Upstate New York Fishing Report – October 22, 2020

Scott Feltrinelli with Ontario Fly Outfitters landed this beautiful fall brown trout from a favorite Lake Ontario tributary.

Greater Niagara Region

Bill Hilts, Jr.

Over an inch of rain that fell the last couple of days has helped the local fishing situation in the tributaries. Burt Dam and 18 Mile Creek saw a fresh run of salmon push through this week along with some brown trout and steelhead. Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctors in Olcott reports that egg sacs, beads, wooly buggers, soft creatures, and eggs were all catching fish. The hot bait is egg skein for salmon. There was a report of someone spearing fish at the dam and that they were cited for violating the fishing law. Remember that anglers can only keep one steelhead (with a minimum size of 25 inches) and one brown trout now with new regulations. Off the piers, action has been slow in Olcott, but it could pick up now. Green Mister Twisters were working for Matt Becker of Wilson this week, fishing at night in Olcott Harbor. Wilson perch fishing action has been very good according to Evarts and some king salmon were seen jumping around Wilson Tuscarora State Park. Supplemental water from the Erie Canal has been a benefit to streams in Orleans and Monroe counties and it will help 18 Mile Creek starting Nov. 6. Scott Feltrinelli with Ontario Fly Outfitters reports the colder temps and recent rains have brought kings and browns into what were once “bone dry” creeks. Smaller tributaries on Lake Ontario saw a good push of anxious fish this week according to Feltrinelli.

Aaron Cobaugh king salmon
Aaron Cobaugh hooked this 39-inch, 23.8-pound king on a Mepps Aglia copper spinner this week at Olcott Pier and landed what would turn out to be his PB after a 45 minute fight.

Matt Becker king salmon
Matt Becker of Wilson with a king salmon he caught at night in Olcott Harbor using a green Mister Twister.
Mike Ziehm lake trout
Mike Ziehm of Niagara Falls with a big lower river lake trout he caught from shore on a No. 4 spinner.
Mike Ziehm brown trout
Mike Ziehm of Niagara Falls with a big lower Niagara River brown trout he caught on a jig from shore.
Mike Rzucidlo rainbow
Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls with a rainbow he caught on a No. 4 spinner while fishing by the NYPA fishing platform.

Mike Rzucidlo and Mike Ziehm, both from Niagara Falls, were back at it in the lower Niagara River again this week. Whether they are fishing off the NYPA fishing platform, along Artpark or further up towards the Whirlpool area, they always seem to find success with either a No. 4 or 5 spinners in silver and chartreuse or with a jig. The jig produced some white bass and a big brown trout this week for Ziehm. Rzucidlo caught 3 steelhead and a lake trout off the NYPA fishing platform recently. Lake trout are in thick now so release them safely and quickly. While anglers are still getting some salmon off the platform and a few are being taken from shore and boats according to Lisa Drabczyk of Creek Road Bait and Tackle, the run is starting to slow down – unless the cold rain attracts a fresh run this week. Some steelhead were reported in the river, but most of the effort has been on smallmouth bass where they have been bulking up for winter. Mitch Grant with Rapid Fishing Solutions had these tips to share after fishing last week. Locate the fish and once you do, stay on them. Vertical jigging or drifting through the area will yield some nice bronzebacks. The fish have been tight to the grass and he found them in 8 to 20 feet of water depending on the area. His best tube was a Strike King peanut and jelly or a dark melon in 3/16 ounce to ¼ ounce. Ned rigs were working, too. All were 2-3/4-inch in size. Along the Stella drift, he would quiver a drop shot rig hooked with a Strike King Baby Z-2 in a “Deal” color. Out of the mouth of the river on the Niagara Bar, seek out 14 to 17 feet of water with a tube or Ned rig. They managed to catch 2 bass over 6 pounds and many between 4- and 6-pounds last week. They were imitating gobies or emerald shiners. Walleye have been hitting jigs and split-tail swimbaits according to Drabczyk. In the upper river, not too much has changed from last week with reports of decent smallmouth bass fishing and the occasional musky being taken.

Charles Lathrop
Charles Lathrop had a good day fishing for “Kings“ while sporting his Striper Cup Columbia pullover.

Wayne County Fishing Update

Chris Kenyon

Lake Ontario

The Lake Ontario water is low, so there are shoreline access points where you can cast for browns. You might also entice a strike from the steelhead.


Because Wayne County streams are of the smaller variety, rainfall is required for any productive flow to the lake. The browns are close to shore in the lake and as soon as creeks and streams flow, they will enter the waterways.

Cast out spoons while fishing the lake shoreline. Use the same colors as early spring bt fishing.

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

Some steelhead were caught in the Sodus Channel. Be very careful fishing the piers because the current is always strong…especially Sodus Point. Cast the heavy stuff like Little Cleo’s, Krocodiles, Eppingers and Kastmasters.


The perch are hitting in Port and Sodus Bays. Find the drop-offs and move around until you find the schooling fish. Live minnows work and small white rubber bait 2 inches. The perch have been 10 plus inches which I describe as “Thumpers.”

Use caution at launch sites and section of the bays you are not familiar with. The water level is extremely low.

Erie Canal

Canal anglers are still catching largemouths anywhere the waterway has not been drained for the season. Widewaters is not drained. The canal was scheduled to close October 14.

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

Big Joe's big salmon
Big Joe’s big salmon caught on the Oak this week

“Some steady showers through this morning (Tues) but not enough to effect much of a change in trib flows. Forecast is for more rain tonight (Tues) through tomorrow (Wed) so we’ll have to wait and see if that may be enough for a change, especially in the area smaller waterways. Warm temps are in the forecast again for the end of the week and then cooler for the weekend and next week.

Flows in the Oak seem to be on the rise from the bolstered Erie Canal flows at something like a legit medium or higher with some nice stain. For the chance to encourage any tardy Kings and kick off good brown trout and Atlantic salmon and eventual steelhead migrations, you really couldn’t script it any better then for this end of October timeframe. These flows are going to call for good drifting technique and give fish plenty of cover.

Flows in Sandy Creek are likely falling back as the previous round of bolstered flows is scaled back there for now. Good salmon action all around, plenty of fish in the Oak and patient anglers are finding fish moving even in the lower and smaller tribs like Johnson Creek early or late in the day. On the Oak its still mostly a salmon game but yes there are a few browns and Atlantics and steelhead caught every day. That action should only improve into November if reasonable weather and water flows prevail.

Angling pressure seems down some now for this mid week period. That’s relative to heavy pressure from the past weekend though that will probably build again toward the upcoming weekend. Anglers are here in the area fishing making their own decisions about travel and practicing the relevant precautions with no particular problems or issues that we are aware of.”

1 thought on “Upstate New York Fishing Report – October 22, 2020

  1. John Edward Patterson

    Love your artical, is this going to be ongoing thing

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