New York Outdoor News Fishing & Hunting Report – July 12, 2019
Western New York
Lake Erie: Walleye seem to be scattered in most areas, making anglers work a bit harder for a good box. From Dunkirk to the Pennsylvania line, depths of 45-70 feet are a good bet for walleye of mixed sizes. The walleye bite has been a little slower between Cattaraugus Creek and Sturgeon Point, with most effort in 45-60 feet of water. Near Buffalo, the better bite has been in deeper waters of 50-55 feet near the international line. The top techniques in all areas has been slow trolling (1 mph or less) and bottom bouncing with a worm harness or by trolling stickbaits and harnesses in the bottom half of water column. Don’t overlook reef areas when searching for walleye. Anglers typically catch walleye around the deeper edges of reefs by bottom bouncing with worm harnesses. Good spots to try include Seneca Shoal, Myers Reef, Evans Bar and Van Buren Reef.
There has been an uptick in yellow perch catches off Cattaraugus Creek in 52-60 feet of water, but searching around for perch pods on the bottom is necessary. There have also been some recent perch catches off Dunkirk Harbor in 35-45 feet of water. Emerald shiners, golden shiners and salted shiners are good perch baits. Smallmouth bass fishing was tapering off in the harbors as post-spawn bass return to the lake. In the open lake, anglers can target smallmouth bass in 20-35 feet of water, from Buffalo to Barcelona. The key is to find rocky bottom structure like reefs, rock piles and drop-offs.
Niagara River: Smallmouth bass were available throughout the upper river. Concentrate on areas outside weed edges in 10-20 feet of water. Drifting with a bottom bouncing rig and crayfish or shiner works well. At shore sites, anglers mainly catch yellow perch, rock bass, black bass and sheepshead.
Moss is a growing problem in the lower river. There are plenty of smallmouth bass around, but the moss results in frequent lure and line fouling. High water levels are causing problems for shore anglers. The NYPA platform is closed and the water is over much of the “landing” areas where people fish along Whirlpool, Devils Hole and Artpark state parks. Anglers can wet a line from shore at Lewiston Landing, Joe Davis State Park platform and Youngstown landing.
Lake Ontario: At report time, the launches at Fort Niagara State Park (north launch only), town of Wilson, Wilson-Tuscarora State Park, town of Newfane (Olcott) and Golden Hill State Park were open. However, open launches may have intermittent closures due to Lake Ontario flooding. It is best to call ahead. You may need to center launch without aid of launch docks at any Niagara County launch, except the town of Newfane launch.
King salmon were becoming a bit more scattered and small bait pods were constantly moving, too. This has resulted in hit or miss fishing recently, with limits for some and a skunking for others. Out of Wilson, trollers have located kings at depths of 80-120 feet of water and in 200-350 feet of water. Off Olcott, kings were scattered between 60-350 feet of water. Fish were scattered within the water column, too, from 100 feet down to just below the surface. However, anglers were reporting lots of marks and catches in the top 20 feet. Over deeper water, there have been fair numbers of steelhead catches mixed in. Large spoons, flasher-fly combos and meat rigs are all working.
Chautauqua Lake: Anglers were seeing a good walleye bite around the north basin from the weedline out to 25 feet of water. Trolling with stickbaits and worm harnesses and drifting and jigging with blade baits or jig and a worm have been productive. In the south basin, trolling around the deeper, middle section has been productive. The largemouth bass bite has been very good around weedbeds and docks. In addition to productive bass offerings like stickbaits, spinnerbaits, plastics and live shiners, bass were now also hitting surface lures.
Central New York
Information about the status of DEC’s North Sandy Pond boat launch is available on DEC’s website at: www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/23877.html. Fee launching is still available at several of the private marinas on North Sandy Pond; calling in advance is recommended. Boaters are reminded that a no wake 5 mph speed limit is in effect for recreational vessels operating within 1,000 feet of Lake Ontario shoreline.
Oneida Lake: With bass season now open and summer in full swing, expect more boat traffic on the big lake. That said, anglers have been scoring on good numbers of walleye in depths of 5 out to 30 feet; keepers and short fish are in the mix. Bass fishing has also been very good, and pickerel, perch and bluegill are also available. Watch out for floating debris.
Finger Lakes/Southern Tier
Cayuga Lake: We can’t stress this enough: Cayuga lake is the place to be right now, with fantastic fishing for bass and some huge smallmouths being boated – and hopefully released. Lake trout fishing has also been red-hot for the trollers, as well as the growing legion of vertical jig fishers.
Otisco Lake: Look for smallmouths around docks and along shorelines with wacky rigged stickworms. For tiger muskies, cast jerkbaits or spinnerbaits around the weedbeds on the north end and along shore.
Skaneateles Lake: Smallmouth bass and rock bass should be biting in shallow water along the shore on drop-shot rigs or tube jigs.
Chemung, Susquehanna, Chenango and Tioughnioga rivers: The rivers were finally settling into decent fishing condition, so smallmouth fishing should be a great option with waters clearing and receding.
Fishing on the West Branch of the Ausable has been very good of late, with water still a bit high but running clear at last look. Nymphing has been productive, and trout have also been caught on attractor dries. Stoneflies have come alive, with great fishing on girdle bugs and Lexy’s golden stone patterns. When in doubt stoneflies are always a good choice.
On Lake Champlain, recreational boat traffic hasn’t seemed to slow down the fishing, with smallmouth and largemouth action very good and trollers still connecting on lake trout and landlocked salmon.
Bass and pike are available in the Saranac Chain of Lakes.
The offshore fishing for sharks and tuna was red hot this report period. Makos, generally between 75 and 150 pounds, threshers to 450 pounds, blue sharks to 150 pounds, and brown sharks to 100 pounds were caught along and between the 20- and 30-fathom lines. The larger concentration of blues sharks was reported along the 30-fathom line. A few makos over 250 pounds were reported by boats fishing The Canyons. There were a few small tiger sharks caught, including a 5-footer caught in the mud hole. Anglers targeting sharks reported a few bluefish along the 20-fathom line.
The bluefin tuna bite at The Dip and Hudson Canyons was excellent, with a plus 25-bluefin day reported by Vinny Radziul trolling The Dip, with the bluefins between 60 and 100 pounds. Anglers searching around the Coimbra and Bacardi wrecks reported similar sized bluefin caught on jigs and poppers. The key was to find the schools of large sand eels that the bluefin are feeding on. Anglers also did well trolling feathers, cedar jigs and plastics when the sand eels were scattered.
The striped bass bite along the South Shore slowed significantly between New York Bight and out to Moriches Inlet, as the ocean water temperatures are just above the 70-degree mark. A few stripers continued to be caught under the schools of bunker, but there were many fishless trips reported. From Shinnecock Inlet to Montauk Point the fishing was better, with a few fish caught on live bunker over the 50-pound mark weighed in. The summer striped bass season is in full swing at Montauk Point. Boats are trolling bunker spoons, parachute jigs or live-lining porgies and spot to catch a few stripers between 15 and 25 pounds on each trip, along with a few bluefish.
Surf anglers are catching a mix of short stripers and cocktail-sized bluefish along the North Shore beaches, with the better action reported of the along the Nassau County beaches. When conditions were favorable, flyrodders did well casting spearing imitations off the beaches, for stripers and blues, along with some sea robins. The inshore bluefish bite in the South Shore inlets slowed this report period. The better bluefish action was reported by anglers fishing off the ocean beaches using poppers and tins.
The sea bass season opened to mixed results. While there were a lot of sea bass caught, the keeper to short ratio was 1 in 10-20 depending on the area. The larger sea bass, those around 2.5 to 3 pounds, were caught on the ocean wrecks in 60 to 120 feet of water and off Orient Point. Some of the better fishing was reported on the Shinnecock Reef and Cholera Banks. Skimmer clams, diamond jigs and heavy bucktails tipped with squid or Gulp! baits all produced consistent fishing. Boats fishing sea bass are also targeting ling, which overall have been very good this season. Anglers reported good catches of ling at Cholera Banks.
Some of the most consistent reports this period came from anglers fishing out of Orient Point. During the day, fluke up to 6 pounds, with the occasional 8- or 9-pounder were reported, as well as a mix of sea bass to 2.5 pounds. During the night tides, schoolie stripers, along with a good mix of keepers, were caught on diamond jigs.
Overall, the fluke fishing has improved but is not outstanding in any area. Most of the catch are shorts, with a mix of sea robins. The ocean and mid-Sound the fluke fishing produced the best overall action. In the South Shore inlets, the action was fair to good on the incoming tides, but very slow on the outgoing tides. Dennis Opaka reported catching two fluke, 3 and 3.5 pounds, fishing on a Captree open boat in front of Sore Thumb in Fire Island Inlet.
The porgy fishing remained very good in the Peconics and Gardiners Bay. A few weakfish were mixed in with the porgies. Clams and clam chum was the top producing combination. Porgies to 3 pounds were caught off the north side of Montauk Point, off Horton’s Point and around Port Jefferson.
Scott Jeffery at East End Bait and Tackle reported that the Shinnecock Canal had a mix of porgies toward the north end and some fluke at the south end. Shinnecock Inlet is producing some fluke and bluefish on the day tides and a few striped bass on the night tides. The Ponquogue Bridge had fluke, blues and bass. Anglers fishing the ocean beaches around Shinnecock Inlet did well fishing for schoolie bass using soft plastics. The small inlets in the Peconics have some porgies, fluke, schoolie bass and cocktail blues.
Boats making extended groundfish trips out of Montauk Point were rewarded with a mixed bag of fish, including haddock, cod, pollock, barrelfish and wreckfish, along with a few blueline tilefish.
The freshwater fishing was good, with the best action being the largemouth bass bite early mornings and late afternoons. Anglers targeting the edge of shaded weedbeds and shorelines reported the best action. Plastic baits, plastic worms and spinner baits all accounted for consistent action. The panfish bite was good, with the best action early morning.
Great Sacandaga Lake walleye anglers were reporting good fishing of late for a mix of keeper fish and those under the size limit.
On Lake George, anglers plying the waters early and late in the day around the recreational boat traffic were doing well on bass, and trollers were picking up lake trout and the occasional hefty landlocked Atlantic salmon.
Southeastern New York
Look for bass, both smallmouth and largemouth, in the traditional east of Hudson reservoir hotspots. Not hearing much on the trout as waters warm, although the Pepacton Reservoir is still an option for brown trout on live sawbellies.
Beaverkill: The Acid Factory section on the Beaverkill is closed now through Aug. 31; it’s a thermal refuge for the trout.
Anglers reporting they did well on the Willowemoc with midges, beetles and tan caddis during the day, also using a hopper-dropper rig through riffles and runs.
The East and West branches of the Delaware have had a lot of bugs during the day – Sulphurs and Olives on the West, Drakes, Cahills and mixed Sulphurs on the East branch.
Neversink: Has had Caddis, Sulphurs, Gray Fox, Olives, Isonychias and spinners.
St. Lawrence River: Not hearing much of late, but perch fishing has been outstanding, bass should be picking up and northern pike always seem to surprise even when you’re not targeting them.
Black Lake: Richard at Chapman’s Sport Shop reports that some quality smallmouth were being caught, but not in great numbers of late. Bluegills were still available, and the crappie bit was somewhat surprisingly hanging on. Not hearing anything on walleye lately.