Western New York
The hard Northeast blow late last month certainly scattered some fish around Lake Ontario, changing up a very good salmon bite. According to Capt. Matt Yablonsky of Wet Net Charters, action was good from the Niagara Bar to 30 Mile Point in 100 to 200 feet of water. Fish were everywhere and all throughout the water column. Spoons, flasher-fly and meat rigs were all catching fish. In the Buffalo Sabres Alumni Charity Fishing Outing from Olcott, fishing was consistent despite the mixed-up waters. Bill Salley, fishing with the LaBatt crew aboard the Hawg with Capt. Jim Gordon of Appleton, reeled in the big fish of the day, a 19.45-pound king salmon. Second place was former Sabres player and coach Lindy Ruff who “high-sticked” a 19.34-pound king while fishing with Capt. Vince Pierleoni aboard the Thrillseeker. Third place was Tim Kraska of Eden, fishing with Capt. Jonathan Ross aboard the Tomahawk.
Lake Ontario is open for business and the launch ramps are open at Olcott, Wilson and Fort Niagara. Bring boots for Wilson and Fort Niagara. Remember that there is a no-wake zone in effect within 1,000 feet of the shoreline (5 mph).
In the Niagara River, fishing has been good for bass and trout. Bass have been hitting swimbaits and tubes. Trout have been hitting MagLips, minnows and sacs in Devil’s Hole and along Artpark. Water levels are high and it limits how much shoreline is available when casting. Spinners, jigs and egg sacs are working from shore. The NYPA platform has been closed because of the high water levels. Upper river bass fishing has been good, too.
Chautauqua Lake: The walleye bite has been best from shortly before sunset to dawn near weedlines. Trolling with worm harnesses and stickbaits, casting stickbaits and jigging with shiners have all produced walleye. The crappie bite has been spotty, but some decent catches have come from depths of 8-10 feet in the bays on small minnows. Yellow perch are available around the lake at depths of 5-10 feet. Shallow areas around docks are a good bet for largemouth bass. As a reminder, bass fishing is by catch and release only, artificial lures only until third Saturday in June (June 15).
Orleans County: Capt. John Oravec of Tight Lines Charters reported consistent king salmon action off the entire Orleans County ledges. Prime fish-holding depth ranged widely, from 40 to 150 feet of water. Set your downriggers at 35 to 70 feet deep. A number of riggings were getting hit, including spoons, flasher/fly and “meat” rigs. Both the recreational and charter boats were getting hooked up.
Oravec offered a tip for the many visiting recreational boat anglers to enhance their chances of even better catches. The currents along the inside water – really from Bald Eagle Harbor to Green Harbor, “Chrome Dome” – spread the schools of feeding salmonids literally over miles of water. So it’s best to spread out avoiding tight packs of boats. This way everybody has room to run their favorite long-line rigs like copper and leadcore. Take note that a reel-screaming 15-pound “teenager” chinook hooked on a ten-color leadcore line may be 700 feet away from the lucky boat.
The cooler than normal waters will keep fish inside of two miles, so enjoy hunting these great fish safely. Note the New York state ramp is temporarily closed so focus your launching at the East Side Ramp adjacent to the Black North Inn.
Central New York
Due to Lake Ontario’s high water levels, the DEC’s North Sandy Pond Boat Launch on Doreen Drive in the town of Sandy Creek, Oswego County, is closed. Launching of all boats is prohibited until lake water recedes to a level that boat traffic will not threaten the integrity of nearby properties and residences.
Information about the status of the launch is available on DEC’s website at: www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/23877.html. Fee launching is still currently available at several of the private marinas on North Sandy Pond; calling in advance is recommended. Boaters are reminded that a no-wake 5 mph speed limit is in effect for recreational vessels operating within 1,000 feet of Lake Ontario shoreline. Under normal conditions, boaters are required to obey the 5 mph speed limit within 100 feet of shore. With the current state of emergency in the region, and as water levels continue to rise throughout Lake Ontario, the governor authorized and directed state parks to institute the expanded 5 mph speed restriction to 1,000 feet in appropriate areas, unless otherwise directed by a county declaration.
High water levels are projected to continue and may cause widespread shoreline erosion, damage coastline structures and jeopardize infrastructure similar to the historic flooding that took place in the spring of 2017.
There are other fishing hotline/reports available for the region. A few of the websites are: Wayne County Tourism, Visit Oswego County, and Oneida Lake Fishing Report.
Use caution if venturing out as there is debris floating around on most waters, and be mindful of your boat wake as to not cause property damage.
Lake Ontario and bays: Fishing has been excellent for salmon and trout despite the high water levels that can make launching a challenge.
There are no wake zones for many Lake Ontario shorelines and bays; check the county sheriff’s web pages for Wayne, Cayuga and Oswego counties.
Wright’s Landing boat launch in Oswego is currently closed.
Sandy Creek Fishing Access site (Monroe County) remained open, although docks were underwater and not usable at last check.
Port Bay West (Wayne County) launch was closed, but the site will remained open for shoreline fishing.
Port Bay South (Wayne County) launch remained open; docks were unusable and shoreline access will be restricted.
Oswego River: Anglers were getting some brown trout, steelhead, walleye, sheepshead and smallmouth bass.
Remember, the bridge to Leto Island is closed, and there are mandatory PFD zones on the river.
Salmon River: A few drop-back steelhead were still being taken, along with some smallmouth bass.
Watch out for debris floating. Walleye were being taken in 10 to 20 foot of water. Look for bass in the shallows.
Finger Lakes/Southern Tier
Cayuga Lake: Watch out for debris floating. Lake trout were being taken in 50 to 150 feet of water by trolling or vertical jigging. Catch-and-release bass fishing has been excellent as well.
Seneca Lake: A few lake trout were being taken by trolling or vertical jigging in 80 to 150 feet of water.
Keuka Lake: Lakers were being taken in 70 feet of water fishing close to bottom with live alewives, or vertical jigging with plastics.
Chemung, Susquehanna, Tioughnioga and Chenango rivers: Still not hearing much, with high water and off-color conditions prevailing at last check.
Bass season has opened on Lake Champlain, and anglers were targeting spawning smallmouths with some sight-fishing tactics. Even though the season opens a week earlier than the statewide kickoff, nearly all of the fishing was of the catch-and-release variety. Trollers were scoring on lake trout and the occasional salmon.
On the West Branch of the Ausable River, as well as other trout streams in the region, flows remained high. That has delayed some dry-fly-fishing but anglers were still scoring on trout with nymph and streamer patterns. The Ausable has yielded some hefty browns during the high-water conditions.
Overall, the fishing has been excellent. Bluefish, typically between 3 and 8 pounds, have invaded the South Shore bays. Anglers have reported the best action to be in the late afternoons and into sunset. The bluefish are targeting spearing and other small baits, so the best action has been on 1- to 3-ounce diamond jigs, either cast to schools of breaking fish or jigged off the bottom. Pool fish have been around 10 pounds. A few weakfish to 6 pounds and schoolie stripers have been reported mixed in with the bluefish, with the best action reported in the channels leading to the inlets.
The bluefish action in the western Sound was excellent, with fish averaging 6 to 10 pounds caught on diamond jigs during the day and fresh bunker chunks during the night tides. Stripers to 20 pounds were mixed in with the blues.
June is typically a big-fish striped bass month, and this month started off as hoped with Vinny Radziul landing a 41.20-pound striper on a white bunker spoon fished on a Mojo Rig. The big fish was caught trolling outside of Jones Inlet. The day was rounded off with a 15-pound striper. Stripers in the 30-pound class were reported in Lower New York Bay, around Governor’s Island and out to the Verrazano Bridge, on eels and fresh bunker chunks. Frank from Copiague Harbor Marina used a Mojo Rig with a bunker spoon and caught a 30-pound striper at the Fire Island Inlet head buoy.
Anglers clam chumming the South Shore inlet bridges reported schoolie stripers, and the occasional 20-pounder. A few bluefish as well as the occasional weakfish were mixed in.
With the South Shore bays warming up, the fluke have begun to move toward the inlets. The best fishing was reported on either tide from mid-bays to the inlets. Consistent fishing was reported from Ocean Beach to Fire Island Inlet, Reynold’s Channel, inside Jamaica Bay and in the East and West Cuts leading to Shinneock and Moriches inlets. In the shallow water, bucktails tipped with Gulp! was the top combination as a lot of water can be covered while drifting. In the deeper and faster water, the standard spearing and sand eel combination was the top choice.
The fluke fishing off Montauk Point really kicked off this report period, with anglers limiting out on fluke on most trips. Pool-winning fluke are typically around 8 pounds and the average fish around 4 pounds. The south side and off Shagwong have been consistent spots, with the Shagwong area also loaded with porgies.
The ling fishing in Ambrose Channel was very good, with ling to 3 pounds common. Good ling fishing was reported at the Shinneock Reef. Fresh clams were the top bait.
In June and through July is typically an excellent time for porgy fishing, and it’s proving to hold true this season. The porgy fishing has been excellent in Shinnecock Bay, Peconic Bay and all along the North Shore. Most fish are about 12 inches, with enough porgies to 16 inches to limit out on most days. Clams were the preferred bait, with clam chumming helping on the days when the porgies are scattered. The porgy fishing in the western Long Island Sound has been outstanding, with limits of porgies to 3 pounds reported nearly every trip. Weakfish and blowfish have been mixed in with the porgies in the deeper holes, with the weakfish preferring squid over clams.
Scott Jeffery from East End Bait and Tackle reported that anglers fishing the Shinnecock Canal caught porgies, blowfish, fluke, bluefish, kingfish and striped bass. At Shinnecock Inlet the bluefish have been running in and out, accompanied by a few striped bass. The Ponquogue Bridge had a mix of small bass on clams and plugs. The open ocean beaches have some blues and bass during the dawn and dusk tides taking plugs and clams.
Offshore, there were reports of bluefin tuna as well as mako sharks caught in Baltimore Canyon. Bergan Point Fishing Station reported weighing in a 200-pound thresher, as well as numerous bluefin tuna between 40 and 60 pounds caught at the Coimbra Wreck.
The freshwater fishing was very good, with largemouth bass to 3 pounds being reported in the Peconic River and East End lakes. Plastic worms, spinnerbaits and poppers, with the later fished early and late in the day, were all productive. The bluegill, crappie and yellow perch fishing was very good, with trout worms the top choice for the bluegills. Crappie and yellow perch responded to small jigs and spinners.
Lake George was yielding lake trout and landlocked salmon for the trollers, and bass anglers were doing some catch-and-release fishing for bronzebacks with some success.
On Saratoga Lake, anglers locating crappie were still scoring. Attention will turn to bass when Saratoga Tackles Tuesday Night Bass Challenge begins June 18. For more details go to the shop’s website at www.saratogatackle.com.
The region’s trout streams should be in fine shape now, with waters warming and fly-fishing improving on waters like the Battenkill and Mettawee rivers.
Southeastern New York
Hudson River striper reports have waned, but anglers were hitting the region’s stocked trout waters as well as the New York City reservoir system. Pepacton Reservoir was yielding some solid brown trout for anglers using sawbellies.
Rivers were in great shape for wade fishing. More Drakes are being seen. Make sure you have spinner patterns late in the day; they have been abundant.
Beaverkill and Willowemoc: March browns, a mix of Sulphurs in size 14, Olives in a mix of sizes, some blue Quills, Gray Fox, spinners and Caddis.
Delaware East Branch: Blue Quills, Olives in a mix of sizes, Caddis, Sulphurs. The lower East branch has March Browns and big Sulphurs.
Delaware West Branch: Seeing Red Quills upper sections, Olives, Caddis, Blue Quills, and spinners. A few March browns in the lower stretches.
Delaware Main Stem: Caddis, Olives of mixed sizes, Blue Quills and spinners, March Browns on the lower main stem, along with large Sulphurs and Gray Fox.
Neversink: Has had Caddis, March Browns, Sulphurs, Gray Fox, Olives, Blue Quills and Yellow Sallies, and spinners.
Esopus: Blue Quills, Olives, Yellow Sallies and Caddis, March Browns, large Sulphurs.
St. Lawrence River: Not hearing a lot on the walleye front, maybe because attention has turned to bass.
Black Lake: Crappie fishing remained a solid option, but bass may now be the big attraction. Remember there’s a 15-inch size minimum if you plan to keep any bass.