Upstate and Western New York Fishing Report- August 31, 2023

Greater Niagara Region

Frank Campbell

We’re heading into the final weekend of the Lake Ontario Counties Fall Trout and Salmon derby. There were three lead changes this past week for the $25,000 Grand Prize. First it was Robert Sczepczenski of North Tonawanda fishing out of Olcott with Thrillseeker Sportfishing and Capt. Vince Pierleoni taking the lead with a 29-pound, 5-ounce king salmon on Sunday. The next day, it was a Fair Haven salmon taking over the top slot with a 29-pound, 8-ounce Chinook reeled in by Brian Gasper of Queensbury. Tuesday it was Robert Karker of Bridgeport with a 29-pound, 13-ounce king weighed in at Henderson Harbor. In the Rainbow Division, it is still a 14-pound, 10-ounce steelhead reeled in by Danielle Steiner of Edinboro, Pennsylvania that she caught out of Olcott. The top brown trout continues to be a 12-pound, 11-ounce fish weighed in by Arthur O’Mara of Moravia while fishing out of Wilson. The LOC Derby continues through Labor Day.

Julius Labarbara
Julius Labarbara of Lackawanna with a 39-inch salmon that won the youth salmon division in the Fish Odyssey out of Olcott.

Blake Sczepczenski
Blake Sczepczenski of North Tonawanda caught this 10-pound, 2-ounce steelhead to take over the top youth steelhead in the Fall LOC Derby. He was fishing with Capt. Vince Pierleoni of Thrillseeker.
Parker Costello
Parker Costello of Lockport won the youth walleye division with this 27-inch Buffalo harbor fish.

The Greater Niagara Fish Odyssey Derby is now history, and some impressive catches came through the Fishing Chaos app that was used for the contest this year. We will have a wrap up next week. The awards ceremony is tentatively set for Sept. 23 at the NYPA Wildlife Festival.

Andrea Czopp
Andrea Czopp of Destination Niagara USA with the biggest salmon out of Olcott during a recent VIP Day set up by the Niagara County Fisheries Development Board.

Capt. Tom Pearse with Reel Adventure Sportfishing reports there is a nice mix of king salmon and steelhead between Wilson and Olcott in 400 to 500 feet of water. Greens and reds are the hot colors right now with it being primarily a spoon bite. Salmon have also started moving into the shallow water staging for the fall run. Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctors in Olcott reports some bigger kings have been reported in 150 to 250 feet of water, down as deep at 110 feet. Green is working with flashers, flies, and meat. In the harbor, she reports good perch, bass, and pike action on live bait.

Matt Parrish
Matt Parrish of North Tonawanda with a personal best brown trout he caught with Capt. Mike Johannes of On the Rocks Charters out of Wilson.

Capt. Mike Johannes of On the Rocks Charters reported good brown trout action off his home port of Wilson during the VIP fishing day Thursday inside of 50 feet of water. Spoons worked best off divers 55 to 60 feet back. Unfortunately, they were only able to boat less than half of what they hooked up, led by Town of Porter Supervisor Duffy Johnston. Johnston nearly perfected his in-water catch-and-release technique for all those on board. The biggest king salmon out of Olcott was a 19-1/2-pound king salmon reeled in by Andrea Czopp of Destination Niagara USA while fishing with Capt. Tim Sylvester and Tough Duty Charters. The largest Wilson fish was a 21-pound salmon hauled in by Tony Evans with the Wilson Town Council while fishing with Capt. Alan Sauerland of Instigator Sportfishing.

Trevor Wilson
Trevor Wilson of Lewiston with a smallmouth bass he caught in the Niagara River during the Odyssey.
Jake Joseph and Anthony LaRosa
Jake Joseph of Youngtown and Anthony LaRosa of Lewiston with Niagara River walleyes.
Bill Joseph
Bill Joseph of Youngstown with a chunky Niagara River walleye.

The Upper Niagara River and Eastern Lake Erie was invaded by 10 boats in the inaugural Casting for Courage event to raise awareness and funds for pediatric cancer thanks to Anchor Marine on Grand Island, Catching Dreams Charters, and the Courage of Carly Fund. According to Capt. Ned Librock of Catching Dreams, the tournament was a huge success. The ten teams boated 184 fish before noon, with Capt. Connor Cinelli of Grand Island leading the way with 31 fish that included bass, walleye, and sheepshead. The biggest fish was a 27-inch sheepshead, and there were numerous smallmouth bass in the 19-to-21-inch range tipping the scales at better than 5 pounds. Crayfish was a hot bait for bass as boats drifted three-way rigs around Strawberry Island and at the head of the river near the round house. In the lower river, walleye action was good for some Greater Niagara Fish Odyssey Derby fishermen, including Bill and Jake Joseph of Youngstown and Anthony LaRosa of Lewiston. Bruce Kowalski with TAAR Outdoors reported that 3- and 4-inch paddletails and 3- and 4-inch twister jigs did well on both bass and walleye in the lower river. One local favorite was Crack Head Jigs.

Wayne County Fishing Update

Chris Kenyon

Lake Ontario

Some of the kings are starting to stage so if the close to shore salmon won’t bite…go deep.
There were some nice kings caught in 160 to 400 fow down 80 to 90 feet. They have been biting on spoons, cut bait, and flasher flies.

Fish straight out from Sodus or Port Bay.

It’s that time of year for pier fishing. Cast out bright Kastmasters or Cleos. Sodus and Port Bays have channels where the returning salmon and trout enter the bays.

Make sure you sign-up for the LOC Fall Derby. The top prize money is a “whopping” $25,000.
The Derby started on the 18th and runs through Labor Day September 4th.

The exciting awards ceremony will be held at Riley’s Bar and Grill on the south end of Sodus Bay.

Counting today you have seven more days to catch the winning fish.


The recent rainfall has kept the water level in the bays higher than usual. This is all good news for launching your boat.

The largemouth bass are grabbing top water bait and the Senko worm rigs for weedbed fishing on Sodus Bay. If you have clear water next to shore cast out spinner baits.

The Port Bay water has cleared some. Last week the bay turned over and left a pea-green color. It was tough fishing. This week there has been a few smallmouths caught in the channel.

Erie Canal

The channel catfish are hitting near Palmyra. Fish the pools with cut shrimp and worms.
The bass are hitting in the Widewaters section and near Clyde the panfish are being caught. Clyde has an excellent launch site.

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.

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:

Hunter with king salmon
Hunter, aboard the fishy FI boat with a nice king salmon

The near shore action off the Point Breeze Oak Orchard waters that most anglers had been targeting earlier this trolling season has spread out. And just lately some cooler water has moved in-shore and is somewhat holding there for now. Forecast is for light onshore winds possibly through the mid week with gradual warming through the holiday weekend. Longer range forecast is calling for much warmer temps for the end of the upcoming weekend and next week. That may well be some of the more typical hot, humid weather we had so far missed out on. With the cooler near shore water moving around some on different days most guys are finding more stable conditions past 250 fow, yet mature Kings are being found anywhere from 40 fow out to 550 fow.

Once Oak Orchard fish start to tighten up some around the home waters to stage it should be a good run up the tribs. Some spoon tossers off the piers are already making some attempts at the first hook up of the season. The water is definitely cool enough for fish to be there if they wanted to be. And there are unconfirmed reports of a few fish, maybe Kings or browns or Atlantics at the Waterport dam.

One experienced rec angler (pictured above) aboard the fishy small craft FI recently fished the 25.5 – 26.5 line and saw tons of bait and fish but currents made for a crazy troll. A mag spoon on a 65 ft rigger took a good King salmon and other bites came off a 180 diver and flasher/fly. Another angler went out to the 31 line and started trolling back and got hook ups the entire way until they picked up in 150 fow. Reports place a good number of fish even out to the 31 – 34 line. Some of those may be on an eastward haul but if even some of those fish contribute to the staging action to come it bodes well for good action through September.

Andy Matusicky
Andy Matusicky with his 13 lb steelhead holding on 3rd place in the fall LOC Derby

Andy M. found his 13 lb LOC Derby steelhead in 500 fow. It came off a mag moonshine frog 90 ft down on a rigger. His crew had more action too but he’s not ready to give up all his secrets just yet!

Oswego County

Salmon Run Fishing Tips

Salmon Run Fishing Tips

Click Here to Watch The Video

In this video David Falato of Fat Nancy’s Tackle Shop in Pulaski, NY, gives us some fall fishing tips for the salmon run.

Contact info for Fat Nancy’s Tackle Shop:
3750 NY-13,
Pulaski, NY 13142

(315) 298-4051

To request Oswego County visitor information, and to order an official Fishing and Hunting Guide, go to, or call the Oswego County Tourism Hotline at 1-800-248-4FUN (4386).

Jacqueline McManus
Jacqueline McManus shows off a big brown trout, caught on a wooly bugger while fishing at the DSR.

Salmon River, Pulaski NY

Click Here of the 10 day Forecast

The kings have started to invade the salmon river with the higher flows we saw last week. But unlike most years, when you have to concentrate on the lower sections of the river to find fish, they are now spread out from bottom to the upper stretches. A bit of an anomaly for the early season.

At present the flow is 185cfs out of the powerhouse and 256cfs at Pineville. These flows, and cooler than normal temperatures, keep the fish moving. Because of this, we recommend concentrating on the faster moving water.

  • Upriver: check spots like the Head of the Wire, Frazier’s and Eli’s cove.
  • Mid river: try below the Sportsman and Glass Holes.
  • Lower river: we recommend The Staircase, Low Bridge and Ballpark.

Note: anglers should be aware of the construction at the Trestle Pool. The south side has been flattened out and the middle pillar has been removed.

Big king salmon
Big king! (Left photo) caught on Coldsteel, (Right photo) caught on Reel Addicted Charters.

Lake Ontario – Oswego County

Click Here of the 10 day Forecast

The big Southeast and Northeast wind we’ve seen have finally cooled the water enough to draw the big kings in close. The fish have been very active the last few days. Most anglers are finding success by concentrating on the 60-120’ depth range.

From just west of Oswego to all the way to Sandy Pond is good. But the Catfish to just north of the Salmon River has been best.

The best lures lately have been 8” Stinger flashers trailing A-TOM-MIK flies in Kryptonite/Stud, Marvs Fatty/Green glow, Hammertime/Hammer, and Hot Tamale/green combos.

  • 200-350’ for coppers
  • Divers in 90-180’
  • Downriggers at 40-90’
free fishing guide

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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