Upstate and Western New York Fishing Report- January 13, 2022

Greater Niagara Region

Frank Campbell

With the rise in Covid cases in Western New York, the difficulties in crossing the Canadian border, and several key vendors and speakers unable to attend in either February or March, the Greater Niagara Fishing and Outdoor Expo slated for Feb. 17-20, 2022 has been canceled for this year. Alternative dates in March did not work out for a variety of reasons. As a result, the fishing extravaganza is rescheduled for Feb. 16-19, 2023, at the Conference and Event Center Niagara Falls (a state-owned facility).

This was a huge disappointment within the angling community as it has become the top “teaching fishing” show in the Great Lakes. This year’s addition of a large focus on fly fishing, a new walleye school, the fact that the salmon school sold out yet again, new beginner clinics for bass, walleye, salmon, and kayak fishing, and a much bigger offering for the kids with two super kids fishing clinics are all for naught. DEC’s Open House was to return, too, a big hit in 2020. For more information, visit www.niagarafishingexpo.com.

Bill Blanchard smallmouth bass
Bill Blanchard of Lancaster with a lower river smallmouth bass he caught fishing with Capt. Arnie Jonathan of Lockport.

Temperatures are “warming up” to 32 degrees today before they dip back down into the weekend. It was in the single digits earlier in the week and weekend winds transformed the Niagara River into another chocolate milk mess. It might start to clear up for boaters heading into the weekend. The shore guys were still picking up a few fish despite the conditions. Mike Ziehm of Niagara Falls was back casting his No. 5 chartreuse and orange spinner above the NYPA power plant to catch some steelhead and lake trout in the gorge. With fluctuating water levels there, combined with the cold temperatures, make sure you take safety precautions such as wearing ice cleats for traction. Don’t take any unnecessary chances. Egg sacs or egg imitations like beads and yarn balls will also catch fish. Look for somewhat clearer water along the shoreline. With cold temperatures, use something like WD40 to keep your guides ice-free. Stanley’s ice off paste is another good product to try. Lisa Drabczyk of Creek Road Bait and Tackle reports that the shore guys are the only ones catching anything right now. Boaters should be able to get out soon and when they do, the Niagara Bar could be a good place to try for lake trout and brown trout – if the weather cooperates. In the river, MagLips and Kwikfish pulled off 3-way rigs could be a good approach. Minnows and shiners will also work, along with beads – both soft and hard.

Mike Ziehm lake trout
Mike Ziehm of Niagara Falls with a lower river lake trout he caught from shore in freezing temperatures Monday.

We are starting to see some shoreline shelf ice in the tributaries, as well as slush. Best spot is 18 Mile Creek at Burt Dam for trout according to Drabczyk. Water flows help to keep it open.

Remember that Feb. 6 is the deadline for public comment on the long list of proposed fishing regulations changes. Make sure to check out what they are and comment at dec.ny.gov.


Oswego County

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

Salmon River Report:

The CFS at Pineville was at 578 as of this morning. It has been up for the last few days. Temperatures have been hanging just above the freezing point.

This week’s report is provided by Capt Zack Rayno of Rayno’s Fishing Excursions.

The water flow on the Salmon River has been increased this week due to extreme low temperatures. This has led to some tougher fishing conditions. But with the extreme temperatures coming we don’t see the flows lowering over the weekend.

The water level and cold temperatures have led to a tough bite. Overall, we recommend concentrating your efforts on the bigger, deeper pools and anywhere are you find slower water. Fish the inside edges and the belly of the pool.

When winter sets in, the more lethargic and less active the fish become. The key is finding baits that pique their interest this time of year. But as always, the egg sac takes over in slow cold water; blues really shines during wintertime. White and peach are the next best options. Other bait options are pink worms, marabou jigs, wax worms and tube jig baits. Best color combinations are typically white with a little added color; black or brown are consistent color options also.

Nick Searor steelhead
Nick Searor with a steelhead caught earlier this week.

Oswego River Report

The Oswego has been holding steady around the 10k CFS mark, with daily fluctuations of 1-2k CFS.

Anglers are seeing fair numbers of fish on the west side above the powerhouse. Fishing jigs, beads and egg sacs under floats has been the most productive. The Bridie Hole should start fishing good now that the water is around 10 k CFS. This lower flow also makes the high wall fishable again.

Greg and Mike steelhead
Anglers Greg and Mike had a good day landing steelhead with guid Raynos Fishing Excursions

The lower Oswego behind the hotels has also started producing some trout and even a fair number of walleye for those putting their time in. But with the latest cold snap there has been a lot of ice starting to form, making the fishing a challenge. Casting swim baits has been the best technique to trigger bites.

Wayne County Fishing Update

Chris Kenyon

Streams

Lake effect snow has made area streams slippery and with temperatures in the single numbers, casting for steelhead will be difficult. Look for the pools in Maxwell Creek and use egg sacs.

It is predicted to be a cold week so stream fishing might be a challenge.

Lake Ontario tributary regulations

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

Bays

Just a week ago the perch were hitting, and anglers were launching boats. That has changed. Today the temperatures will not even break double numbers.

This is all great news for the ice fishing crowd. Currently Port and Sodus Bays are iced over, however not enough to walk-on. But, with temperatures again hitting low digits the ice making machine is starting.

It might be possible to drag your shanty on the bays by this weekend. Of course, early, and late ice is very unpredictable. You need to spud your way out…step by step.

Next week’s report might be able to give the thickness. Do not jump the gun with ice fishing.

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

Widewaters is iced-over, however not thick enough for ice fishing. It is possible to make and inch or so per day if the winds are calm and the temperatures stay in the teens.

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:

All the trib flows appear on the retreat from previous snowmelt and precipitation. A couple of days of cold weather earlier this week probably hastened the retreating flows. Flows in the Oak are one click less then medium or what you might call somewhere in between moderate and medium. A little stain: something like 2 ft of visibility. No icing, even in the downstream frog water, just yet. There’s light fishing pressure with just a handful of cars at each parking spot.

The other area smaller tribs have similar moderate – medium flows with slightly stained water color. There is some icing especially in downstream slow water spots and some bank ice. Upstream fast water areas should be pretty well open, and there is likely barely any fishing pressure. Weather is seasonable warm today and then forecast winter cold with wind for tomorrow and the weekend. The next chance at snow for area wide is for the beginning part of next week. The long range forecast looks more or less winter-like thru next week and so this may be the settling in of winter conditions that could last for more than a couple days. Icing conditions should accelerate especially in the smaller waterways. We’ll know more about how anglers have been hooking up as we catch back up on the fishing chatter.

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