New York Outdoor News Fishing Report – Nov. 16, 2018
Western New York
Burt Dam and Eighteen Mile Creek continued to be good for king salmon, brown trout and steelhead, according to Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctors in Olcott. Skein, egg sacs or egg imitations are the way to go. Maribou jigs and beads are also working. Chartreuse, orange and pink egg sacs have been working, along with nymphs, Glo-bugs and Woolly Buggers in purple, brown and black. Peach and orange beads have been catching fish, too. The Olcott and Wilson piers have been producing some pike and steelhead for casters using spoons and spinners. Water flow was still an issue in many of the smaller tributaries, but that may have changed by now. When the tribs do get water, it pulls fish in and many times those fish will be stranded in some of the deeper holes. If you notice any illegal fishing activity, use your phone to call 1-844-DEC ECOS.
Lower Niagara River fishing was transitioning from salmon to trout, and some lake trout were starting to move in. Remember, lake trout season is closed right now. Shore fishing guru Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls has been tossing jigs and No. 4 spinners to take salmon, walleye, steelhead and lake trout (all released quickly and unharmed) off the New York Power Authority Fishing Platform. If we don’t see any snow and ice, expect the platform to remain open until Dec. 1 at least. Rzucidlo has also done well in the gorge, especially along the Artpark trail. If you would prefer to target smallmouth bass, the bronzebacks have been on a fall feed and Capt. Frank Campbell of Niagara Falls reports that his hot bait was a Strike King Rage Swimmer producing fish up to almost 6 pounds. They were taken downriver and action was fast for the most part.
In the upper Niagara River (above Niagara Falls), Capt. Chris Cinelli of Grand Island reports decent muskie action as waters start to cool and fish move in to winter over.
Lake Erie and tributaries: Steelhead fishing was pretty good in the lower sections of the Lake Erie tributaries. Anglers fishing the mid to upper sections reported fewer hookups. High water events will likely help move more steelhead further upstream. Tributary steelhead commonly take flies such as egg imitations, nymphs, streamers and Woolly Buggers. Drift anglers do well with egg sacs, beads and jigs with grubs fished under a float.
Niagara River: November is traditionally a top month to target muskellunge in the upper river. Target muskie by casting large stickbaits or by drifting and jigging large (8-10 inch) tube jigs. Trolling around the outer Buffalo Harbor and breakwall gaps can sometimes produce a muskie catch.
With the king salmon bite tapering off in the lower river, focus now shifts to trout. Boaters in Devil’s Hole and shore anglers in the gorge are now catching a mix of steelhead and king salmon with the occasional walleye or lake trout mixed in. Be aware that lake trout season is closed in the lower river. Incidentally caught lake trout should be quickly returned to the water. The Artpark drift and shoreline is another good spot to target steelhead. Egg sacs, egg pattern flies, shiners or jigs with plastics fished under a float or casting medium-sized spoons and spinners are good steelhead offerings.
Lake Ontario and tributaries, harbors and piers: There were still some king salmon in Eighteenmile and Oak Orchard creeks. Good catches of brown trout and steelhead were seen in both creeks, as well. Oak Orchard anglers also encounter the occasional coho salmon or Atlantic salmon. Rain will benefit the smaller streams that have seen little to no fish movement.
Orleans County: Ron Biertstine of Oak Orchard Tackle and Lodge reported higher flows and slightly stained water with about two feet of visibility. Flows consist of turbine water and fluctuating overflow levels thanks to hydro-power operations. During this leaf-falling period and especially with wind and rain, look for at least daily water level fluctuations.
Some anglers remark that when flows temporarily go down the numbers of fish revealed in the Oak is a little humbling! There are a lot of browns and some steelhead and still some kings. Plenty of “greener” kings were still around; look for still some non-zombie kings through November. Smaller tributaries, especially, will have kings later in the fall since that salmon run really didn’t crank up for upstream gravel action until earlier this month. Fishing pressure is definitely intense at times, but seems less now. Most all anglers reported good action for mixed bag chances on browns and steelhead, as well as Atlantics, kings, and cohos.
Chautauqua Lake: The open-lake season is winding down, but fishing prospects were still good. Walleye are available along weedlines. Vertical jigging around the rims of deeper holes is another good bet for walleye. Weedlines are also a spot to target late-season muskellunge by casting large stickbaits or spinners. Anglers can search for fall congregations of crappie in the same spots as they are found in the spring, such as in canals, off canal mouths and around shallow structure. Small minnows or tube jigs work well for crappie.
Surplus broodstock trout stocking: DEC’s Randolph Fish Hatchery has completed the annual fall stocking of broodstock trout in select Allegany and Cattaraugus county waters. All breeder trout are over 2 years old and are stocked in waters where trout fishing is permitted all year. Each water was stocked with hundreds of rainbow trout, brown trout and/or brook trout ranging between 14-28 inches. Among the waters stocked in mid to late October were: Redhouse Lake, Quaker Lake, New Albion Lake, Case Lake, Harwood Lake, Allen Lake and the Genesee River (between Wellsville and the Pennsylvania line).
Central New York
Although there is plenty of good fishing left, we are hitting that time of year when hunting seasons are starting and as more anglers put down the fishing gear and begin heading to the woods. For those interested, there are also other fishing hotline/reports available for the region. A few of the websites are: Wayne County Tourism, Visit Oswego County, and Oneida Lake Fishing Report.
Also, be reminded that many of the dock structures at the DEC boat launches will be removed shortly, or may have been removed already. So plan accordingly. Some DEC docks that have been removed are Port Byron, Bonstead Road (Oneida River), Sandy Pond, and Redfield Reservoir.
A reminder, too, that from Nov. 1 to May 1 all persons aboard a pleasure vessel less than 21 feet must wear a PFD while in motion.
Oswego River: Salmon fishing has been good, and more brown trout and steelhead are now being caught. Egg sacs, skein and egg imitating lures have all been working. The water temperature has really cooled down over the last few weeks.
Remember, the bridge to Leto Island is closed, and there are mandatory PFD zones on the river.
Salmon River: Salmon were still spread out from top to bottom of the river, with the Upper River seeing most of the salmon fishing pressure and where most of the spawning activity was taking place. Good baits have been egg-imitating flies and plastics, or streamers. Steelhead were also being taken in the river, with the lower river currently producing the most action. With the cooler temperatures the steelhead activity will be working its way upstream.
Oneida Lake: Cooler weather has really helped jumpstart the fall walleye bite. Anglers casting stickbaits from shore just before and after dark were doing well on the walleye. Yellow perch fishing has been good in 10 to 15 feet of water; use small minnows.
Sandy Pond: No new information for the pond and there will likely not be any until ice fishing starts. The dock has been removed.
Sodus Bay and Irondequoit bays: Yellow perch were being taken on small minnows in 10 to 20 feet of water.
Finger Lakes/Southern Tier
Cayuga Lake: Lake trout were being taken in deep water, from 120 feet and down, by anglers vertical jigging. Some Atlantic salmon and brown trout were being caught in the tributaries. This bite is often dependent on rain events occurring to raise the water level in some of the streams.
Owasco Lake: Lake trout were being taken in 65 to 90 feet of water by the vertical jigging crowd.
Otisco Lake: The cool temperatures also be helping to get the shore walleye bite going here as well. Try stickbaits off the causeway just before and after dark.
Skaneateles Lake: Not sure if the docks are still in at this point, and no word on the shore rainbow trout bite. Smallmouth bass, rock bass and some yellow perch were being taken in 20 to 30 feet of water on drop-shot baits.
Canandaigua, Keuka, and Seneca lakes: No new information. If anyone would like to contribute to the hotline or if they have a good recommendation for a contact (bait shop, etc.), DEC fisheries personnel are asking them to contact the Region 7 fisheries office at (607) 753-3095 ext. 213, or online at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whitney Point Reservoir: Some walleye were being taken at the spillway on jigs or stickbaits.
Chenango, Tioughnioga, Chemung and Susquehanna rivers: A frustrating fall continued with high-water conditions in the rivers. Fall is often a great time for smallmouth bass action but conditions have just not permitted it often, if at all. But a few anglers scored very well on smallmouths when the Chenango River conditions allowed.
The Cannonhole Launch on the Susquehanna River is now open again.
Deer hunters have, at times, had some tracking snow, albeit briefly. But hunting pressure should be hitting its peak now as the rut is rolling and deer movement increases. Still, snow is the big driver of hunting pressure in the Adirondacks, and most of the higher elevations should – key word, should – be offering some tracking snow by now.
Fall is a great time to fish in New York, particularly on Long Island, where mild temperatures typically extend a bit longer than they do in more northerly sections of New York state. Each fall, DEC stocks 15 waters on Long Island with catchable-sized brown trout that provide excellent late-season fishing throughout the fall and winter and into next spring. Most waters are managed under a year-round, any size, three-fish regulation, but special regulations exist for brook trout and some waters, including the Connetquot River, Nissequogue River, Carmans River, Laurel Lake and Deep Pond, so be sure to check the freshwater fishing regulations guide before heading out. Contact the DEC Region 1 office at (631) 444-0280 for more information on stocking locations.
The weather pattern during this report period was very transitional, with warm, calm days followed by cold winds and rough seas. Certainty challenging conditions for anglers trying to figure out a consistent pattern. But the good news is the outstanding striped bass fishing throughout the report area.
The cold winds have cooled the ocean temperature at the 44025 buoy to 61 degrees at the end of this report period, resulting in a significant improvement in the ocean striped bass bite. John at Trophy Tackle reported outstanding striped bass fishing both inshore and offshore. West of Jones Inlet, anglers trolling bunker spoons on wireline out fished Mojo Rigs trailing large plastic shad in 30 to 50 feet of water, with most fish between 20 and 40 pounds. East of Jones Inlet, the best action was reported by anglers fishing diamond jigs, with gold hammered jigs the top jig, followed by chrome diamond jigs with fluorescent tubes. John also reported that the inshore bite for stripers in Jones Inlet and the nearby channels has been excellent, with stripers to 50 pounds caught.
The striped bass fishing in lower New York Harbor around Governor’s Island up to the United Nations Building on the East River was excellent. Anglers drifting live bunker or eels during the day reported limits of stripers, with many 30- to 40-pound stripers caught.
Anglers fishing the western Long Island Sound reported good fishing during both during the day and into the night for stripers, using diamond jigs. The open boats running out of the South Shore inlets reported outstanding striper fishing on jigs, and the season’s best bluefish action, with blues over 10 pounds common, along with a mix of green bonito and false albacore.
Anglers fishing clam bellies for striped bass on South Shore inlet bars and bridge pilings reported improving fishing, with most stripers around the keeper mark. The dropping tide was the most productive. Good fishing was also reported by anglers drifting fresh skimmer clams along the marsh banks in the Great South Bay and Oyster Bay between the Amityville Cut and the Wantagh Parkway bridges.
The sea bass and porgy fishing in the Block Island Sound was excellent, with sea bass in the 5-pound class and porgies to 3 pounds common. Bluefish were also caught, mixed in with increasing numbers along with a few codfish around 10 pounds
The blackfish action has been very good all around the Island, with some of the best fishing reported off Montauk Point and in New York Bight. Boats running out of Montauk Point reported excellent blackfish fishing in the rocks off the south side of Fisher’s Island. Excellent blackfish, sea bass and porgy fishing were reported by anglers fishing off Orient Point. Pool fish on the open boats were typically blackfish between 8 and 10 pounds. Sea bass pools were typically won by fish around 5 pounds.
Off New York Bight, the numerous rock piles, remnants from the old Cross Bay Parkway Bridge, the artificial reefs, as well as at 17 fathoms provided the best action for blackfish, sea bass and porgies. The best fishing was reported in 60 to 90 feet of water, with smaller fish common in shallower water. The blackfish fishing in the western Sound off New Rochelle was reported to be excellent, with a few fish approaching 10 pounds caught. The top baits in all areas were the green, white and hermit crabs.
Anglers fishing the South Shore inlet rocks and the breakwaters protecting the North Shore harbors reported good catches of blackfish, sea bass, bergalls and porgies, but there were few keepers in the mix. These same areas did provide good action on tins and poppers for striped bass and the occasional bluefish during the day. Better striper action was reported after dark by anglers casting swimming plugs. Most stripers were between 5 and 10 pounds, with enough keepers in the mix to keep the evenings interesting. Similar action was reported by anglers fishing the North Shore beaches. The surf fishing for stripers and blues off Montauk Point was spotty.
There were no reports of shark or tuna as of late.
The freshwater fishing remained good, with panfish making up most of the action. A few largemouth bass were reported. There were no trout reported, but with the dropping water temperatures the trout should become active soon.
Now is the time to plan your early winter extended fishing trips. These trips target jumbo sea bass, cod, pollock and haddock on the deeper, less-fished wrecks further offshore and are run out of most Long Island ports. Since these are limited passenger trips, reservations are required. Most boats have posted their trips through the end of this year.
Deer hunters are out in full force in the Northern Zone, and with the Southern Zone opener looming (Nov. 17) it’s pretty much a whitetail game now, with little fishing taking place.
Southeastern New York
While most trout streams closed Oct. 15, there are some that have an extended or all year season:
• Wappingers Creek (downstream of dam in Pleasant Valley), open all year.
• Ramapo River, open all year.
• East Branch Croton River (from Diverting Reservoir to East Branch Reservoir), open all year.
• Esopus Creek, open through Nov. 30.
(Check the regulations guide for creel limits and method of take restrictions.)
There are some fishing options on the region’s trout waters still open to angling, but most of the attention now is focused on deer hunting so we’re not hearing much on the fishing front.
St. Lawrence River: It’s muskie hunting time on the big river, and this is when some of the biggest fish of the year are taken.
Black Lake: The bluegill bite has been hanging in there, according to Richard at Chapman’s Sport Shop and Marina in Hammond. But fewer anglers are on the water now so it’s hard to get a read on what else might be happening on the lake. Bass anglers could do well taking their last shots during the “regular” season. Remember, there’s a 15-inch size minimum on Black Lake bass if you plan on keeping any.