Upstate New York Fishing Report – November 5, 2020

Greater Niagara Region

Bill Hilts, Jr.

The big news for Niagara County’s 18 Mile Creek is that the Erie Canal will be releasing additional water starting Nov. 6 to help attract more salmon and trout in the system. Some big brown trout have been reported from the Burt Dam area as fish congregate in larger numbers. However, make sure you abide by the social distancing requirements if you are less than 6 feet from other anglers. If you are, make sure you wear a mask. Pink and chartreuse were hot colors this week according to Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctors in Olcott. Anglers are using egg sacs, beads, and plastics. In addition to the salmon and trout, some big northern pike and catfish are also being hauled in by fishermen, especially in Olcott and Wilson Harbors. If you are fishing in those harbors in any kind of a boat or watercraft less than 21 feet long, you must be wearing a personal flotation device (life preserver), not just having it in the boat.

Mike Rzucidlo king salmon
Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls with a NYPA fishing platform king salmon.

Paul Luzzi smallmouth bass
Paul Luzzi of Lewiston with a chunky smallmouth bass he caught in the lower river this week.
Anthony Karum musky
Anthony Karum of Cheektowaga caught this 45-inch upper Niagara River musky last week fishing with Capt. Connor Cinelli of Grand Island.

In the lower Niagara River, the water is stained from all the wind we have encountered the past week, hampering the boat drifters a bit from any consistent action. It should be back to better fishing conditions by the weekend. Last weekend fishermen did well on trout according to Lisa Drabczyk with Creek Road Bait and Tackle in Lewiston. Steelhead and brown trout are moving in with bigger numbers, but the catch continues to be dominated by lake trout for both boat and shore guys. Steelhead and brown trout action will improve as water temperatures drop. Remember that lake trout season is closed until Dec. 1 and that is just around the corner. Last Saturday, conditions were decent, and Capt. Frank Campbell of Lewiston decided to give it a try. He had his best day on steelhead so far this fall using MagLips in silver and chartreuse, as well as Grinch patterns off 3-way rigs, hitting double digits. He had to weed through the lake trout to get to the steelhead and he fished less than 4 hours. Small jigs did the trick off the NYPA fishing platform recently for Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls. No. 3 and 4 spinners are working from shore, too. Do not rule out beads or other egg imitations from shoreline vantage points. When the water is stained, shore fishermen can do very well as the waters close to the shoreline clear first. However, Rzucidlo reports that visibility was only a foot on Tuesday, and he needed spinners to catch salmon off the platform, but it was too muddy for trout. Smallmouth bass action has been best on the Niagara Bar (when the winds cooperate) and the Coast Guard drift, especially bigger fish. Rzucidlo managed to catch some nice bass in the NYPA reservoir on jigs and spinners.

Make a note that on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, it will be a free fishing day in the state. Take a kid, friend, spouse, relative or veteran fishing. Weather is looking good for the rest of this week and into the weekend with temperatures into the 70s on Sunday and Monday. Good luck and good fishing!

Wayne County Fishing Update

Chris Kenyon


We received rain last week and this weekend saw some heavy precipitation. This is all good news for the streams. Maxwell is finally showing some water on the south side of Lake Road. It’s not a lot, however it is better than a trickle. The north side is open water (Maxwell Bay) where you can cast-out egg sacs under torpedo bobbers.

Bear and Salmon Creeks are small streams connecting to the lake. There are sections you can fish; however, you need to keep away from the posted areas. Browns were caught at the mouth of Bear Creek, which is on Lake Road in the town of Ontario.

Hughes’ Marina, two miles east of Pultneyville, has seen some brown trout action in the small ponds that are connected to Lake Ontario.

You can also catch fish from the pier at Sodus Point. The relentless wind from the past week has made casting from the pier impossible. Calmer weather patterns predicted this week will provide safer conditions. Cast out heavy glow spoons.


Fishing for perch has been excellent this year. They are in Port and Sodus Bays. Concentrate on the drop-offs and use small white rubber bait tipped with perch eyes or spikes. Or you can go with live bait.
There are plenty of year-of-class perch which means the population is healthy.
The keepers have been 10 to 12-inch perch.

Remember the important regulation regarding life jackets. (PFD’s) Use must wear your PFD from November 1st through May 1st if your boat is less than 21 feet. This means it must be worn…not lying in the bow of your boat.

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.

They were catching some bass this weekend, casting from the Port Gibson trail on the north side of the canal.

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

After a couple days of cold and wind it looks like the weather is on the mend toward warm and dry at least through the weekend and some of next week. There’s been a definite lessening of angling pressure lately, with just a little up-tick again yesterday (Monday). Flows in the Oak are down some, back to just the “routine” Canal feed instead of bolstered. So for now flows are about moderate and mostly clear. According to Canal water managers, we are about a week away from the start of the winter time drainage of the Canal. That drainage will be the “first” drainage and there is expected to be a week + worth of increased flows through most all of the major area tribs. After that, some portions of the Canal will be refilled with another planned “second” drainage in the beginning of December.

Chris with salmon
Chris, from PA, caught this salmon at the Oak

Flows in Johnson Creek are reportedly being bolstered right now with Canal feed but we have not been able to confirm that. Just a slight rise in flows there could make for better hook up chances. Salmon action is waning some in the Oak – no longer seeing the heavy concentrations of fish at the dam. Still lots of green or spawning salmon chances though. There are still a few green fish arriving, and they are likely to stay right around the gravel stretches below the dam and never make it to the dam.

For brown trout action, its a little tougher to call with about half the guys saying they are doing good with the other half saying its tough. Could be with the dropping and clearing flows some anglers are struggling more. I can say that for guys hanging in through a days effort that, typically, there will be a stretch where the bite turns on and/or migrations are seen later in the day. The previous cold front could have put a bit of a whammy on the bite too. To the east such as Sandy Creek, smaller trib flows are low to moderate and mostly clear with good but spread out brown trout action.

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