Wednesday, February 8th, 2023
Wednesday, February 8th, 2023

Breaking News for

Sportsmen Since 1967

New York Fishing Report – March 12, 2020

Western New York

Since the mid-1990s the DEC has held public annual State of Lake Ontario meetings in Oswego, Monroe and Niagara counties in the spring to inform the public of the results of fisheries assessment/research programs conducted during the previous year’s field season. In 2016 DEC began conducting meetings each fall to present and receive feedback on results of the lake-wide preyfish survey conducted in April/May. To be more efficient, DEC will now combine the content of those meetings into a single venue that will be held in the fall. That means no State of the Lake meetings this spring. DEC will continue to offer additional information through updates and annual reports posted on the DEC’s Lake Ontario Unit web page and through an email newsletter.


The big news that the ice boom is coming out already. It was the second earliest ever for this to take place. Also, DEC announced new regulations in place for the Niagara River and Lake Ontario, as well as the tributaries as of April 1 this year. For the Niagara River and Lake Ontario, there will be an extra month added on to the lake trout season, giving anglers the month of December to pursue lakers. In Lake Ontario proper, the steelhead limit will be reduced from 3 to 2 fish as part of your overall 3-fish creel for salmon and trout. In the tributaries, the brown trout creel limit will drop from 3 to 1 fish. The steelhead limit will remain at 1, but the minimum size will increase from 21 inches to 25 inches. Check out the DEC website at for more information.


Fishing was good in the river prior to the last storm, according to Capt. Matt Yablonsky of Youngstown, but the water color changed and forced charter cancellations. Steelhead, lake trout and brown trout were all being caught when the conditions allowed. Walle season (along with northern pike, pickerel and tiger musky) closed March 15. 


Chautauqua Lake: Time to get the boat ready now that the iffy ice fishing season is over.


The DEC Region 9 fisheries office will be running an angler diary program on the Genesee River in Allegany and Wyoming counties from March 1 through Oct. 31. The program will cover the river from the Pennsylvania state line downstream through Letchworth State Park and will record data for both trout and bass fishing trips. If you fish the Genesee River (even once) and would like to keep a diary for DEC call the Region 9 fisheries office at (716) 379-6379 or e-mail at The diary program will be used to evaluate the quality of the fishery and determine future management actions.


Orleans County: Ron Bierstine at Oak Orchard Tackle & Lodge reported high flows in The Oak at last check but water color was not that bad so anglers were able to get some drifts in the turbine channel.  Flows in the turbine channel can only get so high and as long as the color does not get muddy anglers can still make some reasonably productive high water drifts. There’s a good chance that flows ahead through March and April are more prone to higher and stained than lower and clearer so if you want to get some drifts in for fresh steelhead you’ll have to contend with the higher water. For now the other area smaller tributaries are high and dirty.  Look for some lowering or clearing of flows if there is no more significant precipitation.  The smallest tributaries that are “tribs of tribs” or smallest direct ditches to the lake will offer driftable chances sooner.

Central New York

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 (leaves DEC website).


Lake Ontario: Steelhead were being found in most of the tributaries. With the rain and snowmelt most streams were running high. Egg sacs, beads and egg imitating flies have been productive, either bottom bounced or fished under a float.


Oswego River: High flows made much of the river unfishable. Before the high water anglers were getting steelhead and brown trout on beads, jigs, and egg sacs, either fished under a float or bottom bounced.


Remember, the bridge to Leto Island is closed, and there are mandatory PFD zones on the river. 


Salmon River: Most of pressure continued to be on the upper sections of river in the deeper holes. Egg sacs (blue or pink mesh), beads, pink worms, jig and waxworms, egg-imitating flies and nymphs are all working at times. 

Finger Lakes/Southern Tier

A reminder that from Nov. 1 to May 1, all persons aboard a pleasure vessel less than 21 feet must wear a PFD while in motion.


Skaneateles Lake: The DEC launch remains closed for the season.


Cayuga Lake: Some lake trout were being taken in shallow water near shore by anglers casting stickbaits and blade baits. A few boats were on the lake when the weather cooperated but it was difficult to get a handle on the fishing. That said, this can be a great time of year to locate lakers, landlocks and browns high in the water column and in the shallows.


Keuka Lake: A few lake trout were being caught by a few anglers getting out.


Seneca Lake: Perch action was hit and miss.


Chenango, Chemung, Tioughnioga and Susquehanna rivers: High water and walleye season is closed anyway so we won’t likely hear much for a while.


Warm water (bass, pike, etc.) angler diary cooperators are needed for Seneca, Keuka, Canandaigua, Hemlock, and Canadice lakes. If interested contact DEC’s Region 8 fisheries office at or by calling (585) 226-5343.


Also, DEC Region 7 fisheries staff are always looking for new participants in its Angler Diary Cooperator Program for the Finger Lakes. The numbers of participating anglers have dropped in recent years, and they need new cooperators now more than ever. If you fish Cayuga Lake, Owasco Lake, Skaneateles Lake, Otisco Lake or any of their tributaries and want to learn more about the program and how to sign up, contact the Region 7 Fisheries office at (607) 753-3095, ext. 213, or ny email at


DEC will continue to solicit comments from the public on the draft Recreation Management Plan (RMP) for the Croghan Tract Conservation Easement through Friday, April 3. 


Send written comments to: NYS Dept of Environmental Conservation, Attn: Matt Nowak, 7327 State Route 812 Lowville, NY 13367, or email  


In addition, the public can visit the Croghan Tract Conservation Easement draft RMP Survey to share comments. 


The Croghan Tract Conservation Easement is comprised of 12,816 acres of private forestland, located in the towns of Croghan and Watson in Lewis County. The draft RMP includes an inventory of natural and man-made resources and proposes how public recreation will be managed on the property.


The draft RMP is available to view or download on the DEC website. Copies of the RMP can be requested by emailing or by calling DEC at 315-785-2263 or 315-376-3521.


We’re not hearing much now on the fishing front, with ice fishing winding down and conditions very much hit and miss for open-water anglers.

Long Island/NYC

The winter trout fishing showed improvement this report period as a result of the mild weather. Brown and rainbow trout were reported at Bubble Falls and Rattlesnake Creek.  Trout worms and PowerBaits were the top producers. The fishing was best at high tide and when the sun was up to warm the shallows a few degrees.


Largemouth bass, pickerel and panfish also became more active this report period. The best fishing was in the afternoon when the fish moved into the warmer shallows. Spoons, spinners, small swimmers as well as streamers fished on a floating fly line were all productive. 


The winter groundfish season remains good with codfish, haddock, pollock and ling (aka red hake) the primary targeted species. The open and charter boats running out of the South Shore ports of Sheepshead Bay, East Rockaway and Fire Island inlets, as well as Montauk and Orient points all reported good mixed bag fishing, with more haddock on the east end and more ling on the west end.  Anglers fishing out of Sheepshead Bay and New York Bight reported adding a few mackerel to the catch. In all areas, fresh clams, mackerel chunks, and diamond jigs fished with a teaser were all productive.  


Charter and open boats continue to schedule extended time fishing trips to allow for longer runs and more time on the fishing grounds. These trips typically target the less-fished grounds where cod in the 20-pound class are common, as are pollock and haddock over 10 pounds. These trips are requiring reservation as the number of anglers are limited to provide.  

Guy Zummo


DEC is looking for participants to join the department’s Striped Bass Cooperative Angler Programs to help biologists understand and maintain a healthy striped bass population. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) requires New York state to provide catch information from its recreational fishery to manage this species. Volunteer anglers play a crucial role in helping DEC satisfy this requirement, and all anglers who fish for striped bass are invited to participate.


DEC provides volunteer anglers with logbooks and instructions to record catch information such as fishing location, gear used, and number of fish caught. Anglers may participate whether fishing by boat or from the shore. Volunteers return their logbooks at the end of the season. Biologists analyze the recreational fishery data and send it to anglers in a newsletter, providing an inside look into the striped bass fishing season. Participants also receive the latest news and information about regulations and annual fish population surveys.


This year, anglers may choose to use DEC’s new online logbook and record catch information on their smartphone or computer.


Anglers who fish for striped bass north of the George Washington Bridge in the tidal Hudson River, should visit DEC’s Hudson River Striped Bass website to learn more about the Hudson River Cooperative Angler Program.


Anglers who fish for striped bass in New York’s marine waters south of the George Washington Bridge, should contact the Diadromous Fish Unit at or visit DEC’s Striped Bass Cooperative Angler website.

Capital District

Not much left in the way of ice fishing, but the good news is that water conditions at last check looked good for the April 1 trout opener and DEC fisheries personnel expected to be able to stock many streams ahead of the season kickoff.

Southeastern New York

Under a new law known as Brianna’s Law, all motorboat operators will need a boating safety certificate. How soon this certificate is required depends on your age, but by Jan. 1, 2025 all operators of motorized vessels regardless of age will need a certificate. For more information on Brianna’s Law, classes, and the age breakdown please view Boating Education on the New York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation website.


Water conditions looked good ahead of the April 1 trout season kickoff, and many of the region’s waters were expected to be stocked ahead of the opener.


Not hearing much now, but that will change when trout season kicks off April 1.

Thousand Islands

St. Lawrence River: There are likely still a few bays offering up safe ice, but at this stage of the game we don’t feel comfortable suggesting a hard-water outing.


Black Lake: Ice fishing is winding down, so things will be pretty quiet on the fishing front until the open-water season arrives.

Share on Social


Hand-Picked For You

Related Articles