Upstate New York Fishing Report – July 2, 2020

Greater Niagara Region

Bill Hilts, Jr.

Happy 4th of July! The weather is hot and it looks like so is the fishing for the holiday weekend. Action in Lake Ontario is starting to set up nicely, from the Niagara Bar to 30-Mile Point east of Olcott. Finding baitfish is one of the keys to finding predator fish so keep an eye on your electronics. Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctors in Olcott reports that fishing is starting to pick up in the lake. Just check out the Summer LOC Derby leaderboard to see what’s happening. The biggest fish overall is a 26-pound, 14-ounce king salmon caught by Ken Frearson of Hamlin while fishing out of Bald Eagle Marina with a Moonshine spoon. Second place overall and first in the salmon division is a 25-pound, 4-ounce king salmon reeled in by John Drotter of Burt using a “salmon candy” spoon in Olcott. In the Brown Trout Division, Robert Weicher of Williamsville leads the charge with a 14-pound fish he caught off Olcott. Lake trout leader is Kimberly Younes of North Creek with a 17-pound, 11-ounce fish caught off Oswego County using a Gambler rig. There are currently no walleyes entered in the division yet. Evarts says that the browns are starting to hit in closer to shore, with blacks and chartreuse colors working best. Salmon action seemed to be better out deep with a mix of spoons, spinnies and flies, as well as meat rigs all producing fish. It will get better as the summer goes on now. Remember that the LOTSA summer tournament is set for July 17-18. You must be a club member, but it’s only $10 to join. Check out for how to sign up. There are some changes this year. And if you go out fishing, make sure you are in the LOC Derby. We’ve already heard two instances of potential leaders in divisions but they were not registered. Find out more information at

Bob Kirkman smallmouth bass
Bob Kirkman with a 5 pound smallmouth as Capt. Ryan Shea looks on

Capt. Connor Cinelli walleye
Capt. Connor Cinelli of Grand Island with a 30-inch upper river walleye
Crystal Hackett tiger musky
Crystal Hackett with a tiger musky caught off the Wilson pier

There is still some of the pesky moss floating around the Niagara River, both above and below the falls, but it should not stop you from fishing. Lisa Drabczyk of Creek Road Bait and Tackle sends word that the lower river action off the NYPA fishing platform is producing some fish, but make sure it is open before you head down by calling 286-6662. It was closed on Tuesday morning due to high water. Bass were hitting off the platform, as well as downriver off Youngstown and on the Niagara bar. Crayfish and shiners, ned rigs and tubes were all working. Capt. Ryan Shea of Tonawanda did well on big smallmouth in the upper river this week, using Ned rigs to take fish up to 5-1/2 pounds. At the head of the river, smallmouth bass were available, but there seemed to be more sheepshead around than anything. Walleye action there was slow, but in Lake Erie it looks like some of the bigger schools are finally starting to migrate down from the Western Basin.

Joe Agaty king salmon
Joe Agaty of West Seneca with a 23 lb., 9 ounce king salmon out of Olcott
Ken Frearson king salmon
Ken Frearson of Hamlin 26 lb., 14 oz. king to lead the Summer LOC Derby
Mike Rzucidlo white bass
Mike Rzucidlo of NF with white bass lower niagara river 6-29
Nancy Colevecchia sheepshead
nancy colevecchia of niagara falls with a lower river sheepshead from June 29 from shore

For the Summer LOC Derby, don’t rule out the lower Niagara for the walleye division. The winning spring fish came from here in 2019 and July is when those bigger fish start to hit. In fact, they’ve already started according to Drabczyk. Use worm harnesses. One of the local favorites is a yellow sally fly, a spinner and a worm to take the big ‘eyes, fished off a three-way rig. The Canadian waters are still off limits so make sure to stay in New York waters when fishing the river or the lake. Stay safe out there.

Wayne County Fishing Update

Chris Kenyon

Lake Ontario

Straight out from Hughes’ and Sodus Bay have been the most productive water over the weekend. Work 100 to 250 fow and look for bait.

The temps have been 58 to 60 degrees down 80 feet. The early bite has been the best with any UV spoons. Green and blue appears to be attractive to the kings.

Cut bait has also been decent for bites. The mix has been kings, cohos and steelhead.

Today, the wind is out of the north-east, which changes everything. However, later in the week the north-west wind predicted. That could mean some nice temperatures breaks.

The Sodus Pro-Am has been scheduled. The long-running contest will be July 18-19th with the IK a Day July15-19, 2020. The web page has been updated for current information.


Last week Tim Andrus and the Rush Outdoors filming crew fished Sodus Bay for bass and pike.

The following report shows the excitement of angling in Wayne County bays:
1st morning Started by 7am…done at 11am. 30 bass, 29 Largemouth 1 Smallmouth
2nd morning Started at 630am… done at 9am 25 Largemouth in the boat. Many in the three to four lb. range.
Great days on Sodus Bay.
Plus filmed 2 episodes with drone footage.
The bass went after rubber and plastic worms hooked in the middle (wacky style) Tim tried hunting down pike with spinnerbaits, however they were not hitting.

Erie Canal

The canal is now opened, however the Widewaters section was never drained. The bass are running five to six pounds. Fish the south side of the canal in the weedbeds. There are launch sites in Clyde, Lyons, Newark, and Macedon.

You also can fish certain areas on the canal trail.

Keep informed from the NYS Canal web for changes and restrictions with canal waters.

Charters in Wayne County are Opened for Business

Wayne County Charters are now opened for business. The Finger Lakes region has currently met all the necessary requirements during Phase One to operate their business. All steps and guidelines to ensure safety are listed HERE.

Charters in Wayne County are Opened for Business

Wayne County Charters are now opened for business. The Finger Lakes region has currently met all the necessary requirements during Phase One to operate their business. All steps and guidelines to ensure safety are listed HERE.

Boat Launches Opened

Privately-owned marinas, boat launches, and many other recreational marine locations are now opened.

The official statement from New York State is made in conjunction with similar ones from the governors of New Jersey and Connecticut, is the latest change to the guidance from Empire State Development on what is and isn’t affected by the governor’s Executive Order 202, which ordered employers to reduce the number of employees working at individual locations to help fight the coronavirus pandemic.

The guidance regarding privately-owned marinas, boatyards and recreational marine manufacturers allows for operations and boat repair/maintenance so long as the facilities ‘adhere to strict social distancing and sanitization protocols.’ However, watercraft cannot be used for charters or rentals, and any restaurant facilities there must remain take-out or delivery only.

Safety Precautions from DEC

While enjoying the outdoors, please continue to follow the CDC/New York State Department of Health guidelines (leaves DEC’s website) for preventing the spread of colds, flu, and COVID-19:

  • Try to keep at least six (6) feet of distance between you and others.
  • Avoid close contact, such as shaking hands, hugging, and kissing.
  • Wash hands often or use a hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid surfaces that are touched often, such as doorknobs, handrails, and playground equipment.

When fishing, DEC recommends avoiding busy waters and following the guidelines on DEC’s website about fishing responsibly in New York State. If an angler arrives at a parking lot and there are several cars, they should consider going to another parking lot. If an angler is fishing upstream, they should fish downstream of the other angler or consider fishing another day. Anglers fishing from boats should be able to maintain at least six feet of distance between one another. For more information about the benefits of being outdoors safely and responsibly, go to DEC’s website.

New York State is open for fishing and DEC encourages anglers to recreate locally at a nearby waterbody. New York’s lakes and streams offer great opportunities for fishing in a wide array of settings across the state. Even during the current COVID-19 public health crisis, getting outdoors and connecting with nature while angling in New York’s waters is a great way to help maintain mental and physical health.

Charters and Guides

The “New York State on PAUSE” Executive Order, a 10-point policy to assure uniform safety for everyone during the COVID-19 response, includes a directive that all non-essential businesses statewide must close effective at 8 p.m. on Sunday, March 22, and temporarily bans all non-essential gatherings of individuals of any size for any reason.

At this time, fishing guides or charters of any size have been determined to be not essential and are subject to workforce reduction requirements of the Executive Order. The full and updated guidance on which types of businesses are determined essential and other designations associated with the order can be found online. For more info

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