Upstate and Western New York Fishing Report – May 20, 2021

West Marine

Greater Niagara Region

Frank Campbell

Finnan Murphy
Finnan Murphy of Pittsford won the spring LOC Derby with this 26-pound, 10-ounce Niagara Bar king salmon. He caught it the last morning of the contest.

Young 12-year-old Finnan Murphy of Pittsford was on cloud 9 last Sunday, May 16, the final day of the Lake Ontario Counties (LOC) Spring Trout and Salmon Derby. At 9:30 a.m., he hooked up with the biggest salmon of his young life while fishing out of Wilson, with Capt. Kip Mammano of, Finnan’s father Shane, and two other father-son couples as part of an annual trip on this Great Lake. Thirty minutes later, they netted the winning 26-pound, 10-ounce salmon. Murphy won the Grand Prize, a check for $15,000! He beat out 76-year-old Walt Zebker of Grand Island with a 25-pound, 12-ounce king he reeled in fishing with Capt. Mike Mongan of Grand Island on the Niagara Bar. No matter how old you are, you still have a chance at catching a winning fish in Niagara!

Walt Zebker
First place in the Salmon Division was Walt Zebker (L) of Grand Island as Capt. Mike Mongan holds up the fish. Walt is 76 years old.

A total of 20 of the top 21 salmon were caught in Niagara County waters. For brown trout, the winner was a 20-pound, 1-ounce fish reeled in by Scott Libihoul of Clay. Top Lake Trout was a 24-pound, 12-ounce Henderson Harbor fish caught by Mike Kimsey of Lacona. Winning walleye is a 12-pound, 8-ounce fish weighed in by Paul Farmer of Dexter while fishing the waters in Henderson Harbor. Check out all the winners at In the Wilson Harbor Invitational tournament on May 15-16 there were 3 big winners for Day 1, 2 and overall. In the Day 1 contest, Yankee Troller and Capt. Rich Hajecki won with 163 points fishing the Niagara Bar. On Day 2, Mr. Squirrelly and Jonathan Forder of Barre led the charge with 155 points, all for the best 6 salmon for the day. The overall 2-day winner was Elsie K. and Capt. Jeremy Meyer from Saginaw, Michigan with 306 points. Over $52,000 in prizes were handed out in the WHI and $45,000 in the LOC Derby.

Nancy Colavecchia
Nancy Colavecchia of Niagara Falls holds up a white bass from the lower Niagara River she caught on a jig.
Mike Rzucidlo
Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls with a lower river Lake Trout.
Mike Rzucidlo
Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls with a nice smallmouth bass from the lower river.

In the Niagara River, Creek Road Bait and Tackle in Lewiston says that bass fishing is continuing to improve throughout the river, especially downriver by Fort Niagara. Some bass are also being caught from shore in the gorge and on the NYPA fishing platform at Devil’s Hole. A few walleyes are being caught at night off the old sand docks in Lewiston. Plastics like Fin-S Fish and swimbaits will work for taking ‘eyes. Mike Rzucidlo and Nancy Colavecchia of Niagara Falls report the same old bite the past week in the gorge. There are plenty of smallmouth bass, as well as a smaller run of white bass and a few lakers hanging in there. With the water temperature at 52 degrees, it is thinning out the trout. They were both using small jigs the past week on 4-pound test line.

Gregg Smith
You have to be in it to win it! Gregg Smith of Clarence went out fishing with Capt. Joe Cinelli of Grand Island and he caught a 27-1/2-pound salmon on the Niagara Bar last Saturday.

In Lake Ontario, the hot bite has been at the Niagara Bar, although people have been catching salmon and trout off Wilson and Olcott, too. Capt. Rich Hajecki aboard Yankee Troller fished the Niagara Bar for his Day 1 tournament win in the WHI. Fish came on a mix of spoons, flies, and meat. His team targeted 70-100 feet of water. The next tournaments coming up are the Don Johannes/Pete DeAngelo 1-fish/3-fish salmon and trout contest on June 3 and the Niagara County Pro-Am Salmon Tournament slated for June 4-5. Check out for full details. Deadline to register without penalty is May 31.

Oswego County

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

Oswego River Report

Spring and summer mean bass on the Oswego River. Anglers also target carp, walleye, and pan fish. Occasionally a summer run steelhead or Atlantic salmon is spotted in the mix too.

Our recommendation for walleye is to fish on the west side, between the two bridges, especially at night. Most walleye setups will get the job done.

Please check our website for the current CFS, and check back in mid-August for the fall salmon report.

Please Consider the Following Year-Round Notice: There are mandatory personal flotation device (PFD) zones on the river. For more information, visit our website at 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

Year-Round Notice: There are mandatory personal flotation device (PFD) zones on the river. For more information, visit our website at 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:

Things are certainly winding down as far as drop backs go. Water temperatures are remaining cool, offering some leisure for the remaining steelhead on their ride back home.

Spring means bass on the Salmon River. Smallmouth are bedding up and can be very aggressive. Our biggest recommendation is to try a lot of pockets and keep moving throughout the day. They’ll hit anything from a juicy fly to a crank bait.

Please check our website for the river CFS, and check back in mid-August for the fall salmon report.

Lake Ontario Report:


Lake conditions have been stable, with light winds and the surface temperature of our water on the rise. However, we expect a gust of west winds this coming weekend.

The following report is courtesy of Captain Zack Rayno of Rayno’s Fishing Excursions and Hat Trick Charters.

The fishing in Oswego is up and down. Most of the fleet, including The Hat Trick, have abandoned targeting Brown Trout on the shoreline and have moved offshore. The browns aren’t concentrated enough to have consistent success.

Most mornings we are able to generate a handful of salmon or steelhead bites high in the water column, typically keeping Michigan Stinger Stingray spoons in the top 40 feet. A healthy spread of leadcores on planer boards, slide divers, and downriggers have been our ticket to success. An array of spoons are being utilized on board The Hat Trick, but a few standouts have been UV Tuxedo, Natural Born Killer, and UV Pickle Seed.

Once the sun is high, we generally go in search of Lake Trout on the bottom. Every day we have found them in a different contour, as the currents have been pretty substantial. Somewhere between a 100-190 feet of water there have been enough to keep a crew happy. Chartreuse cowbells and Silver and Blue cowbells have been our go-to, with various spin-n-glo patterns behind them.

We expect the fishing to improve as we see more and more bait with each trip, which in turn has led to more suspended predators. The higher temperatures will continue to increase surface temperature and create more structure and hopefully serve to concentrate the fish.

A notable fish this week was a 24.7 pound King Salmon landed by Angler Barrett Perkins while fishing on Hat Trick. After screaming out 500 feet of line, Barrett skillfully brought the silver slab to hand, great job!


Lake conditions have been fairly calm this week, with surface temperature hovering around 52-53 degrees on Lake Ontario’s east end. We are finally seeing warmer days and nights, which will only continue into June.

This following report is courtesy of First mate Joe Sicherman, of Sich’s Guide Service and Mid Way charters out of the lighthouse marina in Port Ontario.

Overall, fishing has been tough on the east end of Lake Ontario. Silver fish remain heavily scattered. The inshore brown trout bite has been challenging. However, captains are reporting early bites on most days.

Stickbaits like smithwicks and rapalas, or even spoons on flat lines and shorter cores like one, and two colors have been effective. Fishing doesn’t get any easier.

You can still find browns and lakers, and if you’re lucky. Even the occasional king salmon, although they still seem to be few and far between on our end. Fishing Michigan stinger spoons at speeds around 2.3 to even 3.0 miles an hour produces the best bite from browns and king salmon.

The water is still slightly stained but not too dirty. we are finding ourselves running a lot of “go to” spoons in stinger and stingray sizes. Such as, Lances 2 face UV, green glo alewive, UV pickle seed, UV green tux, and UV chicken wing. We are spreading out our rigs throughout the water column.

The lake trout fishing on the east end has been nothing short of great, as we continue to see huge boxes of Lakers come back to the dock each day. The lake trout have been around 130-160’to the north of the salmon river. To target these lake trout we are trolling at slower speeds, around 1.7-2.0 miles an hour, and running cowbells on the bottom. Bells in silver/blue and silver/chartreuse have also been mainstays. Keep changing things to find what works and then stick with it. Sometimes the slightest change can make the biggest difference on a finicky lake trout bite. But when the “bite is on,” it doesn’t even matter.

Tight lines everyone!

Wayne County Fishing Update

Chris Kenyon

Lake Ontario

It has been tough fishing for spring browns; however, some monsters won the LOC Spring Derby. Twenty-pounders came from waters straight-out from Hughes’ and west to the power plant.

The LOC Derby awards ceremony was held Sunday at Jacks (Sodus Point). And those 20 pounds browns were very impressive. Winners need to bring their fish so we can promote the derby and the fishery.

Currently, there are some kings and cohos in 100 feet of water. Spoons and flasher flies have been effective. The salmon have been caught in front of Sodus Bay. Some kings and cohos have also been caught out from Bear Creek.


The rock bass are hitting in Sodus Bay. Fish the north end between the islands. Rock bass will hit bright colored small rubber bait. Tip your rubber with some spikes.

The Port Bay action has been some perch and crappies. The crappies have been at the south end of the bay. You’ll have to launch at the north ramp.

The 2021 New York State fishing guide can be found at for downloading and printing at home. Production of hard copies is finished and have been delivered to License Issuing Agents. Hard copies can be requested by emailing

Erie Canal

The kayak anglers were on Widewaters Saturday morning. The canal is a great place for quiet water fishing. You can have some fun times fishing from smaller watercrafts. Pan fish are hitting now. During the warmer months you can catch catfish and five-pound largemouths in canal waters.

Keep informed from the NYS Canal web for changes and restrictions with canal waters. Keep informed about 2021 canal hours. (There will be no fees for the 2021 canal boating season.) May 21st is the scheduling for the canal opening. Hours are 7 am till 5pm. Stay informed with the below web page.

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.

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