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New York Outdoor News Fishing Report – October 7, 2021

Report from the Dock

Oct. 15 marks the beginning of a new era in New York’s trout stream fishing world. Streams that were once closed after Oct. 15 are now open to catch-and-release fishing with artificial lures. Note, this new change does not apply to ponds (unless specified).

1000 Islands Region

Black Lake: 

Michael Bell, from Chapman’s Bait Shop, reports the Dash for Cash bass tournament just concluded on the lake and a three fish limit of just over 12 pounds won the event. The lunker (big bass) of the event was a 5.5-pound largemouth. The fishing continues to improve as fall sets in. Anglers are catching a mixed bag of smallmouth and largemouth bass by targeting the rocks humps at 3 to 9 feet casting diving crankbaits or lip-less crankbaits in crawfish and baitfish colors. As the water continues to cool look for the walleye fishing to improve along main lake drop offs adjacent to points, islands, channels. Those anglers targeting northern pike should focus their efforts inside the bays with any remaining deep water green vegetation. The crappies and bluegills are in full force up the creeks and Indian river. Small plastic jigs and minnows continue to produce good results. For the bluegills small jigs with spikes have been working well 

1000 Islands

Todd, from the 1000 Islands Bait Store, reports perch and bass are hitting in the 20 to 40 feet zones while anglers are catching walleyes along the main river shoals with jigs and weight forward spinners. As the water continues cooling look for the muskie fishery to kick in, best results are usually trolling with some anglers seeing good success casting large stickbaits and in-line bucktail spinners.  

Lake Ontario’s Eastern Basin

The open water trolling season for trout and salmon is ending and those still on the big lake trolling are shifting their efforts to the back bays in search of bass, northern pike, and walleyes. Planner boards loaded with minnow imitators; husky jerks, flicker minnows or NK Spoons can expect to catch quality fish trolling in the 30 ft or less. As the lake continues cooling and wed growth breaks loose causing surface clutter, be prepared to shift zones from the windward to leeward sides of the bays or islands and continue trolling. Some of the biggest fish of the season are available for those willing to brave the elements. 

New York Fishing Adventures reports the shallow water smallmouth fishing continues to improve. Surface temps are now running 63 to 64 degrees. Baitfish continue moving into the back of the bays and be mindful of the bird activity. Oftentimes the gulls, terns and cormorants will collect near rock reefs and humps where gamefish push the baitfish and when you see the birds reluctant to leave a given area it’s a key indicator the baitfish are present. Work that area over with baitfish imitating lures, good options are 3.8 Keitech Swimbait (silver flash or bluegill flash) rigged on a ¼-ounce. jighead. Rattle Traps, 1.5 & 2.5 Squarebills in (ghost minnow or black & silver) and spinnerbaits in white or white/chartreuse with tandem blades (silver & gold). Remember speed can be your friend when the bass are up shallow chasing the bait fish, just like summertime fish, these fall feeders get very excited when a bait passes by them at speed, they either eat right now or it gets away. So keep chunking and winding to help you put more fish in the boat right now.  

Captain Burnie Haney, New York Fishing Adventures, burniehaney.com

Adirondacks

After a warm start to fall, trout anglers feel like things are just getting started before the season is set to close on Oct. 15. But, the new catch-and-release season (streams only) kicks on Oct. 16. On bigger lakes that hold lake trout, shore fishing should start to pick up when/if things cool down. Anglers are reporting some salmon being caught in the Saranac River, so other Lake Champlain tribs should also be picking up. 

Capital District/Upper Hudson Valley

Although it will be catch-and-release only starting Oct. 16, trout anglers may find some of their best stream action during the later part of this month as waters finally begin to cool down.

Catskills/Southeastern New York

Smallmouth bass anglers are enjoying some great fall fishing with reasonable water and air temperatures as we continue into the fall season. Spin and fly-fishing anglers are reporting sizable catches of both small and largemouth bass on the lower Rondout river and the on the upper stretches of the Wallkill River from Orange County up through the Ulster County Fair Grounds in New Paltz. Most productive stretches on either river are fast water sections. Spin anglers using white and yellow Senkos, black/silver shallow-diving hard baits focusing on the pocket water and deeper pools are scoring well. Some anglers have discovered the rather productive smallmouth fishing that can be found on Wappingers Creek in Dutchess County now through early November. Fly anglers looking for smallmouth are doing well with streamers – the larger the better. 

Trout anglers are experiencing very productive time on most Catskill Rivers and seasonal patterns like hoppers, beetles and ants in sizes 10 through 16 are working consistently. Most Catskill trout streams have better than average water flows for this time of year and with cooling water temps, fishing has been very good overall. Migrating brown trout looking for spawning water are already on the move, so focusing on upper sections of most rivers is a good bet right now. 

David Dirks, dirksoutdoors.com 

Central New York

Oneida Lake

Try for walleyes in the 15 to 40 feet zone with blade baits or trolling with stickbaits in perch pattern.

Sodus Bay

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.

East Lake Ontario

Port Oswego

The Oswego River is producing some nice king and Coho salmon with a few brown trout mixed in. The lake has a few staging juvenile salmon and some brown trout and steel head in 25 to 50 feet of water. DEC reports 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

Mexico Point

The Little Salmon River has some king and Coho salmon showing up. 

Salmon River

The river fishing is at its prime. The entire river is producing several salmon with record numbers of Coho salmon are being caught. A few brown trout and steelhead are starting to show up. The lake has several salmon still staging in 25 feet of water biting on F13 Rapalas and J Plugs. 

Clarence G. Chamberlain, Carogabait@gmail.com

Finger Lakes/Southern Tier

Canandaigua Lake

Look for lake trout in 100 feet of water trolling 50 to 70 feet down.

Cayuga Lake

Look for lake trout in 60 to 150 feet of water vertical jigging, or trolling over 100 feet of water and down 50 to 80 feet. 

Otisco Lake

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.

Owasco Lake

Trolling is working for lake trout in 90 to 100 feet of water, as is vertical jigging.

Skaneateles Lake

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 feet of water..

Long Island

The fluke season is after some of the best fishing of the season. The fluke responded to the migrating schools of spearing and sand eels just offshore the South Shore Inlet mouths and out to about 60 feet of water. Anglers fishing large sand eels, or Peruvian spearing reported numerous keeper fluke in the 3- to 4-pound class, with a few 10-pound fluke reported. Along the North Shore the best fluke fishing was reported on the East End from Mattituck to Orient Point, with most anglers reporting the best action on bucktails tipped with spearing or sand eels.

The water temperatures are still above what would traditionally help kick-off the fall striped bass run, but the fishing has been improving each day. Anglers fishing the ocean beaches reported catching schoolie to 20-pound class stripers on poppers and tins from first light to sunset, and on swimming plugs during the night tides. Overall, the best surf action was reported to be after sunset. These fish are chasing the schools of spearing, bay anchovies, mullet and other baitfish continue their migration out of the South Shore bays and North Shore harbors. Fly-rodders reported doing well casting spearing imitations, and when the mullet were seen running in the waves along the ocean beaches, mullet imitations. 

Boat anglers reported catching stripers fishing live bunker, diamond jigs, and when trolling bunker spoons or large shad bodies on wire line or as part of a Mojo rig. The largest stripers were generally reported by anglers fishing schools of bunker, with schoolie sized stripers the typical catch of anglers fishing diamond jigs. The fall diamond jigging season is yet to kick-off in earnest. Bluefish between 2 and 4 pounds were reported in all areas where the stripers were caught, with some of the best fishing occurring at first light in the inlet and harbor mouths as the bluefish attack schools of spearing or bay anchovies. The reports of bluefish over 5 pounds were sporadic.

Thresher and brown sharks continue to be caught between 30 and 80 feet of water where they continued to attack the schools of bunker, often surprising striper anglers live lining bunker. Further offshore along the 20-fathom line makos, brown, thresher and hammerhead sharks continue to be caught. 

The unprecedented giant bluefin tuna reports continued to come in with bluefins between 100 and 300 pounds, with a few above 500 pounds, caught along the South Shore. Most of these bluefins were reported east of Rockaway Inlet in water between 30 and 80 feet deep by anglers fishing live bunker.

The porgy fishing continues to remain strong. Anglers fishing the North Shore, the Peconics and Gardiners Bay areas reported catching limits of porgies, many over two pounds. Boat anglers had the edge, but anglers fishing the beaches did very well also. Along the South Shore, the better porgy fishing was reported on the artificial reefs, shallow wrecks, around the jetties, and over mussel beds. Sea bass and a few trigger fish were mixed in with the porgies in the rocky or gravel bottom areas. Clam strips remained the top bait.

The sea bass fishing on the ocean wrecks out to 150 feet of water has been outstanding, with fish to 4.5 pounds reported. Diamond jigs, clams, bucktails, and squid strips were all consistent producers. Many anglers reported a mix of porgies ling, bluefish, and the occasional false albacore spicing up the catches. Similar, but less consistent catches were reported on the artificial reefs and inshore rock piles and reefs as they tend to get fished harder.

Anglers trolling spoons, small trolling lures, such as cedar jigs and feathers, reported catching false albacore and mahi in 80 to 100 feet of water. Most of the mahi were around 3 pounds and the false albacore around 8 pounds. When schools were found, anglers casting thin tins or fly-rodders using spearing imitations experienced excellent light tackle fishing. I expect that as the water temperatures drop, the mahi will be the first to leave inshore with the false albacore following in a few weeks.

Weakfish continue to be consistently reported caught in the East End bays, Jamaica Bay and off the beaches with most fish between 2 and 4 pounds, along with a few above 5 pounds reported. Throughout the report area, weakfish in the 1- to 3-pound range were reported in most areas. Thin plastic baits fished on a jig head or bucktails tipped with squid or sandworm pieces bounced off the bottom were consistent producers. A simple 2/0 sized white bucktail teaser tied about 18-inches above the main lure often outproduced the main lure. Fly-rodders did well fishing Clouser Minnows close to the bottom.

The freshwater fishing remained very strong, with largemouth bass, pickerel, yellow perch, and sunfish cooperating throughout the day. Plastic worms, spinner baits and swimming plugs were consistent producers of largemouth bass. Minnows were the best bait for pickerel. Yellow perch and sunfish responded best to worms small lures, such as spinners and trout magnets. 

Guy Zummo, flyfishguy@
optonline.net

Western New York

Chautauqua Lake

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 muskies by casting and trolling large stickbaits and crankbaits outside weed edges and by casting stickbaits over weedbeds.

Lake Erie and tributaries

Weather is starting to limit outings on Lake Erie. When conditions allowed 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 to 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 to 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 had the Catt running high in early October and water temperature dropped to near 60 degrees F. 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.

Lake Ontario

Fishing is really starting to turn on in the tributaries of Lake Ontario. At the top of the list is 18 Mile Creek in the Town of Newfane, from the lake at Olcott to Burt Dam. However, the bite appears to be better at night than during the day in the lake near the mouth and in the harbor. Casting glow spoons is the way to go, but stickbaits and egg skein will also work to take king salmon. Maddy Mahar, 18, of Amherst, caught her first salmon, a 42-inch salmon that tipped the scales at over 30 pounds. She caught it on a glow spoon. At Burt Dam, action is picking up for brown trout and salmon, with some steelhead being reported. Water temperatures need to come down a bit for better runs of fish. Water releases from the Erie Canal have been complementing recent rains to keep pulling fish into the streams. The Olcott piers are still shut down due to construction, but the Wilson piers are producing some salmon and trout. For many it has been hit or miss casting at those piers. 

Niagara River 

Salmon action increased with the start of last week’s report. Most captain reports are still two or three fish on a regular basis in the Devil’s Hole area using treated egg skein. However, some guides have hit limits with six fish for two anglers. Plan on losing some fish, and some gear. Capt. Ernie Calandrelli, of Lewiston, boated four kings recently, but they had 9 fish on. You must capitalize on your hits. Capt. Frank Campbell, of Lewiston, also caught a couple limits since, but it is important to stay focused. Shore guys are still catching a few salmon with an occasional bass or walleye. Remember that lake trout season is now closed until Dec. 1. Just a reminder that the new inland trout stream regulations that open on Oct. 16 does not apply to the Great Lakes tributaries.   

Frank Campbell, fcampbell@niagarafallsusa.com

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Orleans County

All the trib flows were up just a bit. Not a blowout but enough precipitation to bump everything up with a nice spate of water for some fresh fish migrations. Flows in the Oak were slightly high and slightly stained with a good head of water contained in the turbine channel. Still no real cool down afoot and the forecast looks warm. Anglers on the Oak reported small pods of kings on the move through the fast water areas Look for kings steaming through the downstream fast water to the dam, from the frog water areas through the fast water, from the lower river to the frogwater, and from the near shore waters to the rivermouth/lower river. Be there to intercept them! Certain days you’ll notice the salmon movement by seeing them crashing around, but as often as not that movement seems to go on quietly. Also a few more brown trout hook ups have been reported, but its plenty earlier for that with lots of good trout action ahead of us.

— Ron Bierstine, Oak Orchard Tackle & Lodge

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