Central New York
Region 7 and Eastern Region 8
Though things were better this week, the windy conditions continue to make getting out tricky. But when anglers can get out, they are getting brown trout trolling with planer boards and stickbaits. Usually this time of year you want to look for off-colored water around river mouths.
The flow is about the same as last week and is 11,400 cubic feet per second (CFS) as of April 15th. For steelhead and brown trout try egg sacs, beads, or pink worms, either bottom bounced or fished under a float. See Salmon River report below for link to information on steelhead fishing.
The flow is 750 CFS as of April 15th. Some steelhead were being caught throughout the river and it’s mostly drop-backs at this point in the season. Try egg sacs, beads, or pink worms fished under a float or bottom bounced, nightcrawlers can also work well this time of year. If fly fishing try egg imitating fly patterns, streamers, or nymphs.
Yellow perch are being caught on small minnows and jigs.
There are a couple new regulations for walleye in 2022. The first is the statewide opening day for walleye of May 1st. The second is the daily limit for walleye on Oneida Lake is the same as the statewide regulation, with a daily limit of 5, and a minimum length of 15-inches.
Finger Lakes Tributaries
For rainbows in the tributaries try egg sacs, beads, nightcrawlers, and egg imitating plastics or flies. As a reminder, there are some special regulations on Finger Lakes tributaries, please see page 59 in the 2022 Freshwater Fishing Guide. One example of a special regulation is-Angling is prohibited between sunset and sunrise from April 1- May 15.
Look for yellow perch on the north end using small jigs and minnows. Trolling stickbaits on the south of the lake can work well for brown trout and Atlantic salmon this time of year. Use caution as recent rains probably have debris floating around on the south end.
Look for yellow perch in 10 to 20 foot of water with small minnows and jigs.
The docks are in. Starting on April 1st there is a special walleye regulation on Skaneateles Lake. Walleye-all year, minimum length of 12-inches, daily limit-any number.
Otisco Lake is one of the Big Panfish Initiative (BPI) waters and now has a special regulation for Sunfish (bluegill and pumpkinseed). The daily limit is 15, with a minimum length of 8-inches.
Lake Erie & Western New York
Lake Erie, Tributaries & Harbors
Except for Cattaraugus Creek, all Lake Erie tributaries are at prime fishing levels. With some rain on the way keep an eye on the USGS Water Data gages this weekend. Anglers are mostly catching drop-back steelhead now with better numbers in the lower sections of the streams. Smallmouth bass are moving in and some have pushed well up into the stream systems. Bass numbers and catches will continue to improve over the next couple weeks. A DEC electrofishing survey turned a few catfish in the lower section of Cattaraugus Creek this week. Catfish numbers will also improve in the coming weeks.
Lake Erie anglers report solid yellow perch catches between Cattaraugus Creek and Sturgeon Point, with lots of perch in the 11-12-inch range and some limits coming in. Boats are scattered between 45-65 feet of water, though depths of 55-60 feet have been most productive. Emerald shiners fished at the bottom is the ticket. Town of Hanover boat launch is open and has at least one launch dock in. The lot has been over capacity on nice days and the launch has seen traffic jams at popular launch and pull times. Sunset Bay State Marine Park launch is open; however, Parks has announced that the launch will be closed between 4/11 and 4/29 until 3:30pm, but is open after 3:30pm and on weekends. Call 716-934-2375 for updates. Sturgeon Point Marina is closed.
Upper Niagara River harbors and marinas are good spots to target yellow perch and bullhead. Emerald shiners are available for dipping in some harbors and make excellent perch bait.
Ice has cleared from the lower river, but today’s high winds will muddy things up for a bit. Lower river trout fishing has slowed and anglers are working hard for a few hook-ups. Anglers in the upper drifts see a mix of steelhead and lake trout, while lake trout are the dominant catch on the Niagara Bar. The water temperature is right for smelt to move close to shore at night. Reports so far have been for catches of “just a few”. That could change quickly, and when it does the good run can be brief. The shoreline of Artpark State Park is the most popular and typically the most productive smelt dipping spot. Lewiston Landing/sand docks can be productive too. Note a new regulation effective April 1; the daily limit of 3 trout and salmon in any combination may not include more than 2 steelhead. The New York Power Authority angler access points at the Power Vista and reservoir are open as of April 1.
Lake Ontario, Tributaries, Harbors & Piers
The nearshore brown trout bite has been decent to good from the Niagara Bar to east of Rochester. Most caught brown trout have been in the 2-4 pound range. Trollers can target brown trout inside 20 feet of water by running small to medium sized stickbaits or spoons 75-100 feet behind planer boards. Action tends to be better in murky areas and along mud lines. In clearer conditions catch odds are greatly diminished. If brown trout aren’t cooperating, slide out to 60 feet of water plus where lake trout are plentiful and readily hit spoons run near the bottom.
Few trout now remain in the Lake Ontario tributaries, while suckers and smallmouth bass numbers are climbing. All creeks are lower and clear at report time. Bullhead are biting well in the usual spots, including Twelvemile Creek, Wilson-Tuscarora Bay, Olcott Harbor and Golden Hill State Park. Common bullhead baits include nightcrawlers, raw shrimp, chicken livers, dead minnows and prepared baits. Yellow perch are biting inside the piers at Wilson Harbor.
Chautauqua Lake crappie fishing has been fair to decent. The canals have produced mostly undersized crappie and some sunfish. Anglers fishing Bemus Bay in 6-7 feet of water report decent crappie fishing, with catches of legal crappie ranging from just a few to about half a limit. Other weedy bays and shallow structures are worth a look. Small jigs tipped with a small minnow, one-inch tube or other small plastic are good crappie offerings. Be aware, effective April 1st the minimum length for crappie increased to 10 inches. Bullhead are available along the lake shoreline during low light periods. Walleye season opens on May 1st.
Inland Trout Streams
At report time, the larger creek systems are running a little high but most other streams are in good shape with medium flows. The trout streams have been fishing well since the opener. Warming creek temperatures will have fish looking up but it will still be a bit until we see the prime surface action. Subsurface baits, lures and flies are a better bet.