Upstate New York Fishing Report – October 29, 2020

Mike Rzucidlo white bass
Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls with a potential record white bass that he released back into the lower Niagara River. It weighed 3.8 pounds. The current record is 3.5 pounds. However it was not weighed on an official scale. He caught it on a No. 3 spinner.

Greater Niagara Region

Bill Hilts, Jr.

The highlight this week was not the salmon and trout, but another potential record white bass that was caught – and released – by Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls. He was tossing a No. 3 spinner from shore along Artpark State Park when the big “silver” hit. Throwing it on his hand-held scale, it weighed 3.8 pounds. The previous record was 3.5 pounds (3 pounds, 8 ounces) caught earlier this year in the same area by Morgan Fonzi of Gasport. However, Rzucidlo tossed it back because he was unsure of the procedure to follow … and he wanted to keep fishing. He also caught several lake trout in that same area. Lisa Drabczyk of Creek Road Bait and Tackle reports that trout is the focus right now for the charter guys. Salmon fishing is almost over in the river, although anglers have caught a few off the NYPA fishing platform. Lake trout are in the river heavy and remember that the season is closed until Dec. 1. If you catch one, take good care of the fish and release it quickly and without harm. Steelhead are starting to show up in greater numbers and a few brown trout are being caught. Bass are hitting with regularity downriver on swimbaits, tubes, and Ned rigs. Shiners will also work off three-way rigs. Not too much to report in the upper river. Smallmouth bass have been munching on shiners. Musky movement should increase as waters cool. The Tim Wittek Memorial Musky tournament hosted by the Niagara Musky Association is set for Nov. 8. Call Scott Kitchen at 939-0006 for more information and how to join NMA.

Anthony Mercer brown trout
Anthony Mercer of Virginia caught this 16-pound brown trout using a white trout magnet in a favorite Niagara County stream.

Mike Keister and Brian Williams
Mike Keister of Mt. Crawford, Va. caught a nice brown trout and Brian Williams of Fulks Run, Va. caught this dandy Atlantic salmon while fishing a Lake Ontario tributary together.
Brian Williams Atlantic salmon
Brian Williams of Fulks Run, Virginia with Atlantic salmon he caught on a white trout magnet in a favorite Niagara County tributary.
Sean Leary grass carp
Sean Leary of the Town of Tonawanda was fishing for musky when he hooked into this huge 45-inch grass carp. It weighed over 35 pounds.

There are still salmon around and things are on the downhill slide for kings, but with an upswing for browns in places like the 18 Mile Creek. In fact, Adam Slavinsky with The Orvis Store reports that this is a great time for a mixed bag of fish that can include Chinook and Coho salmon, brown trout, steelhead and Atlantic salmon at many of the tributaries along Lake Ontario as long as there is good water flow. Remember that the minimum size for steelhead and Atlantic salmon is 25 inches. The daily creel for brown trout, steelhead and Atlantic salmon is now one each. Water flow at 18 Mile Creek should increase starting next Friday, Nov. 6 when Erie Canal water releases will start for Niagara County. Remember that if you encounter areas where it is difficult to socially distance at least 6 feet apart, you should wear a mask. At Burt Dam and 18 Mile Creek, good numbers of fish have arrived according to Karen Evarts with the Boat Doctors in Olcott. Stay safe out there.

Wayne County Fishing Update

Chris Kenyon

Lake Ontario

Some of the recreational boats are catching browns close to shore near the Sodus Bay channel. They were using Bay Rats and glow spoons. If you decide to try the lake with a smaller boat use caution. Especially near the channel as the water flow was creating large swells this past weekend.

Streams

Recent rainfall has produced some activity in Wayne County streams. Bear and Salmon Creeks have more water flow because they are close to the lake. The south end of Maxwell needs a better flow, however the north end near the mouth has standing water.

Bays

Perch fishing has been excellent in Port and Sodus Bay. The larger perch are running between 10 and 12 inches. There is also a mixed class of fish (smaller) which bodes well for the future of the perch fishery.
Use live bait or any light colored artificials with five spikes on the hook.

Erie Canal

Widewaters is a great place to fish for bluegills, sunnies and largemouth bass. The bass season closes November 30th. You can fish and release December through June using artificial lures.

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 https://esd.ny.gov/guidance-executive-order-2026.

Orleans County

Ron Bierstin, Oak Orchard Tackle & Lodge

Ben Atlantic salmon
Ben finds his Oak Orchard River Atlantic salmon fame! Photo courtesy Ben Niesen.

Still plenty of salmon action in the Oak with a beginning transition now toward more browns. It’s an amazing mixed bag opportunity now through the beginning and mid-November where you might encounter Kings, cohos, Atlantics, browns or steelhead. The King “run” is probably somewhere between 1/2 and 3/4 complete so you’ll find most action upstream in the mile or so stretch below the dam with some fresher green fish, spawning darker fish and some moldy zombies. Still more gamey fish then moldies at this point though. Cohos and Atlantics are still the wild card, yet guys are catching some quality Atlantics everyday. Cohos are here and there. Brown trout are coming on, and guys targeting runs below spawning Kings are getting hook ups on mostly males so far. Not a lot of brown trout spawning that we’ve heard of yet. Considering the one brown trout limit now in place, imagine the good fishing we’ll still have later this fall in November and December.

Flows in the Oak are something a little better then medium with a little stain to the water. Expect possible daily water level fluctuations thanks to hydro power operations consistent with leaf fall.

Fishing pressure seems easily tolerable this mid week for most guys reporting and its anybody’s guess how the pressure will shake out through the cooling weather ahead as the salmon numbers wane. Other smaller area tribs getting picked over some for salmon, although on any given day and spot you might find a fresh pod moving through. Same with browns and if you hike and hunt up some fish you’re liable to come upon good action despite, for now, the low and mostly clear flows.

Only showers yesterday (Monday) with forecasted more showers today (Tuesday) and then more precipitation at end of week. No big cool downs forecast in the near future, just seasonally cool. No significant Lake Effect Snow expected here on the big Lake Ontario/WNY plain for this end of week. Plenty of anglers from different areas out fishing making their own decisions about travel and taking safety precautions with no particular problems encountered that we are aware of.

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