Upstate and Western New York Fishing Report – October 14, 2021

West Marine
Gary and Charlie Tharaldson
Gary and Charlie Tharaldson with a couple of nice keepers from their annual father-son trip to the Salmon River.

Greater Niagara Region

Frank Campbell

Like Ringo Starr says, you know it don’t come easy. Salmon are still available throughout Niagara Falls USA, but you have to work for them. Take Mike Ziehm of Niagara Falls for example. He has been picking up a salmon or two a day along with some bass and an occasional steelhead. His lure of choice is a No. 4 chartreuse spinner or a No. 4 silver and chartreuse spinner. However, he takes the long hike into the Niagara Gorge to earn his fish.

Mike Ziehm king salmon
Mike Ziehm of Niagara Falls with a king salmon from the Niagara Gorge.

Mike Rzucidlo steelhead
Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls with a lower river steelhead he caught this week.
Mike Ziehm steelhead
Mike Ziehm of Niagara Falls with a dandy early steelhead he took in the lower Niagara River.

Salmon fishing is not consistent for most according to Lisa Drabczyk of Creek Road Bait and Tackle in Lewiston. A few are being caught from shore up at Whirlpool, Devil’s hole and the NYPA fishing platform. Bass fishing is good. Walleye are still being caught throughout the river. Only a few trout are showing up so far, including some lake trout. Remember lake trout season is closed until Dec. 1. Chubs are working for bass; worm harnesses for walleyes. Capt. Connor Cinelli of Grand Island reports that he has been getting nice smallmouth bass in the upper Niagara River on Golden shiners. Best spots have been in front of Strawberry Island and along the Grand Island shoreline.

Don Warda
Don Warda of Alden with a king salmon he caught with Capt. Frank Campbell of Lewiston.
John Patterson birthday salmon
John Patterson of Kenmore caught this king salmon off the Wilson pier fishing with a Chuck Booker spinner. It was John’s 73rd birthday.

Over in Olcott, Karen Evarts at the Boat Doctors reports that the dam is rocking with kings, Cohos, browns and some steelheads but the warm water is having a lethargic effect on the fish. Egg sacs, beads, yarn, wooly buggers, rubber eggs, and the like are working in the creek. Fishing at night from small boats is still producing fish with glow spoons, but the piers are still closed there as the project nears completion. Over in Wilson, there are anglers casting at night off the piers, as well as during the day. Chuck Booker spinners have been producing for casters. Glow spoons are always an option, as is skein fished under floats. After several days of east winds prior to last weekend, Capt. Mike Johannes of On the Rocks Charters out of Wilson started fishing about 6 miles offshore and trolled to 11 miles out on search mode. As he trolled north, he found the surface and down temps continued to climb. He was catching steelhead on 94 and 96-foot riggers. Both 150-foot magnum divers took fish along with 220-foot high divers. The rigger fish came on spoons, Carbon 14 and Hulk being the best. The diver fish were on spin doctors and flies. He also took a steelhead on a 200-foot copper with an orange UV spoon and gold back.

Oswego County

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

Oswego River Report

The CFS was at 2900 as of this morning. With temperatures 70 degrees plus this week the water just hasn’t cooled down. With cooler weather coming up, plus a bunch of rain we predict things are about to change.

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

Chase Kennedy
Chase Kennedy with his first salmon caught with Chasin.Tail.Adventures

The kings have steadily been entering the Oswego River. With these flows kings will be found 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 to cast deep divers and crankbaits such as thunder sticks and BayRats in brighter colors fire tiger and green glow being best. The other technique is the 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 bite has been very up and down. So don’t be afraid to switch up colors and techniques.
A few trout have been making their way into the river so be on the lookout for this welcome surprise.

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:

The flow has been steady with the lack of rain. But that should change this weekend. Temperatures have been holding steady with the warm weather. But cooler weather is on the way.

Sherry Lacy
Sherry Lacy from Maryland with a big king salmon.

The following report is courtesy of Captain John Kopy , of Little John’s Guide Service:

The lower Salmon River reports a mix of kings and Cohos with a few browns. With the water still warm we continue to spot kings. But overall the run is slowing way down. There are still Cohos around day-to-day too.

Kathleen Krenzer
Kathleen Krenzer from Rochester, NY with a nice male coho salmon caught with Joe Sich Guide Service

Our second weekly report is courtesy of Captain Mark Ledden, of Driftwater Guide Service.

I have been fishing mid-Salmon River for the last few weeks in my drift boat. We have been plugging with k13, 13 ,15s Kwikfish and M2 flat fish in a wide variety of colors. We are averaging 5 bites a day and landing one to four fish a day. It’s been a grind with fewer fish right now. We are also seeing that most of the fish have moved up on the gravel or have left the area and migrated to the hatchery. There have not been many trout around yet, but we should start seeing more as these warmer than normal temps subside.

Our final report is courtesy of Joe Sicherman , of JoeSich Guide Service:

Fishing on the Salmon River remains consistent for both kings and coho salmon. Overall, there are not a ton of fish in the Salmon River right now, but if you put your time in, you will be rewarded. There are fish spread all throughout the system with new fish entering daily. In the upper river, fish are still in the main holes but we’re seeing more fish on spawning gravel each day.

Catherine and Wayne
Catherine and Wayne from Harrisburg, PA with big kings caught with Little Johns Guide Service

The best technique for kings and cohos has been drifting egg patterns, whether it be with fly or spinning rod. Enticing aggressive strikes from kings with large streamers, or lures like Rapalas and kwikfish can be another exciting and effective way to catch these fish. We expect the salmon fishing to remain consistent over the next 10 days or so as most of the fish are still in quite good shape. Some rain and colder temperatures would help out.

Wayne County Fishing Update

Chris Kenyon

Lake Ontario

There are still salmon close to shore near Port Bay and Sodus. If you still have a boat launched troll close to shore near Hughes’s Marina for steelhead. Use bright spoons.


Streams in Wayne County do not have a great flow. Maxwell Creek is not opened to the lake.

For stream anglers try pier fishing. The kings have been in the Sodus Bay channel and are hitting bright heavy spoons like Kastmasters and Cleos. Have a long handle net with you to scoop-up your catch.
Behind the kings will be the browns looking for an easy meal of eggs.


Bass fishing in Sodus has been excellent. The season ends November 30th with a catch and release from December 1st till June. (Artificial lures only)

The Port Bay water has been dirty which has made perch fishing difficult, however the fish are in the bay.
If we get a frigid winter Sodus and Port Bays will be the place to ice fish.

Erie Canal

Canal water is a decent level. The canal season for navigation ends tomorrow, October 13th. Widewaters is never drawn-down and is the hot spot for bass this time of year.

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

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.

Orleans County

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

Another unseasonably warm day today with chance of showers tonight. Next better chance at real rain is this weekend. Temps are forecast to begin to cool down for the end of this week and thru the weekend. Nights are cooling down though, even with the current warm day temps and that has at least made for good fishing action early and late.

Jacob, 13 years old from Carlisle, PA, landed this 25 pounder at the Oak today, beating out his mom and dad in their annual Family Derby. He caught his limit in 2 days!

A few Kings now are in a spawning mode and likely with the next consistent cool down, there’ll be a whole lot more. The medium to slightly high flows in the Oak are proving to be a nice draw for Kings. That consistency the Oak is known for is showing thru once again.

There’s been some water level fluctuations thanks to hydro power operations already and look for that to continue with almost daily fluctuations expected due to leaf fall or windy conditions. When flows are reduced temporarily, it reveals pretty good numbers of fish. A fair amount of weeds are being discharged, especially noticeable in downstream areas.

Look for the past holiday weekend fishing pressure to ease some likely thru this week. King numbers are slowly building in fast water areas on the Oak, besides what’s been good numbers at the dam and the downstream frog water areas. Even at this almost mid-Oct timeframe, there’s still good hookup chances from the nearshore Lake Ontario all the way to the dam, so the fishing opportunity definitely will spread out. If anglers can get their drift thru the Kings, there’s been some browns and steelhead hooked too. Those chances should only improve with cooler weather.

Other area smaller tribs like Johnson and Marsh have lower flows so look for scattered numbers of upstream fish. To the east, like at Sandy Creek, the higher Canal bolstered flows have made for better migration conditions with pods of salmon bolting from the estuary holding water and spreading upstream, along with a few browns mixed in.

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