Upstate New York Fishing Report – July 30, 2020

Greater Niagara Region

Bill Hilts, Jr.

Cindy Culverwell
Cindy Culverwell of Ransomville reeled in this 1st place salmon out of Wilson during the Summer LOC Derby.

Donald Stacknick of Dalton, PA was fishing in his first ever Lake Ontario Counties Trout and Salmon Derby and fishing out in front of Fair Haven with his buddies Cody and Reese Scott. They managed to reel in a 30-pound, 6-ounce salmon to win the Summer LOC contest, earning a Grand Prize check for $10 G’s. They were using a Chinook diver back 190-feet on a 4 setting, over 120 feet of water with a Pro Troll flasher and a cut bait rig with alewives that they had caught in the bay last June. First place in the salmon division was Cindy Culverwell of Ransomville who caught a 29-pound, 12-ounce salmon west of Wilson last Saturday. Fishing with her husband Wayne aboard their 21-foot Fish Hawk Celebrity named “All In,” they were fishing 5 miles west of Wilson in 60 feet of water. “We came into shallower water, running a wire diver 108 feet back on a No. 3 setting with an 8-inch Dreamweaver 2-face Spin Doctor with a Diabolical meat rig and N & D cut bait,” Culverwell recapped. “And at 29 pounds, 12 ounces it was the biggest salmon that I have ever reeled in.” It came at a good time to win the $1,000 first place prize as well as the $500 check for the big salmon of the week. The “All In” boat also earned a check for $750 for the largest salmon caught by a Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Association member. Marc Skirvin of Henrietta saw his 20-pound, 1-ounce brown trout hold up for first place and John Rosenswie of Smethport, PA won the lake trout division with a 24-pound, 9-ounce Oswego fish. Top walleye was a 12-pound, 1-ounce Henderson Harbor fish reeled in by Mike Daley of Sackets Harbor on the final weekend of the derby.

John Jarosz
John Jarosz of Lake View took his boys Matt and Dave on Lake Ontario for some salmon action with Capt. Matt Yablonsky out of Wilson. The sons are from Elma.

John Van Hoff
John Van Hoff of North Tonawanda with a big 26-pound king salmon.

The Fall LOC Derby will kick off on August 21st. Capt. Joe Oakes of Newfane reports it is not as constant as it was a few weeks ago for salmon action. The fish have been moving around a lot with the wind that seems to be blowing one way or the other everyday lately. Some days the fish are inside of 300 feet and other days they are in 400 plus. Same goes for down depth. Prior to the northeast blow last Friday, best down depths were 60 to 100 feet according to Oakes. Then it went to 30 to 60 feet down Saturday and Sunday. Back to 60 to 100 feet down after Sunday morning. Best baits have been flasher-fly rigs and spoons. Capt. Vince Pierleoni of Newfane reports that staging Chinook salmon are starting to show in area waters off Wilson and Olcott, focusing around 170 to 300 feet of water along with some steelhead. Dreamweaver Super Slim spoons and A-Tom-Mik meat rigs have been good enticements for the fish.

Parker Costello
Parker Costello of Lockport with his first-ever bass taken from Royalton Ravine Park.
Kevin Gunther
Kevin Gunther of Niagara Falls with a chunky Olcott king salmon.
Dave St. Onge
Dave St. Onge of Wilson with a longnose gar from a Lake Ontario tributary.

Moss is no longer a problem in the lower Niagara River according to Lisa Drabczyk with Creek Road Bait and Tackle in Lewiston. Platform action in the gorge at NYPA is still producing some fish when it is open. Call 286-6662 to find out open/closed status before you drive down. Capt. Frank Campbell of Lewiston reports that action has been slow for smallies the last few weeks. Best areas in the river have been the clay banks, Stella, and the drift below Peggy’s Eddy (between Joe Davis and Youngstown). You can always pick bass up off the coast guard station, especially when the lake flips. Around the green buoy marker, some big bass have been caught but it has been slow. Try drop shotting with Strike King Dream Shots – anything green or brown. Also, try Ocho’s on a Ned rig. Remember that Canadian waters are off limits. Walleye fishing has picked up a bit and there was a nice one entered in the Summer LOC Derby last week at 9 pounds, 7 ounces by Richard Barber of Niagara Falls to place 6th. Not too much has changed in the upper river as the river waters continue to warm from a record Lake Erie water temperature. Bass, walleye, and sheepshead have been cooperating, but different levels of action. Bob Wilson at Russ’s Bait and Tackle reports bass are hitting soft-shelled crabs off the breakwall off Buffalo. Be sure to mark your calendar for the Greater Niagara Fish Odyssey Derby, set for August 22 to 30. The website is

Wayne County Fishing Update

Chris Kenyon

Lake Ontario

The LOC Summer Derby awards were held at Captain Jacks in Sodus Point Sunday, July 26. It was a very brief ceremony, with pandemic safety practices in place. Everything was outside. We took pictures, did fast interviews, and paid the winners.

The Grand Prize salmon was caught in Cayuga-Wayne County waters and the First-Place king was hooked in Niagara County.

Over the weekend the temperature breaks held the fish. Some charters started in 200 to 300 fow then worked 100 fow.
Out deep it was down 100 to 150 fow over 300 feet. Closer to shore set riggers to 40 feet over 120 fow.

The kings were hitting cut bait, flasher flies, and spoons. The winds and currents made fishing a challenge.
The advice from the pros is to fish the temperature breaks and look for the bait.


Fishing for largemouths continues to be excellent on Sodus Bay. The parking lots from Bay Bridge (south end) to Margaretta Road in Sodus Point were full of trucks and trailers.

The weeds in Sodus are thick and you need to use leaders or heavy braided line for bass. They are hitting worm rigs. Spinnerbaits are also working off the many points in the bay.

Port Bay is another productive location for largemouth. You can launch at the south and north end of the bay…both sites off West Port Bay Road.

Erie Canal

Fishing west of Newark near the locks has been a great spot for all warm water species. There are pull-off locations along Route 31.

The catfish are starting to bite in the deeper pools of the canal. Use cut shrimp for bait.

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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