Upstate and Western New York Fishing Report- May 18, 2023

Mark Scott king salmon
Mark Scott of Beckley, West Virginia caught this 24-pound, 10-ounce king salmon out of Wilson with Capt. Matt Yablonsky of Wet Net Charters to win the $15,000 Grand Prize in the spring LOC Derby.

Greater Niagara Region

Frank Campbell

Niagara Falls USA fared quite well once again as the Spring Lake Ontario Counties Trout and Salmon Derby ended last Sunday. Mark Scott of Beckley West Virginia was fishing with Capt. Matt Yablonsky of Wet Net Charters out of Wilson when they were thinking about calling it quits for the day. Swerving to avoid a boat who had cut in front of them, the diver rod went off. They really didn’t know what they had until it was at the back of the boat. It was big. They ran in to weigh it and the result was a 24-pound, 10-ounce king salmon – the eventual $15,000 Grand Prize winner. A total of 19 of the top 21 salmon were taken in Niagara County waters, including a 23-pound, 12-ounce salmon hauled in by Reinaldo Sanchez of Wilson while fishing with Capt. Nate Stephenson of Triple J Charters out of Wilson to place first for the division. Top brown trout was 13 pounds, 4 ounces, reeled in by Steve Chlus of Newport while fishing with Capt. Matt French of Miss Demeanor while out of Olcott. First place lake trout was a 29-pound, 3-ounce fish reeled in by Andrew Kupferschmid of Kendall while fishing off 30-Mile Point. The winning walleye was 11 pounds, 11 ounces, caught by Paul Farmer of Dexter while fishing off Point Peninsula in Henderson Harbor area.

Reinaldo Sanchez salmon
Reinaldo Sanchez of Wilson to first place salmon with this 23-pound, 12-ounce Wilson king salmon fishing with Capt. Nate Stephenson of Triple J Charters.

Mark Scott and Capt. Matt Yablonsky king salmon
Grand Prize winner Mark Scott of Beckley, WV with Capt. Matt Yablonsky of Wet Net Charters and the 24-pound, 10-ounce king salmon.
Jared Chlus and dad brown trout
Jared Chlus of Newport holds up the winning brown trout for his dad, Steve, in the spring LOC Derby. The fish weighed 13lb. 4 oz.

Capt. Mike Johannes of On the Rocks Charters out of Wilson reports that the northeast winds on Sunday moved the river water around and gave the fish a bit of lockjaw. The salmon are spread out and the fish haven’t found their preferred water yet. His boat caught fish from 80 to 250 feet of water on Monday. When heading out, look for a water temperature change, a change of water color or a current break. The edges of these places usually hold the active fish. He caught fish on cut bait, flies, and spoons but the bites were hard to come by. As of late, white flashers with meat or flies have been working in the morning. Later in the day, darker colors such as frostbite, road toad and carbon 14 have been working. Information is tough to come by now with the Wilson Harbor Invitational Tournament happening this weekend.

Mark Plennert bass
Mark Plennert of Niagara Falls has been doing well on bass at the NYPA water intakes in the upper Niagara River.

In the Niagara River, Matt Wilson of Lewiston reports good fishing in the upper river. He noticed that bass were bedding up, but he did a lot better Sunday by finding long stretches of sand and rock in 9 to 15 feet of water, keeping his boat drifting on the drop off. He went with a different approach to see if he could get reaction bites with rattle traps and KVD red eye Shad’s. It worked, putting a 5.07-pound smallmouth in the boat (and released). One of the better areas was off Beaver Island State Park.

Mike Rzucidlo carp
Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls with a lower river carp he caught from shore.

In the lower river, Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls found an area along Artpark that held good numbers of white bass, mixed with smallmouth. Casting white and silver jigs. He caught 40 fish in three hours. All were released. Tommy Holycross of Wheatfield caught a limit of walleyes (three fish, 18-inch minimum) off Lewiston Landing at night casting jigging spoons while a fellow angler did the same thing using Zoom Fluke plastics on a jig.

Mike Rzucidlo white bass
Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls shows off a nice white bass he caught in the lower Niagara River.

From a boat, casters and drifters are still catching steelhead and a few lake trout in Devil’s Hole. They are also catching bass, walleye and white bass using a variety of baits like Mag Lips and Kwikfish. Bass and walleye are also hitting downriver to Fort Niagara. There are still a few brown trout hanging around at the mouth of the river and on the Niagara Bar. Nathan Kahler of West Seneca caught the second-place lake trout, weighing 21 pounds, 2 ounces, 28 feet down over 52 feet of water on the Niagara Bar. It hit like a salmon!

Nathan Kahler lake trout
Nathan Kahler of West Seneca with a 21-pound, 2-ounce lake trout he caught on the Niagara Bar to place second in the LOC Derby.

On the horizon, the Niagara County Pro-Am Tourney is June 2-3 out of Wilson and Olcott. Check out for details. June 1 will be the Don Johannes/Pete DeAngelo Memorial 3-fish/Big Fish contest from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. out of Wilson. Entry fee is $100 per boat. For more information contact Capt. Mike Johannes at 716-523-1727.

Wayne County Fishing Update

Chris Kenyon

Lake Ontario

The LOC Spring Derby has ended with most the catches west of Wayne County. This is the normal pattern with our salmon arriving in July. The awards ceremony was Sunday, May 14 at Riley’s Bar and Grill at the south end of Sodus Bay. The summer and fall awards will also be at Riley’s.

The west end has been hot however kings are hitting straight out and west of Sodus Bay. Today’s information from Don at Davenport’s Marina, has the bite in 130 to 200 fow with spoons providing the action down 30 to 70 fow.

Some 10 pound plus salmon hit the nets and most came from spoons of your choice. The dominant color has been a glow green. Moonshine and Michigan Stingers are just two of the many spoons used.

Some browns have been caught in 50 to 80 fow, however they have been small (5 pounds)


The perch are still in the bays and the stomachs are full of shad. Use 2-to-3-inch rubber tipped with fresh spikes.

Fish for perch off the points in both Sodus and Port Bays. Try next to the channels.

Rock bass are starting to bite in Sodus. Keep your jigs small and bright for rockies.

East Bay has pike near the south end where the streams enter the small bay.

Erie Canal

The canal has clearer water this week. The catch has been crappies near the Port Gibson Bridge and sunfish, rock bass, bluegills near the locks in Newark.
There are launch sites in Macedon, Newark, Lyons, and Clyde.

The New York State Canal Corporation recently announced that, conditions permitting, all portions of the New York State Canal system are scheduled to open Friday, May 19, 2023, at 7:00 a.m. for the 199th consecutive season of navigation.

The New York State Canal Corporation recently announced that, conditions permitting, all portions of the New York State Canal system are scheduled to open Friday, May 19, 2023, at 7:00 a.m. for the 199th consecutive season of navigation.

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

Orleans County Sportfishing Coordinator Ron Bierstine:

There’s been quite a stretch of stalled weather over the past week + with next to no winds – neither onshore or offshore. Lots of flat and calm Lake Ontario waters with inshore waters going clear with little or no brown trout bite. Some boaters have commented it seems more like summer by the lake and water temp conditions. LOC Derby efforts for the Spring are over for now, until the Summer Derby kicks off for all of July. Still some charters and serious rec anglers targeting the western waters nearer the Niagara bar, but look for those anglers to start easing back to eastern home ports like Point Breeze. For the stay at the Oak Orchard guys, they’ve found the unpressured waters favorable with pretty good King salmon and lake trout (lakers) action.

Captain John Oravec, at led his clients of 31 years to a nice morning catch of 9 Kings over the past weekend. They capped off their stay with good eats at the Black North Inn and lodging at Ernst’s Lake Breeze Marina. And captured a spectacular sunset at the Oak Orchard Lighthouse (pictured above). Captain John found some lake trout too in 120 fow 80 ft down. And rec angler Randy G. aboard his 21 ft Bayliner Trophy got some 2 year old kings and lakers like the one pictured below in 80 – 100 fow west of Point Breeze about half way to Johnson Creek. This week’s weather looks somewhat more variable then the previous week with already “breezy” SW winds forecast for the start of the week and chance of N winds about midweek with the matching cool down. A little change up from the previous stagnant conditions probably wouldn’t be a bad thing!

Oswego County

Nick M. king salmon
Nick M., of Sandy Creek, landed this king salmon while fishing with Midway Charters.

Lake Ontario – Oswego

Click Here of the 10 day Forecast

Fishing has been up and down this week. Brown trout have been caught from the shoreline to 30.’

Big winds this week have brought changes to our water conditions. The inside waters should be ideal after the west and north winds. This should tighten up colored water and will likely lead to better brown trout fishing. Offshore waters will have moved, which typically scatters the salmon, so you may have to cover water to find fish.

Planner boards pulling 1,2&3 color leadcores have been best. With the fish going deeper, downriggers will start producing. Slide divers have been talking bites 30-50’ foot behind the diver out 20-45’

The best baits have been spoons in “chicken wing uv,” “purple clown,” “mongoose,” and “kevorkian.”

If you slide out to a little deeper, in 70-200’ there have been kings, but don’t be afraid to look even deeper. Stingray spoon have been best in “diehard,” “frog circus freak,” “uv black widow” and “SSW.”

Lester T. brown trout
Lester T., of Maine, with a jumbo brown trout. Caught fishing with Cold Steel Sportfishing.

Lake Ontario – Mexico, NY

Click Here of the 10 day Forecast

The big winds this week should provide color water all along the shoreline. Even with the lack of rain, creek mouths will be a little warmer and should hold brown trout.

Fish are shallow, in 10-30’ of water. Spoons that have been working are: “arctic ice,” “ludington special,” “gold doctor,” and “gold perch.”

The king bite has slowed down to the east. Anglers should head west past 9 mile point to find better concentrations of salmon. 60-120’ has been the prime zone, from the west end of the plant to Oswego.

Concentrate on the 30-90’ range of the column. With the dirty river water, golds and brighter patterns have been working best, like: “pickleseed,” “circus freak,” and “mongoose.”

Oswego and Salmon River Reports

Throughout the spring and summer, both the Oswego and Salmon Rivers offer a variety of fishing opportunities, including panfish and bass. The Oswego also offers carp and walleye opportunities.

Year-Round Notice (Oswego River): There are mandatory personal flotation device zones on the river. The Oswego Fire Department offers loaner life jackets at no charge through its “Loaner for Life” program. For more information contact the east fire station by calling (315) 343.2161 or Click here for the Brookfield Varick Fish Safety brochure.

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.

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