Upstate and Western New York Fishing Report – September 23, 2021

West Marine

Greater Niagara Region

Frank Campbell

National Hunting and Fishing Day is celebrating its Golden Anniversary Saturday, Sept. 25 – 50 years of honoring this nation’s hunters and fishermen. In Niagara County, the special celebration will be two days at the NYPA Wildlife Festival Sept. 25 and 26 at the Visitors Center located at 5777 Lewiston Road, Lewiston next to Niagara University. Doors are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and it is a free event. Remember that the Greater Niagara Fish Odyssey Awards ceremony will take place at the NYPA Wildlife Festival on Sept. 25 at 3 p.m. Also, in celebration of NHF Day is another one of the state’s Free Fishing Days today. Anyone age 16 or older does not need a fishing license. However, you must abide by the regulations for the body of water you intend to fish. Hopefully the cool rain we received earlier in the week will attract salmon and trout into the tributaries. We will also be getting some help from water releases via the Erie Canal for 18 Mile Creek and the Oak Orchard River. Congrats to the team of Billy Gilbert of Hamburg and Kelly Roeser of Lockport. They weighed in 28 pounds, 3 ounces of bass to win the Douglas Rods Big Money Open last Saturday on Lake Erie.

NYPA's Wildlife Festival
NYPA’s Wildlife Festival Sept. 25-26 will once again have the Niagara River Anglers fishing pond in celebration of National Hunting and Fishing Day.

Parker Costello
Parker Costello of Lockport caught this personal best channel catfish from the Erie Canal at Lockport this week. His secret bait was pepperoni.

Reports from the lower Niagara River have shown a few more salmon showing up in the Devil’s Hole area, especially around the NYPA fishing platform. There is not much catching going on right now, but that could change with the cool rain expected this week. However, Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls was 2 for 4 on salmon Monday night in the gorge thanks to the full moon. He was using glow spoons that he doctored up and homemade spinners. Bass fishing was slower this week, but the walleye bite has been decent at night both in the river and on the Niagara Bar. Some big catfish were also caught this week, mostly by people fishing for salmon. Scott Gauld of Tonawanda hit the upper Niagara River did well on Sunday using Ned rigs around Grand Island to connect with a fair number of smallmouth bass. He also caught some fish on drop shot rigs.

Mike Rzucidlo
Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls found good success for salmon for shore in the Niagara Gorge while using homemade spinners and glow spoons he doctored up.

glow in the dark spoon
This glow in the dark spoon was effective for Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls for night fishing in the Niagara Gorge last Monday.

Ethan Bronschidle
Ethan Bronschidle of Newfane shows off a big king salmon caught from a favorite Niagara County tributary this week.

Out in Lake Ontario, staging fish are showing up off the creek and river mouths, especially on the Niagara Bar, Olcott and the Oak. Mixed reports on the Niagara Bar. Going into last weekend, it was cold water at the drop off and there was very little bait. Fishing was tough at the ledge, forcing boaters to seek salmon and trout elsewhere in deeper waters. Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctors in Olcott reports that night fishing at Olcott has been good to very good, in the harbor or right out front. During the day, the inshore action has been hit or miss, but out deep steelheads and kings have been a good one-two punch. Remember the piers are closed to fishing right now in Olcott. Casting spoons or stickbaits is the way to go from a boat or in the harbor. A few salmon have made it up to Burt Dam, but it is still early. However, the cool rain this week combined with water releases from Erie Canal and the full moon earlier in the week should bring more fish in.

Oswego County

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

Dan Kennedy
Angler Dan Kennedy from Douglasville, PA caught this beauty on skein. Photo courtesy of Chasin Tail Adventures

Lake Ontario Report:

This week’s lake report is from Captain Mark Ledden of Driftwater Fishing.

Lake conditions have been windy this week. We are looking at mostly the same the next few days.

Fishing from Salmon River to the north dunes has been decent. Temperature has been coming up this week. On of our biggest recommendations is to look for fish where the temp meets bottom. It has been 50-70’ down. Dragging the bottom with 8 and11 inch paddles has been very productive for our trips. We recommend pen/glow pig pen or hammer and mirage flies.

Spoons and plugs have taken fish too, especially early around the river mouth.

Oswego River Report

The CFS was at 3280 as of this morning. Temperatures have been hovering around 70 degrees. This is typical for this time of year.

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

The first good group of kings have entered the Oswego river; with the warmer temps, most of them have headed up to the dam. But with these flows you’ll have luck from the 104 bridge all the way through the dam.

When fishing downstream of the powerhouse, from the Highwall or low wall and between the bridges, the best technique is the cast deep dive and crank baits such as thunder sticks and BayRats in brighter colors. Both fire tiger and green glow work best. Another technique is to float chunks of skein under a slip float, keeping your bait a foot or two off bottom. Pautzke fire cure in pink, natural orange, and red are the go-to colors. The skein bite will pick up as a water temps drop, so right now we recommend sticking with plugs.

Don’t be surprised if you’re still encountering some warm water species as well.

Please check our website, at, for the current CFS.

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:

Salmon River flows have been very steady this week. But with the heavy rains in the forecast, we should see an increase in flows and hopefully a good push of fresh fish. Always remember, with higher flows be especially careful while wading or crossing.

This week’s report is courtesy of Whitaker’s Sport Shop.

On Monday we started out with cooler temperatures first thing in the morning, but with sunny conditions, the temperature reached into the upper 70’s in the afternoon. We did not speak with as many anglers as over the weekend, but most anglers we spoke with had a slow day. The best fish movement seemed to be first thing in the morning, once it got bright and sunny the fish wanted to sit in the deeper holes. Even with less anglers on the water they seemed content sitting in the deep holes and not moving until later in the day.

Anglers who stood in the same spot all day and waited for fish to come to them had a tougher time. The anglers who had the most success were moving around and covering lots of water. If you work hard and put your time in, you can definitely find them.

Tight lines!

And be sure to check out the below list of this week’s suggested patterns, courtesy of Whitaker’s.

Streamers: Comets in hot pink, orange chart, size 4. Egg sucking leeches in black or purple, size 4. Beadhead woolly buggers in black, olive, orange, red, size 6. Fishskull zonkers in black, olive, white, grizzly size 4.

Nymphs: Steelhead hammer in blue, pink, red, black, size 8. Estaz stones in blue, red, purple, rootbeer, chart, pink size 6. Steelhead hammer in blue,black, pink, chart size 6. Rubber legged stones in black, olive, brown size 6. Rubber legged Kaufman stones in black or golden size 4.

Egg patterns: Estaz eggs in blue, orange, pink, chart, purple size 6. Glo-bugs in chart, pink, oregon cheese, steelhead orange, light blue size 6. Omelets in chart, peach, cerise size 6. Sucker spawn in pink, chart, orange, blue size 6.

Orleans County

This week’s report is from Ron Bierstine from Oak Orchard Tackle & Lodge:

A little more river mouth action now. There were a few Monday morning oh-dark thirty hook-ups at the Oak Orchard Rivermouth. Upstream action so far mainly for a few fish at the dam. On select evenings, I’ve seen a few fish crashing too like at the Bridges. Still hanging on to warm (hot) weather but there’s a change afoot in the forecast with a chance of significant rain mid-week and a cool down. That could be the ticket to get some salmon migrations cranking. The other area smaller tribs have had some on and off estuary action and likewise look for Kings firing upstream there too if flows go high. On the Oak it has been exceptionally weedy and duckweedy but some of that material is moving out now. More will with higher water. Not a lot of fishing pressure just yet, few guys on the piers and at the dam.

Be aware the east side Oak Orchard River Point Breeze boat launch is closed for construction (new ramp) so just go the west side launch.

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