New York Outdoor News Fishing Report – Oct. 5, 2018
Western New York
Lake Erie and harbors: Lake Erie anglers continued to enjoy an exceptional walleye. From Cattaraugus Creek to the Pennsylvania line, anglers reported constant fish marks on the screen both high and low. However, most walleye seemed to be suspended above the cold water at about 40 feet down. A DEC creel technician reported that every boat returning to Cattaraugus Creek launches late last month had their limit of walleye. Depths of 60-80 feet of water were productive for lots of 16- to 19-inch walleye, with a fair amount of lunkers mixed in. Dunkirk area anglers saw the best walleye action at around 80 feet of water, with the occasional steelhead mixed in. Barcelona anglers were catching fast limits of walleye in 80-92 feet of water with a steelhead or two mixed in. Some boats specifically targeting steelhead did very well off Barcelona in 115-120 feet of water. Lures run above the thermocline worked well. Steelhead should also start to show closer to tributary mouths, if they haven’t already. Trolling with spoons between 2-2.5 mph is the typical tactic for steelhead off creek mouths. Yellow perch fishing has been improving. Out of Cattaraugus Creek, anglers were catching perch over a wide area between 42-75 feet of water. Best catches were at depths of around 50 feet. Closer to 75 feet of water, perch anglers were also catching a few walleye. Fish live emerald shiners or other smaller minnows just off the bottom for perch.
Lake Erie tributaries: There were some reports of smaller steelhead in the low section of Cattaraugus Creek and things should be even better now.
Niagara River: King salmon are in. Most catches have come from the NYPA fishing platform, but drifters were starting to catch a few in the Devil’s Hole drift. The lower river salmon run will continue to build. Smallmouth bass and walleye were available from Artpark through the midriver drifts.
Lake Ontario and tributaries, harbors and piers: Mature king salmon were staging in nearshore waters off major tributary mouths, and at times the fishing has been productive. However, nearshore waters were still a bit warm, which seemed to dampen the bite. But the fish are there. In general, fishing is typically best at dawn for staging salmon and the bite can pick back up again near dusk. Before daybreak, salmon can be just a short distance off pier heads. After sunrise, depths of 50-100 feet of water are a better bet. Trolling with J-Plugs, J-13 Rapalas, flasher-fly combos and large spoons is the standard practice. The better action has been offshore at depths of 300 feet-plus. Trollers were consistently catching good numbers of two-year-old king salmon and big steelhead on gear run between 50-80 feet down.
For the past couple of weeks, anglers have been catching fair numbers of king salmon from the piers at Olcott, Oak Orchard and Genesee River, but there have been some very slow days mixed in. Casting heavy (3/4-ounce plus) Little Cleo, K.O. Wobbler and Moonshine glow spoons at night works well. Treated skein fished under a float can be productive on calmer nights. Pier anglers were also catching brown trout and northern pike.
DEC requests your help with recovering heads from coho salmon caught in Lake Ontario beginning in 2018. DEC is comparing coho salmon stocking strategies by mass marking and/or tagging all stocked cohos in 2016-2018, and wild versus stocked coho salmon by clipping adipose fins. For more information on data to include with coho heads and freezer locations for drop-off, see the Coho Salmon Head Collection link on the DEC website.
Chautauqua Lake: Anglers continued to see decent walleye action in the north basin from weedlines out to 30 feet of water. Trolling outside weedlines was best during low-light periods. Vertical jigging has worked well for walleye near the bottom in 20-30 feet of water. Anglers were catching muskellunge by casting along weedlines and by trolling in 20-30 feet of water with lures run 10-15 feet down. Weedbeds are a good bet for a mix of yellow perch, white perch, bluegill and white bass.
Inland trout fishing: Area trout streams ranged from slightly high and murky in the larger Southern Tier streams, to low and clear in the northern half of the region at last check. Western New York anglers have a variety of wild trout streams, stocked streams and stocked lakes to choose from. In addition, Public Fishing Rights Maps are available for many of the region’s best streams.
Orleans County: The madness of The Oak is upon us, with the fall salmon run in Oak Orchard Creek as well as other tribs in full swing. Sure, it will be crowded, especially on weekends, but there’s room for everyone and chances are good you’ll tie into a big king at some point, probably several times.
Central New York
A reminder that there other fishing hotline/reports available for the area. A few of the web sites are: Wayne County Tourism, Visit Oswego County, and Oneida Lake Fishing Report.
Lake Ontario: Some salmon were still being caught around river mouths in 100 foot of water and are hitting on cut bait, flashers and flies, and spoons.
Oswego River: Things were heating up in the river for the salmon fishing crowd. Weather will always play a role, but the action has been fast and furious. Fish were, as usual, being taken on skein or egg-imitating baits.
Remember, the bridge to Leto Island is closed, and there are mandatory PFD zones on the river. Use caution when wading and be respectful of other anglers.
Salmon River: It’s on now, from the lower river and upstream. Fishing has been described as “epic” by many anglers who were simply worn out from fighting salmon. Fishing early or late in the day seemed to be best at the moment, especially during warm temperatures.
Oneida Lake: Walleye fishing has slowed down, which probably suggests that they have started feeding on young-of-the-year gizzard shad. But some walleye were still being taken in both deep (30 feet) and shallow (10 feet) water. Look for bass around the shoals and deep weed edges. Now that the shad are big enough for predators to target, keep a top-water bait ready and watch for bird activity. If you see it get to the area quickly, it can often provide some very exciting smallmouth bass fishing as they chase shad to the surface.
Sandy Pond: Fishing has slowed but look for bass around the weedbeds.
Sodus Bay and Irondequoit bays: Bass fishing remained good in both bays with plastics, spinnerbaits or topwaters over or in the weedbeds.
Finger Lakes/Southern Tier
Keuka Lake: Fishing alewives near bottom in 115 to 125 feet of water was producing lake trout. Jigging with plastics at those same depths was also working.
Seneca Lake: Lake trout and a few Atlantic salmon, were being taken trolling small flatfish 60 to 70 feet down over 70 to 100 feet of water at 2.5 mph.
Cayuga Lake: Keep an eye out for debris and weedmats. Little has changed and lake trout were being taken in 80 to 110 feet of water by anglers vertical jigging. Anglers trolling were doing better fishing in the 150- to 200-foot range and fishing 70 to 90 feet down. Water fleas have been less of an issue but still be prepared to deal with them.
The Mud Lock boat launch was closed due to construction as improvements were being made. This work will likely continue till late-October, DEC officials said.
Skaneateles Lake: Trolling 60 feet down with small spoons was producing some trout action. Trout were feeding on young-of-the-year yellow perch which have spread out, so keep covering water until you find them. Fishing tube baits or drop-shot rigs in 15 to 30 feet water was yielding smallmouth bass and rock bass.
Owasco Lake: Lake trout were being taken in 75 to 90 foot of water by anglers vertical jigging. Trolling 70 feet down over 100 to 120 feet of water was also working for lake trout and also a few rainbows. Water fleas have been a nuisance at times for trollers, so be prepared to deal with them.
Otisco Lake: Look for bass in the weedbeds on the north end. Good baits have been creature-style baits and tubes. Natural-colored baits were working better where the water was clear and darker baits were better in wind-blown or turbid areas.
Look for walleye in 15 to 20 feet of water; you may need to use a reaction baits to get them to hit, like stickbaits and crankbaits.
Whitney Point Reservoir: Not hearing anything of late.
Chenango, Chemung, Tioughnioga and Susquehanna rivers: The rivers remain blown out by heavy rains that again pounded the region, so fishing was not an option.
The Cannonhole Launch on the Susquehanna River is closed until further notice as a new concrete launch ramp is being installed.
Most of the attention is now turning to hunting season, and that will continue as we approach the popular weeklong muzzleloader deer and bear seasons. A few bruins have already been taken during the early bear season.
That said, there remains some fine fishing on Lake Champlain (for trout and bass) and the West Branch of the Ausable River, where it’s a great time to strip streamers for big brown trout amid spectacular fall foliage.
The big news this report period is the improved surfcasting on both the South and North Shore beaches and jetties. Along the South Shore, the best action was at the inlet mouths as the spearing, bay anchovies and mullet were beginning to leave the bays in reaction to the diminishing daylight and cooler water temperatures. On the North Shore, the best spots were at the smaller harbor mouths, including Mount Sinai Harbor and at the Nissequogue River.
Intercepting these baits are striped bass, bluefish and sporadic schools of false albacore. The false albacore were caught on thin tins as well as epoxy flies and similar spearing imitations. The stripers were mostly schoolies around 5 pounds that were caught on small swimmers, plastic baits, diamond jigs and bucktails, along with poppers at first light and sunset. A few bluefish between 3 to 5 pounds were mixed in with the stripers, but not in any large numbers. There was not specific pattern, but that will change as the water cools and the bait exodus becomes more condensed.
A few keeper stripers were reported by anglers fishing live bait along in the South Shore inlets and under the schools of bunker located in 30 to 50 feet of water. A few bluefish under 10 pounds were reported with the stripers, but not in quantity. A few small thresher sharks were caught in the bunker schools. Anglers fishing the inlet bars using clam bellies were beginning to catch stripers, mostly under 10 pounds, during the outgoing tide.
Scott Jeffery at East End Bait and Tackle reported that a few fluke were taken near the Ponquogue Bridge, but very few keepers. There have been a good number of porgies in the same area, as well as stripers caught on plugs during the morning and evening tides. There were still plenty of porgies in the Peconic Bays being taken on clams, along with a few weakfish on sandworms, plastic baits and bucktails. Anglers fishing the Shinnecock Canal have reported a lot of small blowfish and snappers.
The cooler water has improved the ground fishing on the ocean artificial reefs and inshore wrecks. The number of keeper sea bass has increased as well as the number of triggerfish and porgies. Small clam strips were the top bait. A few bluefish were also reported, which is a good sign given the poor catches of bluefish during the spring and summer seasons.
The fluke fishing in the ocean outside of the South Shore inlets improved significantly in both numbers and size, as the number of keepers has improved. There were a lot of sea robins in the mix. The top bait was spearing and squid combinations, as well as bucktails tipped with Gulp when the drift was not too fast.
The open boats out of Captree State Park were running evening weakfish and bluefish trips and were reporting good action around Ocean Beach, the Fire Island Lighthouse and West Channel, with bluefish to 10 pounds and weakfish to 5 pounds. Bucktails and plastic baits were the top producers.
The sea bass and porgy fishing off Montauk Point was excellent, with boats limiting out on keeper sea bass and jumbo porgies. The boats running to Block Island also reported a few keeper codfish and pollock. Boat anglers reported catching false albacore on tins and flies as they were a few casts too far for most shore anglers. Anglers fishing live bait, trolling tubes and parachute jigs on wire line reported limits of keeper stripers, with most fish under 20 pounds but the occasional 30-pounder. Bluefish have also made a showing at Montauk, with fish around 10 pounds mixed in with the stripers. The diamond jigging action for stripers and bluefish improved significantly, with good to excellent fishing reported. Anglers drifting strip baits and bucktails along the south side of Montauk reported some of the largest fluke of the season, with pool fish around 10 pounds.
The striper, bluefish and weakfish fishing in the western Sound was excellent. Some of the best action was reported by anglers fishing live peanut bunker and diamond jigs. During the daylight, bluefish dominated the catch, with stripers and weakfish dominating the night bite. Most of the bluefish were cocktail sized, with the weakfish around 5 pounds and the stripers teen sized. Some of the best striper fishing was reported in Ambrose Channel around the Verrazano Bridge, with stripers over 30 pounds common while drifting live eels and fresh bunker chunks.
The offshore fishing remained excellent. Anglers fishing around the Bacardi reported that bluefin and yellowfin tuna to 60 pounds were caught trolling plastics, casting popping plugs into breaking schools of fish, or by jigging the tuna schools marked on fish finders. Mixed in with the tuna were mahi. Mahi were also caught at the NOAA buoy and under the pot markers in the Hudson Canyon.
The shark fishing at the 20-mile line remained good, with a mix of makos and brown sharks, typically under 100 pounds, with the occasional mako approaching 150 pounds. A few threshers were reported, but they were all under 100 pounds.
The blue claw crab fishing remained excellent, with all forms of crabbing resulting in numerous keeper crabs but is showing signs of slowing. There was still a good number of snappers being caught off the local docks and canal banks, but they were also slowing. The bigger snappers were caught on live peanut bunker. Tins and snapper poppers were also productive.
The freshwater fishing was good, with more largemouths reported with the cooling water temperatures.
Most of the attention has turned to the archery deer season. But trout anglers might want to visit the Battenkill and Mettawee rivers or Kayaderosseras Creek for some late-season action. Lake George, too, offers some fall fishing for big smallmouth bass.
Southeastern New York
Not hearing a lot now that the Southern Zone archery season has begun, but some fine fishing remains in several waters, notably the NYC reservoir system.
Most rivers were still somewhat high at last check, but that may have changed by now.
Beaverkill and Willowemoc: Both rivers had limited wading with flows higher than normal. Nymph fishing has been decent. Rainbows were starting to show. Caddis are important most days, as well as some Isonychias and BWOs. Terrestrials such as beetles have been effective. Attractor flies in the fast water have also been productive. Streamers are also a good choice at this time of year.
Delaware East Branch: Higher than normal but some wading was possible. Hatches were mostly midges, Olives and some Caddis, both early and late day. Terrestrials have also been effective. In the lower sections there were some Isonychias. There are decent Olive hatches in the afternoons.
Delaware West Branch: Releases from Cannonsville dropped and some wading was possible at last check, but a boat would be better. There were Olives and some Isonychias seen in the afternoons. Caddis can be an important hatch. Streamers fished along the banks are also effective.
Esopus: Had some limited wading. The portal was closed and the river remained off-color. Try the tribs; they are clearer. Terrestrials have been effective.
Neversink: Still high for wading at last report. This river fishes best under 300 cfs. Fall is BWO time on this river Most surface activity is late day. Water temps were good to Bridgeville. Terrestrials have worked well. There were mostly Caddis and Olives about. Streamers have worked well of late. When selecting a streamer it should be on the small side. There were more Isonychias below Bridgeville. There are mostly small Olives in the upper reaches.
Delaware Main Stem: High and floatable, with little wading. Hatches are late day with mostly BWOs and Caddis, hatches are spotty. Best dry fly fishing is close to dark. Cloudy weather brings out the Olives. Late day there is a mix of Olives, spinners and Caddis. An Isonychia nymph is a good choice, as well as soft hackles and small pheasant tails. When this river drops below 3,000 cfs fishing should improve,
Looking ahead fishing-wise, the regular trout season ends Oct. 15 but there are a number of rivers that remain open. Isonychias will continue until mid-October, while Caddis and Olives can last through November.
St. Lawrence River: Perch fishing has been epic all year, and fall is a great time to tie into some hungry pike and bass. Not hearing much on the muskie front, but it’s early and some of the biggest fish are caught when the weather turns colder.
Black Lake: Bluegill anglers continue to score well, and fall offers some of the best bass fishing of the season, including explosive top-water action. Walleye anglers in the know are also dialing in on that species.