Report from the Dock
Summer’s transition to fall is under way as the kids go back to school, and other than weekends, the tourism season is winding down. That means quieter mid-week fishing for those who can get out – and hopefully cooler temperatures. Stream anglers would sure welcome that. And speaking of streams, places like the Salmon River in Pulaski should start cranking up soon, and east Lake Ontario will also be a hot-spot in the coming weeks.
1000 Islands Region.
Michael Bell, from Chapman’s Bait Shop, reports that water levels remain above normal summer pool, and the fishing is starting to fire up. Anglers are using a frog or flipping a ½-ounce jig to bass in heavy grass. Black and blue or watermelons are great jig colors, with white, black, or green great color options for frog fishing. Another option is fishing the shoals with scattered grass and rocks with Ned rigs, crankbaits and light Texas-rigged creature baits and craw imitators. Big bluegills are being caught all over the lake around hard bottom areas with vegetation, anglers using small jigs tipped with nightcrawlers and spikes are enjoying good success.
Anglers are doing well for night-bite walleyes casting bucktail jigs tipped with minnows or crawlers a 25 to 35 feet adjacent to shoals as well as trolling running in-line boards with spoonbill minnow imitators along the main river channel adjacent to the shallow weedy bays. Bass anglers continue to catch fish shallow on topwaters, chatterbaits, Senkos, and swimbaits with smallmouth being taken on dropshots, tubes or the Ned Rig fished in at 20 to 45 feet.
Excursion Charters reports salmon haven’t showed up like they should for this time of the year. Fortunately, huge trout are still in their usual spots at 150 to 155 feet of water. Blue and silver cowbells or green and silver tipped with a spin-n-glow, or a double-rigged spin-n-glow remain top choices to produce lakers running 16 to 22 pounds. New York Fishing Adventures reports the smallmouth fishing remains consistent with the drop-shot, Ned rig and tubes producing the best at 20 to 35 feet, along with soft-shell crawfish. The shallow walleye bite in and around the shoals continues to improve and the new player is the Steelshad (metal blade bait). Cast it out, count it down to four or five and start cranking.
Captain Burnie Haney, New York Fishing Adventures, burniehaney.com
Heavy rains have alleviated some of the low waters, mainly on ponds, but it’s still not unusual to see some of the rivers and streams running low during dry periods. Water temps remain around 70 degrees F, or warmer, in many areas making trout fishing slow. Bass and pike anglers, as well as deep water anglers are continuing to be productive.
Capital District/Upper Hudson Valley
Things have been pretty quiet, other than some bass action on the typical waters like the Hudson River. Mid-week boating pressure should subside soon making places like Cossayuna, Ballston and Round lakes good bass fishing options.
Catskills/Southeastern New York
Short-term weather patterns continue to dominate the fishing scene in the southeastern New York/Catskills region. Most trout rivers, with the exception of tailwaters for the Delaware system, are too warm for trout fishing. The exceptions are when we get spurts of rain showers that provide a much needed flush of fresh water and can provide slightly cooler water temperatures at the same time. In general, trout anglers are reporting the best fishing when high water levels have peaked and are starting to move down. Either way, trout fishing has been reported overall as slow which is not out of character for this time of the year. Fly anglers are finding consistent results when they are trout fishing using season terrestrial patterns like ant and grasshoppers. Note on the grasshoppers: most anglers are reporting really solid populations of grasshoppers – which we started to see in good numbers as early as June. So, both fly and spin anglers would be wise to use grasshopper fly and hardbait imitations now. Failing that, anglers are reporting that Blue-Winged Olives might save the day in sizes 18-22.
Bass anglers are making the most out of the sporadic shower activity by focusing on local smallmouth rivers like Wallkill, Rondout, Bashakill, and Hudson. Best areas on the Hudson seem to be from Kingston at the point where the Rondout River comes in and north. More than a few anglers are taking advantage of fishing any structures near shoreline for consistent bass catches now.
David Dirks, dirksoutdoors.com
East Lake Ontario
The Salmon have moved into 80 to 120 feet of water hitting meat rigs with red or green paddles and white heads the best. They also are hitting spoons pretty well. The brown trout are in 50 to 80 feet of water hitting spoons in 63 degree water.
The Salmon bite is good in 100 to 200 feet of water on 400- to 500-foot copper lines and Dipsy Divers with meat rigs. Spoons are also taking a few fish.
A few Salmon are being reported and there are several staging fish in 60 to 100 feet of water. The lake trout bite is hot in 140 to 160 feet of water north of the Doons. Sonny’s Fishing Center hosted a three day derby with 26.9-pound, 29.06 pound and 27.13-pound kings salmon being the daily winers.
Clarence G. Chamberlain, Carogabait@gmail.com
Central New York/Finger Lakes/Southern Tier
For , Sodus Bay, Sandy Pond, Salmon River, Oneida Lake, Skaneateles Lake, Owasco Lake, Cayuga Lake, Seneca Lake, Keuka Lake, Canandaigua Lake, Whitney Point Reservoir, Chenango, Tioughnioga and Susquehanna rivers, DEC states that due to recent heavy rain events there was no information to report. Most waters were running high.
The inshore bluefin tuna bite remained very good with bluefin tuna being caught from the beach out to 100 feet of water, with most of the action in 35 to 60 feet of water. The tuna were caught on trolled plastic baits, butterfly and diamond jigs, and large plastic jigs. Surfcasters reported tuna taking tuna poppers when they were in casting range. The best action was typically between New York Bight and Jones Inlet, with good action reported east of Jones Inlet. These inshore bluefin tuna are reminiscent of the mid-1980s when tuna were caught off the Patchogue Grounds and nearby areas.
Most of the bluefins were around 30 pounds, with fish to 100 pounds reported. These are fast hard fighting fish that require appropriate tackle. If tangling with these bluefins is in your plans, stop by your local tackle shop for tackle and rigging tips, as well as the latest reports of the best areas to fish.
At the canyons, bluefin tuna to 125 pounds, and yellowfin tuna to 60 pounds were caught trolling plastic baits and chunking at night. Tilefish continued to be caught by anglers fishing the deep edges of the canyons. Mahi were reported by anglers trolling or casting to buoys and weed lines from 85 feet of water out to the canyons.
The shark fishing along the 20-fathom and 30-fathom lines has been very consistent with most boats reporting two to three sharks per day. The catch was evenly divided between mako sharks to 150 pounds and brown sharks to 100 pounds. Thresher sharks, many over 300 pounds, were reported. Thresher sharks less than 100 pounds, as well as mako and brown sharks less then 50 pounds were reported in 30 to 80 feet of water chasing schools of bunker. The large schools of bunker have held these smaller sharks close to the shore, with brown sharks being caught by surfcasters using fresh bunker for bait.
Surfcasters have enjoyed some good rounds of Spanish mackerel and false albacore fishing off the Breezy Point jetty as well as sporadic bites on the jetties further east. Boat anglers reported catching Spanish mackerel and false albacore on small-thin tins cast into schools of breaking fish. The best bite has been at first light. Trigger fish were also reported caught off the jetties eating small pieces of squid, clams, and sandworms. A few cobia were reported from the jetties out to the shark grounds, and were generally caught by anglers targeting bluefish, tuna, and sharks.
The fluke fishing was inconsistent, with some days washouts while other days good. Inside the bays and in the Long Island Sound it was common to catch 15 shorts for each keeper. Offshore the action was generally slower, but the number of keepers caught in 60 to 90 feet of water was much higher. Offshore, the best action was on the artificial reefs, around the wrecks, and structure. Inshore the best action was reported on squid and spearing combos, and on bucktails tipped with squid, spearing, or sand eels. Offshore, large sand eels or strips of bluefish or sea robins were the top producers of keeper fluke, with fluke in the 4- to 5-pound class common. Open boats as well as many tackle shops reported weighing in fluke around 10 pounds. In all areas, there were a lot of sea robins and a few clear nose rays reported. On the North Shore, window pains were mixed-in with the fluke, with the better action for the window pains reported by anglers fishing off the beaches.
The porgy bite in Ambrose Channel remained good. The porgy fishing in the Peconics, in the Sound and off Montauk and Orient Points remained very good, with many anglers limiting out on each trip. Fresh clams were the top bait.
The snapper fishing remained excellent with anglers reporting snappers off all local docks and beaches. The snappers are around 6- to 7-inches long and were caught on spearing fished under a bobber, snapper poppers, and small tins. The blue claw crab fishing remained very good with anglers netting them off dock piles, using crab traps, or scooping them off the surface after dark.
The striped bass fishing was generally slow, with the best action occurring in the South Shore inlets after dark. A few bluefish are mixed in with the striped bass. Live eels were the top reported bait. Most of the stripers are in the mid-teens, with the bluefish generally less than 5 pounds.
With the warm water, the freshwater fishing for panfish and largemouth bass was better early mornings and early evenings then during the heat of the day. Largemouth bass between 1 and 3 pounds were common in most areas, with topwater plugs, plastic worms, and spinner baits consistent producers. Small spinners and crappie jigs, as well as minnows were productive for white and yellow perch. Worms and grubs caught bluegills and sunfish. There were no reports of carp, but they are around.
Guy Zummo, firstname.lastname@example.org
Western New York
Anglers have had to work hard for modest walleye catches. In the south basin, target walleyes by trolling along the deepest flats with lures just off the bottom. In the north basin, anglers are catching a few walleyes along weedlines near dawn and dusk. During the day, jigging or trolling lures near the bottom in 20-30 feet of water is a better bet. Expect to catch plenty of white perch if fishing with live bait. Muskellunge fishing has been slow. 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
Walleye fishing has been tougher overall, with better production during low light periods and in waters west of Cattaraugus Creek. Trollers report a decent bite off the Catt and to the west in 60 to 75 feet of water on gear run 40 to 50 feet down. Boats are averaging three to five walleyes per trip. The Barcelona area has slowed a touch but walleyes are still available in 50 to 70 feet of water. Some steelhead are mixed in with the walleyes and primarily hit spoons.
There has been an up-tick in yellow perch catches out of the Catt. Live minnows fished near the bottom have worked well in 60 to 65 feet of water. Lake trout are an underutilized species in Lake Erie. Catches are typically best in 80 to 120 feet of water. Downriggers with spoons run between an established thermocline and the bottom.
Capt. Joe Oakes says there are fish offshore in 400-plus feet of water with a mix of steelhead and salmon hitting spoons and flasher-fly combos, and there are some salmon inside of 200 feet hitting spoons, flasher-flies, meat, and plugs. On the Niagara Bar, John Van Hoff, of North Tonawanda, boated nine mature king salmon out of 16 hits using all spoons and flasher-flies. It just depends on the day. They did catch one king, a 27-pound, 5 ounce fish reeled in by Adam Gierlach, of Lockport. Also on the Niagara Bar, Capt. Frank Campbell took Chris Shaffer, of Pautzke Outdoors, out for salmon and trout. He ended up getting three kings including one mature fish, one brown trout about 10 pounds, one lake trout, and four steelhead, the biggest in the teens. All were on spoons, like the DW Glow Hulk and Purple Clown. All spoons were covered with herring and sardine fire gel from Pautzke.
Mark Romanack, with the Fishing 411 TV show, recently filmed an episode where they fished Olcott, and the lake gave up some beautiful steelhead and Chinook salmon. Meat rigs on Pro Troll rotators produced the salmon and the steelhead came on Silver Streak spoons. The Fish Hawk unit was once again the ticket for finding temperature and trolling speed. One complaint by many trollers on the lake was biting stable flies. Several people in the know have insisted that Natrapel is something that works. The piers in Olcott are closed while construction is going on, according to Karen Evarts at the Boat Doctors, in Olcott..
Pautzke Outdoors also filmed a show with captains Jeff Draper and Frank Campbell on the lower Niagara River. Bass action was tougher than it had been, but they still managed to get a couple dozen smallmouths on film, half on live bait like crabs and shiners and half on artificial plastics like Strike King Dream Shots (doused with Fire Gel) off drop-shot rigs. Lisa Drabczyk, with Creek Road Bait and Tackle, said the walleye action had picked up on worm harnesses in the lower river. Mike Rzucidlo, of Niagara Falls, hit the upper river on shore, downstream from the Grand Island bridge and got 10-12 bass each time. He then switched over to some scuba fishing. He went upstream from Mississippi Mudd’s, in Tonawanda, and targeted smallmouth bass while in the water. He caught 15 or more in an hour. Best lure was a white-silver jig. He found a drop off from 10 to 18 feet, not far from shore..
Frank Campbell, email@example.com
Beginning Sept. 7, the Orleans County Boat Launch at the end of Ontario Street (east side of the river) will be closed for reconstruction. Anglers can use the Oak Orchard Boat Launch on Archbald Road where access fees will be waived until Spring, 2022.