Upstate and Western New York Fishing Report – December 9, 2021

West Marine

Greater Niagara Region

Frank Campbell

Musky season in the lower Niagara River and Lake Ontario will be ending on Dec. 15. Lake trout season is now open for the same waters of the lower river and Lake O. and action was very good until the winds of Monday night blew a few footballs here from Orchard Park. The combination of rain and wind has put fishing on hold for a bit, but it should clear relatively quickly. In addition, as far as the Niagara River is concerned, the shore fishermen should start hitting trout sooner rather than later.

Joe Cermele
Joe Cermele of “Bent” podcast with The Meateater shows off a big lake trout he caught on the Niagara Bar this past week.

Niagara River turbidity is bad right now as of Tuesday. The water is shot from the wind and rain, but things could improve by the weekend if not before. Just prior to the windstorm, some pretty good fishing was going on in the lower Niagara River for trout, along with a mixed bag of other species. The fishing segment of “Meateater” called “B Side” and host Joe Cermele came into town with Jimmy Fee of “On the Water” magazine to fish for a few days at the tail end of last week.

filming Niagara River lake trout
Jimmy Fee holds up a Niagara River lake trout as the filming takes place all around him.

On the Niagara Bar, they caught roughly 17-18 fish that included lake trout, brown trout, whitefish, and walleye. Top baits were Swim-n-shiner swimbaits from Strike King, as well as jigging spoons. In the river, they caught smallmouth bass using the same baits. They also caught steelhead and lake trout on the Artpark drift using MagLips off three-way rigs. The media duo was fishing with Capt. Frank Campbell of Lewiston. On another day, they hit Devil’s Hole hard with MagLips and caught a half-dozen steelhead to complete a show with decent weather conditions and a good mixed bag of fish. Check out themeateater.com/fish.

Logan Uphold walleye
Logan Uphold of Ohio caught this big walleye using a jigging spoon on the Niagara Bar.
Mike Rzucidlo lake trout
Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls caught this long lake trout from shore using a homemade No. 5 spinner with chartreuse tape on it.

Tommy Ortolano of Lake Effect Bait and Tackle in Tonawanda reports good catches of lake trout at Artpark on chartreuse beads and Chuck Booker chartreuse spinners from shore. Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls hit the gorge shoreline in the lower river and managed to connect on three lake trout using No. 5 spinners with green tape. Lisa Drabczyk of Creek Road Bait and Tackle in Lewiston confirmed that the shore action has been good, and those casters will be the first to connect following these turbid conditions. Beads will also work besides spinners. Kwikfish and MagLips are working for the boat drifters along with beads.

As far as the tributaries of Lake Ontario, most of them were high and stained after recent rains. Water levels should start to come down soon and look for some fresh fish in the system. Good luck out there and stay safe!


Oswego County

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

Salmon River Report:

The following report is courtesy of Captain Troy Creasy of High Adventure Sportfishing. This will be my last report of 2021 as I am heading south to Guide in Florida for the winter months; I will be back in April to resume my river guiding.

John and Jillian Cody lake trout
John Cody and his daughter Jillian with a colorful lake trout that they landed while fishing with Capt. Troy Creasy of High Adevnture Sportfishing.

The weather and the water flows have been crazy this week as we have experienced some really high flows that have pushed the fish to the edges and kept them moving. As the water recedes and the temperature drop due to the recent snow you will find the steelhead in the deeper pools and the bellies of the holes.

We have good color in the water right now so chartreuse and pink egg sacs, beads or Flies will be your best bet. With the higher flows landing the fish can be more difficult but with the color that is in the water you will be fine with 8 pound test leader, and that will give you a much better opportunity of bringing your fish to the net.

Good luck with the winter steelhead, I will see you y’all in the spring.

Wayne County Fishing Update

Chris Kenyon

Streams

All Wayne County streams have decent flows and Maxwell has seen some steelhead action. Use eggs sacs or anything bright red for steelies. In Maxwell, they are usually on the south side of Lake Road where the current is fast. They will be in the pockets and pools.

Warmer weather is predicted so there shouldn’t be any ice build-up on the shore. If you can, fish early morning and during the week.

Lake Ontario tributary regulations

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

Bays

We are in the transition time when the water on the bays hasn’t frozen, and most boats have been winterized.

Port Bay has nice large “jumbo” perch near the points that extend out in the bay. They are hitting rubber shad bait 2 inches… tipped with perch eyes or spikes.

Sodus Bay is also having a great autumn for perch anglers. When we get safe ice, the bays will be dotted with ice shanties. Currently, the water temperature is 38 degrees on Port Bay.

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.

Erie Canal

The Widewaters area of the canal has a skim layer of ice, not completely covering the water. Widewaters is west of Newark parallel to Route 31.

When it has safe ice it’s an excellent place to fish out of the wind. Perch, sunnies, and pike are in this section of the canal. You can catch pike until March 15th.

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 https://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7917.html 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 FWFish@dec.ny.gov.

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:

So much for the hope of drying out some. A little more precipitation from the end of the past weekend and the beginning part of this week has bumped up the trib flows slightly. Seasonably cold is forecast thru about mid-week so those bumped-up flows are already on the retreat though. Tough time of the year for any serious drying out since everything will wind up essentially as runoff. The forecast ahead is for snow showers today, chance of area-wide snow tomorrow, and then another warmup for the end of the week. Less than 1 inch of snow accumulation is expected here on the WNY’s Lake Ontario Plain.

Aidan Flanders brown trout
Aidan Flanders caught his personal-best 33-inch Brown Trout in Sandy Creek. He caught the fish with 4x (7lb test) tippet on a 7wt Clearwater using a blood dot egg pattern he tied himself.

Fishing pressure is light all around and no significant icing conditions are hindering drifting chances. Any below freezing night could make for some skim ice or chunky flows in an exposed waterway like Sandy. Flows in the Oak are still humming along at slightly high consisting of a good head of turbine water. Anglers are toughing it out for a few bites daily on browns or steelhead. There is some downstream frog water action. It might take lots of bobber watching or a few cast and retrieve/swing presentations to hook up on a post-spawn brown or staging steelhead. The other area smaller tribs have medium+ and slightly stained flows. Best chance at hookups is going to be covering different spots on the same trib and/or moving around to different tribs. A few guys report their hookups include at least one real good big fish. Keep in mind that any good or better action that might come on will be tough to know about with such light fishing pressure. The only sure way to know is to get out there and make a few drifts!

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