Upstate and Western New York Fishing Report – April 22 , 2021

West Marine

Greater Niagara Region

Frank Campbell

The smelt are still hanging on in the lower Niagara River and the white bass are starting to show, too. Salmon are beginning a spring feeding frenzy between the Niagara Bar and 30 Mile Point – just in time for some derbies and tournaments on the local front. Both Mike Rzucidlo and Mike Ziehm of Niagara Falls reported catching some of the first white or silver bass of the season, using 5-inch Zoom plastics on jigs and big No. 4 and No. 5 spinners. In addition to the white bass, they were also catching some big lake trout up to 15 pounds this week from shore. Some muskies and sturgeons are also showing up cruising the shoreline. Musky season is completely closed, and sturgeon are a protected species. It is illegal to target these fish. According to Ziehm, water visibility was 5 to 7 feet and he did catch some steelhead as well in the gorge including some fresh fish. Water levels were low, fishing with his son Corey. Remember that the NYPA fishing platform is open unless poor weather arrives like the snowstorm we are supposed to receive on Wednesday of this week. If you want an update on whether it is opened, call 286-6662. Capt. Matt Yablonsky of Youngstown fished the river on Monday after whacking some kings in the lake over the weekend, and he reported a decent bite in Devil’s Hole for a mix of lake trout and steelhead. Minnows and MagLips were good baits, fished off 3-way rigs. There is still some smelt in the river, so fishing is still a bit difficult. As water temperatures slowly increase, smallmouth bass action is starting to turn on throughout the river, both upper and lower. Try Ned rigs or swimbaits. Remember you must use artificial lures when targeting bass during the catch and release season.

Matt Vogt
Matt Vogt of Newfane with an Olcott lake trout he caught this week.

Mike Rzucidlo
Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls with a big lower river lake trout.
Mike Ziehm
Mike Ziehm of Niagara Falls with the first white bass of the year.
Mike Ziehm
Mike Ziehm of Niagara Falls caught this steelhead in the lower river gorge.

Karen Evarts of The Boat Doctors in Olcott reports that both largemouth and smallmouth bass are being caught in 18 Mile Creek, as well as catfish all the way up to the dam. Both brown trout and smallmouth bass are being caught off the piers in Olcott and Wilson on minnows and in both harbors anglers are picking up yellow perch, bullhead and rock bass. Chris Schotz of Sanborn reported that he was on the water out of Wilson with Capt. Mike Johannes of Ransomville on Monday, and they had a busy day on the water in 70 to 80 feet of water fishing west between 6 Mile Creek and the Niagara River, catching over 20 lake trout, as well as a couple small kings and 6 Coho salmon. All the lakers were caught on some shiny, spinny things according to Schotz (green cowbells with chartreuse spin-n-glows, as well as a shark flasher with a chartreuse peanut according to Johannes) just off the bottom. “Dipsy Doodles” (Dipsy divers) were also productive back 40 feet on some salmon with a silver Coho flasher and green peanut fly. The salmon were all in the top 20 feet of water, caught on purple/black spoons and chartreuse/orange stickbaits off riggers and planer boards. Capt. Bob Songin of Rochester reports that he fished Golden Hill to 30 Mile Point in 60-65 feet of water this week. There were kings and big lakers there, with his best bait being a white 2 face 8-inch paddle with the A-Tom-Mik stud fly out 80 on wire divers; as well as down 55 feet on the center rigger. His best spoon was gold Forty-Second on riggers down 45 and 40. He reported that he had good green water with what looked like schools of smelt on his electronics. The fish they kept also had smelt in their bellies along with 1 year old alewives.

Parker Costello
7 year old Parker Costello of Lockport with a largemouth bass from an area pond.

On the derby and tournament calendar, remember that the Spring LOC Derby runs May 7 to 16. Check out details at loc.org. The Wilson Harbor Invitational is May 15 and 16, with the Salmon Slam and $1K a Day contest running from May 8-14. The Don Johannes/Pete DeAngelo 1-Fish/3-Fish contest is June 3 and the Niagara County Pro-Am Tournament is June 4-5. More to come.

Oswego County

Report Courtesy of the Oswego County Department of Community Development, Tourism and Planning

Oswego River Report

The CFS was at 3500 as of this morning. Water temperatures are down due to the recent snowfall.

Typically, in April the steelhead fishing on the Oswego’s starts to wind down. Steelhead are in heavy spawn mode and they leave the river as soon as the water drops and warms up. The upper river is holding more Steelhead than down low.

With the lower water levels wading has been easier. But be careful as the water levels can change drastically.

The go to setups this week are: beads in natural colors and jigs in the channel. Swim baits and blade baits down low.

Year-Round Notice: There are mandatory personal flotation device (PFD) zones on the river. For more information, visit our website at visitoswegocounty.com and click on the Fishing Report along the top bar on the home page. The Oswego Fire Department offers loaner life jackets at no charge through its “Loaner for Life” program. For more information contact the fire station at 35 E. Cayuga St. by calling 315-343-2161.

Click here for the Brookfield Varick Fish Safely brochure.

Click here for the current water flow.

Salmon River Report:

The CFS was 536 as of this morning at the Pineville gauge, and stayed steady throughout the day. Temperatures have been fluctuating between about 45 and 50 degrees depending on weather conditions and time of day. The snow and tough weather conditions may have made the bite a bit tougher today on the salmon river.

The main baits for float fishing continue to be beads, 8-10 mm in various shades. Chartreuse and light orange or yellow shades have been producing fish on a consistent basis. Light conditions and time of day continue to dictate what shades are producing the most fish. For fly fishing, egg patterns like glo bugs and sucker spawn will produce fish when suspended under an indicator.

The majority of the fish are sitting in faster, more oxygenated water as the water temps continue to rise. Faster moving water and the heads of holes are holding most of the fish at this time. The largest concentration of steelhead seems to be in the lower portion of the river – however we still have fish scattered throughout the system. We are seeing the numbers of steelhead upriver slowly drop off and this trend will continue as we head into the month of May.

Lake Ontario Report:

This following report is courtesy of Captain John Kopy, of Salmon Tracker Charters and Joe Sicherman of Sich’s Guide Service.
Lake conditions have been rough, the wind hasn’t been a help. However, we expect to find some good colored water to fish after this multi-day blow.

We’re finding a few brown trout every morning along the shoreline. Catching browns can be a challenge, especially later in the day when the sun comes out and given the lack of turbine water. At that point in time we recommend anglers head into deeper waters and target laker trout along the bottom. We’re finding lakers in 140 to 160 feet of water. Lake trout fishing has been good but you still have to work for them.

Our go to set up this week have been stickbaits on flat lines along the shore for browns. Smithwick’s firetiger, Black and silver and Tennessee Shad. Mini discs pulling standard size stingers in natural colors are also a go-to.

When fishing for lake trout we are pulling Cowbells with Spin-n-glo’s and Atommik coho flies; blue, silver and Mt dew have performed best.

Wayne County Fishing Update

Chris Kenyon

Lake Ontario

It’s still a challenge to find the browns. It could be the low clear water…Some trout were caught out from Bear Creek in 20 fow. They were hitting glow-green spoons. There are reports of salmon on the west end of the lake and a few were caught straight out from Hughes’ in 200 fow. Maybe the spring king bite is starting.

Look for any temperatures breaks for trout. Fish near the channels of Port and Sodus Bays. We did receive over an inch of rain so there should be warmer water draining into the lake.
Surface water temps out of Rochester today are 40 degrees.

It is not too early to think about some competitive angling. The LOC Derby dates for 2021 are:
Spring-May 7th – May 16th
Summer June 26th- July 25th
Fall – Aug 20th- Sept 6

Bays

Wednesday’s weather doesn’t really look “spring like.” It’s predicted in the low 40’s with snow. Out comes the snow blower.

Use caution launching at any of the bay ramps. DEC is in the process of placing the docks at the launch sites.

Remember you must wear your PFD until May 1st. while fishing in smaller watercrafts. You should wear it all the time. They will save your life.

The perch are still spawning so most bay anglers are concentrating on other panfish. Walleye and pike will have open season the first Saturday in May. (May1st)

The new guide can be found at https://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7917.html for downloading and printing at home. Production of hard copies is underway, and DEC expects to have guides at License Issuing Agents no later than the second week of April. Hard copies can be requested by emailing FWFish@dec.ny.gov.

Most agents have already received the regulations book. It measures 8×5 inches, the perfect size for your tackle box.

Erie Canal

The crappies were biting this weekend, however who knows how the colder temperatures coming will affect the bite. You can launch at the Widewaters County park just west of Newark.

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.

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.

Orleans County

Ron Bierstin, Oak Orchard Tackle & Lodge

NOTICE: Beginning April 1, 2021, quarantine will no longer be required for domestic travelers coming to New York State, however all travelers must continue to fill out the Traveler Health Form and adhere to safety guidelines during their visit. Please review guidelines for the NYS COVID travel advisory here.

Wow! Cool weather and good flows were hanging in through this last part of April! In fact you might call it kind of cold and high flows. Flows in the Oak are slightly high and stained with about 1 – 2 ft of visibility. There’s a real good head of turbine water that should hang on or begin to recede through the end of this week if there is not too much snowmelt to deal with. The forecast is for cold temps through this mid week and back to seasonable warmer temps by the end of the week and upcoming weekend. An area wide snow with a few inches of accumulation is expected on Wednesday. Curiously, not a lot of guys are steelhead fishing, despite the good chances thanks to cool water temps and good stained flows.

The time for last lick chances is now while cool water temps and good flows hang on. A few guys this past weekend reported some bass and steelhead grabs on the swung fly. Dead drifters might expect good chances too. Plenty of water for fish to hold anywhere in the river they want to be. Best chances though are probably around the mid river or lower river gravel spots and adjacent holes. The other area smaller tribs have medium flows and slightly stained water color. There are finally some prevailing winds and that could make for some favorable stained water color for casters and small boat trollers through this week on near shore waters of Lake Ontario.
West Marine store finder

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