Friday, January 27th, 2023
Friday, January 27th, 2023

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New York Outdoor News Fishing Report – December 22, 2022

Report from the Dock

Ice fishing is on the minds of many anglers, where again, weather conditions will dictate when and where any action can be realized. Ice safety is always paramount, but the early season when ice is just forming can be the trickiest and anglers need to proceed with caution. Northern New York may be your best option for ice fishing and if you go, make note that the new regulation opening most of New York’s waters to ice fishing does not apply to the nine counties that are part of the Adirondack Park. 

1000 Islands Region

St. Lawrence River 

In between seasons, so not much to report. Ice anglers are sharpening their augers and getting their gear ready. 

Captain Burnie Haney, New York Fishing Adventures,


Ice anglers should think “north” in terms of conditions, or smaller ponds and shallow bays like South Bay and Bulwagga Bay on Lake Champlain, which tend to be early season options (cold weather pending). Recent storms and winds might hinder ice formation, unless it turns extremely cold. Be careful on the ice.

Capital District/Upper Hudson Valley

Deer hunters will be taking advantage of the holiday hunt through Jan. 1. Then it’s a wait-and-see situation for ice formation.  

Catskills/Southeastern N.Y.

Like the Capital region (above), the holiday hunt wraps up Jan. 1, then we’ll see about ice conditions. 

Central New York

Oswego River

The river was experiencing a drop in the flows as the rains of fall have ended and the winter snows are upon us.  This has led to some challenging fishing, but recent rains could change that. There is a good number of brown trout and steelhead in the system.  The best places to find fish are in the slower sections: the base of the dam, the flats or the deep channel. Look for slow edges, fish tend to slide to slow water when the cold water sets in. The high wall is starting to produce now that the flows have dropped. Beads, jigs and plugs are all taking bites. Trout and walleyes are now being caught behind the hotels on the east side of the river.  Deep diving crankbaits and swim baits are the best baits in those locations. 

Salmon River

Fish can be found in the normal winter spots, which helps concentrates them.  This time of year, it can be a waiting game. If you’re in a good spot don’t give up, just keep working the spot and changing baits. The fish turn on and off more this time of year.  With the colder temps., egg sacs have been the primary bait of choice. White, pink, and blue, being the most consistent colors.  Fishing the egg sacs under a float has been the most effective way to catch feeding steelhead.

Other waters

For now, there are no reports from DEC for other fisheries in this region. Things should pick up during the ice fishing season.

Finger Lakes/Souther Tier

DEC is always looking for new participants in the Angler Diary Cooperator Program 

If you fish Cayuga Lake, Owasco Lake, Skaneateles Lake, Otisco Lake or any of their tributaries and want to learn more about this program and how to sign up, please contact the Region 7 Fisheries office at 607-753-3095 ext. 213, or on-line at

If you fish Canadice Lake, Canandaigua Lake, Conesus Lake, Hemlock Lake, Honeoye Lake, Keuka Lake or Seneca Lake, please contact the Region 8 Fisheries office at 585-226-5343, or on-line at

Wayne County

There were a few pockets of open water on Maxwell Creek, however colder temps will close some of the pools on the south side of Lake Road. The steelhead are in the creek if you can find open water. Use anything bright for the trout…beads, egg sacs, flies, and jigs. Keep next to the Coast Guard Station if you are pier fishing at Sodus. Ice build-up on the pier will be treacherous.

It’s transition time in the bays. If the winds are not too harsh, we will be making ice. Parts of Sodus have iced over, however open water is at the north end of the bay. When we do have safe ice, the perch will d

The Erie Canal has a skim of ice and like the bays we will be waiting for safe conditions to fish the hard water. The Widewaters section is a great place to set-up for perch, crappies, and bluegills.

Chris Kenyon,

Other waters

For now, there are no reports from DEC for other fisheries in this region. Things should pick up during the ice fishing season.

Long Island 

I finally was able to put my big rod away for the winter, rinse my plugs off, and start to separate which ones need a hook tune-up by the spring.  The smaller rod though along with some bucktails and soft plastics though is on call 24/7, 365 just in case! 

Not a whole lot going on except for the tail end of blackfish season.  Hampton Lady and a few boats were still venturing out and being rewarded for the effort with some double-digit tog coming over the rails.  Some nice cod as well. Same for a handful of Montauk head boats that didn’t get pulled for the winter yet.  

A few ghost hunters got into some giant bluefin in the past couple of weeks off the coast of New Jersey, but we haven’t heard of any caught (or many guys that headed out) on the east end.  

Perch bite is a bit slow with high water levels due to recent heavy rains.  On the freshwater side, those braving the temps have bent a rod on trout and crappies.  

As much as the Christmas lights and holiday cheer are always welcome, a tough few months ahead!  Aside from the usual maintenance on gear and the torture of manipulating split rings, the first of well worth it shows. 

Mike Dean, @mnhtn2mtk,

Western New York

Chautauqua Lake

There was some thin unsafe ice covering parts of the south basin, while the north basin remains open. There has been no measurable fishing activity lately. With consistent freezing temperatures in the forecast, open water days are numbered. 

Lake Erie and tributaries

Creeks will run high following rains. Additional precipitation will sustain higher flows. Keep an eye on the USGS Water Data pages when planning your outing. Anglers continued to enjoy great steelhead action. There are lots of steelhead in all of the creeks and fishing has been quite incredible at times. Quality fishing should continue until streams start to lock up with ice. In cold water conditions, drifting techniques with egg sacs, trout beads, egg flies, jigs and nymphs fished at the bottom is a dependable approach. Slow down the drift and target tail-outs, seams and current breaks.

Lake Ontario and tributaries

Not too much to report on the tributaries of Lake Ontario, especially after a significant amount of rain and cold winds arrive. When things settle down look for some fresh fish entering the systems. Karen Evarts, at the Boat Doctors, in Olcott says there are some steelhead in the creeks with a very few brown trout. Wax worms and jigs are working best. 

Niagara River 

River action had been good, but things changed quickly because of the weather. Mike Ziehm, of Niagara Falls, reports that the river was already dirty ahead of pre-Christmas storm from the sustained west winds over Lake Erie the previous weekend. The visibility was horrible upstream. It started at 2 feet visibility in the early morning, and he watched it slowly reduce to 1-foot to 6 inches. Ziehm says that there is a ton of bait fish in the river again. He managed to hook up with five trout and landed two steelhead, on all vibrant color mixes of No. 4 spinners in orange and chartreuse, pink and chartreuse, and red and chartreuse. High water levels in the river will also be a byproduct of those strong winds so be careful out there if you try fishing from shore in the gorge.  

Capt. Ryan Shea, with the Brookdog Fishing Company, did well when he fished the lower river, recently catching steelhead, brown trout, lake trout, bass, and walleyes. His most successful enticement was minnows for all those species.  Speaking of walleyes, remember that there will be a reduced daily limit on walleyes in the lower Niagara River that will be going into effect on Jan. 1: one fish per person. That changes every year to help protect the big spawning females in the winter. 

A shout out to Denis Kreze, of Fort Erie, Ontario. He was fishing the lower Niagara River recently near the Niagara Bar and hooked into a personal best brown trout that tipped the scales at 28 pounds. It was released to fight another day.

It was a good end to the musky season, which closed Dec. 15, and Capt. Hans Mann of Buffalo Harbor Outfitters caught some good ones, including another 46-inch fish by Justin Jackson, of Binghamton, on the final day in Buffalo Harbor. 

Frank Campbell,

Orleans County

Ron Bierstine, from Oak Orchard Tackle & Lodge reports that flows in the Oak were still humming along at around slightly high and slightly stained. The other area smaller waterways trending slowly falling flows at around mod and slightly stained. Fishing pressure is light and angler reports thin. Plenty of water cover in the Oak for a few fresh brown trout or getting toward more post spawn fish. Chance for fresh steelhead at any time building up toward the true late winter/early spring runs of Feb/March. Hike and hunt around the smaller waterways in the lower flows like at Sandy and Johnson and you should find some browns too.

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