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New York Outdoor News Fishing Report – April 28, 2022

Report from the Dock

This upcoming week, anglers who fish for walleyes, northern pike, tiger muskies and pickerel get off to an earlier start than in most years. Starting this year, the seasons for these species begins on May 1, rather than on the first Saturday in May. This is one of several new freshwater fishing regulations to be implemented this year, with a few more to come. Brook trout anglers, meanwhile, are also coming into their season. Some old legends say that when the pussy willows bloom, the brookies are biting. 

1000 Islands Region

St. Lawrence River

Joey from 1,000 Island Bait Store reports anglers are doing very well in Eel, Goose and Chippewa Bays using fathead minnows to catch 10- to 13-inch perch. The Crappie bite is starting to turn on and in the same bays again using fathead minnows but fishing them under a cork for the best action. Expect to find pike in near shore areas feeding on the perch and others mixed in the with walleyes holding out toward the first drop off near the main river channel and the main river shoals. Try ½-ounce white spinnerbaits, spoons and rattle traps for the shallow fish and consider darker colors swimbaits along with 1⁄2– to ¾-ounce black and blue bucktail jigs for the deeper ledge and shoal fish.  

Eastern Basin

Captain Mike Howard, of Hook’d for Life Fishing Adventures, reports brown trout fishing has been spotty at 8- to 14-feet from the Sands south of Henderson to Drown Island with varying watercolor and water temps reading 45 degrees. Charters report good fishing near Pill Boxes, Rays Bay and Sawyers Bay catching decent numbers of 3- to 4-pound trout with the depth of 8- to 14-feet holding true. Most of the browns harvested were loaded with gobies and void of the traditional smelt and alewives we’d traditionally see this time of year. During a Southeast blow focus on the Northern shores of each bay for best results. Michigan Stingers and stickbaits are producing with the spoon bite producing best. As the water continues to warm look for the bite to get even better. 

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

Adirondacks

Brook trout anglers wait all year for this period and many will be venturing into the Adirondack backcountry to canoe-fish small ponds. Waters may still be cooler as the warm-up this spring has been slow in coming. Trails to ponds will be muddy too. Meanwhile, the stocking trucks are running, which along with the May 1 season opener for pike, walleyes, and others, should have everyone but the bass anglers happy. .

Capital District/Upper Hudson Valley

Striped bass anglers are following bait (alewives/herring) in the Hudson and action should be picking up by early May. Rain and even an April snowstorm messed things up for a bit but anglers were hoping for a warming trend. There’s lots of trout stream stocking going on. With pike and walleye seasons opening, along with tiger muskies and pickerel, action should be picking up on Saratoga Lake, Cossayuna Lake and Round Lake, along with parts of the Mohawk River. 

Catskills/Southeastern N.Y.

According to Dette Flies, in Livingston Manor, recent rain added some fresh water to the system and the rivers are slowly warming up. Black Caddis, Paraleps, Blue Winged Olives, Quill Gordons, and Hendricksons were slowly making their way to the surface. Reports of these hatches on the Delaware system mean our rivers are not far behind. Subsurface fishing with nymphs, wets and Caddis pupa remain productive. Fish the riffles and pocket water. The water temps will soon be above 50 degrees for the hatches to arrive in numbers.

David Dirks, dirksoutdoors.com 

Central New York

East Lake Ontario

The brown trout bite remains steady in less that 30 feet of water. The preferred baits are Rapala stick bait, Bay Raps, Smith Wicks and Michigan Stingers. 

From Oswego to Mexico there have been several reports of nice king and coho salmon along with a few steelhead being caught along the shoreline. Mexico Point to the Salmon River has been a steady bite for brown trout with a few wall eye mixed in. 

Captain Casey, of f Dirty Goose Sport Fishing, recently organized an event for Cops 4 a Cause and took families who have lost a law enforcement family member out fishing. They had six charter boats participating. The brown trout fishing was slow so they went after lake trout and at the end of the day had brought in 54 lakers with fishing a total of three hours. The biggest trout was 28.1 pounds and was caught in 146 feet of water caught by a young boy. 

Clarence Chamberlain, carogabait@gmail.com 

Oswego River

The flow was still up. For steelhead and brown trout keep at it with egg sacs, beads, or pink worms, either bottom bounced or fished under a float. 

Salmon River

Some steelhead are still 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. 

Finger Lakes/Souther Tier

Cayuga Lake

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.

Otisco Lake

Otisco Lake is one of the Big Panfish Initiative waters and now has a special regulation for sunfish (bluegill and pumpkinseed). The daily limit is 15, with a minimum length of 8-inches. 

Owasco Lake

Look for yellow perch in 10 to 20 foot of water with small minnows and jigs.

Skaneateles Lake

The docks are in. Look for walleyes around the mouth of Shotwell Brook. There is now a special walleye regulation on Skaneateles Lake. The season is open all year, with a minimum length of 12-inches, no daily limit.

Wayne County

On Lake Ontario the browns have been hitting stickbaits. Chartreuse works well and Bay Rat LS has also been a favorite. For spoons try Stingers glow-green or Moonshine Wonderbread. Fishing has been great except for the relentless winds. Kings are also hitting in 20 to 30 feet or water east of Sodus Bay. In the bays, the Coast Guard Station launch is open at Sodus Point. The Bear Creek launch will not be opened until Memorial Day

Perch are scattered but there has been some luck on the north end of Sodus Bay near Leroy Island. The bullhead bite is and anglers are catching them off Bay Bridge (south end of Sodus)Another location is the south end of Port Bay. Launch at West Port Bay Road and head south into the creek for bullheads.

On the Erie Canal, anglers are waiting for the canal to be flooded and opened on May 21. There are sections where the water is never lowered. Widewaters is the longest stretch.

Chris Kenyon, waynecountytourism.com

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.

Long Island 

The striped bass season in marine waters opened on April 15 to an excellent start. Anglers fishing from the ocean beaches and inlets west of Debs Inlet are reporting stripers attacking poppers, tins, and plastic baits during both the day and night tides, with the best action just after dawn and towards dusk. Fly-rodders reported doing well on spearing imitation flies, and poppers. The fishing reports have been better than those of the last few seasons at this time of year. Which is a good sign for a productive spring season. Expect bluefish and weakfish to arrive a few weeks behind the stripers.

In the bays and inshore flats from Jamaica Bay out to Shinnecock Bay, and in the western Sound harbors, stripers were reported by light tackle anglers and fly-rodder. These fish are feeding on the large schools of spearing and baby bunker in the bays. Thin plastic baits, small bucktails and small plugs cast by light-tackle anglers and spearing, or bunker imitations cast by fly-rodders against marsh banks, over sand flats, and along channel edges in these bays have resulted in excellent action. This is a fun and productive fishery that both boat anglers and shore anglers can participate in. 

Boaters reported catching stripers on diamond jigs, flutter spoons, and trolling Mojo rigs with shad bodied jigs. The best fishing was reported by anglers fishing under diving birds. Anglers reported that most of the stripers were between 18- and 24-inches long with a few approaching the 30-inch mark. As the season progresses these stripers will continue migrating their way eastward and mix with the winter, hold-over-stripers residing in the back bays, with larger stripers following as the migration progresses.  

The blackfish season has been very good with anglers fishing the artificial reefs and wrecks in both the ocean and in the Long Island Sound reporting blackfish up to 5 pounds caught on crabs, and clams. Anglers fishing in the ocean reported a few codfish around keeper size mixed in with the blackfish catches. The spring blackfish season ends on April 30, so now is the time to catch a few spring blackfish.

Open boats continue to ground-fish trips to the offshore wrecks targeting cod, haddock, pollock, and ling. The species caught often depends on the location of the wrecks with haddock and pollock more common east of Shinnecock Inlet, and ling more common west of the inlet. Expect a few porgies, mackerel, cunners to come over the rails occasionally. Diamond jigs, flutter spoons, and clams were all consistent producers, with the top choice being fresh clams fished under a teaser of red, white, or pink plastic worm or twister-tail style plastic bait.

The freshwater action continues to be very good. Anglers reported catching smallmouth and largemouth bass were taken on plastic worms, spinnerbaits, jigs, and thin plugs. Chain pickerel are very active and were reported taking the same lures as the bass. Walleyes continue to be caught during low-light conditions and after dark in Lake Ronkonkoma and Fort Pond on jigs and deep diving plugs.

Yellow perch, crappies, and sunfish are on the feed and were consistently caught on to spinners, marabou jigs, and small flies. 

Guy Zummo, flyfishguy@optonline.net

Western New York

Chautauqua Lake

Crappie fishing has been fair to decent. The canals have produced mostly undersized crappies and some sunfish. Anglers fishing Bemus Bay in 6 to 7 feet of water report decent crappie fishing, with catches of legal crappies 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.

Lake Erie and tributaries

Except for Cattaraugus Creek, all Lake Erie tributaries were 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 up 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 11-1 to 12-inch range and some limits coming in. Boats are scattered between 45 to 65 feet of water, though depths of 55 to 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. Sturgeon Point Marina is closed. 

Lake Ontario and tributaries

Capt. Joe Oakes of Newfane reports that fishing is good to very good right now for cohos, browns, lakers and kings. There are browns, cohos and kings inside of 20 feet and lakers, cohos and kings at 60 to 200 feet. There hasn’t been a particular hot bait as he has been catching fish on spoons, stickbaits and flasher-fly combos. Capt. Richard Brant, of Tonawanda, ran his 20-foot Lund Pro-V out of Wilson recently and did well in 60 feet of water with a Spin Doctor and No-See-Em Dream Weaver fly. Kings were hugging tight to the bottom, and he caught coho salmon up high.  

Niagara River 

The Niagara River gorge is still the best place to be for consistent trout fishing according to Mike Ziehm, of Niagara Falls. His best tip for success for shore fishing involves the use of spinners. Use No. 4 and 5’s with weights of 3⁄8-to-7⁄16-ounce . Add in one or two 1⁄16-ounce split shots approximately 20 inches above the spinner depending on how fast and deep the water your fishing is. Get that lure down to the bottom and keep the retrieve slow. The river finally cleaned back up after winds and rain created about 4 feet of visibility. There are still plenty of minnows and other baitfish hanging around in the Devil’s Hole powerplant area. Ziehm caught a bunch on his homemade No. 5 spinners. 

A few bass are becoming more active, too. Capt. Ryan O’Neill, of Orchard Park, has been picking up steelhead and lake trout using shiners when the water is clear in Devil’s Hole. If the water is stained, he likes to use peach or white beads, fished off 3-way rigs. At the mouth of the river on the Niagara Bar, some small boats have been drifting (depending on the winds) or slow trolling MagLips or live bait off 3-way rigs to take kings and cohos. The smelt run is slowing down according to Lisa Drabczyk, with Creek Road Bait and Tackle. Artpark and Lewiston Landing still had some smelt, but later at night was better than earlier.

Frank Campbell, fcampbell@niagarafallsusa.com

Orleans County 

Some browns and cohoes were just east of Shadigee in 7 to 10 feet of water. On the west side of Shadigee just past Flat Top, the first king of the season was caught, the further out, the better it got with some consistent doubles and triples. We’ll be fishing at the Bar, chasing kings then return to the Oak around Memorial Day as the kings migrate east.

Capt. Bob Songin, reelexcitement.com

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