New York Outdoor News Fishing Report – July 27, 2018
Western New York
Lake Erie and harbors: Anglers reported good walleye action from Buffalo to the Pennsylvania border, with best fishing at the east and west ends (New York waters). Off the Buffalo, windmills to the international line in depths of 45-55 feet of water, trolling and bottom bouncing has produced solid catches of walleye of all sizes. From Seneca Shoal to Sturgeon Point, depths of 45 to 60 feet of water have been productive on lures run in the bottom half of water column. From Sturgeon Point to west of Dunkirk, depths of 55-65 feet are the best bet. The bite off Barcelona has been very good in depths of 65-75 feet of water, where walleye were scattered throughout the water column. Spreading out your lines within the water column and adjusting according to strikes is a good idea. Anglers were still catching plenty of walleye around the Buffalo Harbor middle and south gaps, and inside the harbor near the south gap, with lots of shorts for every keeper.
Not too much effort for yellow perch lately. However, walleye trollers reported some incidental perch catches off Barcelona, Dunkirk and Sturgeon Point. Smallmouth bass action has been good on deeper shoals in 25 to 40 feet of water. A drop-shot rig with tubes, plastics, crayfish or shiners works well.
Niagara River: Smallmouth bass fishing in the upper river has been fair for most anglers, with some very good catches mixed in. Traditionally productive spots include around Strawberry and Motor islands and along the west side of Grand Island. Boaters often target smallmouth bass outside weedlines, often over rocky or gravel bottom. Live crayfish or shiners work well.
Line-fouling “moss” has been a problem for lower river anglers. Casting lures tends to pick up algae on every cast. Drifting live bait has worked better for smallmouth bass and white bass, and picks up less moss.
Lake Ontario and tributaries, harbors and piers: It has been as good a salmon fishing year on the west end as any in recent memory. But there seemed to be some slower spots. There were plenty of mature king salmon off Niagara County in 90 to 250 feet of water. Large spoons, flasher fly combos and meat rigs run 60-100 feet down have all worked for mature kings. Gear run in the top 60 feet of water have caught a mix of steelhead, coho salmon and smaller king salmon. Trollers were also running out to depths of 350 feet plus. Waterfleas have been pretty bad recently. Running copper, steel or larger mono lines helps against clumping and makes it easier to remove the fleas.
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’ll catch next.
Chautauqua Lake: Anglers were catching decent numbers of walleye, primarily along weed edges. Slow-trolling with worm harnesses and stickbaits, or jigging with a worm-tipped jig has been productive. Muskellunge fishing has been fair for anglers casting large stickbaits around weed edges. No word on trolling for suspended muskies over deeper water.
Inland trout fishing: All of the area trout streams have lower flows and many have warm water. Keep in mind that hooking and playing trout in warm waters can be lethal to trout. It’s best to fish spring-fed streams or concentrate efforts during early hours of the day. No significant fly hatches happening now. Fly anglers can see surface action on terrestrial patterns such as ants, foam beetles and grasshoppers. Fish terrestrial patterns on a dead drift, giving a slight twitch every now and again to imitate a struggling insect.
Central New York
A reminder that there several fishing hotline/reports available for the region. A few of the websites are: Wayne County Tourism, Visit Oswego County, and Oneida Lake Fishing Report (links leave DEC’s website).
Lake Ontario: Chinook salmon fishing continued to be good in 110 to 300 feet of water for anglers fishing 70 to 80 feet down. Cut bait, flashers and flies, and spoons have all been working at times, as has fishing them off down riggers, wire and divers and cooper line. Fleas are starting to show up so be prepared to deal with them if trolling.
Oswego River: Look for walleye in the river with large stickbaits. Bass should be hitting on tube baits or crayfish. Sheepshead should also be hitting on crayfish or night crawlers.
Salmon River: Nothing to report.
Oneida Lake: Walleye fishing continued to be good and walleye were being taken in both deep (30 feet) and shallow (10 feet) water. Good baits have been worm harnesses, jigs and blade baits. Look for bass around the shoals and deep weed edges. Remember there are a lot of nice-sized pickerel in the lake so you may encounter a few while fishing for bass.
Sandy Pond: Look for bass around the weedbeds.
Sodus Bay and Irondequoit bays: Bass fishing remains good in the bays. Try fishing with plastics, spinnerbaits or topwaters around shore or over the weed beds.
Finger Lakes/Southern Tier
Keuka Lake: Fishing alewives near bottom in 115 to 125 feet of water was working for lake trout. Jigging with plastics at those same depths is also productive.
Seneca Lake: Some lake trout were being taken trolling 80 feet down over 100 to150 feet of water.
Canandaigua Lake: Not hearing anything of late.
Cayuga Lake: Lake trout were being taken in 75 to 90 feet of water by anglers vertical jigging. Trollers were doing better fishing in the 150- to 200-foot range, 50 to 80 feet down. Water fleas were starting to show up so be prepared to deal with them if trolling. Weed mats are also making trolling difficult at times. Look for largemouth bass on the north end with spinnerbaits, bass jigs or top-water offerings. Tournament bass anglers have been bringing in five-fish limits topping 20 pounds; those fish are released after weigh-ins.
Skaneateles Lake: Trolling 50 feet down over 100 feet of water was producing some trout action. Fishing tube baits or drop-shot rigs along shore should produce some smallmouth bass, rock bass and maybe some perch.
Owasco Lake: Water fleas are becoming a nuisance here as well for anglers trolling, so be prepared to deal with them.
Otisco Lake: Look for bass on the deep weed edges. For tiger muskies either cast or troll stickbaits or large spinnerbaits along the weed edges as well.
Whitney Point Reservoir: Slow trolling with worms around the Islands was producing some nice-sized walleye.
Chenango, Tioughnioga and Susquehanna and Chemung rivers: The Cannon Hole Launch on the Susquehanna River is closed until further notice as a new concrete launch ramp is being installed. Try for smallmouth bass with topwaters or tube baits and look for walleye in the deeper holes with jigs or crankbaits. The rivers have been periodically going chocolate in color due to heavy showers, but when conditions clear the smallmouth fishing has been good.
Lake Champlain: Go early (or late evening) to avoid some of the heaviest of the recreational boat traffic of the summer, and you should be able to connect on some smallmouths or largemouths by dragging tubes of pitching spinnerbaits or top-water offerings. Trollers have been picking up some fine lake trout, even into the double digits, as well as a few landlocked salmon.
West Branch Ausable River: Summer is in full swing and the Ausable’s West Branch and surrounding larger rivers could use a shot of rain and some cooler nights. Flows were low at last check, but early morning fishing has been productive in the bigger pools using large dry attractors and nymph droppers. Watch the water temps and give the fish a break when they hit 70 degrees. If that happens, brook trout streams in the mountains offer a superb option. Hiking and brookwhacking for native brook trout is a spectacular trip, climbing into the cold water of the High Peaks.
Saranac Chain of Lakes: Some good bass fishing is available, and on some of the lakes you’ll also encounter a northern pike or two.
There was tons of life offshore, including dolphins, whales and turtles, along with big schools of sand eels. The shark fishing continued to be excellent with makos, blue sharks, threshers and small hammerheads on the 20-fathom line, from Shinnecock Inlet to New York Bight, and off Montauk Point. Most of the makos ranged between 75 and 150 pounds, with the blue sharks around 100 pounds. Threshers ranged up to 400-pound class fish. There were fewer blue sharks reported as the offshore water temperatures were generally in the low 70s, which is at the upper end of their preference range. Some of the better reports came from the Mud Hole, the Linda and Oregon wrecks as well as the 20-fathom fingers south of Shinnecock Inlet.
There were also reports of threshers and brown sharks, and small makos raiding the bunker schools and cursing the wrecks in 60 to 90 feet of water. The brown and mako sharks were reported to be about 30 to 50 pounds and the threshers about six feet long.
The bluefin tuna bite along the 30-fathom line south of Shinnecock Inlet has been very good with some bluefins approaching 150 pounds. These fish move around a lot, but the hot spots have been near the Coimbra and Bacardi wrecks. Trolling plastics, feathers and cedar jigs were all productive. Yellowfin tuna in the 40- to 60-pound class were reported at Atlantis Canyon on trolled spreader bars. There have been no reports of mahi, skipjacks or false albacore as of late.
The fluke bite was generally slow. Inside the South Shore bays, the bite has been mainly fish around the 12-inch mark with some sea robins in the mix. Offshore, the fluke were hovering on both sides of the keeper mark, but there were few big bodies of fish. The best ocean fishing was under the schools of squid in 20 to 60 feet of water and off Montauk Point, where pool fish were generally between 5 and 6 pounds. Clearnose skates were mixed in with the fluke, as were some big sea robins. Tipped fluke balls, squid and spearing combos, and bucktails all accounted for an equal share of fluke.
Overall, anglers targeting sea bass had a tough time filling their 3-fish limit. Inshore, there were a fair number of shorts but few keepers. The same was reported on the ocean reefs east of Fire Island Inlet. The better sea bass fishing was found on the artificial reefs west of Jones Inlet an on the wrecks in the same areas. Clam strips and diamond jigs both produced their share of sea bass. Triggerfish were caught by anglers fishing for sea bass as well as by anglers targeting them off the ocean jetties. Mixed in with the inshore sea bass were a fair number of porgies.
The best porgy fishing remained in the Sound and in the Peconics and Gardiners Bay. Clam strips were the preferred bait by boaters, while sandworms were the better choice along the beaches. A few weakfish were reported caught on diamond jigs in the deeper holes in the Peconics and Gardiners Bay.
The South Shore striped bass fishing was slow as is expected this time of year. But anglers fishing the bunker schools have been rewarded with a few bass in the 30- to 40-pound class. But most anglers had to put in a lot of time and work each school to score. The best bet for stripers was off Montauk Point where live porgies, live eels and trolled parachute jigs caught stripers in the 15- to 20-pound class, with a few in the 40s reported.
This season, the bluefish fishing has been tough. While there were a few 3- to 5-pounders in the South Shore bays and in the North Shore harbors, they have been largely absent. Anglers fishing stripers off Montauk Point reported a bluefish or two in the mix. Also, there were no reports of bluefish by anglers targeting sharks.
Inside the bays and harbors, the snappers have shown up. Anglers fishing the canals and docks are reporting snappers 4 or so inches long. Snapper poppers, small flies fished on a floating line, and spearing fished under a bobber were all productive. A few eels were also caught in the canals by anglers fishing worms on the bottom. There was also a good number of blowfish in the bays. Small pieces of bloodworms or sandworms were the best bait for the blowfish.
The blue claw crab fishing remained very good for anglers using traps, nets and lights at night, as well as with the old-fashioned killie ring.
The freshwater fishing for largemouth bass remained good, with the best bite occurring at dusk and after dark. 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 Peconic River also produced a fair number of largemouth bass and some pickerel.
Lake George: Smallmouth bass action has been good of late, with fish found in 20-30 feet of water and occasionally deeper. Trollers were picking up lake trout and a few salmon. Recreational boat traffic is, not surprisingly, thick at times, so fishing very early and toward dark is recommended.
Saratoga Lake: Bass were biting well, and during the popular Tuesday night tournaments most angler teams were bringing in full bags of largemouths. Senkos and chatterbaits seen to be really popular and productive, according to Tim Blodgett at Saratoga Tackle and Archery.
Southeastern New York
Hot weather has slowed fishing activity a bit, and as a result reports have been sparse. Ashokan Reservoir was yielding a mix of brown trout and smallmouth bass, while Muscoot Reservoir has been producing some largemouths. We haven’t heard much else lately.
Make sure to check water temps before fishing. The freestones are very low. The tailwaters are fishable with insect activity centered on Olives, Sulphurs and Caddis. Dry fly fishing has been mainly close to dark with various sized spinners, Caddis and Sulphurs. Terrestrials have come into their own and at this time of year they play a major role in the trout’s food.
Beaverkill and Willowemoc: Both rivers were low and in poor condition. The Horton section of the river is closed to fishing. These rivers are best left alone.
Delaware East Branch: Wadeable and at a low summer flow at last look. There were a fair amount of spinners and Sulphurs about. It was too low to float. There were some midges about in the morning. Sulphurs, Olives, and Caddis are seen later in the day. Like other rivers, the best dry fly fishing has been late day. There were some decent Sulphur and Olive hatches. Water temps should be good to East Branch but below East Branch the river is warm.
Delaware West Branch: “Slop” has returned, making dry fly fishing the only alternative, especially in the upper reaches. There has been some decent Sulphur activity at times, mixed with Olives, especially on cloudy days. 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: At normal summer conditions. It warms quickly below Bridgeville. Water temps were good to about Fallsburg. There were mostly Caddis or Olives right at dark. The gorge was too hot to fish.
Delaware Main Stem: Good water conditions to at least Lordville at last check. Below Buckingham the water temps are warm. Most dry fly fishing is close to dark. Bugs are mostly spinners, Sulphurs and a few Light Cahills.
St. Lawrence River: You can take your pick right now: perch, bass or northern pike. But perch fishing has offered the most consistent action.
Black Lake: Richard at Chapman’s Sport Shop and Marina says fishing has been made tougher by the hot weather, but anglers fishing early and late in the day have been connecting on smallmouth bass off the rocky shoals, with some explosive top-water action available. Bluegills continue to offer consistent fishing, while crappie fishing has been OK if you find them, usually in 8 feet of water or deeper. A few walleye are being taken by knowledgeable anglers.