Look for salmon around river mouths in 50 to 140 foot of water. Fishing down 25 to 100 feet with flashers and flies has been working, shades of green being a good color choice at this time. These depths do change so if not marking fish keep searching. Smallmouth bass can be caught from 5 foot out to 40 or more feet.
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. Water flow is 6,390 cubic feet per second (CFS) as of Sept. 24. See Salmon River report below for link to information on salmon fishing.
Remember there are mandatory personal flotation device (PFD) zones on the river. Visit Oswego County Tourism website (leaves DEC website) for more information on this and also for information on the life jacket loaner programs in the area.
There are more salmon entering the river each day with most of the activity still taking place in the lower river at this time. Try egg imitating plastics or flies. Some brown trout and occasional Atlantic salmon are also being caught. Please view Salmon Fishing on Lake Ontario Tributaries for more information. Current water flow is 350 CFS as of Sept. 24.
The Port Bay South Boat Launch is currently closed for repairs.
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.
Just a reminder that the walleye daily limit on Oneida Lake is 3 fish with a 15″ minimum length. Try for walleye in the 15 to 40 foot zone with blade baits or trolling with stickbaits in perch pattern. Looks like some more seasonable temperatures are coming so hopefully that will help the fall walleye shore bite get started.
Look for tiger musky in the 10 to15 foot depths out side of weed edges with spinnerbaits, chatterbaits or big swimbaits. Largemouth bass are being caught in the weed beds by flipping creature baits or jigs.
If you catch a tiger musky on Otisco Lake that has been tagged, the tag should be located near the dorsal fin and be gray in color, please do not remove the tag if releasing the fish. Write down the tag number, length of fish, and location of the catch and either send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 607-753-3095 ext. 213 to report your catch.
Try trolling down 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.
Trolling is working for lake trout in 90 to 100 foot of water, as is vertical jigging.
Look for lake trout in 60 to 150 foot of water vertical jigging, or trolling over 100 foot of water and down 50 to 80 feet.
Look for lake trout in 100 foot of water trolling 50 to 70 foot down.
Lake Erie, Harbors and Tributaries
Weather is starting to limit outings on Lake Erie. When conditions allowed this past week, the walleye fishing was still going strong out of Cattaraugus Creek and Dunkirk. Straight out of the Catt and to the west, anglers reported good catches in 70-85 feet of water on stickbaits and worm harnesses run between 55 feet down and the bottom. Off Dunkirk, good walleye action was found in 70-80 feet of water, along with the occasional steelhead catch. Anglers are seeing decent to good yellow perch catches off Cattaraugus Creek in 55-65 feet of water. Some nice perch are showing off Silver Creek in around 70 feet of water as well. Salted shiners, live emerald shiners or golden shiners fished at the bottom works well.
Previously, there were very limited numbers of smaller steelhead in the lowest section of Cattaraugus Creek. However, heavy rains have the Catt running high today and water temperature dropped to near 60 degrees overnight. Steelhead should be on the move. Other tributary levels came up too, but are quickly retreating. There may be a few steelhead around closer to the lake in those streams.
With cooling water temperatures, upper Niagara River bass are on the feed and aggressively hitting live crayfish and large shiners. Catches have been best in deeper areas with a moderate current. Some walleye are showing upriver of Strawberry Island.
King salmon are trickling up into the Devils Hole section, and anglers see the occasional salmon catch from the NYPA platform, Devils Hole drift and in the gorge. The better fishing is yet to come. The peak of the Niagara River king salmon run typically happens between the last week of September and mid-October. Controlled drifting the Devils Hole drift with a three-way rig and treated skein or kwikfish-style lure is the typical tactic for boaters. Shore anglers can target king salmon in the gorge by casting large glow spoons and Vibrax spinners during low light periods. Smallmouth bass and walleye are still available from Lewiston to the mouth of the river. For fishing access maps and lower river fishing information see the Fishing the Lower Niagara River page.
Lake Ontario & Tributaries, Harbors & Piers
Trollers are catching some staging king salmon near Olcott, Oak Orchard and the Niagara Bar. Near the mouth of Olcott Harbor, the bite has been decent inside 50 feet of water from dusk through to just after daybreak. During the day, salmon fishing is spotty inside 100 feet of water. Flasher-fly combos, meat rigs, J-Plugs, J-13 Rapalas and large spoons are good offerings. A mix of steelhead and king salmon are still available in deeper, offshore waters. Run gear in the top 100 feet.
Olcott Harbor piers remain closed due to the ongoing Olcott Harbor breakwater project. Nighttime anglers are catching the occasional king salmon from the piers at Oak Orchard. The piers at Genesee River and Wilson Harbor are other options for salmon and/or trout. Flows at Eighteenmile and Oak Orchard Creeks are prime, thanks in part to water releases from the Erie Canal, but warmer water temperatures have limited salmon migrations. Thus far, there have been a fair number of kings up to the dam on the Oak and only a few at Eighteenmile Creek’s Burt Dam. However, we seem to now be in the midst of a cooldown. Better numbers of kings should start showing on the dammed streams any day. Adequate and sustained flows will be the limiting factor for salmon runs on the freestone streams.
NYPA and Canal Corporation Fall Fishing Program: For an enhanced angling experience and a longer season of sustained flows this fall, the New York State Canal Corporation will soon commence water releases from the Erie Canal into Lake Ontario Tributaries in western New York, including Eighteenmile, Oak Orchard and Sandy Creeks. For more information and a tentative water release schedule visit the New York State Canal Corporation’s website. (Link leaves DEC’s website) Releases are subject to change, so check back often.
South basin trollers are catching walleye 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 walleye from the weedline 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 20-30 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 musky by casting and trolling large stickbaits and crankbaits outside weed edges and by casting stickbaits over weedbeds. Visit the Chautauqua Lake page for more fishing information.
Inland Trout Streams
Recent rains have the area’s inland trout streams running high today. The forecast looks mostly clear through the weekend, so there should be some fishing opportunity on some of the smaller streams. Early fall is a good time to fish the inland trout streams, as trout are active and feeding in cooler water. New trout regulations are in effect April 1st on most inland trout streams. For information, review the Trout Stream Regulation Press Release, which includes links to the Trout Stream Management Plan, the new Trout Stream Fishing Map and the new Regulation Guide. Check out the Fishing for Stream Trout page for introductory information on trout baits, lures, equipment and techniques.