Upstate New York Fishing Report – July 9, 2020

Greater Niagara Region

Bill Hilts, Jr.

Super-hot temperatures in the 90s continue to plague outdoor activities. However, the fishing action on Lake Ontario has been just as hot for the Lake Ontario Counties Trout and Salmon Summer Derby continuing through July 26. Fishing has actually been very good up and down the lake. The holiday weekend saw quite a few changes on the LOC leaderboard. The new LOC Derby Grand Prize leader is a 29-pound, 8 ounce salmon caught out in Wayne County by Dustin Presutti of Montour Falls. Runner up is a 28-pound, 15-ounce king from Point Breeze in Orleans County caught by Jim Clark of Erie, PA. The top Niagara County fish was a 28-pound, 7-ounce king reeled in by Chris Petrucci of Beallsville, PA while fishing out of Wilson. It is also the fish to beat for the top salmon caught by a LOTSA member, good for a check for $750. In the Brown Trout Division, the first-place fish is now a 20-pound, 1-ounce Rochester fish reeled in by Marc Skirvin of Henrietta. This week’s Lake trout leader is now a 19-pound, 12-ounce Henderson Harbor fish weighed in by Charles Hunkele of Sackets harbor. There are still no walleyes entered in the division yet. Check out the board at

Ed Dlogozima and Mike Altman
Ed Dlogozima of Mercer, PA and Mike Altman of New Castle, PA with their Lake Ontario kings caught out of Olcott.

After reading the weekly fishing forecast from Niagara Falls USA, Ed Dlugozima of Mercer, Penna. took the holiday weekend to fish out of Olcott in Lake Ontario. Following the advice of the report, he headed out into the lake looking for bait. When they found a pod, they focused their attention around it using spoons and meat rigs in 220 to 240 feet of water slightly west of Wilson. They couldn’t believe how many steelhead were hanging around grabbing spoons, so they eventually switched over to a meat program at a slower speed and they were rewarded with some beautiful mature kings. Their biggest was over 24 pounds, reeled in by Mike Altman of New Castle, PA.

Brad Poeller
Brad Poeller of Lockport was home on leave from Fort Carson to catch some kings with capt. Mike Johannes of Ransomville.
Kelsi Poeller
Kelsi Poeller of Lockport caught the big fish of the day, a 21 pound king salmon while fishing with Capt. Mike Johannes of On The Rocks.
Landon Costello
Landon Costello with his first steelhead in Lake O. with Capt. Mike Johannes of On The Rocks.
Parker Costello
Parker Costello and Capt. Mike Johannes hold up Parker’s first steelhead while fishing out of Wilson on July 4.

Capt. Mike Johannes of On The Rocks reported a great trip on the 4th holiday in 300 to 360 feet of water straight north of Wilson with Brad and Kelsi Poeller of Lockport (Brad was on leave from the Army, stationed in Colorado), with brothers Parker and Landon Costello and their dad Kyle, also of Lockport. They had 20 fish on and boated 11, including the biggest of the day at over 21 pounds by Kelsi. The hot flasher-fly combo was 220 feet back on a diver, using a UV paddle and a Pro-Am fly. There were a few spoons that caught fish consistently, such as the Road Toad, the Carbon 14 and the Sea Sick Waddler to name but a few. Several steelhead were caught on sliders in the upper part of the water column. Riggers were 50 to 70 feet down. The LOTSA Club Tournament is July 17 and 18. You must register by the 15th at

Allyson Balcom
Allyson Balcom of Williamsville with a dandy Lake Ontario king salmon caught with Capt. Nick Calandrelli of Lewiston.
Mike Bagbuzoski
Mike Bagbuzoski of South Buffalo with a king salmon he caught with Scott Rohe of Cheektowaga out of Olcott.
Wade Winch
Wade Winch of North Tonawanda with a chunky Lake Ontario salmon caught over the holiday weekend.

Moss is getting better in the Niagara River according to Lisa Drabczyk with Creek Road Bait and Tackle in Lewiston. The NYPA Fishing Platform has been a good spot for bass when it is open. Call 286-6662 for updates. From shore in the gorge, Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls reports 7-8 feet of visibility and bait is more spread out which has slowed fishing there. White bass and smallmouth are showing up. Some bass success around Lewiston and Youngstown from boats, drop-shotting plastics. Ned rigs were working on the Niagara Bar for bass. Walleye have been caught on the Stella Drift using worm harnesses off 3-way rigs. Upper river bass action has also been good on Neds. There was a lot of sheepshead around as well. If you catch a musky, try not to take that fish out of the water. They will already be stressed enough after a fight. Lake Erie was 74 degrees today, just 1 degree away from a record for the summer.

Finally, a new sporting license system has been put into place by DEC. Right now, signing up online is the best approach. You can also call the customer service hotline at 866-933-2257 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. if you have problems or want to purchase one over the phone.

Wayne County Fishing Update

Chris Kenyon

Lake Ontario

Busy weekend with boat traffic, however no problems fishing the “Big O.”

It was a great mixed bag of fish hitting over the weekend. The kings were hanging around yesterday, however today cold water moved in and scattered them.

But… the browns, steelhead and lake trout were hitting cut bait, flasher flies, and UV green spoons early this morning.

Straight out from Sodus and Hughes’ Marina is a great starting point. Fish 100 feet to 300 feet. Set riggers at 100 fow over 250 fow.

The current Grand Prize leader in the LOC Derby was caught off of Hughes. The info will be posted on our tourism Facebook page.

The Sodus Pro-Am is a go… 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.


The bass are still hitting in Sodus Bay, however with holiday boat traffic on the bays, anglers needed to be on the water early. It is tough to fish Wayne County Bays during holiday weekends.

Now that it is quiet, fish the weedlines with wacky rigs. Place the hook in the middle of your bait and let it float down into the weeds. It always works for largemouth bass.

Erie Canal

The canal is now opened, however the Widewaters section was never drained. Bass boats were fishing the Widewaters section on Sunday. There have been more kayak anglers this year. It’s a great way to fish and canal waters don’t have boat waves like the bays.

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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