Upstate New York Fishing Report – October 1, 2020

Greater Niagara Region

Bill Hilts, Jr.

With rain in the forecast this week, we are about to embark into some new territory for both fishing and hunting. October 1 marks the opening of many hunting seasons, including the early archery big game season for the Southern Zone. It should help spread the number of people around throughout Western New York. We will need it with the increased numbers of hunting and fishing licenses being sold this year. Heavy rains and cooler temperatures should trigger runs of fish in the tributaries off Lake Ontario, especially at 18 Mile Creek and Burt Dam.

Kirk Kingsbury Olcott
Kirk Kingsbury of Olcott caught this king salmon in 18 Mile Creek over the weekend.

Roy Letcher of Newfane reports that some salmon can be found scattered in 18 Mile Creek now, with limited numbers at the dam. Use salmon skein under a float in the creek, using a small boat to gain access to the deeper holes. Fisherman’s Park at Burt Dam is open, but they are not charging yet for parking. Cost will remain at $3/person when they do open, when the fish arrive in any numbers. Off the piers, Letcher prefers J-13 Rapalas or casting Moonshine and Cleo spoons.

Chris Walczak king salmon
Chris Walczak of Amherst with a huge Olcott king salmon he caught off the piers Friday night.
Will Wittcopp brown trout
Will Wittcopp of Barker caught this 16.5-pound brown trout off the piers at Olcott.
Joann Mure king salmon
Joann Mure of Bethel struggles to hoist up a big king salmon she caught off the Olcott piers this week.

Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctors in Olcott reports that pier action has been decent in Olcott for a mix of salmon, trout, and pike. Glow in the dark spoons were the hot ticket from her shop. If you are able to make it into the lake this weekend, head to deep water for more stable conditions, 400 to 500-foot depths and beyond. Target the top 100 feet of water with spoons. You can also try and target mature kings staging off the piers in Wilson and Olcott. Perch action in Wilson was good this week according to Evarts.

Mike Rzucidlo steelhead
Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls with a lower Niagara River steelhead caught on a No. 4 spinner.
Reelin' for a Cure donation
Reelin’ for a Cure held August 21 donated $10,146 to the Brain Cancer Network of Western NY – Metastatic Research last week, the end result of a successful ladies tournament. Presenting the check were Stephanie Pierleoni (left) and Renee Boyd with the tournament.

Lower Niagara River action for salmon has finally turned on according to Lisa Drabczyk of Creek Road Bait and Tackle in Lewiston. Devil’s Hole area has been a good place to be, either off the NYPA fishing platform or from a boat drifting with treated egg skein. Boaters were doing better last week, but they are still catching fish from both spots. Casting glow spoons, spinners or Rat-L-Traps will work. Walleyes and bass are hitting downriver and on the Niagara Bar. Popular drifts in the river include Stella’s and Peggy’s Eddy, as well as the Coast Guard. Be forewarned that there is some regular maintenance taking place along some of the Artpark trails in the gorge for some scaling work. The upper trail is closed, but the lower trail is partially open including ¾ of that trail and the 3 designated fishing areas. Lake trout season closes Oct. 1. If you do catch any lake trout moving into the river to spawn, make sure you release the fish quickly and without harm to them. The season will re-open December 1. In the upper river, Capt. Connor Cinelli of Grand Island reports that bass fishing has been good around Strawberry Island. The crab bite has switched to a shiner bite. Some perch have been showing up, with a lot of little ones mixed in with some nice keepers. Remember that Canadian waters are still closed from any kind of fishing from this side of the border.

Wayne County Fishing Update

Chris Kenyon

Lake Ontario

Some late staging salmon were caught straight out from Sodus in 80 to 100 fow. Browns were scarce and a few steelhead hit glow spoons.

You can still fish Lake Ontario searching in water from 50 to 200 fow. Use planer boards like spring fishing and try jointed stickbaits.


It is stream fishing time except our drought situation has left extraordinarily little water in Wayne County streams. Maxwell Creek is just a dry riverbed except near the north end. Predicted rainfall this week might start the action.

You can still fish the piers. You can catch browns and steelies in the Sodus Channel. Cast-out heavy spoons and use caution fishing. Do not fall into the channel. The current is strong.


The perch are in Sodus and Port Bays. They usually spend the summer in the lake and enter the bays for the autumn and winter. Fish the points for drop-offs. If you catch small fish move to a different location.

Use small jigs or Berkley rubber shad…2 inches. Tip your bait with spikes.

Erie Canal

The bass are hitting in the canal. Use spinnerbaits or rubber worms and fish the weedlines on the south side. Launch sites along the waterway are still open.

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

Orleans County

Ron Bierstin, Oak Orchard Tackle & Lodge

Well we got our hope for change answered in the weather with a nice cooldown. Not so much in the precipitation department yet, but rain is in the forecast tomorrow (Wednesday). And not surprisingly, along with the cooldown there are reports and some hookup success on more salmon movements in the Oak’s lower river areas. It may be that the greatest concentrations of Kings that will at least linger a little while (or else show themselves) over the next 2-3 weeks thru the river mouth and lower river spots like around the Bridges. Those fish are going to be moving up into the fast water stretches below the dam and some anglers are reporting seeing fish there now. This kind of behavior is more like staging and movement patterns of some years ago, and welcomed, and somewhat of a departure from the past few years of kamikaze runs right to the dam. I see this as a possible positive side effect of the bolstered Erie Canal water feed for the Oak right now and fish feeling more confident in moving and holding at spots other than at the dam. Also, I’m still hearing of Kings bottled up in the estuary and river mouth stretches of smaller tributaries. It could be game on upstream quickly with even a small bump in flows in those waterways. Along the lines of the Oak observations, it seems coincidental that with the same bolstered Erie Canal water feed for Sandy Creek, that good numbers of Kings are reported there too.

1 thought on “Upstate New York Fishing Report – October 1, 2020

  1. Carmine Litterio

    Why is there never any Salmon river reports, other than the Niagara river its the biggest river in the area I believe.

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