Upstate New York Fishing Report – October 15, 2020

Gary Tharaldson salmon
Gary Tharaldson from Maryland visited the Salmon River this week for big kings.

Greater Niagara Region

Bill Hilts, Jr.

With many hunting seasons ready to take off on Saturday and several underway, now is a good time to go fishing if you are looking for a time with less pressure. Don’t be afraid to do a little exploring either.
For Niagara River salmon fishing, the place to be in the river has been Devil’s Hole – from boat and from the NYPA Fishing Platform according to Lisa Drabczyk of Creek Road Bait and Tackle.

Ken Baronetski salmon
Ken Baronetski of Butler, Pa. with a salmon from Devil’s Hole caught while fishing with Capt. Steve Drabczyk of Lewiston.
Mike Rzucidlo salmon
Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls caught this salmon off the NYPA fishing platform this week using a No. 4 spinner.

Things are starting to slow down a bit for the boat guides. One day they might see 4 or 5 salmon in the boat and the next day it might be 1 or 2. Treated egg skein off three-way rigs is the bait preference for boats. From the Platform, Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls prefers to use a No. 4 spinner. Not only does he catch salmon, but he caught 3 steelhead this week in one outing. Yes, steelhead are starting to move into the river.

Lisa Cicciarelli first Chinook salmon
Lisa Cicciarelli from Lockport landed her first Chinook salmon weighing 23.3 pounds using cured skein. She was fishing with Capt. Arnie Jonathan of Lockport.
Mike Ziehm lake trout
Mike Ziehm of Niagara Falls hit his first lake trout of the year in the lower Niagara River. Lake trout season is closed and will reopen Dec. 1.

The other surprise this week was some lake trout being caught. Mike Ziehm of Niagara Falls, fishing from shore in the gorge, also used a No. 4 spinner to take his first lake trout of the year. Remember that lake trout season is closed. Make sure you take care of those fish and release them quickly after you catch them. The lake trout season will re-open on Dec. 1. Down river, some trout are showing up, but walleye and bass continue to dominate. Capt. Ryan Shea of Tonawanda has been mixing things up between salmon and bass in the lower river. Bass have been taking Ned rigs and crayfish consistently. He also picked up a salmon casting a crankbait. In the upper river, it has been mostly smallmouth bass hitting shiners and minnows.

Matt Vogt brown trout
Matt Vogt of Newfane with a Burt Dam brown trout he caught this week.
Ed Onori steelhead
Ed Onori from Auburn landed this 28 inch steelhead using salmon skein fishing with Capt. Arnie Jonathan of Lockport in the lower Niagara River.

Burt Dam and 18 Mile Creek could use a little help in the water flow department but there are salmon and the occasional trout available according to Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctors. Anglers are now being charged for parking at Fisherman’s Park. The piers are also producing some salmon and trout at both Olcott and Wilson. The short pier at Wilson at the foot of Route 425 was yielding a few brown trout this past week. Orange was the hot color this past week in the streams and off the piers. It was red prior to that. Pink could be the next hot color. It all depends on the day. Yellow perch action continues to be good in both Wilson and Olcott. Finding the right spot can be tough though. We need some rain!

Wayne County Fishing Update

Chris Kenyon

Lake Ontario

A few staging salmon were caught close to shore, however the season is practically over for lake fishing. You can catch some browns from the shore. The lake level is low, so that is one option.


The only place on Maxwell Creek to try for trout is at the north end where there is more flow. The south side looks better than last week, however the smaller creeks in Wayne County need a good rainfall.

Shoreline fishing the mouth of Maxwell might pick-up some browns. Although the other creeks in the county have limited public access you can find places to cast-out egg sacs.

Hughes’ Marina in Williamson has some smaller ponds that are connected to the lake, and browns will follow any salmon looking for the eggs.

Pier fishing is always an option until we receive some rain making the streams flow. Cast glow spoons at the Sodus channel. You can catch browns and some steelhead.


Perch fishing is the major attraction during the autumn. Both Port and Sodus Bays have perch that enter the bays from Lake Ontario during early October.
Look for drop-offs and fish with shad or other small 2-inch rubber. Use spikes for the best hits.

You can also fish from the small bridges that cross over smaller Lake Shore Unit streams. They are in Wolcott, Huron, and Sodus. These smaller creeks are feeder streams for East, Port, Sodus, and Blind Sodus Bays. If you like panfishing without the crowds look for the bridges.

Erie Canal

Kayak anglers were fishing from Widewaters on Columbus Day. You can also launch your boat at the ramp west of Newark on Route 31.
The bass are on the bite and they have been hitting worm rigs. Use heavy line as you will cast into weed beds.

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

Megan & Sweitzer brown trout
“On the Water” host, Chris Megan from Massachusetts and Bill Sweitzer from NYS Canal Corps were at the Oak last week catching an early brown trout. Added flows from the Erie Canal are expected to enhance this season’s trib fishing.

“We experienced a couple hours of steady rain through early this morning (Tues.) which is clearing out for forecasted clear weather through the mid week with seasonal warm temps. The next chance for a cool down and greater precipitation is at the end of this week. Today’s rain is not enough to make anything unfishable but it may bump up flows just slightly in the area smaller waterways, adding a little color to the water. During this fall time frame with rain and especially wind, look for routine water level fluctuations in the Oak – thanks to leaf fall and hydro power management. The good salmon action continues especially through the upper reaches of the Oak. Kings are not wasting any time in moving through the rivermouth or lower river areas and look for that movement pattern to only accelerate with the forecasted wetter and cooler weather upcoming.

Good to strong numbers of salmon are at the dam and there was heavier fishing pressure there through the past holiday weekend. Downstream areas have been pretty manageable and anglers are finding they can walk in from the Park Ave Fishing Trail and fish all that adjacent water around the Archers Club. The Kings have been running trophy size this year and anglers are remarking they are a handful to land after legit hookups because they are strong and fresh! Hey, that sounds like a fun challenge! There are a few fish reported to be spawning now and there are few, if any, old moldies yet. Not surprisingly with some spawning now started, a few more browns are reported. With the strong salmon run underway, that should only be a good thing to encourage more brown trout and steelhead migrations too – something that was a little lacking last year. Good flows continue in the Oak at about moderate and slightly stained thanks to the routine 24/7 Erie Canal seasonal water feed. Other area smaller tributaries have been lower but the Kings are making their way upstream on these small weather and water flow changes like today. In all the waterways, the fresh Kings are sometimes steaming upstream without holding so getting a good presentation can be challenging. But be patient and where you can find at least a few fish holding in a hole or staged in a spawning spot there are good hook up chances.”

3 on “Upstate New York Fishing Report – October 15, 2020

  1. Jeremy Doran

    Where is the best place to catch perch now in Niagara or Orleans county’s

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