New York Outdoor News Fishing & Hunting Report – July 26, 2019
Western New York
Moss is still an issue in the Niagara River, but fish are available if you can solve the moss problem. Lisa Drabczyk with Creek Road Bait and Tackle reported some decent bass action in the lower river, but you do have to work for them. Shoreline access was minimal in the lower river due to the high-water levels. Launch ramps were open at Lewiston and Fort Niagara for boaters. In the upper river, some nice muskies were being reported, including a 49.75-inch fish reeled in by Denis Kreze of Fort Erie, Ontario. He was using a Venom Musky Spinnerbait. Mixed reports on bass and walleye due to the moss. Some bass were caught off the Bird Island Pier.
Lake Ontario: Out of Olcott, Capt. Tim Sylvester of Tough Duty and his first mate Blake Kowalski of Tonawanda headed out to 400 feet of water to find more stable conditions earlier this month. It was a long-line bite as he used meat rigs on 300- and 400-foot copper lines. You had to be patient. They caught kings up to 20 pounds and steelhead up to 10 pounds. The downrigger bites were up high in 35 to 50 feet of water. Things were starting to turn around after the weather cooperated. Some good catches were reported out of Wilson. Dave Scipione of Lewiston added a 25-pound, 1-ounce king from the Niagara Bar, so the fishing seemed to be turning on just in time for the Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Association’s contests.
In the Summer LOC Derby, there was a new Grand Prize leader when Doug Higgs of Medina reeled in a 28-pound, 5-ounce king salmon out of Point Breeze. He was using cut bait. First place brown trout was a 16-pound, 9-ounce fish weighed in by Jim Sanford of Clifton Springs. Ed Klejdys of North Tonawanda had the top laker taker so far with a 24-pound, 4-ounce Niagara Bar fish. In the Steelhead Division, Steve Biernacki of Medina was setting the pace with a 14.5-pound fish he reeled in off Point Breeze. Check out loc.org for a current leaderboard. The derby ends on July 28.
Chautauqua Lake: The walleye bite in the south basin has slowed, but decent to good walleye action remains in the north basin along weed edges. Trolling with stickbaits and worm harnesses and drifting and jigging with blade baits or jig and a worm have been productive. Jigging in deeper weed pockets has also produced some walleye. The largemouth bass bite remains very good around weedbeds and docks. In addition to productive bass offerings like stickbaits, spinnerbaits, plastics and live shiners, bass are now also hitting surface lures.
Inland trout fishing: The area streams were in good fishing shape with moderate flows. Water temperatures are elevated in some streams, especially in the afternoon. Keep in mind that hooking and playing trout in warmer water can be lethal to trout. It is best to fish spring-fed streams or concentrate efforts during early hours of the day. Most insect hatches are light and sporadic now. Fly anglers can see surface action on terrestrial patterns such as ants, foam beetles and grasshoppers. Fish terrestrial patterns on a dead drift, giving a slight twitch every now and again to imitate a struggling insect.
Central New York
There are 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.
Lake Ontario and bays: With the high water levels there are no-wake zones for many Lake Ontario shorelines and bays. Wright’s Landing boat launch in Oswego is currently closed. Salmon fishing has been good for anglers who have been able to get out. In the west end fish are in 150 to 200 feet of water down 40 to 80 feet. On the east end it’s 100 to 300 feet of water down 50 to 100 feet. Spoons are still working, but so are flashers and flies at times.
Several launch sites remained closed at last check. Among them:
• Sandy Creek Fishing Access site (Monroe County);
• Port Bay West (Wayne County) – Launch is closed, but site will remain open for shoreline fishing.
• Port Bay South (Wayne County) – Launch remains open, but docks are unusable and shoreline access is restricted.
Oswego River: Look for catfish and sheepshead in the river with worms, cut bait or crayfish. Some walleye are being taken on large stickbaits.
Remember, the bridge to Leto Island is closed, and there are mandatory PFD zones on the river.
Salmon River: The river is pretty quiet this time of year, which is normal.
Oneida Lake: Walleye were still being taken at a variety of depths from shallow to deep, with the 20- to 25-foot zone being popular at the moment. Try worm harnesses, blade baits or trolling with stickbaits. Look for bass in 5 to 15 feet of water around the shoals.
Sandy Pond: Due to lake Ontario’s high water level, the DEC’s North Sandy Pond boat launch is closed.
Finger Lakes/Southern Tier
Otisco Lake: Like most of the other waters an algal bloom is also taking place here. Look for tiger muskie cast jerkbaits, chatterbaits or spinnerbaits around the weedbeds on the north end and along shore. Largemouth can be found in the weedbeds fishing with Texas rigged plastics.
Skaneateles Lake: Smallmouth bass and rock bass are biting along shore on wacky rigged stickworms, Ned-rigs and tube jigs. Some brown drakes have been hatching on the lake so it may be a good time to break out the fly rod.
Owasco Lake: Water fleas are a nuisance at this time on Owasco, so if trolling be prepared to deal with them. Flea-flicker lines or using a larger pound test monofilament sometimes help, and vertical jigging is also an option if fleas get too bad.
Cayuga Lake: Water fleas are also being a nuisance on Cayuga, so if trolling be prepared to deal with them. Flea-flicker lines or using a larger pound test monofilament sometimes help, and vertical jigging is also an option if fleas get too bad. An algal bloom is also taking place on this lake at this time. Look for largemouth bass on the north end near shore and around any weed beds. Some smallmouths are still spawning along shore in the mid-lake area. Lake trout are being taken in 50 to 150 feet of water by trolling or vertical jigging.
Seneca Lake: Some lake trout are being taken by trolling or vertical jigging in 80 to 150 feet of water.
Keuka Lake: Lakers are being taken in 65 to 75 feet of water fishing close to bottom with live alewives or vertical jigging with white paddle tail plastics. Trolling 35 to 55 feet down over 80 to 90 feet of water with Spin Doctors is also working for lake trout.
Canandaigua Lake: No new information.
Whitney Point Reservoir: Try for smallmouths along shore with tube baits or wacky rigged stickworms. Channel catfish should be hitting on cut-bait or worms. Look for walleye in the old river channel with jigs or worm harnesses.
Chenango, Chemung, Tioughnioga and Susquehanna rivers: Look for smallmouths with tube baits, spinnerbaits and topwaters. For walleye, try jigs tipped with worms and for catfish try cut-bait or worms. the rivers have looked great of late and should be offering some fine bass fishing. On hot days look for some riffles; the bronzebacks prefer that higher-oxygenated water.
West Branch of the Ausable: Keep a close eye on water temps now. The window of opportunity to fish for trout may be very limited to early mornings after a cool night. When it’s right, terrestrial patterns are the way to go. Otherwise target backcountry brook trout streams or fish the many lakes in the region for bass and pike.
Lake Champlain: Some big lake trout are being caught by those who know the lake and are vertical jigging with plastics, or trolling. Bass fishing remained good – smallmouths up north and largemouths in the south end.
Anglers returning from the waters of Lake Champlain at Shelburne Bay on the Vermont side have reported large quantities of invasive fishhook waterflea fouling their gear. Boat launch stewards with the Lake Champlain Basin Program (LCBP) noted that nearly all fishing boats returning to the Shelburne Bay and Converse Bay launches had downriggers infested with the tiny organisms. LCBP stewards removed, treated and disposed of the fishhook waterfleas. Anglers lakewide should expect to deal with them for the remainder of the summer.
The offshore fishing continued to be excellent, with lots of life in the ocean. Anglers fishing the canyons, namely Hudson and The Dip, trolled-up yellowfin tuna, bigeye tuna and mahi. Yellowfin and bigeye tunas were also caught on chunks at night. Also at night, anglers fishing deep reported catching a few swordfish and tilefish. A few white and blue marlin were reportedly caught while trolling large plastics meant for bigeye tuna. Similar fishing was reported off Montauk Point.
Closer to shore, anglers reported catching bluefin tuna in the 40- to 60-pound class, along with a few 100-pound-plus fish while jigging and casting plugs around the Bacardi and Coimbra wrecks, or by trolling spreader bars. Mahi were caught by anglers casting small white bucktails and plastic baits at floating grass mats and debris. Most of the mahi are less than 5 pounds.
The offshore fishing for sharks remained very consistent, with makos to 125 pounds and brown sharks to 100 pounds making up most of the catch. Each week there are
reports of a 250-pound-plus makos and a 450-pound threshers caught. Most anglers are fishing along the 20-fathom line around the Linda and Oregon wrecks, Chicken Canyon and off the southside of Montauk Point. The number of blue sharks continued to dwindle as the water temps are a bit above their liking.
Overall, the fluke fishing has been tough, with the action being generally slow with the keeper to short ratio about 1 in 20. The water temperatures in the South Shore bays are in the low 80s, which is too warm for most fluke. This has set up the typical South Shore fishing pattern where the better fluking was during the last two hours of the incoming tide in the inlets. The incoming tide brings the cooler and clear ocean water into the inlets. The best inshore fluke fishing was reported in the East and West Cuts of Shinnecock Bay and off the south side of Montauk Point.
The offshore fluke bite was OK, but without the numerous schools of squid that were prevalent over the last few seasons, the offshore fishing remains slow. The best bet for keepers was reported to be in 30 to 60 feet of water. There has been a fair mix of sea robins in the catches both offshore and inshore, but not enough to be bothersome. The top fluke bait/lure remained squid and spearing combinations, bucktails and fluke balls tipped with squid or Gulp Baits, and in the ocean large Peruvian squid or strip baits of sea robin or bluefish.
The best sea bass fishing was reported by anglers fishing in Block Island Sound and the deeper ocean wrecks, where limits of sea bass to 3.5 pounds were reported. Closer to shore, there are a lot of sea bass, but the catch is mostly shorts. Clams and diamond jigs tipped with squid strips were the top picks in all spots. A few triggerfish were reported mixed in with the sea bass on the inshore grounds, especially on the artificial reefs and off the jetties.
Some of the best fluke and sea bass fishing was reported off Orient Point. Sea bass around 4 pounds and fluke between 5 and 7 pounds were typical pool fish. Most anglers limited out on both fluke and sea bass during a single trip. The night tides have been producing stripers in the 20-pound class, with a few larger ones in the mix, with the best action on drifted bucktails.
The striped bass fishing in all places, except Montauk Point, has been very slow. There are still large schools of bunker in the ocean, but they remain largely unmolested. The better reports for stripers came from anglers covering a decent amount of water by trolling mojo rigs with either shad bodies bunker spoons at the top lure. Off Montauk Point, striped bass around 15 pounds with the occasional 20-pound-plus striper and a few bluefish were caught on trolled parachute jigs or tubes, as well on live porgies. Diamond jigging the reefs, such as Great Easton, resulted in a fair number of stripers caught.
Scott Jeffery at East End Bait and Tackle reported that the porgy bite remained good near Rodgers Rock and Jessups Neck on clams. There are a few weakfish in the deeper holes of Noyak Bay taking squid on hi-lo rigs. The Shinnecock Canal had porgies on the north end and fluke on the south end, along with a few bluefish and striped bass. Anglers fishing the Ponquogue Bridge reported back that fluke and schoolie bass were caught. A few schoolie bass were caught of the Shinnecock Inlet jetty during the early-morning tides.
The best porgy fishing was reported in the western Sound. Porgies to 3 pounds were common. Most trips resulted in limits of keepers caught on clams.
Small snappers have invaded the canals and bays. These snappers are about 4 inches long and are hungry. Anglers did well fishing all the traditional methods, including fishing spearing under a bobber and casting snapper poppers.
The freshwater fishing was good during the early mornings and late afternoons. Largemouth bass were caught on plastic worms and spinner baits as well as on plugs. Panfish were caught on worms, Power Bait and small spinners or marabou jigs
Lake George: Plenty of recreational boat traffic now, so fish early in the morning or late in the evening. Trollers have scored on lake trout and the occasional salmon, and bass fishing has been good.
Great Sacandaga Lake: Walleye anglers were reporting good fishing for a mix of keeper fish and several under the size limit.
Saratoga Lake: Some solid largemouth catches have been reported, including during Saratoga Tackle and Archery’s Tuesday Night Bass Challenge tourneys.
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.
Bass possibilities include Ashokan Reservoir, Rondout Reservoir, Chodikee Lake, Rondout Creek, Wallkill River, Onteora Lake, Toronto Reservoir, Swinging Bridge Reservoir, Round Lake, Greenwood Lake, Sylvan Lake, Stissing Pond, Middle Branch Reservoir, Croton Falls Reservoir, White Pond, Muscoot Reservoir and New Croton Reservoir.
For walleye, check out East Branch Reservoir, Swinging Bridge Reservoir, Rio Reservoir, Wallkill River (New Paltz Section) and Greenwood Lake.
The Acid factory stretch of the Beaverkill (the Horton area between the bridges), is closed to fishing from July 1 through Aug. 31 as a thermal refuge for the protection of trout.)
The West and East branches of the Delaware have been fishing well, with more bugs on the West Branch. The best fishing on the East Branch is sometimes the last hour of the day with small olives and sulphers. Water temps will rise in the after and we recommend not fishing the Beaverkill or Willowemoc. On the Main Stem of the Delaware at Buckingham and below water temps are warm there, too. We recommend not fishing for trout. Neversink at Bridgeville downstream check the water temps; you may have a window of opportunity in the mornings. Esopus is getting warm in sections in the afternoon. Remember, closer to the source “dams” the colder the water. West Branch of the Delaware was in good shape to fish and has had a lot of afternoon bug activity.
St. Lawrence River: Bass and pike have been cooperative, and we’ve received reports of a few muskies being boated. Not hearing much now on the perch front, although it has been a great season for ringbacks.
Black Lake: Smallmouth bass action should be good, including top-water possibilities. Remember, if you plan on keeping them – and we’re not recommending that – there’s a 15-inch size limit on the bronzebacks. Bluegill and crappie may also be an option.