Upstate and Western New York Fishing Report- September 14, 2023

Tim Young walleye
Tim Young of Niagara Falls with a lower river walleye he caught with Capt. Ernie Calandrelli of Lewiston.

Greater Niagara Region

Frank Campbell

Water releases from the Erie Canal will be starting Sept. 15 for the Oak Orchard River and Sandy Creek in Orleans County and they will begin on Sept. 21 for 18 Mile Creek affecting Burt Dam in Niagara. It should help bring salmon and trout into the tributaries and the pier heads.

Paul Sawicki with king salmon
Paul Sawicki of Angola with a big Niagara Bar king salmon (left) and John Van Hoff of North Tonawanda.

Fish are moving closer to the mouths of tributaries, especially where salmon and trout have been stocked. In Niagara County, that would be the Niagara River, Wilson and Olcott. For salmon, focus on Olcott and the Niagara River. According to Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctors in Olcott, salmon and trout are staging off the creek in the lake and the spoon bite has been very good the past week, although plugs are picking up their share of fish as well. One of the best colors right now is green. Having a red dot on the lure seems to make a difference. The best water depth has been 80-foot to 150-foot. Pier action is slow, but a few fish are showing up including some brown trout and king salmon. Some salmon have been seen jumping in the harbor there. Recent northeast winds may have had an effect on any kind of a program that was working out in the lake.

Chuck Brolinski musky
Chuck Brolinski of Lewiston with a lower river muskellunge he caught with Capt. Ernie Calandrelli of Lewiston.
Capt. Ernie Calandrelli with walleye reeled in by Elliott Skurski
Capt. Ernie Calandrelli of Lewiston holds up a lower Niagara River walleye reeled in by young Elliott Skurski of Amherst during a recent trip with his dad (Jay) and grandfather (Dan).

Bass fishing has been a bit slow the past week, but walleye action has remained consistent for anglers in the lower Niagara River as long as the conditions are right according to Capt. Joe Marra of Niagara Rainbow Charters. Using any kind of a spinner and worm combined with a southwest wind should catch you some walleyes. Fish are available from Devil’s Hole to the green can at the Niagara Bar. Smallmouth bass are still available, but you must work for them. Crayfish off three-way rigs is the best way to ensure some hook-ups.

Jay and Elliott Skurski smallmouth bass
Jay and Elliott Skurski with a smallmouth bass they caught fishing with Capt. Ernie Calandrelli of Lewiston in the lower Niagara River.
Mike Rzucidlo redhorse sucker
Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls caught this redhorse sucker in the lower Niagara River last week.

Upper Niagara River action has been good for both bass and walleyes according to Capt. Connor Cinelli of Grand Island. He’s been getting a handful of walleyes around the head of the river using harnesses. The bass fishing has been very good on crabs, shiners, Ned rigs, and dropshots around Donnelly’s Wall, the Emerald Channel, and above Strawberry Island.

National Hunting and Fishing Day festivities will be taking place at the NYPA Wildlife Festival, set for Sept. 23 and 24, at the Power Vista located at 5777 Lewiston Road, Lewiston from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day … and it’s free! There are plenty of wildlife and bird displays for the whole family to enjoy. The Fish Odyssey Awards ceremony is Saturday at the Festival at 4 p.m. in the Primate Sanctuary tent.

Wayne County Fishing Update

Chris Kenyon

Lake Ontario

Fishing for salmon is not the easiest when they stage. They are not interested in food.

Monday they were hitting between 120 and 150 fow. Meat rigs, spoons and stickbaits were catching some non-staging kings.

Some steelhead were caught off the Sodus Pier casting out Kastmasters and Cleos. There were some kings also porpoising the channel.

Late September and October have historically been brown trout entering Wayne County tributaries.
“Our streams are small, but our fish are big.”


The largemouth bass are hitting in Sodus Bay. They have been everywhere…especially near weedbeds. Use the Senko worm rigs, top water bait or spinner baits for the bass.

Don’t forget to fish at the north end breach for perch. Use paddle tail jigs with spikes.
Pike are being caught near LeRoy Island, trolling with large spoons. Or use pike minnows under a bobber.

Port Bay has pike at the southern end and trolling has been the best method. The DEC ramp at the south end is new and there are plenty of places to park your trailer. The ramp is off West Port Bay Road.

Erie Canal

Widewaters is again the place to launch and catch 6-pound largemouth bass. The cats have been caught near Clyde which has another great ramp.

You can also fish from the shore close to Route 31.

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:

Nordstrom crew king salmon
The happy Nordstrom crew boats a nice staging King while aboard Troutman2

Everyday angling pressure is falling off some around the Orleans County waters. This is a result of some charters beginning to pull for the season and a bit of a lull between the open Lake anglers and soon to come tributary pursuits. If any consistent staging action like around the wall at the Oak Orchard River mouth comes on, we may see a perk up in the trolling action. Some landlubbers on the piers are already casting for those first few Kings early or late in the day or at night and have so far found just a few hits. Anytime now, especially with a bit of a cool down and chance for NW winds for this mid and end week, the rivermouth action could heat up. Then we’ll look to see if any concentrations of fish move in and stage like in the lower river holding spots. So much depends upon the weather and more consistent cooler weather or a spate of water.

In the Lake the 60 – 80 fow and for others the 80 – 100 fow continues to be productive for mature Kings in the 12 – 25 lb range. And some boaters are still opting for the offshore action and are finding some Kings and steelhead out there. According to Captain J. Oravec (CJO), straight off the port to 6 miles east off the Little Flats, trolling flashers/flies and cut bait rigs off riggers and wire dipseys has been productive. Both the charters and rec anglers have been doing well. There’s been some outstanding bonus fish like a 15 lb steelhead, browns up to 14 lbs and some Atlantics sprinkled in. CJO has had one of his best years for numbers of good Atlantics hooked. “There’s been lots of fun times off the Oak! The spoon bite has been key! Keep an eye out for rainy weather Kings ready to move into the shallows and the pier head casting soon to start up.”

Stay tuned for fall, winter, spring tributary action for Kings, cohos, browns, Atlantics and steelhead!

Oswego County

morning salmon
Fat Nancy Tackle Shop’s manager, Mark, has been sneaking out to find a few fish each morning before work.

Salmon River, Pulaski NY

Click Here of the 10 day Forecast
Click Here for the Current CFS at Pineville

Salmon have been moving into the river. But after the big push during Labor Day weekend things have slowed down on the lower end. Most fish can be found in the upper stretches or the bigger pools. Look for the most oxygenated water and you will find salmon.

Best baits this time of year are flies in egg patterns or comets. Rubber egg imitations and foam eggs are always productive.

Another fun and rewarding way to fish is with a side planer and plug combo. M2 flatfish and K13&14 Kwikfish are the baits of choice.

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.

Oswego River

Click Here of the 10 day Forecast
Click Here for the Current CFS

The Oswego River is open to anglers! While the construction on the high wall limits access the dam and low wall are still open.

And with the warm water temperatures, the dam is the place to be. Reports this week have been light crowds and lots of fish.

As things cool down, try casting stick baits off the low wall to feel the strike of a lifetime! If you never had a king hit a retrieved lure you’re missing out! Deep divers are best, thundersticks, bandits and flicker minnows all are productive. Bright colors are the most successful.

Note: Click here to see a map of the areas that are closed due to construction.

Kaylee and Clyde P. king salmon
Kaylee and Clyde P., of Bremen ME landed these big kings while fishing aboard Cold Steel.

Lake Ontario – Oswego County

Click Here of the 10 day Forecast

Anglers are concentrating on the 70-105’ depths.

The kings and cohos have been very active the last week from just west of Oswego to north dunes. 9-Mile Point to the High Rocks has been good, as well as off the Pond.

The best lures lately have been 8” Stinger flashers trailing A-TOM-MIK flies in chin music/41, Green Bikini/Green Glow, Green Jeans/Hammer, Jacks Pretty Girl/Hammer and Hot Tamale with green combos.
Many boats are having success with 11” flashers pulling flies as well. Chartreuse/Live Lime Mirage, Valium/Green Flow and Jacks Pretty Girl/Hammer

  • 250-350’ coppers
  • Divers 120-220’
  • Downriggers 55-95’
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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