Report from the Dock
Anglers are enjoying summer while it’s here, therefore bass and pike fishing (along with chasing walleyes and muskies wherever possible) continue to be hot pursuits, as is deep-water fishing on New York’s bigger lakes. But as the stream waters cool, it won’t be long before trout fishing, too, picks back up.
1000 Islands Region
Michael Bell, from Chapman’s Bait Shop, reports the lake had gone up approximately a foot during the late July stretch of rain. This has resulted in the lake’s temperature to cooling down a bit and getting the fish active again. Now is a great time to hit the shallow weeds with a frog or other top water bait. Aside from that the fish have more water on the shoals and the fishing seems to be doing better on that kind of structure. Ned-rigs, wacky worms and shallow cranks are all good choices with black and blue, green pumpkins, and watermelons proving the best color options. Crankbaits matching crawdad colors, or a shad style are producing well. Fishing is best early morning and later at night just before dark. Crappies and bluegill are being caught in numbers in 8 to 12 feet of water adjacent to the weed edges using small jigs or a small piece of worm or spikes under a float.
Dean Meckes reports the river is fishing very well right now for bass. Water temps are in the high 60s to low 70s and they’re catching fish both shallow and deep. The drop shot with 4-inch plastics in green pumpkin and Ned-rig in green pumpkin or black continue to be top producers with swim baits and jigs coming in slightly behind in productivity. The pike bite continues to be strong in the 15- to 20-foot range using a variety of baits fished on or near the bottom.
Excursion Charters reports offshore fishing remains very consistent. July Steelhead fishing has been the best in years. The thermocline has remained high in the water column, sometimes only 50 feet down, causing the baitfish and both the steelhead and salmon to stay between 50 to 75 feet down over 155 feet of water. Depending on the sun, ultra-glow on cloudy days and UV colored spoons on sunny days. Northern Kings and Warrior UVs have been best have been best. Longer than normal leads off the ball are required the higher you fish in the water columns and faster trolling speeds 2.8 to 3.2 knots are working great right now. Cut bait trolling rigs are accounting for many Kings with spoons producing mainly steelhead.
In the back bays water temps remain in the low to mid-70s range, during low light periods the smallmouth and largemouth bass readily strike topwater lures along with Senkos (stick worms) rigged wacky style as a follow up bait for missed topwater strikes. Spinnerbaits in chartreuse and white with gold blades or shad colors skirts with silver blades as well as shad-colored swimbaits are producing well in shallows for bass and northern pike. Smallmouths are stacking up more in the 20-to 40-foot zone with anglers reporting good catches on the drop shot or the Ned rig, popular colors are green pumpkin and blue craw.
Captain Burnie Haney, New York Fishing Adventures, burniehaney.com
Summer continues to be all about bass and northern pike on waters that hold them, although many anglers reported a reduced bass bite following a recent rainy period when waters began to rise again. Lake trout continue to be a target on deep-water lakes like Lake George, Schroon Lake and Lake Champlain on the east side.
Capital District/Upper Hudson Valley
Anglers are catching largemouth bass and some pike on Cossayuna Lake, where they are also dodging the boat traffic. That’s also the case on Saratoga Lake. Better options might be the smaller waters that dot Rensselaer, Saratoga and southern Washington counties, as well as the Mohawk River.
Catskills/Southeastern New York
The dog days of summer are upon us and for many trout waters that means slow or no fishing depending on water temperatures right now. As a rule, most anglers should avoid fishing for trout once water temps reach 65 degrees or higher.
Productive trout anglers are focusing their efforts either on tailwaters fisheries like the East and West Branches of the Delaware or finding warm-water species to target instead. Localize shower and thunderstorm activities are the key drivers for what waters to fish now. Some rivers like the Willowemoc and the Neversink are quick to drain but others like the Beaverkill River take a bit longer to come down to fishable flows after a heavy dose of rain. Trout anglers – both spin and fly – are doing well as they fish rivers during time water flows begin to lower steadily and the water temperatures in at 60 degrees or less. In this late summer conditions, anglers are continuing to produce well using larger stone flies and streamers as water levels return to normal.
Bass anglers are doing well in warmer waters right now. The Wallkill, Rondout, and Bashakill are offering good opportunities for bass action using soft plastics or hardbaits. Don’t overlook bass opportunities on the Hudson River either. Anglers are taking advantage of plenty of space and focusing on fishing any structure they find in this big river. Some are reporting largemouth bass in the 3- to 4-pound range. A good bet is also targeting any body of water that drains into the Hudson like the Rondout.
David Dirks, dirksoutdoors.com
Central New York
Walleyes are still being taken in 20 to 25 feet of water. Look for bass around the shoals with stickbaits or swimbaits and around weed beds with Texas rigged worms or top-waters.
Try tube jigs, drop-shot rigs or crayfish for the smallmouth bass and for walleye try big stickbaits or jigs. Catfish and sheepshead can be caught on cut-bait or crabs.
The Port Bay South Boat Launch is currently closed for repairs.
For bass try around the weed beds with spinnerbaits or Texas rigged worms.
Bass fishing has been bass good around the weed beds with stickworms.
East Lake Ontario
The salmon bite is hot from 150 to 250 feet of water on meat rigs and spoons. The brown trout are hitting early morning and late evening in 60 feet to 85 feet of water on stinger spoons.
The salmon bite remains steady in 80 to 300 feet of water. The struggle is to find consistent temperatures due recent rain. Salmon are running above average with several over 30 pounds recently caught. The brown trout bite remains good most days in 60 to 100 feet of water.
Salmon River/Port Ontario
The Salmon bite is starting in 80 to 120 feet of water on meat rigs and spoons. The lake trout bite is hot north of the river in 130 to 160 feet of water on cow bells with flies or peanuts. Sonny’s fishing center reports that the best lure is the new shark paddles with a meat rig or fly.
Finger Lakes/Southern Tier
Look for lake trout in 100 foot of water either trolling or vertical jigging.
Look for lake trout in 60 to 150 foot of water vertical jigging, or trolling over 100 foot of water and out. Look for bass along shore and in weed beds in deeper water. Try stickworms, spinnerbaits and topwaters.
Lake trout are being caught in 110 to 120 foot of water using live sawbellies or vertical jigging with green paddle tail jigs near the bottom.
For walleyes try the 15 to 20 foot zone trolling with stickbaits and for tiger musky try casting large spinners, spinnerbaits or stickbaits along shore or over the flat on the north end. For bass try Texas rigged baits around the weed beds or flipping creature baits into the weed beds.
For lake trout try trolling or vertical jigging in 80 to 120 foot of water.
For smallmouth bass and rock bass try wacky rigged stick worms, drop-shot, Ned-rig or tube jigs in 15 to 25 feet of water.
Whitney Point Reservoir
I Try crankbaits (like shad raps), jigs or worm harnesses for the walleyes. Look for smallmouth bass along the shoreline with crankbaits or topwaters.
Chenango, Tioughnioga and Susquehanna Rivers
Look for walleyes in the deeper holes with jigs or crankbaits. Try tube jigs or crankbaits for the smallmouth bass.
The ocean fluke fishing has improved in both number and size of fish caught. Anglers finding schools of squid or sand eels, and fishing with large sand eels, whole squid or large bucktails tipped with squid or sand eels, reported catching fluke consistently to 4 pounds, with pool fish in the 8-pound class. Some of the most consistent fishing was reported in Ambrose Channel, off the South Side of Montauk Point, and around Orient Point, where 10-pound fluke were reported every day. Anglers fishing out of the South Shore inlets reported the best fishing was in 40 to 80 feet of water.
The inshore fluke fishing also improved with the best action in the South Shore bays reported on the sandbar edges near and in the inlets during the last 2 hours of the incoming tide and the first 2 hours of the outgoing tide when the cooler and clear ocean water put the fish on the feed. Along the North Shore, fluke were caught in 15 to 30 feet of water on bucktails tipped with spearing or squid. In all areas, the standard squid/spearing combination was productive. The keeper to short ration depended on the location, but 1 in 5 was about the average. Shore anglers did well casting bucktails, thin plastic baits and small diamond jigs, all tipped with squid or spearing, and bouncing them along the bottom. In all areas, fluke anglers reported sea robins and clear nose rays as part of the catch, along with some sundials particularly off the North Shore beaches.
The snapper fishing is hot with snappers reported throughout the report area. The snappers are between 5- and 6-inches long and are hungry. A snapper popper combined with spearing or a small tin, the traditional bobber and spearing setup, as well as small tins, all produced. The snappers were readily caught in canals, off docks and beaches, and were common taking baits meant for fluke. Blowfish were reported in the same spots as the snappers and were caught on small pieces of sandworms or squid.
The blue claw crab fishing is excellent. Crabbers reported catching them in traps thrown from the docks, by drifting the shallows and netting them off the bottom, and by scooping them off the surface during calm nights with a net.
There was a very good bluefin tuna bite between 30- and 60-miles offshore between Jones and Shinneock Inlets. Anglers reported catching the bluefins trolling plastic lures, spreader bars, casting to breaking schools of tuna, as well as jigging over schools of sand eels which are holding a lot of the bluefins. The key to a successful day was to be prepared to change tactics depending on how the bluefin were located. Most of the bluefin were between 20 and 60 pounds, with a fish to 100 pounds common. A few yellowfin tuna to 60-pounds were also caught by anglers targeting bluefins.
Further offshore at the canyons, the yellowfin and bluefin tuna fishing was good. Most of the fish were reported caught while trolling spreader bars during the day and chunking butterfish at night. Anglers reported catching mahi around the lobster pot floats as well as while trolling. Most of the mahi were around 5 pounds. A few white and blue marlin were also reported.
The shark fishing between the 20- and 30-fathom lines was very excellent. Most of the catches reported were of makos to 125 pounds and brown sharks to 100 pounds. A few larger makos and a few threshers over 300 pounds were reported, with some of the threshers just off the beaches attacking schools of bunker.
The best sea bass fishing was reported in 60 to 120 feet of water on the artificial reefs and wrecks, where a few ling, triggerfish, mackerel, and bluefish were in the mix. These sea bass have been fished hard, so the number of keepers has dropped recently. The best bet for sea bass in the 4-pound class was off Montauk and Orient Points where the sea bass fishing was excellent, or on the lesser know ocean wrecks. Anglers reported plenty of sea bass in the bays and along the North Shore, but most were shorts.
The porgy fishing on the East End was hot. Many anglers reported catching limits of porgies, with plenty of 3-pounders in the catch. The best action was in the Peconic Bays, Gardiners Bay, off Orient and Montauk Points and in the Sound east of Port Jefferson. Clams were the top bait. Good porgy fishing was also reported in Ambrose Channel, around Debs Inlet, and on the offshore wrecks. Anglers targeting porgies from the beaches reported good fishing. A few weakfish were reported mixed in with the porgies on the East End and in the Great South Bay.
The striped bass fishing has slowed with the warm water. The best striper fishing was reported off Montauk Point. Everywhere else the best fishing was reported during the night tides. Most stripers were shorts. Bluefish to 8-pounds were caught with the stripers. A few Spanish mackerel were reported off Breezy Point and the surround area by anglers casting small tins at first light.
The freshwater fishing was hot, with largemouth bass to 3 pounds reported from Blydenburgh Lake, Fort Pond, and other larger bodies of water on the Long Island. Spinner baits, plastic worms, poppers, and swimming plugs were all productive.
Panfish were very cooperative with sunfish, yellow and white perch, and crappies eager to take flyrod cast streamers and poppers, small spinners, worms, and Power Baits. A few pickerel were reported. Carp were reported from Argyle Lake, Southards Pond, and Belmont Lake. The carp were caught on dough ball and corn, with 10-pounders common.
Guy Zummo, firstname.lastname@example.org
Western New York
Anglers have had to work for decent walleye catches lately. Target walleyes lake-wide along weed edges in 12 to 16 feet of water by slow trolling with worm harnesses, bottom bouncing or by jigging. The key is to get your bait/lure close to the bottom. There is a plentiful mix of yellow perch and white perch in deeper weed beds, especially around the northern end of lake. Small minnows work well. Anglers can target muskellunge along and over weedlines by trolling or casting large stickbaits and bucktail spinners, or target suspended muskie 10 to 15 feet down over 20 to 30 feet of water. A faster trolling speed of 3 to 4 mph works well.
Lake Erie and tributaries
On the eastern end of Lake Erie, deeper water along the international line is the best bet to find cooperative walleyes. Anglers report decent catches in 55 to 60 feet of water off Buffalo and 65 to 70 off Sturgeon Point. Slow trolling or drifting at 0.8 to 1.2 mph and bottom bouncing with worm harnesses has been productive.
The fishing off Dunkirk has ranged from fair to good in 70 to 90 feet of water. The bite has really picked up from Barcelona to the state line, with some limit catches reported. Stickbaits, spoons and worm harnesses run between 45 feet down and the bottom has work well in 55 to 75 feet of water. Some trollers are fishing at depths of 70 to 100 feet and catching eyes too.
Anglers continue to see a good smallmouth bass bite around the major reefs and shoals at depths over 25 feet. Ned rigs, jigs with swimbaits, tube jigs, live minnows and crayfish are good bass offerings.
Lake trout are an underutilized species in Lake Erie and are typically available in deeper waters west of Dunkirk in July and August. A group fishing out of Dunkirk recently reported a steady pick of lake trout in 100 to 120 feet of water. All lakers hit spoons run within 10 feet of bottom. Note that lake trout may also be suspended below the thermocline.
7/22 Fishing has been difficult the past week. Kyle Hovak of North Tonawanda and his Mean Machine shared some information from last Friday’s win in the Curt Meddaugh Memorial contest held by the Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Association. He fished the river water on the Niagara Bar and used a north-south troll in 200-250 feet of water at the drop. A-Tom-Mik meat rigs fished deep on his riggers did the damage. He only had one hit on a diver that broke off. It was a relatively slow bite, averaging 1 hit with each south troll pass. Temperature break was about 80 feet down. It was tough fishing for everyone when a massive amount of warm water moved into this section of the lake. Hovak also won the LOTSA 3-2-3 contest for the best 3 fish over 2 days of fishing, weighing in his best 3 fish on Friday with a 61.53-pound total. Meanwhile, Matt Dunn of Newfane and his Streaker team won the Big Fish LOTSA tourney with a 25.75-pound king salmon on Sunday after the Saturday contest was postponed. He, too, was fishing the Niagara Bar in 130 to 220 feet of water and almost all his salmon came on a 300-foot copper line outfitted with a white spin doctor and a meat rig with N & D cut bait. He ended up with 57.58 pounds for his best 3 fish. Out of Olcott, Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctors reports that the water is still messed up with some cold water inside. Some trollers found 42-degree water from the top down 120 feet. Look for the bait. Fishing is slowly starting to get better..
Fishing has been a bit tough the past week but Lisa Drabczyk with Creek Road Bait and Tackle in Lewiston reports that anglers are hooking up with some smallmouth bass on crayfish and minnows from boats and off the NYPA fishing platform. Some walleyes, too, using jigs and spinners from shore. From the boat, try using a worm harness or a sparkle jig. Some of the walleyes have been taken at night. Casting from the sanddocks with Fin-S Fish plastics is taking a few ‘eyes, too. Bass down river are coming on Ned rigs and swim baits in addition to the live bait options.
Bill Hilts Jr., niagarafallsusa.com