Upstate and Western New York Fishing Report- January 6, 2022

Greater Niagara Region

Frank Campbell

Happy New Year’s!
As the fishing action starts to improve again in the Niagara River, remember that the walleye daily creel limit in the lower Niagara River changes this time of year. Hopefully recent winds will not muddy up the water too badly. In the meantime, it is important to remember that the daily creel limit on walleye changes after the first of the year to March 15 to help protect large females. The daily limit drops from 3 to 1 fish with a size limit of 18 inches.

Mike Ziehm steelhead
Mike Ziehm of Niagara Falls with a lower river steelhead from shore.

In the lower river, steelhead and lake trout are both being caught in the lower river section below Niagara Falls – from the gorge to the Niagara Bar. Lisa Drabczyk of Creek Road Bait and Tackle in Lewiston reports lake trout action on the Niagara Bar has been good. Steelhead and brown trout have been hitting in and around Artpark. For the boat guys, live bait like minnows and shiners are working well along with Kwikfish and MagLips fished off three-way rigs. Shore guys are using spinners and jigs, as well as egg sacs and beads and fished under a float. Capt. John DeLorenzo of Niagara Falls sends word that even though the water is finally clearing, the steelhead fishing has still been a little picky — probably because the river is full of bait. He’s never seen so many birds feasting on minnows and large numbers of baby smelt. The best bait for him has been beads but he recently switched to BnR soft beads in chartreuse, peach, orange and pink, very effective for him. The Bar has been pretty good the past week with golden shiners. He has been catching mostly lakers, but a few nice brown trout have started to show up there, too. Hair jigs and blade baits have also been good to use.

Capt. John DeLorenzo steelhead
Capt. John DeLorenzo of Niagara Falls caught some dandy steelhead while he tested the waters before running a trip this week.

In the upper Niagara River, Scott Gauld and his son Alex of Tonawanda had some banner days on smallmouth bass – one on New Year’s Eve, using Ned rigs to take a pile of bass by catch and release. Trout and walleye are still being caught at the Foot of Ferry Street on big minnows according to Lake Effect Bait and Tackle in Tonawanda.

Scott Gauld and Nick Sanderson
Scott Gauld of Tonawanda and Nick Sanderson of Williamsville with a pair of Niagara River bass caught on New Year’s Eve!
Ned rig
This is the Ned rig that worked best on bass for Scott and Alex Gauld, as well as Nick Sanderson. This was a green pumpkin candy 3-inch Venom Salty Sling they were dead dragging on the bottom.
Alex Gauld smallmouth
Alex Gauld of Tonawanda with an upper river smallmouth bass taken on a Ned rig.

Tributary action off Lake Ontario saw an uptick in fresh fish after recent rains. Trout are being caught, although fishing pressure has been limited. The coldest day of the winter so far was Monday, but it will be in the 40’s today so it’s anyone’s guess what will happen to the tributaries with rain and snow in the forecast. Stay safe out there!

Oswego County

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

Salmon River Report:

The CFS at the Pineville gauge was down slightly, to 535 as of this morning. We are at our normal wintertime flows and temperatures have been hanging in the low 30’s.

The water flow on the Salmon River has been a roller coaster ride the last week; 350-1200-500-750-335. This has led to some tougher than average fishing conditions. But now that the water has come down with lots of cold weather in the forecast, look for the fishing to become more consistent.

Be and Erik Frechette
Be and Erik Frechette from Quebec City, landed this nce steelhead on an egg sac.

With the low water and cold temps fish have definitely been heading to their wintering holds. Concentrate your efforts on the bigger deeper pools and anywhere you find slow water. Fish the inside edges and the belly of the pools.

When winter sets in the steelhead become more lethargic and less active; so, finding baits that pique their interest this time of year seem to be the best method to triggering bites. But, as always, the egg sac takes over in slow cold water. Blues really shine during wintertime. White and peach being the next best. Chartreuse has been a great early bait this week with the stained water. Other bait options are pink worms, marabou jigs, wax worms, and crappie baits. Best color combinations are typically white with a little added color, black or brown.

Tight lines everyone!

Oswego River Report

Johnathan Reed steelhead
Angler Johnathan Reed from Rochester, NY hooked this steelhead while fishing with Chasin Tail Adventures.

The following report is courtesy of Capt. Andy Bliss of Chasin’ Tail Adventures:

The Oswego has been very high this season limiting fishing. But the flows have finally started to recede. 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 to become very productive now that the water is around 10K CFS. This lower flow also makes the big wall fishable again too.

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. Casting swimbaits has been the best technique to trigger bites.

Wayne County Fishing Update

Chris Kenyon


There is still a great flow of water in Maxwell, however the shoreline has a little ice. The steelhead are in the small pools on the south side of Lake Road.

Use egg sacs or bright beads for steelies. It has been a hit or miss catch rate.

The Sodus channel pier is another place to catch browns and steelhead. On New Year’s Day there was no ice build-up, however the next day the cold front drop temperatures 40 degrees. With warmer temperatures predicted it should be clear.

Always be cautious while fishing the pier. The current in the channel is swift. Use heavy bright spoons like Kastmasters or Little Cleos and bring your long-handled net.

Lake Ontario tributary regulations

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


On New Year’s Day Sodus Bay had a large flotilla of boats with anglers targeting perch. The temperatures were in the 50’s and if your boat wasn’t winterized, that was the place to be.

Perch are hitting white rubber bait, tipped with perch eyes or spikes.

It was the same of Port Bay. The jumbo perch were 10 to 12 inches in length and were caught off the points.

Currently, new ice is starting to become solid, so if we can have lower temps and no wind there might be some hard water angling. But…that’s a big if.

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

Water levels in the canal are high and the current is strong. If you want to launch a boat use caution. Fishing the Widewaters area has consistently produce pan fish.

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:

We’re experiencing seasonable cold winter weather for the end of the week with some lake effect snow happening south and west of here. No accumulations are expected here on the WNY Lake Ontario Plain. Slight warm-up for the weekend with a chance of rain end of the weekend and then cold for the start of next week. A slight bump up in trib flows yesterday from a little bit of rain and snowmelt. Back on the retreat thru today after a cold night. Flows in the Oak were higher yesterday but expecting that to retreat again toward medium and slightly stained. Guys thru yesterday higher up scored a few hookups on eggs or beads on fresh steelhead while downstream swingers had a tougher go. Other smaller area tribs should be retreating toward medium or lower to moderate and slightly stained. Shouldn’t be any serious icing in yet but there could be some bank ice or chunky flows. Upcoming weekend warm-up should keep things open and we might be looking at some more serious icing and retreating flows after that for next week.

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