Upstate New York Fishing Report – September 17, 2020

Greater Niagara Region

Bill Hilts, Jr.

Pier action is fair as king salmon, brown trout and northern pike are all being caught off Olcott according to Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctors. Blue has been the hot color this week, spoons and stickbaits. The water is still way too warm and water temperatures were around 64 degrees. J13 Rapalas are hitting a few fish. Boat traffic has slowed a bit and staging fish in the lake have had lock jaw. Better success is being reported out deep in 500-plus feet of water for steelhead and a mix of salmon year classes off Olcott. Spoons and flasher-flies are working out deep; in close it is cut bait, j-plugs, flasher-fly, and magnum spoons. Capt. Mike Johannes of On the Rocks reports steelhead off Wilson in 400 to 450 feet of water. Spoons down 50 to 100 feet were taking steelies on riggers, sliders and divers. A 400 copper also took one fish on a flasher-fly. If you do head into the lake for steelhead, remember that the new daily limit is no more than 2 fish per person as part of your 3-fish aggregate for salmon and trout. Minimum size on steelhead in the lake is 21 inches. No salmon or trout have been reported at Burt Dam yet. When they do start showing up in the streams, minimum size is now 25 inches on steelhead. The daily limit is still one fish. Brown trout daily limit has also dropped from 3 to 1 fish, so be aware of the new change.

Mike Rzucidlo
Mike Rzucidlo hooked this catfish ona spinner this week.

Mike Ziehm salmon
Mike Ziehm hooked into this big salmon in the Devil’s Hole area.
Emelia Thibault
Emelia Thibault of Newfane with a nice northern pike

Mike Ziehm and Mike Rzucidlo, both of Niagara Falls, report decent success on king salmon migrating up into the Devil’s Hole area and beyond. No. 4 spinners were working their magic from shore. The NYPA fishing platform is still producing a few salmon in the corner near the tailrace. Off the other end of the platform it is bass, sheepshead, and a few other species according to Lisa Drabczyk at Creek Road Bait and Tackle. Bass and walleye are being caught downriver, from the launch all the way down to the lake. Crabs and shiners will work off three-way rigs for bass. Worm harnesses for shiners. Remember to stay out of Canadian waters. A lake roll-over the tail end of last week created an outstanding situation for bass action around the Coast Guard station and along Fort Niagara. When the lake flips, the bass will all congregate in the warmer river water coming down from Lake Erie. Watch the weather and the next time that happens, you know where to go. None of the new trout regulations changes apply to the river.

Wayne County Fishing Update

Chris Kenyon

Lake Ontario

-It’s transition time for trout and salmon and it changes daily. Cold water came to shore this weekend…then it turned warm. I doubt staging salmon care about water temps; however, bait fish do.

The kings are scattered with some coming from 100 fow down 30 to 50 feet. They are straight out of Sodus Bay and west of Hughes’ Marina.

Use glow spoons for the kings and meat rigs for kings and some browns.

Nothing really happening in Maxwell Creek; however, some browns were caught off the Sodus pier. The pier is long, and you can cast out spoons near the Coast Guard Station all the way to the lighthouse.


Bass fishing continues to be excellent in Sodus and Port Bays. The season ends November 30th with a 5 fish 12-inch minimum current regulation.
The water is cooling which puts the bass in a feeding frenzy. Use spinnerbaits and worm rigs.

Launch sites for Sodus are at Margaretta Road (north) and Bay Bridge Sport Shop (south).

The DEC launch site for Port Bay is at the south end of the bay on West Port Bay Road.

Erie Canal

The canal waters have every fish except trout and salmon. Fish for lunker bass in the weeds on the south side of the canal. Panfish can be caught on any section of the waterway. Autumn is a great time to fish. All species have the feeding bags on, preparing for the colder season ahead.

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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