Upstate and Western New York Fishing Report- March 9, 2023

Matt Yonkin lake trout
Matt Yonkin of Saratoga Springs shows off a lake trout from Devil’s Hole he caught fishing with Capt. Frank Campbell of Lewiston. (Capt. Frank Campbell photo)

Greater Niagara Region

Frank Campbell

Despite more negative influences by the weather, Niagara River fishing continued in the lower section above and below Lewiston. Capt. Jim Rores of Big Greek Charters fished over the weekend and he certainly had to work for any fish his crew boated. The best catch was a brown trout that was just under 14 pounds, caught on a spot tail shiner in Devil’s Hole by Steve Carpentar of Arkansas. Most of the guides have been recording between two and six fish a day, depending on the water clarity and the wind. It has been a mixed bag of steelhead and lake trout with an occasional brown trout. Conditions were perfect last Friday, and anglers did a bit better, but as the run-off and snow melt contributed to murky conditions and it progressively got worse through the weekend and into this week.

Steve Carpentar brown trout
Steve Carpentar of Arkansas caught this 14-pound brown trout in Devil’s Hole fishing with Capt. Jim Rores of Grand Island. (Capt. Jim Rores photo)

Eli Mosul lake trout
Eli Mosul of Saratoga Springs shows off a lake trout from Devil’s Hole he caught fishing with Capt. Frank Campbell of Lewiston. (Capt. Frank Campbell photo)
Gary Hall steelhead
Gary Hall of Niagara Falls with a nice steelhead he caught in the lower Niagara River fishing with Capt. Frank Campbell of Lewiston. (Capt. Frank Campbell photo)

Capt. Matt Yablonsky of Wet Net Charters reports that the river has been tough to fish of late. Some lakers have been biting in Devil’s Hole. Some steelhead can be found in all the drifts, but stained water is slowing the action. A mild winter isn’t good for river fishing, and we need some sunshine.

Mike Ziehm steelhead
Mike Ziehm of Niagara Falls with a colorful steelhead he caught in the lower river from shore. (Mike Ziehm photo)

It was the Mike and Mike show in the gorge – Mike Ziehm and Mike Rzucidlo (both of Niagara Falls) working their casting magic with spinners. Chartreuse and white were working for Ziehm, casting No. 5 spinners with water clarity that fluctuated from two feet to five feet above the power plant where he was finding the most consistent action.

Mark Musser
Mark Musser caught a few nice fish at the Oak and Burts with the biggest at 28-inches

As far as the lake and tributaries, Yablonsky said no one has been out in the lake yet. Cold muddy river water pushing east down the shoreline has been the issue and it’s been too windy. We need a break from the wind and things will get going. Roy Letcher of Burt reports that brown trout and lake trout have been showing up around the piers in Wilson and Olcott on Little Cleos and stickbaits. To catch a mixed bag of crappies, perch, pike, and browns, target the harbor around the marinas and inside the piers. Minnows and jigs are working, too. At Burt Dam, look for steelhead and browns with the occasional walleye on egg sacs, beads, and jigs fished under a float.

Remember that the WNY Sport and Travel Expo is this weekend at the Erie County Fairgrounds in Hamburg starting on Friday. For more information check out Dates were announced for the Niagara County Bullhead Tournament. The contest will start April 14 at 5 p.m. and run through Sunday, April 16 at 1 p.m. For more information Call Eric at 716-628-6078.

Wayne County Fishing Update

Chris Kenyon


Not much happening in Maxwell, however the south end pools have taken a few steelhead. Make sure your egg sacs are fresh.

If there is no ice on the Sodus Pier, you can catch steelies and browns along the entire pier. Cast out bright Cleos. Make sure you bring a long handled net and if there is ice on the pier fish closer to the Coast Guard Station.

Lake Ontario tributary regulations:

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


Today the wind is cranking and the temps are in the mid-thirties, so even you can find an open water launch site…it’s still too darn cold to be in a boat.

With wind gusts hitting 30 mph from the northwest, any remaining ice will disappear and we just need to wait for some warmer temperatures.

The perch are in all bays and early spring fishing Sodus and Port Bays will net you crappies. Crappies will be suspended in water 20 feet deep at the south end of Port Bay.

Bullhead fishing is just around the corner. The water needs to warm for the tasty fish. Bay Bridge at the south end of Sodus Bay is the hot spot for bullheads.

When you launch your boat… remember from November 1st until May 1st New York’s law requires you to wear your PFD. That means it cannot be laying around your boat. It must be worn.

Bait for fishing is available on the south end of Sodus at Davenports and Bay Bridge Sport Shop.
On Port Bay Jarvis Bait shop is open on Brown Road. The signs are on East Port Bay Road at the junction of Brown Road. In Ontario, Grantley’s Bait at 1864 Route 104 Ontario, NY.

Erie Canal

The ice on Widewaters is ready to leave and the launch site at the county park has plenty of parking for boat trailers.

This section of the canal has always been the “go to” location for crappies. Use small bright jigs tipped with spikes and remember they are a suspending fish. They will not be at the bottom column of water. Fish them down approximately 12 to 18 inches.

Put Safety First When on the Ice

A Minimum of Four Inches of Clear Ice is Safe for Anglers on Foot. The NYS DEC is reminding ice anglers to use caution and common sense as ice fishing gets into high gear across much of New Yor State.

Four inches or more of solid ice is safe for anglers accessing ice on foot. Ice anglers should note that ice thickness can vary on everybody of water and even on the same body of water.

Anglers should be particularly wary of areas of moving water and around boat docks and houses where bubblers may be installed to reduce ice buildup.

The presence of snowmobile tracks or footprints on the ice should not be considered as evidence of safe ice conditions. Individuals are strongly encouraged to check ice conditions and avoid situations that appear to present even a remote risk. Testing the thickness of ice can be done easily with an auger or ice spud at various spots.

“Ice fishing is a popular sport in New York and interest in it increases every year,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “Safety is the first thing to consider when taking part in the sport, and we remind people to use good judgement when venturing onto the ice. Ice fishing is great for families looking to try something new, and parents can mix in skating, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, or other activities during ice fishing trips to keep everyone interested and happy.”

Feb. 19 and 120 have been designated as a free fishing weekend. The requirement for a fishing license is waived during this period. The free fishing weekend is a great opportunity to try ice fishing for the first time and for experienced anglers to introduce their friends to the sport.

Notable Freshwater Fishing Regulation Changes

The following list offers a summary of the most notable fishing regulation changes resulting from the adopted rulemakings described above.

  • New statewide regulation for rainbow trout, brown trout, and splake in lakes and ponds. The season will now be open year-round, with a five-fish daily limit, any size, with a “no more than two longer than 12 inches” harvest rule.
  • Statewide Atlantic salmon regulations will now allow for a year-round open season.
  • Ice fishing is permitted on all waters in New York unless specifically prohibited with the exception of Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, Herkimer, Lewis, St. Lawrence, Warren, and Washington counties where previous rules remain.
  • New specific dates replaced floating dates for statewide season openers to include:
    • May 1 – Walleye, Northern Pike, Pickerel, and Tiger Muskellunge.
    • June 1 – Muskellunge. (Note that in 2022, DEC will allow for the fishing of muskellunge beginning the last Saturday in May to accommodate previously planned fishing trips);and
    • June 15 – Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass.
  • A five-fish daily walleye limit in Oneida Lake.
  • A new regulation to limit the growth of the walleye population in Skaneateles Lake. No daily possession limit; 12-inch minimum size limit, open year-round.
  • The statewide sunfish daily harvest limit has been reduced from 50 to 25 fish: and
  • The statewide minimum size limit for crappie has been increased from nine inches to ten inches.

Orleans County

Thanks to a few days of previous warmer temps with snowmelt, all the tribs are up with nice fishy flows by steelhead standards. Given the time of the year and milder water temps it should be a good trigger for fresh fish migrations. Thru yesterday, there was no impact from the snowstorm here on the WNY Lake Ontario south shore and likewise the forecasted end of week snow storm is expected to have minimal impact for accumulations here. Temps are forecast to be highs in the 30’s°F and dropping back down at night, so flows should hang in for now or begin to drop back slowly like in the smaller area waterways. Longer range forecast looks like cold-ish weather thru some part of next week so it may be the seasons are averaging out with payback from the milder winter!

Flows in the Oak are slightly high with a strong head of turbine water and no overflow water. Visibility is about 2 feet and slightly stained but might color up just a touch more thru the rest of the week. The other area smaller tribs east and west of the Oak have high flows with about 1 foot of visibility. Look for those waterways to turn and drop now and thru the mid week offering up some good drifting chances.

Real light fishing pressure on the Oak where guys reported tougher steelhead action like thru the past weekend, but that was when flows were lower and clearer. Browns are making a pretty good accounting of themselves, especially by spring standards with a mix of fresh silver fish and colored up holdover fall fish – both in the Oak and Sandy. Now and into April as the weather and water flows may dictate could offer up the best spring steelhead action so get out there and hit the cold water chances while they last!

Orleans County Sportfishing Coordinator Ron Bierstine:

Upcoming Sport Shows


Save the Dates for the Orleans County Open:
June 10-11, 2023

The Orleans County Open will be held on June 10/11 this year. More info will flow in the coming weeks. We will again be running a Pro and an Am division.

Since we developed this event the trout aspect has changed. For the past few years Steelhead have been the “bonus” fish. It’s our belief that it has made anyone who participated a better Steelhead angler. We’re tossing around an idea to make Steelhead the bonus fish on Saturday and Brown Trout the bonus fish on Sunday. You can comment on their Facebook page.

Oswego County

Sich’s Guide Service put a smile on this anglers face!

Salmon River

Click Here of the 10 day Forecast

The water on the Salmon River has remained low the last week. But even with the water drop, fishing was tough.

The steelhead have been holding in the slow, deep pools. But we are also starting to see the first signs of spawning fish. So don’t be afraid to spend some time on the holding area closest to know spawning grounds.

Good baits are pink worms, jigs and the occasional bead. Fished under a float, these baits have been producing plenty of action. “Glo-Roe,” “Onta-Roe,” “All-in,” and “Tangerine” have all been producing. Jigs in white, white-peach and pink-white are other good options.

Fly anglers have been finding success running stoneflies in a variety of colors, such as copper, blue and chartreuse. An egg sucking leech or woolly bugger, in black or olive, have been productive too.

Kyle W. steelhead
Kyle W., with a nice steelhead landed on the west side of the Oswego River.

Oswego River

Click Here of the 10 day Forecast

Anglers have been finding active fish up the west side of the Oswego River. Recent flows have resulted in great levels to fish off the wall. With these flows the high wall will continue to be a great place to fish. Slip floats or bottom bouncing beads or egg sacs, or jigs under a float are all techniques that will not disappoint.

With only a week left in the walleye season don’t be afraid to get down there and give it a shot. Bucktails and swim baits in white, black or natural colors are your best bet.

James Miller steelhead
James Miller caught this steelhead last week on Salmon River. Photo courtesy of NY UP.

Angler Lands Steelhead on Six-Pound Line

“Throughout the day, I watched several fishermen hook and land nice, colorful steelhead hoping that eventually I’d have an opportunity myself,” Miller said.

Opportunity knocked around 2:30 in the afternoon… [Continue Reading]


Save the Date

The Awakening Angler YouTube Channel and O.M.F. Events/ Limp Lizard BBQ have partnered together to carry on the Central New York tradition of the Chittenango Lions Club opening weekend Walleye Derby on Oneida Lake.

Steelhead Fishing on the Legendary Salmon River

Let this be your year to experience the legendary waters of the Salmon River, long regarded as one of North America’s premier steelhead destinations!

It only takes one light tackle hook-up for you to understand why they are called Steelhead. Anglers from around the world will tell you that these underwater lightning bolts do more than steal your bait. By the time they have had their way with you, they’ll have stolen your heart and soul. Whether heading upstream for a fall feeding frenzy or dropping back to Lake Ontario in the spring, these 5-10 lb. “chromers” will give you the freshwater fight that brings you back for more.

Free Oswego Fishing Guide

Click Here to Order a Free Guide

The 68-page guide includes a detailed overview of fishing opportunities on eastern Lake Ontario, Oneida Lake, the Oswego and Salmon rivers and a variety of other tributaries, as well as the more than 40,000 acres of public lands available for hunting.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *