1000 Islands Region
Michael Bell, of Chapman’s Bait Shop, said the lake is turning over as the cool weather approaches and water temps begin to drop. The crappies and bluegills are starting to stage and push into the creeks and up to Indian River. Best way to target the bluegills will be small ice jigs with pieces of spikes or night crawlers or small plastics on 1⁄64-ounce to 1⁄16-ounce jigs. Crappies are going to feed on the same things, but you can go up to 2-inch plastics. Chartreuse, pink, and orange are great color options for these pan fish. Put a bobber/float 2-feet above the bait and enjoy the trip out. Bass are collecting on the shoals and rocks that have healthy greener vegetation on them. When conditions are right now’s a great time to cast topwater lures for explosive strikes. .
Terry from the 1,000 Islands Bait Store reports anglers are catching bass as deep as 50 to 60 feet, with either minnows or crayfish and the pike anglers are doing very well in the 18- to 20-foot zones using large minnows and lures. Walleye anglers continue having great success casting Erie Deerie lures across the deeper shoals with weeds.
Excursion Charters reports that some salmon are starting to stage in the Black River Basin between Horse Island and Dexter. Try running J-plugs in 25 to 30 feet of water 100- to 150 feet behind planner boards. Silver bullets and green glow with black stripes should produce.
New York Fishing Adventures reports the shallow water smallmouth fishing in the back bays improves weekly. Surface are now holding at 69-71 depending on where you are. Look for baitfish moving into the back of the bays as they start collecting toward the creek mouths because this situation causes larger schools of bass to follow. Don’t be afraid to get super shallow over hard rocky bottom areas and fan cast a Chatterbait (white with white Zoom split tail trailer) or spinnerbait (silver & gold blade with a chartreuse/white skirt) to roaming feeders. Another solid option is a 3.8 Keitech Swimbait (sliver flash or bluegill flash) rigged on a ¼-ounce jighead. These three presentations let you cover massive amounts of water and engage the most active feeders on the flats. You’ll also hit the occasional pickerel, northern pike, largemouth or walleye and catching fish is what it’s all about.
Captain Burnie Haney, New York Fishing Adventures, burniehaney.com
As the waters cool, fall trout anglers will be hitting both the lakes and streams. Deep water lakers and salmon are being nabbed by trollers in Lake George, Schroon Lake and also lakers on Lake Champlain. But, hunting seasons are open now.
Capital District/Upper Hudson Valley
Like the Adirondacks, trout waters are starting to see some action while bass anglers are will taking advantage of the warmer weather and trying to find bass near roaming baitfish.
Catskills/Southeastern New York
The good news is that water levels for most trout waters are at normal or even just above normal flows which is good. Whether any trout river is fishable right now is still dependent on water temperatures rather than flows. Best fishing for trout now can be found on the Neversink River where water flows have been a bit higher lately than normal but with water temperatures in the low 60’s. Spawning browns and the occasional brook trout are where the action is now on most rivers. The Beaverkill and Willowemoc are slowly trending down in water temperatures so that is making fishing a bit more productive right now. Fly patterns that are most productive now are going to be in the terrestrials area with grasshopper, ant, and beetle patterns pulling their weight.
The Delaware system has been productive for both East and West branches but mostly by floating the river by boat as water levels have been higher than usual. Most anglers now are using streamer and searching nymph patterns to find trout while waiting for more sporadic hatches to keep fishing looking up. Water temps on both branches are generally in the high 50’s and that has made fishing very productive. When they do look up, good trout patterns are BWO Usual and the Iso Usual for starters.
Bass angler reports for the Rondout, Wallkill, Hudson, and Wappingers Creek have been solidly in the plus column for both small and largemouth bass. The upper sections of the Wallkill and Rondout rivers are consistently producing for both fly anglers with poppers and spinning anglers using shallow divers and small floating plugs.
David Dirks, dirksoutdoors.com
Central New York
Still keep an eye out for bird activity as bass chase shad to the surface the birds take advantage of the shad being close to the surface. So, if you see birds diving get to the area quickly and try top waters, jerkbaits, or swimbaits. Try for walleyes in the 15 to 35 foot zone with blade baits or trolling with stickbaits.
There are some salmon in the river with skein (salmon eggs still attached to the membrane) fished under a float, or bottom bouncing with egg sacs, egg imitating flies or plastics producing some action.
Look for bass in the bay around the vegetation with Texas rigged worms or spinnerbaits. Try small minnows or jigs for yellow perch. Some northern pike are also being caught in the bay.
East Lake Ontario
The salmon were staged at 80 to 100 feet of water and biting plugs and fisher flies. The estuary and river are starting to see a good number of salmon with some brown trout and steelhead mixed in. Anglers are using egg sacks on medium light rods to catch them.
The salmon are north in 80 to 130 feet of water. There has been great fishing in front of the south doons in 130 feet of water using Bull Frog paddles with a Murage Fly on 110 foot rigger. A green and white 11-inch chip with an Atomic Green Fly on 340 foot wire were the best rigs.
Salmon River Area
The salmon are staged from the mouth of the river all the way to 130 feet of water. Plenty of fish are making runs up the river each night. They are catching kings, Cohos, brown trout and steelhead all the way up to Altmar. In the lake they are hitting J Plugs and Flasher Flies. In the river they are using flies, spoons and egg sacks.
Clarence G. Chamberlain, Carogabait@gmail.com
Finger Lakes/Southern Tier
Look for lake trout in 60 to 150 feet of water vertical jigging, or trolling over 100 foot of water and out.
Look for tiger muskies in the 10- to 15-foot depths outside of weed edges with spinnerbaits, chatterbaits or big swimbaits. Largemouth bass are being caught in the weed beds by flipping creature baits or jigs.
Trolling is working for lake trout in 90 to 100 feet of water, as is jigging.
Try trolling in 40 to 50 feet with small spoons for the trout. Keep watching the depth finder, if you see balls of bait adjust your down depth to that depth. For smallmouths try drop-shots, tube jigs or Ned-rigs in 20 to 30 foot of water..
Overall, fishing has been among the best of the season for offshore, inshore, and freshwater fishing. September is a transitional month were the cooling water and diminishing sunlight hours tends to bunch up the bait as they gather to begin their fall migration. Also, the water is warm enough for the offshore pelagic to remain active, while cooling down enough to start fall striped bass runs.
Anglers who found a good weather window and ran offshore in search of tuna were rewarded with bluefin and yellowfin tuna as well as mahi. This year the yellowfin tuna have pushed inside the 30-fathom line providing anglers the opportunity to catch yellowfins which are normally associated with longer offshore runs. The bluefin tuna were caught using a verity of methods, including trolling plastic baits and spreader bars, vertical jigging with freefall-jigs, by casting tuna-grade plugs into schools of breaking fish, and around dolphin pods which are often an indicator of tuna feeding below. The reports of yellowfin tuna were mainly by anglers trolling or casting to schools of breaking fish. The majority of the bluefin and yellowfin tuna were between 20 and 60 pounds, with a few reports of fish approaching the 100-pound mark.
The fishing at the canyons remained very good with anglers reporting a mix of bluefin and yellowfin tuna. The best daytime action was trolling plastic baits. Boats fishing overnight reported chunking with butterfish, mackerel, spearing, etc., was very productive. Mahi were caught both inshore and offshore by anglers targeting tuna, or by casting poppers, bucktails, tins and flies at crab-pot buoys, weed mats and buoys. Tilefish were reported by anglers fishing bottom fishing the canyons.
The sharking fishing remained consistent with anglers reporting mako sharks and brown sharks making up most of the catch. These sharks typically weighed up to 150 pounds and 100 pounds respectively. Most anglers were targeting the sharks around the 20-fathom line. Shark anglers reported mahi taking small pieces of bait as well as lures and flies when mahi were reported in the chum slicks.
The striped bass fishing for fish over 20 pounds significantly improved this report period especially from Moriches Inlet and out to Montauk and around to Orient Point. These fish are beginning their fall migration and targeting the baitfish as they exit the cooling inshore waters. West of Moriches inlet the larger fish are making a good showing, but overall fish in the teens dominated the catch. Boat anglers reported catching stripers on Mojo Rigs, wire lining bunker spoons and parachute jigs, trolling deep diving plugs, diamond jigging, and live lining bunker.
While there were still a lot of bunker in the water, the schools seem to be more scattered. This resulted in improved surf fishing as many stripers have moved within casting range as they target bay anchovies, mullet, and spearing, instead of chasing down bunker. Tins, poppers, and flies were all productive. Bluefish, typically between 2 and 8 pounds, were reported wherever stripers were caught. What has been noticeably absent the past few years are the big bluefish that invade the shark slicks.
Overall, the porgy bite was very good, with anglers reporting catching porgies throughout the report area. Hot spots included the south side of Montauk Point, Gardiners Bay, and the Peconic Bays where limits of porgies to 3 pounds were not uncommon. Good porgy fishing was reported along the North Shore from Orient Point west to Port Jefferson. Clams with the addition of clam chum was the top bait.
Some of the best weakfish fishing was reported this period. Reports came in from anglers targeting porgies, stripers, and weakfish themselves. Good reports came from anglers casting sandworms from the ocean beaches, with the best action reported by anglers fishing first light, with fish to 6 pounds not uncommon.
Good sea bass fishing is reported. The inshore artificial reefs and wrecks to 120-feet of water yielded limits of sea bass to 4-plus pounds, with plenty of keepers inside the bays and harbors around rock piles, bridge pilings, and over mussel beds. Clams were effective both inshore and offshore, with diamond jig being productive when jigged over the wrecks while drifting. Porgies, hake, cod, mackerel, bluefish, and cunners were reported in the mix with the sea bass depending on the location fished.
The fluke have responded to the cooling waters and schooling baitfish with improved fishing reported throughout the report area. A batch of fluke weighing in over 3 pounds have moved inshore giving anglers a shot at some large fluke. This is typical, but the fishing seems to be better than during the past few seasons. The key to catching these larger fluke is to use bigger baits, including whole squid, fluke belly strips, sea robin strips, and large bucktails tipped with squid or spearing. Inside the North Shore harbors and the South Shore bays and inlets the fluke fishing significantly improved with the number of shorts reducing and the number of keepers increasing.
The freshwater fishing is as good as it gets, with largemouth bass caught on plastic worms, spinner baits and plugs. Yellow and white perch, crappies and bluegills were caught on worms, small spinners, beetle-spin type lures, and streamers, and small poppers. The pickerel fishing was also good, especially in the Peconic River.
Guy Zummo, firstname.lastname@example.org
Western New York
South basin trollers are catching walleyes by running stickbaits just off the bottom in depths over 14 feet. In the north basin, anglers are employing a few different strategies with each method producing some walleye catches. Trollers can target walleyes from the weed-line out to 25 feet by running stickbaits and worm harnesses close to the bottom. Some eyes have been caught by controlled drifting and jigging along points and drops in 20 to 30 feet of water. The key is to work progressively deeper along a drop/point until you find the productive depth. Vertical jigging programs around the rims of the deeper holes is another option. The muskellunge fishing has been slow, though fishing quality typically ramps up as waters cool in late summer and fall. Target muskies by casting and trolling large stickbaits and crankbaits outside weed edges and by casting stickbaits over weed-beds.
Erie Canal/Lake Ontario Tributaries
The NYS Canal Corporation began releasing water into some Lake Ontario tributaries on Sept. 16 to improve fall fishing conditions. Eighteenmile Creek, Oak Orchard Creek, and Sandy Creek will all receive increased flows throughout the fall. For a full schedule visit: canals.ny.gov/Fall_fishing/.
Lake Erie and tributaries
Lake Erie trollers are seeing a decent to good walleye bite from Cattaraugus Creek to east of Dunkirk in 70 to 90 feet of water. Walleyes are scattered throughout the water column, but gear run at 60 to 75 feet has been most productive. Anglers closer to the Catt also report some catches of suspended yellow perch mixed in. Walleye fishing off Barcelona has been slower and spotty, with some fair catches reported in around 70 feet of water.
Anglers are catching some yellow perch off Cattaraugus Creek in 60 to 70 feet of water. The key is to find and stay on the smaller moving schools. There have been some reports of perch out deeper in around 80 feet too, but no catch details were available. Live or salted emerald shiners and live golden shiners are top perch baits.
The first of the early steelhead have been reported in the lower section of Cattaraugus Creek. However, water temps need to come down before there is any significant influx of fish. All other tributaries are low and warm. Once Lake Erie surface temperatures have dropped below 70 degrees, look for steelhead to start showing in the lake near creek mouths.
Staging fish are showing up off creek and river mouths, especially on the Niagara Bar, Olcott and the Oak. Mixed reports on the Niagara Bar as it was cold water at the drop off and there was very little bait. Fishing was tough at the ledge, forcing boaters to seek salmon and trout elsewhere in deeper waters. Karen Evarts, at The Boat Doctors, in Olcott, reports that night fishing at Olcott has been good to very good, in the harbor or right out front. During the day, the inshore action has been hit or miss, but out deep steelheads and kings have been a good one-two punch. Remember the piers are closed to fishing right now in Olcott. Casting spoons or stickbaits is the way to go from a boat or in the harbor. A few salmon have made it up to Burt Dam, but it is still early. However, recent cool rains combined with water releases from the Erie Canal a recent full should bring more fish in.
A few more salmon are showing up in the Devil’s Hole area, especially around the NY Power Authority fishing platform. There was not much catching going on right now, but that could change with the cool rain in the forecast. However, Mike Rzucidlo, of Niagara Falls, hit a few salmon in the gorge thanks during the recent full moon. He was using glow spoons that he doctored up and homemade spinners. Bass fishing was slower, but the walleye bite has been decent at night both in the river and on the Niagara Bar. Some big catfish were also caught, mostly by people fishing for salmon. Scott Gauld, of Tonawanda, hit the upper Niagara River and did well using Ned rigs around Grand Island to connect with a fair number of smallmouth bass. He also caught some fish on drop-shot rigs.
Frank Campbell, email@example.com
(9/15) A little more river-mouth action now with early morning hook-ups at the Oak Orchard river-mouth. Upstream action so far is mainly for a few fish at the dam. Other area smaller tribs have had some on-and-off estuary action and likewise look for kings firing upstream there too if flows go high. On the Oak its been exceptionally weedy but some of that material is moving out, and will with higher water. Not a lot of fishing pressure just yet, few guys on the piers and at the dam.
The Orleans County Boat Launch at the end of Ontario Street (east side of the river) is closed for reconstruction. Anglers can use the Oak Orchard Boat Launch on Archbald Road where access fees will be waived until Spring, 2022.