Report from the Dock
Nothing goes together better during the summer months than camping and fishing. For some, it’s packing a small rod and tackle in a backpack and trekking miles into the woods to a remote pond. Better yet, how about a canoe or kayak trip to a similar location? For others, it’s an RV stationed at a state park or DEC campground, which are plentiful throughout New York. Planning is the key here, as summer campsites get booked early as families plan their vacations far in advance. Campground lakes can be busy too, but fish can be found away from the main camping area. This is especially the case for bass waters. If you’re bringing the kids, bring plenty of worms, some bobbers and terminal tackle and spend some time teaching the youngsters the values of fishing while making memories that last a lifetime. And don’t forget the ghost stories around the evening campfire.
1000 Islands Region
The largemouth bass are hitting 1⁄2- to 1-ounce jig-and-pigs inside and along the outside edge adjacent to thicker weed beds in the 3- to 9-foot zone. Anglers are also seeing success for bass and northern pike casting 1⁄2-ounce spinnerbaits adjacent to the same general weed edges.
1000 Islands Baits Store reports the smallmouth bass are on the bite, the Bassmasters Elites Series fished July 14 through 17, achieving a winning weight of 102-pounds for 20 fish (see Page 6), all smallmouths, a feat that’s never been accomplished before in the history of competitive bass fishing. The river is producing plenty of 4-pound class smallmouths. Northern pike are holding in the 30- to 40-foot zone with trolling and live bait producing best. Walleyes are holding suspended in 30 foot over a 60-foot bottom, again trollers are doing very well during low light periods and at night. Perch are scattered in all depths from 10 to 45 feet, with flathead minnows producing the best results.
From the trench in Henderson out to the shipping channels king salmon are starting to bite, spoons are producing best with meat rigs getting in the rotation too. The occasional steelhead are also taken in the same spreads with speed running 2.2- to 2.7 mph. Top producing spoons colors are silver and glow green and black and sliver with glow white ladder-back tape. Meat rigs on a chartreuse or white head with 8-inch flashers are working well.
New York Fishing Adventures reports the smallmouth bass are settling into their summer patterns with solid numbers of fish still holding in the 19- to 26-foot zone. Target those deeper fish with dropshot or Ned Rigs and bait fisherman can expect to do well casting soft shell crabs (crawfish) on a weight rig on 3⁄8- to 1⁄2-ounce with the hook tied in about 18- to 24-inches above the weight. Cast out once the weight hits bottom, reel into a semi-tight line to keep the bait out of the goby strike zone and the bass will have no problem finding your offering.
Captain Burnie Haney, New York Fishing Adventures, burniehaney.com
Hot weather has cooled the trout fishing down but bass anglers are having solid action just about everywhere. There’s also been some hefty northern pike caught by anglers who target them. There’s a lot of options for fishing in the Adirondacks and the best bet is to do some research based on the species and type of water you want to fish. DEC’s website is a good starting point, especially the lake contour maps, which are available by county.
Capital District/Upper Hudson Valley
Similar to the Adirondacks, there’s lot of bass and pike action this time of year. Ponds higher up on the Rensselaer Plateau, such as those at Grafton Lakes State Park, are solid options and provide a variety of fishing opportunities.
Trout Town Flies, in Roscoe, says the Neversink and Esopus were up after last week’s rains, but the Willow and Beaverkill were still hurting and very warm. Stick with the Tailwaters West and East branches and the Neversink. Recently there were some Cahill’s, Sulphers mostly, some Olives #18 & 22’s. Also carry some Spinners both Sulpher and Rusty’s. Sulphers produced big browns and a rainbow trout for this writer.
Central New York
East Lake Ontario
From Oswego Harbor to the Salmon River, the salmon bite is picking up steadily each day with good numbers of mature salmon getting caught in 150 to 700 feet of water on paddles and meat rigs. The brown trout fishing remains excellent in 70 to 100 feet of water using Michigan stingers. Several brown trout have been in the 5- to 15-pound range. The lake trout bite remains good in 130 feet of water north of the salmon river. The best color cowbells for the lake trout are chartreuse and silver and blue and silver.
Clarence Chamberlain, email@example.com
The mayfly hatch has been taking place on Oneida; it has been quite intense the last few summers. This can sometimes make walleye fishing more challenging as walleyes will be feeding on this abundant food source. However, walleyes are still being taken in 20 to 35 foot of water by anglers trolling stickbaits, worm harnesses, or jigging with blade baits, bucktail jigs tipped with nightcrawler and jigging rapalas. Look for bass around the shoals with topwaters, jerkbaits and tubes.
The flow was down. For walleyes, try jigs or large stickbaits and for smallmouth try tube jigs or live crayfish.
Finger Lakes/Souther Tier
Water fleas have been an issue at times so be prepared to deal with them if trolling and there is also a algal bloom taking place. Sometimes using a heavier pound test line can help with the fleas and vertical jigging is also an option if they get too bad. Lake trout are being caught in 80 to 150 feet of water by anglers vertical jigging or trolling. Bass are being caught in the north end on a variety of baits. There are a lot of pickerel up there as well so it may pay to have some wire leaders handy. Major League Fishing’s Bass Pro Tour is coming to Cayuga Aug. 6-11.
Look for lake trout from 80 foot out trolling with spoons or vertical jigging.
There is an algal bloom on this lake. Largemouth bass are still being caught in and around the weed beds. Try large jerkbaits or spinnerbaits for the tiger muskies in the same general areas as the bass. .
For smallmouth bass try tube jigs, dropshots or jerkbaits..
Try crankbaits or jig and minnow for walleye in the deeper holes and cut-bait or worms for the channel catfish. For the smallmouth try tube baits or crankbaits
Whitney Point Reservoir
Try crankbaits or jig and minnow for the walleye. For smallmouth bass try crankbaits or spinnerbaits near shore. For channel catfish try cut-bait or night crawlers.
In Lake Ontario, spoons, meat, and flasher-flies were the common presentation among the competitors at the recent Sodus Pro-Am. The early bite was in 135 feet of water. As the sun rose many fished in 500 feet of water, with bite down 60 to 80 feet.
The Port Bay water is cloudy which makes fishing bass a challenge. If you fish the channel, you might hook-up with some smallmouths. The Sodus Bay action is largemouths under the docks and in the thick weeds at the south end of the bay. There have been some perch caught at the breach located at the north end of the bay. Or you can fish near the channel. The recreational boat traffic heading towards the lake will be later in the morning, so fish that area early. If you like casting for panfish stay on the south end of the bay. Use spinners or small jigs tipped with spikes.
In the Erie Canal, you can launch at the Wayne County Park west of Newark on Route 31.Some largemouths were caught in the canal west of the launch site in Clyde.
Chris Kenyon, waynecountytourism.com
The big saltwater news has been the cobia fishing. Cobia traditionally have been infrequent visitors who were occasionally caught by inshore shark anglers. This year they there are enough swimming around feeding on the large schools of bunker offshore in 40 to 60 feet of water. These are big fish with many weighing in between 40 and 80 pounds. Anglers are catching them live-lining bunker, with the best action reported between Jones and Debs Inlets.
The inshore shark bite that started a few seasons ago in earnest is hot. Brown sharks, typically between 40 and 80 pounds were reported attacking the schools of bunker off the South Shore beaches. Thresher sharks, mostly around 100 pounds with a few approaching 400 pounds were reported mixed in with the brown sharks. The shark bite along the 20-fathom line continues to be excellent with mako, brown, and thresher sharks reported. The blue shark action has generally slowed due to the warm water temperatures.
Overall, the striped bass and bluefish fishing has remained strong despite the rising water temperatures. The best action was reported by anglers live-lining bunker under the bunker schools on both the North and South Shore. The boats fishing off Montauk Point reported good action around the rips and reefs off the Point. Boats making the run and fishing live eels or trolling tubes off Block Island reported outstanding striper fishing, with some anglers reporting catching a dozen large stripers an hour during peak fishing.
In the Sound, the bluefish fishing was excellent. The bluefish are targeting the schools juvenile bunker. Bunker chunks and diamond jigs were productive as well as plugs. Some of the bluefish were in the teens with most in the 5- to 8-pound class.
A good body of ocean large fluke have moved into 40 to 80 feet of water off the South Shore. Many of these fluke reported are between 3 and 5 pounds with a few 8-pounders reported. Off Montauk Point fluke numerous 8- to 10-pound fluke were reported, with the average fluke ranging in size from 2 to 4 pounds. The general rule has been, the bigger the bait the bigger the fluke. So, if you want that doormat use bluefish strips, long-fluke belly strips, Peruvian spearing, or whole squid
Anglers fishing the beaches on both the North and South Shore beaches reported catching a good number of short fluke with a few keepers bouncing bucktails, thin plastic baits attached to a jig head or for those using a fly-rod, Clouser Minnows or Half and Half Deceivers, with chartreuse or tan over white productive choices. Sundials were reported mixed in with the fluke.
Anglers targeting fluke in the Long Island Sound reported the best action in 20 to 40 feet of water. The majority of the inshore fluke were shorts, with a few keepers reported. The best area for keepers was off Orient Point, with fish to 8 pounds reported. Bucktails tipped with squid, or thin plastic baits fished on a jig head were consistent producers. A 2/0 white bucktail teaser tied 18-inches above the main lure added to the catches. Sea robins and clear nose skates were reported in all locations where fluke were caught.
The sea bass season was good on the artificial reefs in both the ocean in the Sound, as well as over mussel beds, rocky bottoms, and on the wrecks. Many of the sea bass were 2 pounds and heavier. There was a good mix of porgies, and ling in the deeper water wrecks, as part of the sea bass catch. Clams, squid strips, and diamond jigs were all productive choices. Anglers reported golden tilefish, jumbo cod, haddock, pollock on the long-range extended trips running out of Montauk Point to the deep water wrecks and reefs.
The porgy fishing along the North Shore was very good. Pool fish were typically over 3 pounds. Along the South Shore the best porgy fishing was off the artificial reefs and wrecks. A few weakfish and small bluefish were reported wherever the inshore porgies were caught.
Largemouth bass continued to cooperate attacking Jitterbugs and other poppers after dark. Some of the best fishing were around lily pads and in 3 to 5 feet of water on calm nights. During the day, spinner baits, plugs, plastic worms, and jigs were productive. Crappies, bluegills, sunfish, yellow perch, and pickerel were all caught on small minnows, spinners, trout worms, and for fly-rodders, small streamers and poppers.
Guy Zummo, firstname.lastname@example.org
Western New York
The recent walleye bite has been steady with decent numbers of fish caught. In the south basin, trolling along the deeper, middle section has been productive. In the north basin, anglers continue to see better walleye catches tight to weedlines by slow trolling with worm harnesses and crankbaits just off the bottom. Muskellunge fishing has been fair for anglers casting or trolling large stickbaits around weed edges. A faster trolling speed or retrieval (3-4 mph) is preferred by muskie. The largemouth bass bite has been very good around docks and pockets within weedbeds. Stickbaits, spinnerbaits, live shiners, Texas rigs and wacky rigs are good bass offerings..
Lake Erie and tributaries
Anglers report solid walleye catches in 45 to 65 feet of water along the “fence”, from Buffalo to Sturgeon Point. Catches include some suspended walleyes up to 20 feet off the bottom, but gear run at the bottom has been best. Slow trolling or drifting (0.8-1.2 mph) and bottom bouncing with worm harnesses has been most productive for walleyes of mixed sizes. At those depths, you will need 4- to 8-ounce sinkers to effectively stay near/at the bottom. Barcelona anglers are concentrating efforts in 55 to 75 feet of water. Walleyes are more scattered through the water column. Spreading out lines within the water column and adjusting according to strikes is a good bet.
Smallmouth bass have assumed their summer pattern and are aggressively feeding around deeper water structure. Target bass around any rocky reefs, piles or humps in 30 to 45 feet of water. Tube jigs or dropshot rig with plastics or live shiners and crayfish are good offerings. Expect to also catch plenty of drum if fishing live bait.
Lake Ontario and tributaries
Karen Evarts, at the Boat Doctors, in Olcott, reports decent king action in front in 350 to 400 feet of water. It was mostly a meat and spoon bite. Steelhead have been hitting offshore on orange spoons. In the harbor, there were reports of decent yellow perch action and some nice largemouth bass being caught on plastics.
DEC’s report says closer to Rochester, mid-water depths of 150 to 225 feet have been productive for salmon, along with the occasional lake trout or brown trout two.
Bass fishing is picking up according to Lisa Drabczyk, of Creek Road Bait and Tackle, in Lewiston. Moss is starting to clear up. Walleyes are on the Niagara Bar and in the river. Jigs are working for walleyes, but harnesses will work. Jon Holden, of Lockport, and Brian Graham, of Cambria, caught four keeper walleyes recently in the lower river on worm harnesses, mostly on chartreuse, but one hit a red bladed harness.
Frank Campbell, email@example.com
The fish-holding thermocline is yoyo-ing between 30 and 100 feet down. Both inshore structure, mid water and offshore has a mixed bag catch available. King salmon with browns inside of 100 feet – kings and steelhead out to 500 feet – the bite is good. Flasher/fly and spoons are doing it but trout species are favoring spoons. One note: the spiny water flea bloom is in progress so rig your rods with 30- to 50-pound mono on riggers and be prepared to check rods often.
Capt. John Oravec, Tight Lines Charters