Upstate and Western New York Fishing Report – May 6 , 2021

West Marine

Greater Niagara Region

Frank Campbell

The Lake Ontario Counties spring trout and salmon derby is underway as of May 7 and runs through May 16 with a grand prize of $15,000 for the biggest salmon. All told nearly $45,000 in cash prizes are up for grabs. Check out for details. In the meantime, the 30 miles of Niagara County shoreline has been producing some big early season salmon. Capt. Mike Mongan of Grand Island pulled a 26-pound king a few miles east of Olcott while Capt. Bob Stevens of Medina hauled in a 26-pound king west of Wilson. It looks like the fishing action should be perfect for all the contests coming up. Also, this weekend is the Salmon Slam and the $1K a Day contests set for May 8-14, precursors to the Wilson Harbor Invitational tournament set for May 15-16. Check out the Facebook page for the WHI for more details.

Brad king salmon
Brad from Delaware was fishing with Capt. Bob Stevens of Medina out of Wilson when he caught this 26-pound salmon over the weekend.
Brian Evans smallmouth
Brian Evans of Georgia with a 4 pound smallmouth bass he caught on a swim bait near Fort Niagara.
Mark Copley salmon
Mark Copley, marketing representative with Strike King and Lew’s, shows off a king salmon he caught on a Salmo Rattlin’ Hornet on Tuesday fishing with Capt. Frank Campbell of Lewiston.

As the Lake Ontario fishing contests begin, information is hard to come by. However, Capt. Mike Johannes of Ransomville reports that it has been awesome fishing between Wilson and the Niagara Bar all week. Lakers can be caught near the bottom on magnum spoons or cowbells in 60 to 100 feet of water. Coho are in the same water but mostly in the top 20 feet with DW 6-inch spin doctors and peanut flies. Purple/pink stick baits on monofilament line or 2, 3, 4 or 5 colors of leadcore line have been working very well. Small spoons such as “get r done” have been doing just that. King salmon have been mostly down around 40-foot over 60-foot to 100 feet of water on spin doctors and flies. Most anything with green has been the best for Johannes. Sometimes the direction of your troll is the most important factor. Always look for the green water for best results. Fishing that same area west of Wilson with a white 2-face flasher with a stud fly, Brad from Delaware was fishing with Capt. Bob Stevens of Medina to haul in a 26-pound king on Sunday. That same day, Mike Hooper of Grand Island was fishing with Capt. Mike Mongan and Tim Wendt of Grand Island east of Olcott to connect on a 26-pound king, trolling a DW magnum spoon. Too bad it was not derby time. Perch have been hitting in Olcott and Wilson harbors lately according to Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctors.

Mike Hooper king salmon
Mike Hooper of Grand Island was fishing with Capt. Mike Mongan of Grand Island over the weekend and they caught a 26-pound salmon east of Olcott.
Mike Rzucidlo white bass
Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls with a white bass he caught along Artpark from shore on a jig.
Zander Faupel king salmon
Young Zander Faupel of Schellsburg, PA with an Olcott king salmon

Capt. John Oravec of Lyndonville reports that he had some very good action Sunday using Kwikfish and live bait. Brown trout seemed to prefer the live bait. Bass preferred Kwikfish in 25-35 feet of water, but the bigger fish came in 17 to 20 feet of water on a 3/8-ounce jig head with a 3.5-inch Keitech easy shiner. Pat Duncan of Virginia with Rapid Fishing Solutions, fishing with Brian Evans of Seaguar fishing line, reported good success on Monday using a mix of Ned rigs and Ocho baits from Strike King. The jig head was a 1/8-ounce Mustad grip pen jig head. They hit over 20 bass working the area from the clay banks to Stella. Swimbaits were also producing a few smallmouth, part of a media event run out of Lewiston. Lisa Drabczyk of Creek Road Bait and Tackle in Lewiston reports shore fishing at Devil’s Hole and at the NYPA platform have slowed down. Anglers are still catching a few trout with beads. Boaters are still using Kwikfish, MagLips and golden shiners to take trout and a mix of warm water fish. Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls did hit some steelhead on spinners at the platform late last week. On Monday, he hit lake trout, white bass, and smallmouth bass on jigs with 5-6 feet of visibility in the water. It was one year ago today that Morgan Fonzi of Gasport caught the state record white bass off Artpark, weighing 3-pound, 8-ounces.

Oswego County

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

Oswego River Report

The CFS was 11,700 as of this morning.

You never know what you might hook into this time of year. The most common species include smallmouth and browns.

But steelhead fishing continues to slow. You’ll still find some in spawn mode, but many have left the river as it’s been warming up. Wading this spring has been easier than in recent years but be careful since the water levels can change drastically. The flow has been hovering around 10,000 since Friday.

The go to setups this week are: beads in natural colors and jigs in the channel. Swim baits and blade baits down low. Spoons and thundersticks still work well too.

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:

The CFS was at 500 as of this morning. This is a drop from higher flows earlier this week. Temperatures have been increasing. However, we expect a slight drop with the cooler temperatures in the forecast.

This following report is courtesy of the Douglaston Salmon Run

Steelhead fishing is starting to wind down on the Salmon River. But our Summer fisheries are about to crank up! Smallmouth bass and Atlantic salmons are about to start their up-stream journey.

Flows have been reduced to 500 CFS as of 12:00 PM. The current flow at the Pineville gauge is 735 CFS. The few anglers that fished early in the day faired ‘okay’ for their brief outings. One of the anglers reported landing two steelhead, swinging flies. Another reporting a few bass and one that got away. It’s certainly great to hear the water didn’t flush them all out. The high water must have brought in a king or two as well, with fairly fresh remains of a female chinook on the banks of the lower end. You never know what you might stumble into down on the run.

Our go to setups this week are have been natural color beads and swinging flies.

Lake Ontario Report:

Lake conditions have been calm most of the week. However, we expect rougher conditions coming up on Sunday.

This following report is courtesy of Captain Tom Burke, of Cold Steel Sportfishing.

We have been working hard for our bites this week. But if you put in the time the browns are there.

We have been targeting brown trout early and when the bite dies down, we slide out deeper in search of Lake Trout.

Brown trout have been found from 7 to 30 feet of water from the Oswego harbor all the way to 9 mile point. The lake trout have been in 120’ to 170.’

Our go to setups this week are flat lines pulling smithwicks in any color with an orange belly. Such as jailbreak, golden bass, bream, or firetiger. Michigan Stingers on downriggers diving discs in one color have also been very productive. Our best colors have been Mongoose, Goose-n-tonic, UV diehard, lances 2 face, SSW and neon gator.

We’ve seen some trophy Browns this week too. The average fish this year is bigger than normal, also making them harder to land. What we’re lacking in numbers we are making up for in size. At this pace the Browns we will see this summer should really test our tackle!

Wayne County Fishing Update

Chris Kenyon

Lake Ontario

Currently, there is a mudline on the lake which creates a nice hiding place for the browns. Look for warmer water breaks in stained water. Lake temps out of Rochester are 42 degrees

With all our rain this past week some warmer temps are pouring into the lake from streams and bays.

Fish for browns by trolling the mouths of Sodus and Port Bays.

Some browns were caught 6 to 10 feet off the riggers back 50 to 60 feet. Glow chartreuse spoons are working and Bay Rats LS.

The LOC Derby spring event starts this Friday May 7th and ends at 1pm Sunday May 16th. Chilson and team will have current leaderboards available during the spring contest.
(Awards at Sodus Point. Check-out LOC Facebook updates for more info on awards)


Anglers were catching some nice northern pike on Sodus Bay over the weekend. Troll or cast between LeRoy Island and the east side of the bay. Pike will also be found on both sides of Eagle Island, the largest island on the north side of Sodus.

Crappies were being caught fishing from Bay Bridge on the south end of Sodus. Use bright jigs tipped with spikes.

Some bullheads were also hitting on grubs at the same location; however, the colder temps are keeping them fairly quiet for this time of year.

The new guide can be found at 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

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

Erie Canal

The canal waters are high, and the current is strong this weekend after Friday’s blow. Anglers were fishing close to locks between Lyons and Newark. There are pull-off locations to park along Route 31.

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.

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