New York Outdoor News Fishing & Hunting Report – May 3, 2019
Western New York
Chautauqua Lake: The black crappie bite in the canals went cold but should pick up with warmer weather. There were still some decent catches on the open lake. Target crappie in the canals, near inlets and traditional open lake areas such as Ashville Bay, Burtis Bay, Cheney Point, Lakewood Bar, Rock Island, Grass Island, Bemus Bay, Whitney Bay, Dewittville Bay and the flats off Mayville. Small jigs tipped with a small minnow, one-inch tube or other small plastic and fished under a pencil float, works well for crappie. Bullhead were biting along shorelines, especially during low-light periods.
In the upper Niagara River, Jeff Pippard at Niagara Outdoors in North Tonawanda reports that perch have been hitting around Beaver Island State Park at the marina and in many of the bays around the island. Just look for the emerald shiners. A few rainbows and lake trout have been taken off Gratwick Park in North Tonawanda on spinners.
There has been good trout action in the lower Niagara River around Devil’s Hole and Artpark from boat and shore anglers, according to Lisa Drabczyk at Creek Road Bait and Tackle in Lewiston. Boat drifters are using minnows, shiners and egg sacs. Shore casters were using spinners, spoons, jigs, and egg sacs or egg imitations. Some captains insist that there are some smelt in the river, marking large pods of bait away from the shoreline. Smelt dippers may be scoring now.
For Lake Ontario and the tributaries, steelhead were hitting flies on the surface in some of the creeks. Browns have been hitting eggs, so sacs and beads will do the trick. Pier action has been good in Wilson and Olcott, according to Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctors in Olcott. Spoons, spinners and eggs were productive. Out in the lake, trolling stickbaits in shallow water was working in front of Four Mile and Wilson to take browns. Capt. Matt Yablonsky of Youngstown reported good action on a mixed bag, including a number of coho salmon on Dreamweaver Super Slim “Get ’er Done” spoons and Jr. Challenger Lady Bug lures off the boards, the downriggers and flatlining off the back of the boat in relatively shallow water. Capt. Alan Sauerland of Newfane was fishing spoons and stickbaits to take lake trout, brown trout and bass. The lakers were coming from 65 to 70 feet of water in front of Wilson. A few chinook salmon were also being caught. Just a reminder that if you are fishing the lake and catch any coho salmon, the state’s DEC is still conducting a study to help them determine the success of stocking spring yearlings versus fall fingerling plants.
DEC biologists are asking anglers to donate any coho salmon heads and the information on your catch, and whether the fish has a tag or not. The process is straightforward. Catch a coho and check for an adipose fin clip. Mark all the information at a freezer site such as Fort Niagara State Park, Wilson Harbor (Bootleggers Cove and the Wilson Boat Yard) and Olcott at the town of Newfane Marina, to name a few. Bags and labels are available in the freezer. Make sure you provide the information of where you caught the fish, whether it had a clip and total length of the fish. For more information, contact Mike Connerton with DEC at 315-654-2147.
Central New York
There are 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.
Lake Ontario: Brown trout action has been good, with anglers picking up fish on spoons or stickbaits fished in shallow water.
Oswego River: Not sure on the flows right now, but there wasn’t much fishing going on at last check due to high water levels.
Remember, the bridge to Leto Island is closed, and there are mandatory PFD zones on the river.
Salmon River: High water at last check and not much happening. Things may have improved by now.
Water flow information by Brookfield Renewable Energy for the Salmon River can be found at the Brookfield Renewable website.
Oneida Lake: Windy conditions made getting out on parts of the lake tricky. When you can get out, look for yellow perch in 10 to 15 feet of water. Walleye season opens May 4 and the lake will see a bit more traffic then. The annual walleye egg take at the Oneida Lake Fish Hatchery in Constantia has been completed. There will still be some walleye to see in the hatchery and in Scriba Creek. The hatchery is open to the public from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Sodus Bay: Yellow perch and black crappie were being caught in the bay. No word on bullhead yet but with the warmer temperatures they should be biting.
Finger Lakes/Southern Tier
Cayuga Lake: Brown trout action was very good for anglers willing to brave chilly temps, and things should be even hotter now that the weather has warmed a bit. Perch action was good at the north end. Trolling stickbaits or spoons in the off-colored water often works well for the browns. There should still be some rainbows in the tributaries.
Skaneateles Lake: The DEC launch is open and one dock is in. Anglers were getting some yellow perch. The rainbow trout fishing in Grout Brook has been slow but there likely is still some rainbows in the tributaries.
Seneca Lake: Not hearing much from the perch crowd; many Seneca anglers have migrated to Cayuga Lake, which has offered better fishing of late.
The rehab project at the Sampson Marina has delayed its opening, as well as the boat launch opening until, at last report, mid-June.
Keuka Lake: Yellow perch were being caught on small jigs fished in 15 to 25 feet of water. Lake trout were being caught in 50 to 100 feet of water by vertical jigging.
Canandaigua Lake: Perch action was good in 15-25 feet of water for anglers using jigs or minnows.
Things are starting to warm up and, not coincidentally, fishing is starting to pick up on the West Branch of the Ausable and other trout waters in the region. On the West Branch, most of the river has now been stocked with trout, although flows were high at last look. The river always seems to produce trout on stonefly patterns, and now is the time for early black stones. Hendricksons should be around, as well.
Not hearing a lot on Lake Champlain, but those anglers getting out were scoring on northern pike, bass and lake trout. With walleye season approaching South Bay may see some more fishing pressure.
Backcountry brook trout anglers are now humping into their favorite ponds, but info on the fishing is always tough to glean from the tight-lipped brook trout crowd.
Spring gobbler hunting is now in full swing as well, with pockets of birds available to hunters willing to do some scouting.
This report period marked the transition between the winter ground fish season and the start of the spring season. While anglers were, at times, hampered by dense fog and days of high winds, there were enough good weather days to enjoy the excellent start to the striped bass season as well as target the improved flounder bite.
As the stripers continue to work their way eastward along the South Shore coast, and into Long Island Sound as they travel down the Hudson River, the striper fishing has become more widespread and improving every day. The best striper fishing now is in New York Bight. Expect the stripers that arrived in good numbers this report period to work their way eastward, with consistent action by early May in central Long Island and by early June at Montauk and Orient points.
Anglers fishing south of the United Nations building in the East River, around Governor’s Island and to the Verrazano Bridge reported limits of keeper stripers, some in the 30-pound class, caught on fresh bunker chunks or diamond jigs. Anglers fishing from the Verrazano Bridge out into New York Bight and along the Coney Island coast also reported keeper stripers, with most anglers reporting the best action trolling Mojo Rigs and diamond jigging when the stripers were located feeding on schools of bait.
Further to the east, between Debs and Fire Island inlets, the better striper action was reported by anglers fishing the surfcasting tins and poppers. Most of the fish were shorts, but the numbers were there as anglers reported 20-fish days when they located a school of stripers. A few anglers reported being bitten off, indicating that there are a few bluefish are in the mix. Similar action was reported in the back of Jamaica Bay near JFK Airport and around Floyd Bennett Field. These back-bay stripers are also providing plenty of action for flyrodders casting bunker imitations.
The ocean artificial reefs have been largely quiet, with a few blackfish reported as well as some dogfish. Further offshore, boats targeting cod, pollock, ling and haddock continue to run daily trips out of ports east of Moriches Inlet with good success, but boats fishing New York Bight were reporting less action than during the last few report periods as the fish are moving further offshore.
The boats that are making the long-range trips to the offshore wrecks continue to report excellent cod, ling, pollock and haddock action, with the latter being more predominant on the East End. This fishing should remain consistent through June.
Anglers targeting winter flounder reported the best action in the western Long Island Sound. Most anglers are limiting out on good-sized winter flounder on bloodworms fished in conjunction with heavy clam and/or mussel chum. In the Great South Bay, Moriches and Shinnecock bays, and in the North Shore harbors, the winter flounder action has been slower, but should pick up as the water warms. The fishing action typically becomes more consistent as the winter flounder move toward the inlet mouths and harbor entrances toward the end of May.
Trout continued to be caught in the stocked lakes and streams, but in fewer numbers. Anglers fishing the lakes reported an increase in the yellow perch and largemouth bass action, with some of the largemouths approaching the 3-pound mark. The bluegill and crappie fishing is showing improvement as the water warms.
Plenty of stream trout options now, with waters warming and DEC’s stocking efforts in full swing. The Battenkill, Kayaderosseras and Hannacrois Creek are worth a look, as is Thompson’s Lake.
Saratoga Lake has seen some fishing pressure from the panfish crowd, and with walleye season on the horizon seasoned anglers in the know may be hitting the lake, as well.
Southeastern New York
A lot of the focus is now on the Hudson River striper run, with some bigger fish now making their way up river to the Troy Dam. The Saugerties area was producing some big stripers, and they should be found further up river by now, as well.
Trout fishing shouldn’t be overlooked, either, with DEC’s stocking efforts in full swing and plenty of fish available.
Spring gobbler hunters were taking their early shots as well, so there are plenty of options for the sportsman.
The region’s trout waters were generally high last week, but conditions likely have improved by now. If they haven’t, hit the small tributaries and brooks for wild trout. Bugs were starting to appear on the Neversink – Quill Gordons, Hendricksons, Blue Quills, Olives in size 18, as well as Caddis in 18 and 14. The lower end of the Neversink has been more productive.
Beaverkill and Willowemoc: Look for brown and black stoneflies, Olives in 18s, Blue Quills and size 18 Caddis.
Delaware East Branch: Olives in size 18 have been pretty consistent of late, along with Blue Quills, Quill Gordons, black stoneflies, and small Caddis.
Delaware West Branch: A mix of small Olives, Blue Quills, Quill Gordons, Caddis and Stoneflies.
Delaware Main Stem: Pretty much the same as the West Branch. Anglers floating the tailwaters have done well with streamers.
Esopus: Stoneflies and BWOs.
St. Lawrence River: Perch anglers have been scoring well, and with walleye soon to be an option fishing pressure will pick up.
Black Lake: It’s a bluegill and crappie game now, and fishing has been excellent when weather warms. Some attention will also be paid to walleye when that season opens, but the lake is perhaps best known for offering some superb panfish action this time of year.