New York Outdoor News Fishing & Hunting Report – Jan. 25, 2019
Western New York
Winter has arrived back on the local scene and conditions are bit difficult with snow and cold temperatures. The Niagara River was turning off-color and may be tough to fish, but keep an eye on changing conditions. In the lower Niagara River, fishing from both boat and shore had been good for steelhead and brown trout, with the occasional lake trout and walleye. Silver Kwikfish worked well earlier this month, patterned with chartreuse or green for drifters, along with egg sacs and minnows. Shore anglers were using jigs or spinners. Hot colors have been pink, chartreuse and green. Lake trout were available on the Niagara Bar area in better numbers, when the wave action will allow you to access the lake.
In the upper Niagara River, the foot of Ferry Street has been good. Many anglers have been doing well on the walleye, with the occasional lake trout and steelhead according to Joshua Marshall of Alden, who is involved with the WNY Walleye Fishing Facebook page. Baits have been mainly live minnows and crankbaits. The bite was up and down but producing fish. Jigs tipped with plastics will work, too.
For Lake Ontario, tributary action has been fair to good for steelhead and brown trout, according to Scott Feltrinelli with Ontario Fly Outfitters. Before the snows, he did well on Lake Ontario tributaries, but the water was clear then. His bait options included olive and brown-colored streamers, not whites and brights. He was 12 for 12 on catching fish one day as he bounced to Lake Ontario streams, releasing all of his fish. Action should improve when we start seeing some snowmelt and warmer temps.
Don’t forget the new “Birds on the Niagara” Festival set for Jan. 25 and 26. Check out www.buffaloaudubon.org for further details. The Niagara River Anglers has its Roger Tobey Memorial Steelhead Contest on Feb. 2 in the lower Niagara River and Lake Ontario tributaries. Check out the NRAA Facebook page.
Chautauqua Lake: Anglers were out on the hard water at some spots, notably Long Point. We’re not sure what the snow has done to conditions.
Orleans County: Not sure what is happening on the heels of the recent snows. Fishing pressure is likely very light.
Central New York
Oneida Lake: Anglers were on parts of the big lake and were connecting on walleye and perch. But keep an eye on changing conditions and check with Bartel Road Bait and Tackle, which is now located in the Brewerton Plaza.
Salmon River: Likely that heavy snows have made fishing a huge challenge. Float trips may be the best – and maybe only – option.
Oswego River: Not hearing much lately, which isn’t surprising given the weather.
Tully Lake: A few anglers were on earlier this month, but use caution.
Sodus and Irondequoit bays: No go at last look.
Finger Lakes/Southern Tier
We’ve been surprised by the number of coyote hunters and trappers who have been scoring consistently on the much-maligned canines. Notably, Scott Comfort’s gang out of Big Flats has been running down several ’yotes with their team of dogs.
Honeoye Lake: Ice conditions were sketchy but some anglers were out at last check.
Whitney Point Reservoir: Snow has hampered ice formation. Keep an eye on updates on the fate of the almost-annual crappie derby, which is scheduled for Feb. 16. The tournament’s website is crappiederby.com.
Arctic Lake: The Broome County water was yielding some panfish.
Cayuta Lake: Anglers were on and using caution at last check.
Lake Champlain: Conditions improved, with plenty of activity on South Bay and some anglers fishing off Crown Point as well as the typical bays at the north end of the big lake.
Schroon Lake: The best ice was reportedly at the north end, which is typical on this lake known for landlocked salmon, lakers, perch and smelt.
Piseco Lake: Always seems willing to yield lake trout, albeit many shorts.
Lake Colby: Early ice, as usual, but fishing has been slow of late.
The winter fishing season is in full swing, with open and party boats making most of the offshore trips as the majority anglers have hauled their boats for the winter season. The offshore boats are targeting mackerel, codfish, haddock, pollock, hake and tilefish.
The mackerel fishing is typically spotty as captains need to find the fast0moving schools. When they did, anglers filled buckets with mackerel averaging around 15 inches in length. The best fishing was reported by boats running out of Debs and Rockaway inlets and fishing in New York Bight. Mackerel trees, with a diamond jig on the bottom, were consistent producers.
The faster open boats have scheduled tilefish trips at The Canyons. Check websites for details as reservations are required. Since the number of these trips is limited, they fill up quickly.
The groundfish action has been good, with larger cod and pollock reported with the cooling water. In general, the cod fishing has been productive from Block Island Sound to New York Bight, with pool winning fish weighing in between 12 and 20 pounds. Depending on the mood of the fish as well as the drift, clams and diamond jigs were both effective. A white, pink or red teaser, such as a 6-inch Jelly Worms or 5-inch curly-tail plastic bait, fished two feet above the jig or bait, increased catches in all areas.
In general, for mixed bag opportunities, there were more pollock and hake in the mix from Block Island Sound to Shinnecock Inlet than further to the west. The number of hake caught off the East End continued to be greater than during the past few seasons. West of Shinnecock Inlet, some mackerel were mixed in with the catch. Further to the west, from Jones Inlet into New York Bight, the number of ling and mackerel caught increased. The same setup for codfish works for all but the mackerel, which when found responded better to mackerel trees.
The cold weather has frozen over the smaller and shallower ponds and lakes with a skim of ice. While there have been no reports of late, the stream and creeks leading into and out of these lakes are typically good spots for winter brown and rainbow trout fishing. The Carlls, Nissaquogue and Carmen’s rivers have traditionally provided good winter trout fishing.
There was some sporadic white perch action in Santapogue Creek for anglers fishing trout worms an hour or two on both sides of high tide.
Second Pond at Grafton Lakes State Park is worth a look. Thompson’s Lake in Albany County may be an option. Anglers were on parts of Queechy Lake in Columbia County as well. It remained a waiting game for the Lake George crowd.
Brant Lake offered good ice conditions but fishing has been slow.
Saratoga Lake saw some ice fishing activity, but not a lot of catch reports.
Southeastern New York
We’re not hearing a lot from ice anglers in the region, and it looks like the reservoir crowd is still playing the waiting game, which is probably a good idea right now.
Given the weather, the best option right now for the fly-fishing crowd is attending the annual Fly Fishing Show Jan. 25-27 at the New Jersey Exposition and Convention Center in Edison, N.J. For more info go online to www.flyfishingshow.com.
Also, don’t forget the upcoming (Feb. 8-10) Coyote Hunt sponsored by the Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs of Sullivan County. The contest carries a $3,00 top prize. For more info go to www.SportsmansFederation.com.
St. Lawrence River: The river’s bays are offering plenty of ice fishing options, with some days better than most for a mix of perch and northerns, as well as the occasional walleye.
Black Lake: Anglers were out on the hard water and reporting plenty of perch, but many dinks.