduled for Sept. 22 in conjunction with National Hunting and Fishing Day and another free fishing day.
Chautauqua Lake: Anglers are still catching decent numbers of walleye. Trolling along the deeper, middle section of the south basin has been productive, and fair catches have been reported along weedlines in both basins. Largemouth bass continued to bite well around docks and around weedbeds. In addition to productive offerings like stickbaits, spinnerbaits and plastics, bass are now also hitting surface lures.
Central New York
Lake Ontario: Brown trout fishing continues to be good on the big lake and they are being taken by trolling with stickbaits or small spoons in 25 to 60 feet of water. Fishing early or late in the day has been best. Chinooks were being taken in 100 to 150 feet of water on spoons or flashers and flies. Lake trout were being found in around 120 feet of water.
Oswego River: Look for walleye in the river with large stickbaits. Bass should be hitting on tube baits or crayfish. Sheepshead are also hitting on crayfish or night crawlers.
Remember, the bridge to Leto Island is closed, and there are mandatory PFD zones on the river.
Salmon River: Not much happening 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. Many bass were still shallow but there are also some fish on the shoals. Plastics, bass jigs, crankbaits and topwaters would be good lure choices.
Sandy Pond: A few walleye and northern pike were being taken. Look for bass along the shore or weed edges.
Sodus Bay and Irondequoit bays: Bass fishing has been good. Try fishing with plastics, spinnerbaits or top-water offerings around shoreline or over the weedbeds.
Finger Lakes/Southern Tier
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 and fishing 50 to 80 feet down. Look for largemouth bass on the north end with spinnerbaits, jigs or top-water lures.
Keuka Lake: Fishing alewives or white tube jigs near bottom in 70 to 90 feet of water is 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 are being taken in 100 to 150 feet of water. We’re not hearing a lot otherwise.
Canandaigua Lake: Not hearing much from anglers.
Skaneateles Lake: Fishing tube baits or drop-shot rigs along shore should produce some smallmouth bass, rock bass and maybe some perch. Lake for lake trout 40 to 50 feet down.
Owasco Lake: Lake trout and a few brown trout were being caught trolling with spoons.
Otisco Lake: Bass were being taken in shallow water and around docks on stickworms (Senko-style baits) or jigs. Look for tiger muskie with stickbaits or large spinnerbaits. Walleye action has been slow.
Chenango, Chemung, Tioughnioga 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 recent heat wave slowed fishing activity and we haven’t been hearing much.
Whitney Point Reservoir: Slow trolling with worms around the Islands was producing some nice-sized walleye.
On the West Branch of the Ausable, keep an eye on water temps on the heels of the recent heat wave, and give the trout a break if it hits 70 degrees. The best hatches of late are Small Black Stones, Blue-Winged Olives, Caddis, March Browns and Yellow Sallies, and Sulphurs. It’s a great caddis river and a golden stone nymph is always a good choice.
Anglers on Lake Champlain and the Saranac Chain of Lakes are scoring on bass and pike, and the Champlain trollers are also connecting on lakers and landlocked salmon. It’s that time of year when you will encounter heavy recreational boat traffic during the day, so fishing early – very early – and late is best.
The shark fishing was excellent, with makos, blue sharks and threshers moving to just south of the 20-fathom line. Most of the makos ranged between 75 and 150 pounds, with the blue sharks around 100 pounds. Hotspots included the area around the Oregon Wreck, where anglers also trolled and jigged on large tuna jigs, bluefin tuna to 60 pounds. These tuna were feeding on large schools of squid. The best tuna fishing was reported around the Bacardi and Coimbria wrecks, where bluefin in the 30- to 100-pound class were jigged and trolled. There were no reports from the Canyon boats as of late.
The striped bass fishing in the ocean from New York Bight to Shinnecock Inlet has shown signs of slowing, but there were enough 30-pound class stripers to keep anglers interested in fishing the pods of bunker, especially around Jamaica Bay and Debs Inlet. The bunker pods have diminished and are smaller than they were over the last few seasons. Anglers reported good success trolling mojo rigs with bunker spoons or large shad bodies while searching for the bunker schools.
The best striper fishing was reported off Montauk Point. Anglers trolling bunker spoons, tubes and umbrella rigs reported stripers from the high teens to the mid-30-pound class. Consistent action was reported by anglers fishing Great Eastern Reef, North Bar and Block Island Sound for boats making the long run. Surfcasters fishing both the South Side and North Side of The Point reported teen-sized stripers after dark casting darters and large swimmers.
Surfcasting for stripers along the ocean beaches has largely been an after-dark affair, with live eels cast into the South Shore inlet mouth accounting for stripers to 30 pounds. The stripers off the open beaches have been in the single digits to the low teens and were mostly caught on large swimming plugs. There were still a few anglers clam-bellying the west bars of Fire Island and Jones inlets. These anglers reported a few stripers per boat on the outgoing tide, with sizes on both sides of the keeper limit.
Excellent striper fishing was reported anglers fishing both sides of the western Sound. Limits of stripers were reported by the open boats fishing at night using diamond jigs as well bunker chunks. As also stated in the last report, there were very few bluefish mixed in with the stripers in most areas.
The fluke season has been generally slow. Along the South Shore the keeper to short ratio is about 1-to-15. The areas with the most fish reported include Reynold’s Channel and the East and West Cuts around Shinnecock Inlet. The ocean fluke fishing has been very slow. The keeper ratio is better than inshore, but the numbers of fish are fewer. Most of the ocean fluke were reported in 60 to 70 feet of water under the schools of squid. Pool fish on the ocean open boat trips hovered around 5 pounds, with inshore pool fish closer to 3 pounds. The traditional squid and spearing combo and Gulp bait were both effective. Some of the best fluke fishing was reported off the south side of Montauk Point, with pool fish typically between 7 and 9 pounds. There was also a good number of large porgies and sea bass mixed in with the fluke.
Good to excellent sea bass fishing was reported on the South Shore artificial reefs, but anglers reported having to work hard for keepers as there are large numbers of shorts. On some trips, anglers are reporting large porgies in the mix of sea bass.
The best sea bass fishing was reported from the offshore wrecks locate in 70 to 130 feet of water. Some of the best reports came from the San Diego, Walcott, Hilton Castle, and the Steel wrecks. A bonus were ling and that rounded out the catch on the deeper wrecks.
The inshore sea bass fishing was slow, with most fish shorts. Fresh clams and squid strips were both effective, with the best bait being live killies. On the deeper wrecks, diamond jigs with a Twister Tail type plastic add 18 inches above the jig accounting for the largest sea bass. Ling, whiting and a few mackerel were mixed in with the deeper water sea bass, with the best whiting reports coming from the New York Bight area. A few open boats are running long-range overnight trips and reported catching cod, barrelfish and wreckfish up to 25 pounds.
The porgy action was excellent along the entire North Shore, with anglers catching their limits of porgies, many around 3 pounds, on nearly every trip. Sandworms were the top bait, followed closely by fresh clam strips. A few sea bass were mixed in with the porgies. In Gardiners Bay and in The Peconics, excellent porgy fishing was reported, with the bonus of a few 2- to 5-pound weakfish reported, especially around Jessups.
The blue claw crab fishing is very good. Crabbers are doing very well in Great South Bay, catching crabs at night using lights from a boat as well as fishing the local docks using crab traps. The keeper ratio is about 50 percent, with the crabs getting bigger each week.
The freshwater fishing for largemouth bass remained very good, especially at dusk and after dark. Large swimming plugs and large plastic worms all accounted for largemouths up to 5 pounds. The best fishing was found in the eastern Suffolk County lakes. As expected, the panfish remained continued to be cooperative, with bluegills, yellow perch, and crappies all caught on small jigs, spinners, and trout worms.
The hot weather has taken the fishing focus off the region’s trout streams and placed it on the lakes, notably Lake George, Saratoga Lake, Great Sacandaga Lake and others.
That said, we’re not hearing a lot from anglers, especially during the heat wave that sent “real feel” temps into triple digits in some areas.
Southeastern New York
We haven’t been hearing much out of the region, likely a product of a lack of fishing activity during the heat wave.
While trout and trout anglers have benefited from abundant rainfall and cool weather conditions this spring, things have changed. A stifling heat wave late last month and in early July has prompted the DEC to issue a reminder that trout can experience serious physical stress whenever water temperatures climb above 70 degrees. Heat-stressed fish often seek pockets of cold water created by upwelling groundwater, small feeder streams, or water released from deep reservoirs. These refuges allow trout to avoid or recover from potentially fatal levels of heat stress. You can help by taking the following precautions during your warm-weather fishing trips:
• avoid even catch-and-release fishing for heat-stressed trout. Trout already weakened by heat stress are at risk of death no matter how carefully they are handled.
• don’t disturb trout where they have gathered in unusually high numbers. Because these fish are likely to be suffering from heat stress and seeking relief, responsible anglers will not take unfair advantage of their distress.
• fish early, if at all. Stream temperatures are at their coolest in the early morning.
• go to Plan B! Have an alternate fishing plan ready in case water temperatures are too high at your intended destination. Consider fishing a waterbody that is less prone to heat stress or fishing for a more heat tolerant species like bass.
• when fishing tailwaters, such as those below New York City water supply reservoirs, remember that the cooling influence of reservoir releases will not extend as far downstream during periods of intense heat. By paying attention to water temperatures and adapting fishing strategies to changing conditions, anglers can help New York state’s trout beat the heat.
Dry fly fishing was mainly close to dark during the hot weather, with various sized spinners, Caddis and Sulphurs.
Beaverkill and Willowemoc: Both rivers were too warm to fish.
Delaware East Branch: Was wadeable at last check and at a low summer flow. It was fishing decently but was too low to float. There were Sulphurs, Olives and Caddis around. Like other rivers, the best dry fly fishing has been late day. Water temps should be good to East Branch.
Delaware West Branch: Had some decent sulphur activity at times, mixed with Olives. Water releases were keeping water temps cool. This river usually fishes well all summer.
Esopus: Was at a wadeable level. The portal is closed. There were some Caddis and spinners about.
Neversink: Was low and warm at last check. Better to leave it alone and look to fish elsewhere. The gorge was too hot to fish.
Delaware Main Stem: Had good water conditions to at least Long Eddy. Prime time is late day, with a mix of Sulphurs, Olives and Light Cahills. There are a variety of flies usually late in the day.
Summer fishing often means unpredictable hatches. At this time of year, terrestrials and small nymphs are good choices.
St. Lawrence River: Not hearing a lot, but the perch fishing this year has been incredible. The recent hot weather may have slowed fishing effort.
Black Lake: It’s a great time for top-water bass action late in the evening, toward dusk, after the recreational boat traffic has died down.