Report from the Dock
Recent rains should be helping rivers and streams recover and late-season fishing on those that are open awaits aspiring anglers. New York’s “keeper” bass season remains open through Nov. 30 and is catch-and-release across most of the state starting Dec. 1.
Anglers are catching fall walleyes by using worm harnesses, bouncing the bottom and trolling into the current. The smallmouth bite generally slows down the largemouth bite should pick up.
Adirondacks & Capital District
With the whitetail rut coming on, most of the action is in the woods. However, anglers are targeting lake trout and salmon in bigger waters, including Lake Champlain. Lake George often sees some fall shore-fishing action for lakers as well. DEC has removed docks from many public boat launches, including the Horicon launch on Schroon Lake.
Catskills/Southeastern New York
Most trout waters are closed up now, and the Esopus had no changes in brown trout spawn action.
David Dirks, dirksoutdoors.com
Central New York, Finger Lakes and the Southern Tier
DEC reports that docks have been removed from most of the state’s boat launches. Not much else to report as anglers look ahead to the ice fishing season.
The shore bite has started so casting stickbaits (minnow imitating lures) just before and after dark has been working for walleyes. Good colors are typically black and silver, blue and silver, and fire tiger.
The flow is up from recent rains.Salmon are still being taken up around the dam and powerhouse. A few steelhead and brown trout are also starting to show up.
Fish are spread throughout the river and are actively spawning. Try egg imitating plastics or flies, and streamers. Steelhead, and some brown trout, are starting to be taken in the lower and mid-river areas.
With the cooler weather yellow perch fishing should start to pick-up in the bay, try small minnows in 15 to 20 foot of water.
Whitney Point Reservoir
The Reservoir has been drawn down approximately six feet for repair work to take place on the structures that hold the docks at the park and boat launch. Because of the drawdown you will unlikely be able to launch a trailered boat at this time.
Overall, anglers have had to deal with tough weather conditions as of late with most days being rainy or windy, or a combination of both. But fortunately, there were several good weather windows allowing anglers to take advantage of the excellent blackfish, striped bass, bluefish, and sea bass fishing.
Anglers targeting blackfish from the shore reported good catches from both the North Shore and South Shore rocks lining the inlets and harbor mouths. A few false albacore were reported from the North Shore harbor entrances. In areas where bridge abutments are reachable from the shore, anglers who cast close to the bridge abutments where rocks extend outward on the bottom to protect from scour, reported plenty of mostly short blackfish, but many limits were reported.
Anglers targeting blackfish from the North Shore beaches reported good fishing when working the bolder fields with the key to success was moving and casting until a fish was caught. Green crabs were the top bait with clams also productive. There was a good amount of sea bass reported caught with the blackfish as well as a few striped bass by anglers using clams.
Boaters did well targeting blackfish and sea bass on the artificial reefs, offshore wrecks, and bridge abutments. Boats fishing in Block Island Sound, the Rhode Island coast and between Port Jefferson and Mattituck reported excellent blackfish and sea bass fishing. Typical pool winning blackfish were around 8 pounds and sea bass approaching 5 pounds. There were a few jumbo porgies as well as the occasional codfish reported. The best sea bass fishing was reported in water deeper than 60 feet, where a few ling were also reported. Green and white crabs were the top baits in all locations.
Mackerel, bonito, and bluefish were reported by anglers fishing the artificial reefs and wrecks in 60 feet of water and deeper, with the best action reported west of Jones Inlet, where diamond jigs were the top producer.
The porgy fishing has slowed. The best action was reported in New York Bight where the water is a few degrees warmer thank on the East End. They were reported around by shore anglers fishing around the Verrazano Bridge by shore and boat anglers, as well as out into the Ambrose Channel.
The striped bass fishing was good to excellent depending on location as well as day to day as many of the stripers were feeding on the massive schools of bunker around the Island. With so much bait in the water, the stripers were difficult to catch at times. The largest stripers, those 40 pounds and larger, were reported between Fire Island Inlet and New York Bight, but all areas had reports of stripers to 30 pounds. Boaters did well live-lining bunker, using bunker chunks, diamond jigging as well as trolling bunker spoons or large plastic shad lures on either wire line or as part of a Mojo rig in the ocean. Anglers drifting inside the inlets reported the best action while clam belling or drifting live eels. A nice surprise was that several anglers targeting stripers reported catching bluefin tuna to 90 pounds just outside the South Shore inlets.
Surfcasters reported good striper fishing on the ocean beaches casting tins and poppers during the daylight and darters or bottle plugs after dark. Most of the stripers were in the teens, with a few approaching 30 pounds. Along the North Shore beaches most of the stripers were less than 15 pounds. Anglers fishing Montauk Point reported good action with schoolie stripers on bucktails, tins, small poppers, and swimming plugs. Mixed in with the stripers were bluefish and false albacore.
Stripers were holding in the back of the harbors making them prime targets for flyrodders casting juvenile bunker and spearing imitation flies. Flyrodders and light tackle anglers reported schoolie sized stripers from in the western Great South Bay east into Jamaica Bay. A few weakfish were mixed in with the stripers.
There were small schools of bluefish reported attacking schools of bunker, spearing and bay anchovies throughout the report area. These bluefish were reported along the beach fronts and back into the bays and harbors. There were reports of large bluefish in the mid-Sound, with the action improving over the last few reports. Tins, flies, and plugs were all productive.
The freshwater fishing was difficult with all the rain as the water cooled quickly and turned muddy in many areas. Panfish were the most cooperative fish with trout worms, Power Baits, small spinners and for the fly-rodders, bead head nymphs and streamers all producing well. A few largemouth baits were reported on night crawlers, plastic worms, swimming plugs and spinner baits.
Guy Zummo, firstname.lastname@example.org
Western New York
There has been a decent walleye bite in 30-50 feet of water around the deeper holes in the north basin. Blade baits and jigging Rapalas (or similar) work well. Walleyes are also available around shallower weed beds at night. Muskellunge fishing is improving along weedlines, which is typical of the fall season. Target muskies by trolling with large stickbaits or by casting large bucktail spinners.
Lake Erie and tributaries
Lake Erie anglers report decent to good yellow perch fishing off Cattaraugus Creek in 55-65 feet of water. Perch are tight to the bottom and scattered. The key is to find an active pod. Live emerald shiners are the top bait, but salted emeralds or other small minnows will work in a pinch.
Cattaraugus Creek has been the best steelhead game in town and was fishing well. Since recent rain and high water events, steelhead have moved up into all tributaries and the fishing has been pretty good. The rain affects stream levels to some degree, likely more so to the south. Lake Erie steelhead commonly hit natural baits like egg sacs or worms, flies including egg imitations, black stone flies, nymphs, streamer and bugger patters, and lures such as minnow-type stickbaits, in-line spinners and small spoons.
There are still salmon around and things are on the downhill slide for kings, but with an upswing for browns in places like the 18 Mile Creek. In fact, Adam Slavinsky with The Orvis Store reports that this is a great time for a mixed bag of fish that can include Chinook and Coho salmon, brown trout, steelhead and Atlantic salmon at many of the tributaries along Lake Ontario as long as there is good water flow. Remember that the minimum size for steelhead and Atlantic salmon is 25 inches. The daily creel for brown trout, steelhead and Atlantic salmon is now one each. Water flow at 18 Mile Creek should increase starting next Friday, Nov. 6 when Erie Canal water releases will start for Niagara County. Remember that if you encounter areas where it is difficult to socially distance at least 6 feet apart, you should wear a mask. At Burt Dam and 18 Mile Creek, good numbers of fish have arrived according to Karen Evarts with the Boat Doctors in Olcott.
Another potential record white bass that was caught – and released – by Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls. He was tossing a No. 3 spinner from shore along Artpark State Park when the big “silver” hit. Throwing it on his hand-held scale, it weighed 3.8 pounds. The previous record was 3.5 pounds (3 pounds, 5 ounces) caught earlier this year in the same area by Morgan Fonzi of Gasport. However, Rzucidlo tossed it back because he was unsure of the procedure to follow, and he wanted to keep fishing. He also caught several lake trout in that same area. Lisa Drabczyk of Creek Road Bait and Tackle reports that trout is the focus right now for the charter guys. Salmon fishing is almost over in the river, although anglers have caught a few off the NYPA fishing platform. Lake trout are in the river heavy and remember that the season is closed until Dec. 1. If you catch one, take good care of the fish and release it quickly and without harm. Steelhead are starting to show up in greater numbers and a few brown trout are being caught. Bass are hitting with regularity downriver on swimbaits, tubes, and Ned rigs. Shiners will also work off three-way rigs. Not too much to report in the upper river. Smallmouth bass have been munching on shiners. Musky movement should increase as waters cool.
Bill Hilts Jr., niagarafallsusa.com
Still plenty of salmon action in the Oak with a beginning transition now toward more browns. Its an amazing mixed bag opportunity through mid-November where you might encounter Kings, cohos, Atlantics, browns or steelhead. Kings are getting hook ups on mostly males so far. Brown trout are coming on, and guys targeting runs below spawning Not a lot of brown trout spawning that we’ve heard of yet. Considering the one brown trout limit now in place, imagine the good fishing we’ll still have later this fall and into December.