Upstate and Western New York Fishing Report- May 25, 2023

Parker Cinelli pike from the kayak
Parker Cinelli of Grand Island caught this nice northern pike over the weekend in the upper river while fishing from his Kayak.

Greater Niagara Region

Frank Campbell

In the Wilson Harbor Invitational salmon tournament last weekend, it was the Nemesis Team led by Joe Nemet of Erie, Pennsylvania with a score of 256 points based on 10 points per fish and a point per pound over two days. Team limits are six salmon each day. The Day One winner was Capt. Pete Alex and his Vision Quest squad out of Wilson with 140 points. Day two winners were Rockin’ and Reelin’ Goose from Wisconsin with 241 points and led by Capt. Russell Gahagan. Nearly 50 boats competed in the tournament. In the Salmon and Trout Slam, it was another goose – Dirty Goose led by Capt. Casey Prisco of Pulaski – winning the 7-day contest that was a lead-in to the WHI with the best 5 salmon and two trout for the week. $1K a day salmon winners for the week were Dirty Goose, Lucky Penny, Pole Position, and Maxed Out. Remember that the Niagara County Pro-Am Tourney is June 2-3 out of Wilson and Olcott. Check out for details.

The Nemesis team from Erie, PA
The Nemesis team from Erie, PA won the overall Wilson Harbor Invitational Tournament last weekend out of Wilson with a score of 256 points.
Rockin' N Reelin' Goose
Rockin’ N Reelin’ Goose led by Capt. Russ Gahagan of Wisconsin won the Second Day of the WHI with a score of 141 points for six salmon.
Team Vision Quest
Team Vision Quest led by Capt. Pete Alex won the first day of the Wilson Harbor Invitational tournament with a score of 140.10 for six salmon.

Kings are stretched from the Niagara Bar to 30-mile Point from 150 to 300 feet of water according to Capt. Pete Alex of Vision Quest Sportfishing. He fished from the Canadian border to 30-mile Point this past week for charters and pre-fishing and caught kings there. There are very few Coho salmon around this year, and many seem to have migrated east already. However, if past performance is any indication, we should see some show up around the end of month into June. Meat and spoons have been best baits with flashers and flies close behind. Riggers from 50-80 feet down with spoons and meat below that seem to be working best. Alex reports that boats have caught kings as deep as 200-foot down with 120 feet being normal right now. There are not many adult kings around but there are a lot of 3-to-10-pound kings grabbing baits.

Jerry Hickson brown trout
Jerry Hickson of Amherst caught this 10 pound brown trout fishing with Capt. Jim Rores of Grand Island fishing the South Gap area of Buffalo harbor.
Mike Ziehm lake trout
Mike Ziehm of Niagara Falls with a big lake trout he caught from shore in the gorge on a spinner.

In the lower Niagara River, Mike Ziehm of Niagara Falls was on fire over the weekend when he caught 35 fish from shore casting No. 4 spinners and darter jigs in the gorge. The water is clear and much higher this spring water. The visibility was 5 to 7 feet. He caught 8 lake trout on gold and chartreuse mixed and blue No. 3 spinners. All the bass and drum hit white darter jigs. There has been a solid smallmouth bass bite at the NYPA Fishing Platform according to Tommy Holycross of Wheatfield. He also caught a few white bass (aka silver bass) sprinkled in as well. All were taken on flukes under a float.

Larry Ladowski brown trout
Larry Ladowski of Mid-West Outdoors TV caught this brown trout fishing with Capt. Frank Campbell of Lewiston.

Boaters are producing a mixed bag of fish in the lower section according to Capt. Frank Campbell of Lewiston. Steelhead, lake trout and bass, as well as some walleyes are all being caught from Devil’s Hole to the mouth of the river. Mag Lips, minnows, jigs, and jerk baits are all catching fish.

Katie Wilson smallmouth bass
Katie Wilson of Lewiston with an Upper Niagara River smallmouth bass.

In the upper Niagara River, Matt Wilson of Lewiston spent all day in rain on the west side of Grand Island from Beaver Island to Big Six, anywhere you see land transitioning from cattails/grassy areas to rocky shoreline. There always seemed to be bass in those areas. Plastics wouldn’t work. Every fish that day was caught on a Lucky Craft white and silver lipless crank bait casting into 3 feet of water and reeling into 11 feet. When fishing in the west river, beware of fast approaching shallow areas with old wooden pilings. Sunday was spent with his wife Katie where she put a hurting on bass with a tube presentation, just dragging and hopping across the bottom on the east side of the island. Bass seem a little picky now, which is a telltale sign there on beds.

In other Lake Ontario News, there will be a State of Lake Ontario meeting on June 6 at the Irondequoit Fish and Game Club in Rochester starting at 7 p.m.

Wayne County Fishing Update

Chris Kenyon

Lake Ontario

The relentless winds are moving the lake’s temperatures every which way. The weekends north wind pushed the warmer water out to sea.

You need to get on the water by 5 am to see some action. Today the browns were an early bite in 40 fow then by 8 am they disappeared.

There has been a mix of different class salmon between 8 and 12 lbs. They are scattered. Fish straight out and west of Sodus Bay. Spoons have been working. Use bright UV green.


Sodus Bay had a rock bass tournament over the weekend and the rockies were not on the bite. Like Lake Ontario the winds and colder water temps have scattered the rock bass.

Perch are still in Port Bay. Fish near the channel using rubber shad bait two or three inches. Tip all your bait with spikes.
Bass season starts June 15th and Sodus Bay always produces lunkers.

Erie Canal

Clyde sponsored an “Erie Canal Fishing Derby” Saturday, and 24 youngsters plied the waters of the waterways, fishing poles in their hands. They caught sheepshead and catfish.

When bass season opens fish the Widewaters section of the canal. The largemouths are in the 6-pound class.

Currently, crappies are still being caught near the Port Gibson Bridge. You can fish from a boat or the shore. Bright small jigs work for crappies.

Bait for fishing is available on the south end of Sodus at Davenports and Bay Bridge Sport Shop.
On Port Bay Jarvis Bait Farm is open on Brown Road. The signs are on East Port Bay Road at the junction of Brown Road.
Toadz Bait is near the end of West Port Bay Road.

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:

John Carl king salmon
Good numbers of medium size Kings are starting to show up off the waters of Point Breeze. Courtesy of John Carl from PA aboard Tightlines Charters.

This fourth week of May still means relatively light fishing pressure here at the Oak Orchard and Point Breeze. Some charter operations have yet to move back from their western pursuits and on any given day you may find just a few rec guys. Therein lies some of the attraction for Oak Orchard action – the less harried waters. Look for more fishing pressure to return by about the Memorial Day holiday weekend and for sure by the Oak Orchard Open tourney time June 9 – 11, 2023. For now get out there and find some unpressured fish!

Cpt. Andy Krull of Gone Coastal Sportfishing is doing just that today, Tue May 23, 2023. He’s just west of port trying to put things together after a medium E blow yesterday. Today may be the day because the forecast is for some N winds tomorrow with a drop down cold front. He’s seeing good number of marks on the fish finder and thinks that things could start to set up nicely for consistent action. He’s working around 110 – 130 fow water and seeing those tell tale marks all the way from 45 ft to 100 ft down. A few more boats around him means the fleet has found a concentration of fish.

Some other new Lake anglers fishing with Tightlines Charters Cpt. John Oravec just recently got into mixed bag action for Kings and lakers. That’s the name of the game for spring time action, mixed catches of Kings and cohos and lakers and browns. Although the browns have become scarce off the beach they are probably lurking close by on the ledge. But these regular tributary anglers have now added a new dimension to their fish catching out in the open Lake. Good to see some cross over anglers making it an all year pursuit! Cpt Oravec found action to the east of port in 50 – 100 fow down 30 – 50 ft. Bright fluorescent spoons were the ticket for a #14 Atlantic too.

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

Brown trout has been the fish of choice the last week in Oswego. The kings have been more spread out and harder to find. So most successful anglers have been targeting the browns.

The best bite has been from 10 to 40 feet of water. Early in the day the shallow water have been most productive. But as the sun comes up, the deeper (20-40’) zone has been a better option.

We recommend flat lines in the shallow, and to start applying 2 to 5 color leadcores as you move deeper. Smaller size spoons have been working best, such as Gold Perch, Fat Nancy’s, Rosemary’s Baby and Golden Shiner.

Marco T. brown trout
Marco T. (Scranton PA) landed this fat brown trout while fishing with his father, out of Salmon River.

Lake Ontario – Mexico, NY

Click Here of the 10 day Forecast

Fishing in Mexico has been very sporadic. Some days the brown trout bite is on fire, while other days it’s very tough. But when the browns “don’t wanna play,” lake trout have been providing alternative action.

135-160’ from the Salmon River and north to Sandy Pond has been the best area to target lately. Browns have been holding in the 15-30’ range. Leadcores 1-4 colors being the best option. Purple Clown, Amber Alewife, Seasick, and Black Widow have all been good.

Tight Lines!

Dan K northern pike
Dan K., of Lure Forge landed this northern pike on Sandy Pond last week, fishing with a custom crank bait.

Sandy Pond

Click Here of the 10 day Forecast

North Sandy Pond is located four miles west of the town of Sandy Creek in Oswego County. North Sandy Pond is basically a large bay off from Lake Ontario separated from Lake Ontario by the Sandy Pond Beach Natural Area.

Fish Species: Largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, walleye, northern pike, pumpkinseed sunfish, bluegill, black crappie, white perch, yellow perch, common carp, bowfin, longnose gar, round goby, and brown bullhead. Chinook salmon and steelhead can also be found in the pond seasonally.

Sandy Pond Access: From State Route 3, take Stanley Drive to Doreen Drive. Hard surface ramp. North and South Sandy Pond can also be accessed through private boat launches and marinas found around the ponds.

DEC and Local Partners Host Public Meetings About Lake Ontario

  • Meetings Scheduled for 6/6 in Rochester and 6/21 in Mexico.
  • DEC Fisheries Staff to Share Current State of Lake Ontario Sport Fisheries

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Bureau of Fisheries Chief, Lake Ontario Unit Leader, and respective regional fisheries managers will be on-hand at two upcoming public meetings hosted by DEC partners in Rochester and Mexico. DEC experts will talk about the current state of the Lake Ontario sport fisheries and take questions on a wide array of management actions and research taking place on the lake and tributaries.

The Eastern Lake Ontario Salmon and Trout Association is hosting the second meeting in DEC’s Region 7:

What: Lake Ontario Sport Fishery Public Meeting
When: June 21, beginning at 7 p.m.
Where: VFW Hall, 5930 Scenic Avenue, Mexico, NY 13114

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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