Upstate and Western New York Fishing Report – April 8 , 2021

Dave Carter steelhead
West Marine

Greater Niagara Region

Frank Campbell

Fishing action is taking off throughout Niagara County and Western New York and novice and veteran anglers should take advantage of the long list of opportunities that are available. The Niagara County Bullhead Tournament is starting on Friday, April 9 at 5 p.m. This is a shore fishing only event, with anglers vying for the best 2 bullheads total weight to win the prizes. Weigh in will take place on Sunday, April 11 at the Wilson Conservation Club from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more info call Eric at 628-6078. The tournament ends at 1 p.m. on Sunday. Fish will continue to be stocked in the state’s inland waters and we are still awaiting notification for some of the urban areas like Hyde Park Lake and Gill Creek in Niagara Falls, and Oppenheim Park Pond in Wheatfield. The fish stocking phone number for the Randolph Hatchery is 358-2050 if you want to see what has been stocked so far. New fishing regulations are now in place and the new regulations guide should be available at license-issuing agents this coming week. You can check those new regulations out at dec.ny.gov. The New York Power Authority fishing platform in the lower Niagara River is now open. Lower river trout action has improved considerably the past week according to Mike Ziehm of Niagara Falls fishing the gorge from shore. He caught 9 steelhead his last outing using No. 5 chartreuse with orange dots or chartreuse and gold spinners. He found his fish out a bit deeper. In the NYPA Reservoir, diverted water from the Niagara River, Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls says that he likes accessing off the NYPA Upper Mountain Road access behind the fire company. Action should be improving any day and his favorite baits include ¼ ounce white jigs or No. 3 spinners for a mixed bag of fish.

Darcy Swenson
Darcy Swenson of Youngstown caught her first lake trout in the lower Niagara River fishing with Capt. Arnie Jonathan of Lockport.
Darcy Swenson smallmouth bass
Darcy Swenson of Youngstown with a smallmouth bass from the lower river while fishing with Capt. Arnie Jonathan of Lockport.
Dave Carter steelhead
Dave Carter of West Seneca caught this 10-pound steelhead in Devil’s Hole fishing with Capt. Steve Drabczyk of Lewiston.
Jon Sharipo king salmon
Jon Sharipo of Toledo, Ohio caught this hefty king salmon east of Olcott.
Mac Capen lake trout
13 year old Mac Capen, caught his first lake trout while fishing with his dad, Mike out of Olcott.

Lisa Drabczyk of Creek Road Bait and Tackle in Lewiston reports that action has picked up in the river. Along Artpark, there has been a mix of steelhead, brown trout and lake trout being caught by anglers casting spoons or drifters using minnows, egg sacs or MagLips/Kwikfish. The same approach can work on the Niagara Bar if the winds cooperate. Capt. John DeLorenzo of Niagara Falls reports that fishing in the river has been fair. The combination of steelhead spawning and pods of smelt in the main river, it has been a more difficult bite. If you are looking for smelt from shore to dip at night, there has been very limited success. Some people have been checking out shoreline activity every night and the evidence that they have been there can be found the next morning from a few people. Please carry out what you carry in.

Karen Evarts with the Boat Doctors in Olcott reports that 18 Mile Creek and Burt Dam have been producing some trout on a mix of baits, but egg sacs and egg imitations are both working right now. Some fish are being caught in Olcott and Wilson Harbor. Capt. John DeLorenzo of Niagara Falls reports heading east to Olcott for some shoreline trolling for brown trout over the weekend. He noted that trollers should look for a distinct mud line and he found one just east of Olcott off Keg Creek in 10-12 feet of water, working his Challenger in 3.5-inch. The best color patterns were smelt and frog colors, running 100 feet behind an Offshore in-line planer board. One trip, Jon Sharipo of Toledo, Ohio managed to hook into a nice king salmon. According to DeLorenzo, fishing has been on and off in the lake. The net pens in Wilson and Olcott have received their fish this week.

Oswego County

David Owens of the Oswego County Department of Community Development, Tourism and Planning.

Oswego River Report

The CFS was at 2020 as of this morning.

This following report is courtesy of Captain Andy Bliss, of Chasin’ Tail Adventures Guide Service.

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 lower river is holding browns and Smallmouth bass. They aren’t in season but fun to catch!

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.

Lake Ontario Report:

This week’s report comes Casey Prisco of Dirty Goose Sportfishing

The brown trout fishing on the eastern end of Lake Ontario has been very spotty depending where you are fishing. We have found very clear water conditions with offshore winds. This makes it tough to fish the shallows.

Stay in the stained water if you can find any; this is where you will find the most consistent fishing for browns.

Our go to species right now is the Lake Trout. We are targeting them close to the bottom with hammerhead cowbells with spin-n- glows. We have been seeing a lot of fish with some very large one in the mix. We are finding fish in 120 to 150 feet of water.

The highlight of this week was a monster lake trout we caught on Sunday. It was 41+ inches and weighed 25-30lbs! Even more exciting was when we got to watch it swim away!

Salmon River Report:

The CFS was at 350 as of this morning.

This following report is courtesy of Captain Andy Bliss:
Fishing this past week has been some what of a grind. We have been working hard each day and have been rewarded several times! Due to the dirty water the fish have been less spooky and active.

On the Salmon River, pink, peach and chartreuse spawn bags have been the top colors for us with dirty while float fishing. 10mm beads in bright colors have also been good.

Our key to his success has been covering water. The highlight of the week has been seeing a first timer ask, “why won’t my float come back?” Not realizing he hooked one and had a steelhead pulling on the other end.

Wayne County Fishing Update

Chris Kenyon

Lake Ontario

The beginning on the Easter weekend held stained water and the browns were hitting in 20 to 25 feet of water. It calmed and left clear water on Sunday and the browns scattered.

Use the typical spring set-up and search for some warmer water. Straight-out from Sodus Bay in 10 feet of water was working yesterday. Also, out from Bear Creek in Ontario and in front of Hughes’ Marina.

Some cohos were caught along with the browns. DW UV spoons (bluefrog) were working along with the stickbaits. With clearer water set your downriggers back 50 plus feet down four feet.

If you are not used to the points along Wayne County waters use caution has the water level is low.

Rochester water temp is 41 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

Port Bay water temps were 44 degrees yesterday which means the perch should start to spawn…slowing down the feeding frenzy. There have been some crappies caught at the north end of Port Bay.

The south end road is closed because DEC is putting in a new launch and dock. No word on the completion date.

Anglers were fishing along Bay Bridge trying for crappies and bullheads. The shallow water on the south end of Sodus Bay should warm faster this year, which bullheads favor. Dough balls or night crawlers both work.

For any inland stream anglers April 1st is the opening day for trout. The new regulations are a daily creel limit of five fish with no more than two longer than 12 inches.

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.

Erie Canal

Easter Sunday had a few kayak anglers plying the warmer water of the canal. The pan fish are hitting especially on the north side where the water is warmer.

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.

The forecast is for continued gradual warming weather through the week. Temps will be around 70°F by Thursday with just a couple of chances for showers through the week and upcoming weekend. The forecast for winds through mid week are calm with light east or northeast lake breezes expected. Flows in the Oak are low and clear. The other area smaller tribs have real low and clear flows.

Fishing pressure is pretty light, fewer guys now nearer the dam with the most effort concentrated around the downstream, faster riffle gravel spots and the adjacent deeper holes. Fish are still spawning in pretty good numbers and they would be pretty obvious in the low clear water conditions we are experiencing. You can choose to drift or swing to those fish or still find some drop back or fresher staged fish in the deeper slots or downstream flat water. Any return to higher and off color flows with cool weather hanging on could prolong the action or bring on some fresh fish migrations. Water temps are likely moving into and thru the 50’s°F by the end of the week. Plenty of suckers and smallmouths should be trickling in now too.

Pier head lakeshore casting and small boat trolling chances are up against the same low and clear water conditions like the tribs, so low light or overcast or when stained water color after prevailing winds makes an appearance should be best.

Oak Orchard River stocking pens

The DEC delivered 111,000 King Salmon and 10,000 Steelhead to the Oak Orchard River this past Monday. They will be kept in pens at Ernst’s Lake Breeze Marina for a few weeks before released into the lake. Pen-rearing is a process in which young salmon (smolts) are stocked into net pens and held at the stocking site. At this life stage, the salmon will imprint on the river water and prepare to out-migrate to the lake system. Volunteers will feed and care for the fish for approximately three weeks prior to release. DEC has been partnering with our volunteers to pen-rear Chinook salmon and steelhead in Lake Ontario for more than 20 years, and this method has improved the survival and imprinting for both species. Thank you to all the volunteers that helped with this project!

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