Upstate New York Fishing Report – October 8, 2020

Jason Poole
Jason Poole with salmon

Greater Niagara Region

Bill Hilts, Jr.

Attention: Greater Niagara Fishing Expo Announce Date Change in Response to COVID-19
The Greater Niagara Fishing and Outdoor Expo, one of the largest pure-fishing shows in the Great Lakes, is postponing its popular event at the Conference and Event Center Niagara Falls, N.Y. due to COVID-19. The rescheduled new date for the show is Feb. 19-21, 2021, although hosting the Expo on these dates are contingent upon a number of factors related to COVID-19, including state approvals, recommended protocols and allowable numbers of people in the facility.

It’s early October and the fall foliage is in full color. Today looks like a miserable day with rain in the morning and high winds in the afternoon. Hopefully we will see enough rain to see a little bit of a difference in the Lake Ontario tributaries. Many of them need water. The best stream in Niagara County off the lake is 18 Mile Creek and action continues to be spotty for salmon. However, Karen Evarts with The Boat Doctors in Olcott reports that glow spoons, J13 Rapalas and egg sacs have been working off the piers. Skein and sacs under a float are working up the creek from boats in some of the deeper holes. Beads and sacs will work at the dam, but there are limited numbers of fish there. In the harbors at Wilson and Olcott, Capt. Joe Fonzi of Gasport sampled the waters for a mix of largemouth bass, pike, and salmon. Some perch have been hitting in Olcott Harbor. Having a small boat near the yacht club would be the best solution for success. With fair weather in the forecast for this weekend, boat trollers in the lake still have the option of trolling the pier heads off Olcott and Wilson for mature kings. Don’t forget about the Niagara Bar either. In addition, if the winds cooperate, you can still run out and target steelhead and immature salmon over deep water further out in the lake.

Matt Vogt
Matt Vogt of Newfane in a favorite trib with salmon

Tom Warda
Tom Warda of Newfane with salmon
Gary Lewis
Gary Lewis of Wilson with salmon

In the Niagara River, another good push of salmon came through for anglers according to Lisa Drabczyk of Creek Road Bait and Tackle. Not too many boats in Devil’s Hole, and that has been a plus for the fishermen that are making that drift there. Treated egg skein is the best approach for salmon in the “Hole” according to Capt. Frank Campbell of Lewiston. The NYPA fishing platform has been producing some fish and there are some fish being caught from shore up in the gorge. Drabczyk also reports walleye and bass being caught downriver. Bass action at the Coast Guard has been best on chubs. Perch have been hitting minnows around Lewiston. In the upper river, Capt. Hans Mann of Eden picked up a musky in Buffalo Harbor a couple days ago, but it is still a bit early. Not many muskies in the river quite yet. Musky trollers and casters are just getting started for the fall musky fishery. In the meantime, the smallmouth bass action has been good in the upper river. Capt. Connor Cinelli of Grand Island has been using minnows and shiners to take some chunky smallmouth, along with good numbers of smaller fish which is a favorable sign for the future of the fishery. Try around Strawberry and Motor Islands, using a three-way set up to bounce bottom.

Jimmy Dunk
Jimmy Dunk of Burke, Va. with smallmouth bass
Joe Fonzi
Joe Fonzi largemouth bass
Tom Kaminski
Tom Kaminski 12 lb. pike from Winchester, Va.
smallmouth tripleheader
Tripleheader of bass

Remember that new rules are in place in the Lake Ontario tributaries for steelhead and brown trout. Steelhead must be at least 25 inches in length if you want to keep your one fish for the creel. For brown trout, the daily creel has been reduced from 3 to 1 this year.

Wayne County Fishing Update

Chris Kenyon

Lake Ontario

Lake fishing for trout and salmon is almost over with a few browns still being caught in 60 fow. Use jointed stickbaits and glow spoons for browns.

The late salmon run is over for lake fishing. You can still try 80 to 100 fow, although the reports are limited because the charter captains have pulled their boats for the season.


Maxwell Creek has a better flow than last week, however you need to concentrate on the north end which is called Maxwell Bay. Salmon Creek has some salmon, and the mouth of Bear Creek has fish. Wayne County streams are small, so we need some heavy-duty rainfall.

However, you can still fish along the lake shore next to the mouths of the creeks. Also, try pier fishing at the Sodus Bay channel. Last week anglers caught some browns and steelhead using heavy glow spoons.


Perch and bass fishing is occurring in Sodus and Port Bays. The perch are schooling off the points in both bays. Use small rubber bait 2 inches. There is plenty of shad bait in the bays so try something that is black with a white bottom. There are plenty of rubber shad lures available online or at your favorite bait store.

Erie Canal

The launch site at Widewaters was busy last Sunday. The bass boats were casting for largemouths. You can still catch fish next to the locks located close to Route 31. The canal waters are next to 31 in Lyons, Newark, Palmyra, and Macedon. There are plenty of pull-off location to fish the canal from the shore.

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

"On The Water" host, Chris Megan and film crew
“On The Water” host, Chris Megan and film crew from East Falmouth, MA were at the Oak today catching an early brown trout following the morning rainfall!

Salmon action continues to shape up on a positive note. Anglers are remarking there are some big fish around. Flows in the Oak remain somewhere between moderate to medium with just slightly stained water. Previous precipitation might have made for a little bit more color to the water that is going away now. And there’s a dry stretch ahead again in the forecast with just a chance for showers tomorrow (Wednesday). Easily pleasant high temps in the 60’s°F are forecast through the upcoming weekend. Bolstered Canal flows look to continue in the Oak and to the Monroe County east tributary.

Fishing pressure so far this week looks to be less then the previous weekend. You’ll still find guys fishing all the water at the Oak from the near shore big Lake O waters/rivermouth up to the dam. So the fish are spread out with select concentrations like at the dam, holding at times in the fast water stretches, medium numbers boiling in the mid river holding spots, and passing through the rivermouth. Likewise the techniques employed will match the water being fished like float fishing at the dam, dead drifting the fast water stretches, plugs/skein in the mid river, and trolling or casting the rivermouth. Its mostly a salmon game but a few browns, steelhead and Atlantics also hooked. I’ve seen some pics of good Atlantics.

1 thought on “Upstate New York Fishing Report – October 8, 2020

  1. Eager to fish

    Where is the Salmon River report???

    -Asking for a friend.

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