Upstate and Western New York Fishing Report – November 18, 2021

West Marine

Greater Niagara Region

Frank Campbell

Some winter weather has arrived on the scene the past week, but most of the snow has stayed south of Buffalo and it’s supposed to hit 60 degrees today. With the opening of the regular big game season on Saturday, pressure should be light in area waters.
The only exception in the “fishing pressure” department might be the lower Niagara River. John Jarosz of Lake View reports that he was out Monday with Capt. Ryan Shea of Brookdog Fishing Company, and they did well catching trout along Artpark. They caught steelhead and lake trout, also fishing with his son Dave Jarosz of Elma. Best baits were beads and swimbaits from their boat. They also saw the shore anglers using eggs, spinners, and spoons. The stiff northwest wind kept them away from the Coast Guard drift for bass and Devil’s Hole water level was too high for a consistent drift.

Mike Ziehm
Mike Ziehm with a nice steelhead caught off NYPA platform.

Mike Ziehm of Niagara Falls reports that he has been doing well fishing from shore the past week and he is excited about the prospects of steelhead showing up in greater numbers after what he has witnessed the past week. Fishing off the NYPA fishing platform, he caught a beautiful rainbow and a couple king salmon on his custom No. 5 spinners. Water clarity went from 10 feet to 2 feet with recent winds and rain. The platform is traditionally shut down around Dec. 1 every year (along with the Upper Mountain Road access for the reservoir), so get your casting in while you can. Hotline number to find out the status of the platform is 286-6662. The No. 1 generator is back up running again next to the platform and that usually triggers more fish to come in closer to the popular fishing area. Ziehm has also been doing very well on trout along Artpark, but it’s been a bit crowded along the shoreline there. Upper Niagara River musky action continues to be a bit slow. Capt. Hans Mann reports that he has been fishing the Buffalo Harbor area, as well as the Niagara River targeting the musky. It’s been slow in the harbor. He has caught 6 fish in 12 trips, probably because water temperatures are still in the 50s, too warm for a good harbor bite. However, there are still a few fish around. Mann has had better luck jigging the river. He has caught 6 fish in 6 trips. His approach has been jigging 2-ounce Red October tubes or Storm swim shads in 16 to 20 feet of water.

John Miller musky
John Miller won the Tim Wittek memorial NMA musky tournament with this 44-inch musky.

He also reported fishing with John Miller of Lackawanna during the Tim Wittek Memorial Musky Tournament earlier in the month and he reeled in a 44-inch fish to win the friendly catch-and-release contest put on by the Niagara Musky Association. The musky season closes above Niagara Falls, as well as around most of New York, on Nov. 30. The only exception is below Niagara Falls and Lake Ontario which is open through Dec. 15.

Lake Ontario tributaries have mixed reviews. Recent rains have put more water into many of the streams and there are still several streams that receive canal water releases for additional flows. Fish numbers vary from day to day, but brown trout, steelhead, and salmon are all being caught – both kings and Cohos, as well as the occasional Atlantic. Karen Evarts of The Boat Doctors in Olcott reports that action in local tributaries has been a bit slow. Conditions were high and stained in the larger streams, forcing many anglers into the smaller streams that tend to clear more quickly. Olcott harbor was going through a dredging process this past week, affecting the fishing downstream such as off the West Pier. Water conditions were also impacting Wilson Harbor and off the piers there, but it could be worth a try this weekend.

Oswego County

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

Salmon River Report:

The CFS was at 1500 out of the powerhouse as of this morning. At Pineville the flow was 1900. With more rain it is uncertain how long the level will stay there. Temperatures have been holding steady. It’s been hovering around 42-43 degrees Fahrenheit. However, we expect it to start dropping soon.

Mark Epding steelhead
Mark Epding of Pulaski, NY hooked into this nice steelhead using a back rolled hot shot

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

In the lower stretched of the river fish are scattered throughout. We recommend fishing the faster runs. Beads and eggs sacs have been the ticket to our recent success. The water is still warm, so the fish are mean and hitting hard, but you still have to work for them. If you get over the right bunch, you’re sure to have a good day.

Our second report is from Capt. Stephen Shen of STS guide service:

Lots of water this week on the salmon river. The flows should decrease soon. When that happens expect a good bite on steelhead that have entered the river during this high-water period. The high flows have made landing the steelhead a challenge. Natural colored 10mm beads have been our bait of choice. Although don’t sleep on bright colors during low light periods. Keep casting, they are moving throughout the day and be ready for when the pod moves through.
Tight lines!

Wayne County Fishing Update

Chris Kenyon


Maxwell’s flow is decent. It’s calmed a bit from last week.

Some steelhead were caught on the south side of Lake Road. Fish the pools with fresh egg sacs and bright colored beads.

Browns were also caught on eggs and bt’s were also caught on the north side of Maxwell. Use torpedo bobbers with eggs as the bait. The north side is slower water, and you can cast out further. It’s also the wider section of Maxwell.

A few steelhead were caught off the Sodus Bay pier. Cast out heavy spoons with bright colors. Red and silver Cleos seem to work the best.

Lake Ontario tributary regulations

Three fish in combination and not to include more than one Rainbow Trout (or Steelhead) and One Brown Trout.


The largemouth bass are still hitting in Sodus Bay. The weeds are dying however they still give the bass cover. Through out weedless lures and spinnerbaits.

Perch fishing Sodus Bay has been great with fish hitting one pound. Fish the points near the north end with bright jigs. Switch to Power Bait…two-inch white shad if the jigs do not work

The south ramp of Port Bay is now open. Use this DEC site for an easier launch. The Port Bay perch are also caught off the points in the bay. The water has cleared since last week’s rainfall.

Last week crappies were caught near the south ramp, suspended in 15 feet of water. Crappies have tender small mouths so fish with finesse. Use bright chartreuse jigs. Regulations are twenty-five fish limit nine inch minimum.

Erie Canal

The canal water level is high with some serious current. You can fish from the shore at Widewaters (Newark) and near the ramp in Clyde. Launch sites are available in both towns. Fish with a partner and remember you need to wear your PFD.

All persons on board a recreational vessel less than 21 feet in length (including canoes, kayaks, and rowboats) must wear a USCG–approved PFD from November 1 to May 1.

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:

Looks like all the area trib flows are on the rise from recent showers and continued run off. There was a little bit of snow showers too that is melting off today. Still on the cool and breezy side today with another brief warm-up forecast over the next couple days.

For now trib water temps are on their greatest fall so far this fall season. Coupled with the rise in flows, hopefully, that will bring on some more brown trout migrations in the Oak. Flows in the Oak are high with about 2 ft of visibility. Look for flows to stay up in the near term falling back probably only to slightly high.

Andrew Masenas brown trout
Andrew Masenas from Vermont caught this brown trout this past weekend. Courtesy of Kevin Oxford.

Fishing pressure is light with most guys reporting a few steelhead and/or browns. Expect water level fluctuations thanks to hydro power operations and what’s been a delayed leaf fall. When flows are reduced, guys are seeing a handful of browns and a few more steelhead nearer the dam. The other area smaller waterways have also bumped up in flows to medium-ish to the west and slightly high and stained to the east.

Sandy Creek has been the most consistent brown trout action so that’s where most of the fishing pressure has been. All that cooler water we have again in the Oak could surely be spreading out the fish and drifts are going to need to be down and slow for best hook up chances. Low water, aka an “average” fall, short leaders, BB shot is not likely to cut it right now for presentations, especially on the Oak. Check the drift, slow the swing and/or put a longer leader on with some more shot if you want to get in the zone.

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