Report from the Dock
June 15 has become a significant date on New York’s sporting calendar as it is now the official opening day of bass fishing season. That’s all because of a new series of freshwater fishing regulations that were approved earlier this year making this date the new hard opener rather than the third Saturday in June. Where catch-and-release fishing is allowed, however, there’s been some bass fishing action already. Trout anglers too are having some luck, but that could settle down a bit should hot weather begin to prevail. If June is anything like May, that will be the case. As schools let out for the summer and family vacations and camping trips are undertaken, fishing will be a main activity for many. And speaking of summer, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, Summer Solstice occcurs at 5:14 a.m. EDT on June 21.
1000 Islands Region
Michael Bell, of Chapman’s Sports Shop, reports the crappie spawn is coming to an end and the quality crappies are coming off deeper rocks in the 8- to 12-foot zone with 1⁄16- to 1⁄32-ounce jigs rigged with 1- to 2-inch plastics like Crappie Magnets, Lil Hustler tubes and minnow imitation baits. The bluegills on the lake are in full spawn mode and can be found up in the shallows on beds. Best way to target these fish is with a small jig tipped with spikes or pieces of nightcrawler rigged under a bobber. Northern pike are being caught on Mepps No. 4 and No. 5 in colors Firetiger, Hot Chartreuse, and Hot Orange. Other great options are larger shallow jerkbaits and ½-ounce spinnerbaits. Live bait anglers are enjoying good success presenting large pike shiners under oversized bobbers fishing the thickest and healthiest grass they can find.
Brad Paradis, of Gajo Baits, reports the northern pike, walleyes and perch are all biting well on the St. Lawrence River. Walleye anglers are doing well fishing blade baits, mister twister grubs and trolling stick baits in the 20- to 28-foot zone near sand bars and channel breaks leading into the tributaries along the river. The northern pike are roaming the weed edges ready to destroy jerkbaits and spinnerbaits. Focus in that 8- to 10-foot zone targeting any areas of thicker weeds. Perch have continued to bite in the 25-foot range on the sand flats using a dropshot rig to present small plastics or flathead minnows, but the bite has begun to slow a bit. The warmer weather has the water temps rising fast in the shallows, so expect to see the bass moving shallow in preparation for the annual spawn.
David Lee, of Excursion Charters, reports brown trout fishing remains solid along the shoreline between stony point lighthouse and Lakeview Wildlife Management Area using planner boards and stinger spoons in 10- to 15-foot of water. Northern pike and pickerel fishing remains great as well in the back bays. Oversized stick baits in black and silver are consistent. Walleye fishing during the day is starting to improve for those trolling deep diving stickbaits on planner boards or spoons on riggers set at the 15- to 25-foot zone over a 50- to 60-foot bottom
Captain Burnie Haney, New York Fishing Adventures, burniehaney.com
Trout action for all species has been steady throughout the Adirondack region on ponds and streams alike. Black flies have bee tough, though. On the bigger waters, lake trout have been cooperative withe some trophy-size fish coming out of Lake George and Schroon Lake. Bass action is picking up and should continue to do so as the season fully opens on June 15.
Capital District/Upper Hudson Valley
Trout anglers on the Batten Kill have been doing well, including one angler who landed an 18-inch brown. Northern pike are also biting on Cossayuna Lake. With the bass opener, the Mohawk River should start to get busy. Striper season has run its course on the Hudson (see Page 7).
Overall water levels and temperatures provide most all Catskill waters with reporting consistent and productive fishing right now. Fly anglers using Light Hendricksons, Grannom Emergers, and Elk Wing Caddis in sizes 14 and 16 are reporting success. Some reporting Green Drake hatches on Beaverkill and Neversink Rivers. Esopus Creek in good form right now with consistent Isonychia hatches – anglers fishing Isonychia nymphs (size 10) are reporting good catches. Spinning anglers are reporting consistent catches using smaller spoons and spinners as water levels continue to come down over time. Hardbait options like small Rapalas that imitate baitfish and small trout are producing in the early and late hours of the day.
Delaware River smallmouth action has been heating up with angler’s reporting consistent catches using a variety of tube baits in white, black, pumpkin, and color combinations of black/yellow, gold/black, red/white, and silver/white.
Largemouth bass anglers targeting rivers like the lower Rondout, Wallkill, and the Hudson are seeing good action fishing any available structures. Lily pad fishing using white top water mouse pattern is often productive now.
David Dirks, dirksoutdoors.com
Central New York
East Lake Ontario
The brown trout bite remains steady with several 2- to 3-year-old fish being caught in 50 to 100 feet if water in spoons and stick baits. The king salmon have started to set up in 150 to 400 feet of water and are biting on spoons and paddles with meat twinkies along with some flashers and flies. The lake trout bite is slowing down as the fish have moved farther north but a few can be found in 120 to 150 feet of water on Cowbells and Spin N’ Glow Peanuts.
The river has been producing nice walleyes while fishing at night with live bait and trolling Glow Stick Baits. The upcoming bass season looks promising with several large bass being sighted along the shore and some being caught in up to 30 feet of water.
Clarence Chamberlain, email@example.com
Walleye fishing is still slow, but some fish are being taken in 10 to 25 foot of water. Blade baits and jigging rapalas have been working.
Things are winding down but there are some nice smallmouth bass being caught on crankbaits and tube jigs.
Finger Lakes/Souther Tier
Lakers are still being caught in 120 to 150 foot of water by vertical jigging.
If you catch a tiger muskie that has been tagged ( near the dorsal fin), please do not remove the tag. Write down the tag number, length of fish, and location of the catch and either send an email to fwfish7 email below or call 607-753-3095 ext. 213 to report your catch.
Spoons are working the best. Michigan Stingers, NK’s, Dreamweaver’s, and many more brands of spoons work. UV green has been a productive color and black glow has been catching some late spring kings. The bass in Sodus and Port Bays can be found at the southern sections of the bays. The largemouth will also be hiding under the docks. Perch are still in the bays and are feeding on shad so “match the hatch” with 2-inch white rubber. Tip your lure with perch eyes or spikes. They have been in deeper water at 30 to 35 feet.
In the Erie Canal, water levels have been slightly higher after flooding the waterway. In Wayne County you can launch boats in Clyde, Lyons, Newark, Palmyra, and Macedon. Widewaters is the most popular location for anglers. You can fish quite a distance between locks and this location is known for hefty largemouth bass.
Chris Kenyon, waynecountytourism.com
The nice weather provided anglers with numerous opportunities to fish both inshore, offshore, and off the beaches, and jetties, as well as in freshwater. Anglers have been concentrating on striped bass, bluefish, weakfish, fluke, and porgies.
The fluke bite has been steadily improving with the warming waters. Inshore the fluke has been feeding on spearing and other small baits, including grass shrimp. Inshore anglers had success with fish up to 4 pounds, with most fish just short of keeper size. The traditional spearing and squid strip combo has worked well as has thin plastic lures fished on a jig head. Flyrodders casting Clouser Minnows and similar sinking flies reported catching fluke on the sand flats and off the beaches. Anglers fishing the surf had the best action using bucktails or plastic lures on a jig head. When tipped with a strip of squid or Gulp anglers reported better results. Consistent areas have been the South Shore inlets, Moriches and Shinnecock Bays, the North Shore harbors, around the Ponquogue Bridge, and off Green Lawns in the Peconics.
Anglers fishing the ocean reported catching less fluke compared to the inshore anglers, but in general the fish were larger, with most being keepers. Many trips resulted in a fish or two in the 3- to 4-pound class, with 5-pounders not uncommon. Larger baits, including whole squid, Peruvian spearing, fluke belly strips, and bluefish strips caught the largest fluke. Sea robins and clear nose rays were reported mixed in with the fluke in all locations.
The porgy season is hot, with limits of porgies reported, with many over 3 pounds among the catch. Hot areas have been around Rogers Rock and Jessups Neck in the Peconics, off Port Jefferson, and Orient and Montauk Points. Good porgy fishing was reported on the ocean artificial reefs. A few porgies were caught from the North and South Shore Jetties. Clams supplemented by clam chum were the top bait, with squid strips a good second choice. Anglers who fished a squid strip a foot above the bottom hook on a 1/0 hook attached via a dropper loop reported catching weakfish and bluefish while targeting porgies.
The weakfish fishing has consistently improved over the past few seasons. Anglers reported weakfish to 8-pounds in the Great South Bay around West Channel and Ocean Beach, in the back of Jamaica Bay, throughout the Peconics and Gardiners Bay, under the South Shore inlet bridges, and in the North Shore harbors. Angles targeting them in along the ocean beaches did well fishing at night using sandworms.
The bluefish fishing has been excellent, with fish to 10-pounds common in the ocean and Long Island Sound. In the bays and harbors the bluefish are running about 2- to 3-pounds with 5-pounders not uncommon. New York Bight and off Montauk Point have been excellent. Bluefish were mixed in with the striped bass in all locations.
Scott Jeffery at East End Bait and Tackle reported that the striped bass bite has been great in Shinnecock Bay. Drifted live bunker produced some quality fish at both the inlet and Ponquogue bridge. Bluefish to 10-pounds continue to ravage bait in and around the bridge and inlet. Jigs, tins, and poppers are all working on the bluefish. If you’re looking for weakfish target the Noyac Bay area. Squid, sandworms, and soft plastics are all tempting the weakies. Blues are moving throughout the bay. The Shinnecock Canal is still holding a good mix of fish including fluke, blowfish, porgies, bluefish, striped bass and of course sea robins. The ocean beaches have a few bluefish and bass. Target some of the back bay areas of Shinnecock Bay with surface plugs on the night tides for some bass.
The striped bass fishing off Montauk Point is excellent, with limits of stripers reported by anglers diamond jigging the rips. Anglers surf fishing the Point did well during both the day and night tides with the night tides being more productive. Large swimming plugs and large shad bodied plastic baits were the top picks. Striped bass were caught in the rips of both Cow Neck and Jessups in the Peconics.
In the ocean beaches and South Shore inlets there were numerous 40-pound stripers, some estimated over 50-pounds reported and released. June is typically the big fish month for stripers and this month is off to a great start. Live bunker during the day and live eels during the night tide caught the largest stripers. Trolled Mojo Rigs with bunker spoons or shad body jigs consistently produced 20- to 40-pound stripers in 40- to 60-feet of water off the South Shore beaches. Diamond jigging and casting plugs to fish working under the birds were very productive. A few thresher sharks were reported harassing the schools of bunker.
The freshwater fishing remained very good with anglers reporting largemouth bass, pickerel, and panfish very cooperative. The bass and pickerel are taking plugs, large streamers, and spinner baits. The best panfish action was reported by anglers fishing worms or casting small spinners..
Guy Zummo, firstname.lastname@example.org
Western New York
Anglers are now catching walleye during both night and day. At night, casting stickbaits works very well from outside deeper weed edges to near the shoreline. During the day, most walleye catches are coming along deep weed edges by slow trolling, bottom bouncing or drifting and jigging. Docks and around weed beds are great places to take youth fishing as sunfish, yellow perch and largemouth bass provide plenty of fishing fun. Visit the Chautauqua Lake page for more fishing information.
Lake Erie and tributaries
The nighttime walleye bite is still going strong along the popular shallow shoals from Buffalo to west of Dunkirk. Limit catches are not uncommon. Stickbaits get lots of attention when trolled at around 1.5 mph over rocky structure in 6 to 15 feet of water. Van Buren Bay, Evans Bar, Myers Reef, off Hamburg and near mouth of Smokes Creek are good spots to try. Depths of 15 to 25 feet of water off the traditional nighttime haunts are starting to produce some daytime catches, with better chances early and late in day. Anglers target walleyes in this transitional zone with different tactics including trolling, bottom bouncing and casting weight-forward spinners. It will still be a while before walleyes assume their summer patterns in deeper water.
Smallmouth bass action has been very good in and around the Buffalo Harbor breakwalls and gaps. Shore anglers along Buffalo Harbor State Park are catching bass too. Dunkirk and Barcelona Harbors are other productive spots to try. On the open lake, depths of 10 to 25 feet of water have been producing decent to good smallmouth bass catches. Target areas with rocky structure with ned rigs, tub jigs, swim baits and live shiners.
Cattaraugus Creek has been in great shape recently and is top Erie tributary to target smallmouth bass and channel catfish. Anglers report good bass catches in the lower section of the Catt on streamers, buggers, stickbaits, jigs with plastics and live shiners. Anglers are catching good numbers of catfish from the mouth up to the Route 20 bridge, with best action at night. Nightcrawlers, raw shrimp, cut bait and prepared baits are good catfish offerings. Bass and catfish are in lower abundance on the other Lake Erie tributaries due to low and clear conditions..
Lake Ontario and tributaries
At the 37th Annual Skip Hartman Memorial Pro-Am Tournament Capt. Taz Morrison, West End Sportfishing of Wilson, won the tournament and fished straight out of Wilson in 400 feet of water. They caught their fish on a mix of neutral color spoons, flasher/fly, and a few cut bait rigs. Their focus was the top 60 feet of water as they ran riggers 30, 45 and 60 feet down. They also ran double divers back 80 to 160 feet and they took a few fish on 5-colors of lead core line too. Spoons at 30 and 45 took the most bites.
Amateur Division winners, Mean Machine, ran a mix of divers, riggers and 300/400 foot coppers. They had some good hits on 10 colors of lead so the next day they ran six long lines – lead core and copper. All spoons included Magnum NBK’s, Mag Frostbite, Mag Pro King, and Stingray NBK to collect the fish they needed to take over first place.
DEC’s report says the productive king salmon fishing zone has pushed a little deeper and over a greater depth range. From Olcott to the west, trollers are picking up good numbers of king salmon in 150 to 275 feet of water on gear run 30 to 100 feet down, with some trout mixed in. Large spoons and meat rigs are working well. Closer to Rochester, anglers are catching some kings outside 100 feet of water. When nearshore waters are stained following a blow out of the north, anglers can target brown trout inside 20 feet of water by trolling with stickbaits and smaller spoons.
Lisa Drabczyk, of Creek Road Bait and Tackle, in Lewiston, reports action has been slower due to building moss problems. A few bass are being caught around Fort Niagara and Youngstown on swim baits and Ned rigs. Some steelhead are still hanging around Devil’s Hole. Mark Plennert of Niagara Falls hit both the upper and lower river sections recently. In the upper river, he caught a nice steelhead at Burnt Ship Bay near Navy Island using his all-time favorite lure, a blue fox super vibrax spinner. The next day in the gorge, he caught a near-record white bass that tipped the scales at 3 pounds, 7 ounces – just one ounce shy of the mark set by Morgan Fonzi, of Gasport in the same general location in May of 2020. Plennert was tossing a Zoom fluke to take fish there. Mike Ziehm of Niagara Falls noted that white (silver) bass numbers seem to be down this year in the gorge and the smallmouth bass bite has been a bit thin. He has hooked into a few muskies while targeting those bass and there could be a direct correlation with fish numbers..
Frank Campbell, email@example.com
The waters off Point Breeze are providing an excellent mixed bag west of the Point in 100 to 200 feet of water for steelhead and coho salmon action. They’re fishing the surface to 30-feet down on orange spoons. The charter fleet has had king salmon action in 100 to 120 feet of water using chrome glow flasher fly combinations down to 60 feet.
Capt. John Oravec, Tight Lines Charters