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New York Outdoor News Fishing Report – March 3, 2022

Report from the Dock

March is a month of dates to remember, if not to live by. It starts when Daylight Savings Time begins overnight Saturday, March 12, into Sunday, March 13. Next, is March 15: the day when ice shanties have to be off the ice for the season, and also when fishing seasons end for walleyes, northern pike, pickerel and tiger muskellunge. The question is when they’ll reopen: will it be May 1 or May 6. DEC is deciding on that one. The Spring Vernal equinox occurs March 20 at 11:33 a.m. Some ice fishing continues in New York but things are surely going the other way as spring approaches.

1000 Islands Region

Black Lake: 

Michael Bell, of Chapman’s Sport Shop, said the water level has dropped since the start of the ice fishing season making the bite a little finicky in some areas. Anglers are doing well catching northern pike on tip-ups rigged with large shiners in Rollaway Bay and Conger Island. Best catches occur with the bait sitting 12- to 18-inches above the bottom. Crappies and bluegills are being caught on jigs and spoons in the deeper sections of Rollaway Bay and Mile Arm Bay using small jigs and spoons tipped with minnows or spikes and the 13 Fishing Micro Magic Man tipped a half of minnow for scent. There was still decent amount of snow on the ice making foot travel challenging, but snowmobiles were out, just use caution and watch for wet spots and/or pressure ridges.

1000 Islands:

Brad Paradis, of Gajo Baits, reports that perch were being caught just about everywhere on the St. Lawrence River. In shallow bays they are moving in droves around remaining vegetation under the ice. Small jigs and light line are the key. Perch are also being caught in deeper water, at 20 to 35 feet, but are constantly on the move making them much harder to target. Pike are very active on the flats of the bays. Focus your tip-ups or jigging raps in the shallows near the first drop off. Walleyes are being caught, with the best times early in the morning or later in the evening. Spoons tipped with minnows and jigging raps in that 12- to 18-foot zone are producing best. 

Eastern Basin:

Frank Kohlbach, of Pond Skipper Fishing Adventures, reports perch fishing has heated up across the Eastern Basin. Look for jumbo perch in depths 10 to 30 feet, with the Caty Jig being the top producer along with a slab spoon tipped with minnows. Snowmobiles were still out on most areas. The Chaumont Bay walleye fishing has been exceptionally good with gold being a great color for lures on the sunny days. The night bite’s been productive as well, targeting the 26- to 30-foot zone produced a solid 291⁄4-inch walleye that weighed 12 pounds, 5 ounces on a Walleye Nation Creation Rip-N-Glide.

Captain Burnie Haney, New York Fishing Adventures,

Adirondacks, Capital District/Upper Hudson Valley

It’s not uncommon for ice anglers in parts of the Adirondacks to have favorable conditions well into the month, if not later. Ice conditions will obviously depend on weather conditions and all waters should be monitored daily. Shed hunters are starting to get out and about as spring approaches. 

Catskills/Southeastern N.Y.

Warming temperatures and snowmelt should have streams swelling. If there’s not too much snow on the stream banks, catch-and-release trout fishing should be lucrative. 

Central New York

Oneida Lake 

Anglers are getting out around the lake. Walleye and perch fishing continues to be good. 

Oswego River

The flow was up following rainstorms and snow-melt. This can make fishing difficult for shore anglers. For steelhead and brown trout try egg sacs, beads, or pink worms, either bottom bounced or fished under a float.

Salmon River

Before the high water, steelhead were being caught throughout the river but most of the effort has been in the deeper holes. Try egg sacs, beads, or pink worms fished under a float or bottom bounced, if fly fishing try egg imitating fly patterns.

Finger Lakes/Southern Tier

Canadice Lake

Shallower areas offer fishing for sunfish and yellow perch. Lake trout are available in deep waters. Jigging with spoons or tip-ups with large shiners are the typical tactics for lakers. After dark, anglers equipped with a lantern catch smelt just under the ice.

Cayuga Lake

Anglers are catching yellow perch and chain pickerel. 

Otisco Lake

Anglers are getting out around the lake, with most of the activity on the north end. 

Sandy Pond

Anglers are getting yellow perch and northern pike. 

Whitney Point Reservoir

Anglers are getting some walleyes, rock bass and yellow perch. 

Wayne County

Some steelhead are still in Maxwell Creek. Find some pools and use anything bright red or fresh egg sacs. Current is strong and with more rain as of late the stream should be flowing. In the bays, most of the perch action has been at Third Creek out next to the points. Fish in 25 to 30 feet of water and use bright glow jigs. Fishing out that deep you need to use larger jigs to get to the bottom. Tip your presentation with spikes and drill a few holes so you can move around. Some pike were still being caught on the east side of LeRoy Island. Use pike minnows under tip-ups. The Port Bay perch have been caught off the points (Tompkins and Graves Point) Note, shoreline ice in some areas was breaking up. In the Erie Canal, here was still solid ice at Widewaters. The current in the canal has been very strong so make sure you spud your way to your location. Other sections of the canal in Wayne County are not safe for ice fishing. 

Chris Kenyon,

Long Island 

Overall, the saltwater fishing has been slow. Largely due to cold weather, which has kept may open and charter boats tied to the dock or on the hard for winter storage. Boats that did run targeted cod, haddock, and ling. The full moon has created faster then normal currents, making fishing difficult in certain locations. Anglers working diamond jigs or large plastic bodies on a heavy jig head often had the edge over bait fishers when the current was running hard.

There were no reports form the long-range boats, many who did not sail due to the weather conditions. But typically, the tend to fish the less fished offshore wrecks, ledges and rock piles that hold larger fish then their inshore counterparts.

The trout fishing in the Connetquot River remained good. Rainbow trout, and a few brown trout, responded to weighted Woolly Buggers and weighted nymphs. A few trout were reported in the Carmans River, Rattlesnake Creek, and Bubbles Falls. Trout worms were the top bait. Small jigs, such as Trout Magnets, spinners, and small spoons also caught their share of trout.

The white perch fishing on the East End was very good, especially on the warmer days. Grass shrimp followed by worms were the most productive baits. Streamers and small spoons were also productive. Walleyes are also an option in Fort Pond and Lake Ronkonkoma. The best fishing is typically at night when the fish move into shallower water where small crankbaits are productive, or on very overcast days.

Now is a good time to go exploring for new freshwater spots to uncover access, parking areas, research the lakes or river’s topography. A few casts with a small spoon or spinner might be rewarded with a few yellow perch or pickerel.

Guy Zummo,

Western New York

Buffalo Boat Harbor

Anglers report steady action for yellow perch and sunfish with a fair number of keepers per outing. Northern pike catches on tip-ups with large shiners has been decent at times. Smelt are available and will hit micro-jigs tipped with a spike. Anglers should access the ice from the boat launch. Walking on, or any other use of slip docks is not permitted. Litter has been a problem here, please pick up after yourself. 

Canadice Lake

Shallower areas offer fishing for sunfish and yellow perch. Lake trout are available in deep waters. Jigging with spoons or tip-ups with large shiners are the typical tactics for lakers. After dark, anglers equipped with a lantern catch smelt just under the ice.

Chautauqua Lake

The lake level was up, creating an open water gap along the shore at some access points. The walleye bite had picked up and some decent catches have come from depths of 25 to 45 feet of water in the north basin. Weed edges in 8 to 12 feet of water also produce some walleye catches near dawn and dusk. Jigging is a better bet, but tip-ups with medium-sized shiners/minnows catch the occasional ‘eye. Yellow perch catches were very good lake-wide in 5 to 20 feet of water, but expect dozens of small perch for every keeper.

Honeoye Lake

Sunfish and yellow perch fishing has picked up a bit around the shallower south end. Catch numbers are better around standing vegetation. Tip-ups with shiners set in weedy areas mostly catch largemouth bass, chain pickerel and yellow perch. Yellow perch are the predominant catch at depths over 20 feet. Catch numbers are modest, but most are quality fish including some jumbos. Hole hopping and covering larger areas increases the catch count. The bonus walleye catch is possible in both shallow and deeper areas. 

Silver Lake

The south end panfish bite has been solid at depths under 10 feet. Numbers are good and catches are dominated by bluegill, with some perch and the occasional crappie mixed in. A group of anglers recently were averaging one keeper out of every five fish caught. Northern pike action has been decent on tip-ups with large shiners. Yellow perch catch numbers are better in deeper areas of 20 to 34 feet of water, though they tend to run small. Hole hopping helps to increase catch count of keeper-sized perch.

Southern Tier Lakes

Case, Harwood, New Albion, Allen, Red House and Quaker Lakes provide fishing opportunities for a variety of warm-water fish. Anglers also have the chance to catch large broodstock trout (14”-28”), as each lake was stocked with broodstock trout in the fall. Some holdover spring stockies are also available. 

Lake Erie and tributaries

The region-wide blowout cleared all ice out of the creeks and stream levels have been dropping back. The Chautauqua County streams were at prime to slightly high levels at report time. The Erie County streams remained a bit high. Cattaraugus Creek was high and will not be an option for some time. Look for some fresh steelhead to have moved into the streams. . 

Lake Ontario and tributaries

No one has been able to fish the Niagara Bar lately because of wind issues. However, there should be lake trout and brown trout swimming around when you can get out there. At Burt Dam and 18 Mile Creek, Ken Jackson of Sanborn reports that both sacs and jigs were getting fish on Saturday during the NRAA steelhead contest. Ice isn’t safe in Olcott according to Matt Vogt, of Newfane, but you should be able to sneak out onto the back bay in Wilson for a little bit longer. Be careful!.

Niagara River 

Mike Ziehm of Niagara Falls recently hooked up with nine trout and landed five of them from shore in the gorge. The river as was in good shape and the ice had cleared out. There was 4 to 5 feet of visibility above the NYPA power plant and approximately 3 feet below the plant. The power plant stopped pumping out mud, making it more favorable down river. Catches were hitting jigs and No. 5 spinners in white and chartreuse mixes according to Ziehm. DEC adds that the recent trout bite has been decent to good. Three-way rigs with large shiners have been top producer, though rigs with egg sacs or flatfish lures draw strikes also.

Frank Campbell,

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