Upstate and Western New York Fishing Report- September 7, 2023

Greater Niagara Region

Frank Campbell

The Fall Lake Ontario Counties Trout and Salmon derby ended on Labor Day, and it was Robert Karker of Bridgeport, NY winning the $25,000 Grand Prize for the largest salmon with a 29-pound, 13-ounce fish he caught in the eastern basin of the lake off Sandy Pond. Runner up, earning a check for $5,000, was a Fair Haven salmon reeled in by Brian Gasper of Queensbury that weighed 29-pound, 8-ounces. However, Niagara County had its sharing of winners in this year’s contest. Robert Sczepczenski of North Tonawanda, fishing out of Olcott with Thrillseeker and Capt. Vince Pierleoni, finished second in the division with a 29-pound, 5-ounce king salmon. In the Rainbow Division, it was 14-pound, 15-ounce fish caught the final weekend by Scott Beck, Jr. of Kent out of the Oak. Second place was Danielle Steiner of Edinboro, Pa., a 14-pound, 10-ounce steelie that she led most of the derby with. Ten of the top 20 fish came from Niagara. The top brown trout was a 12-pound, 11-ounce fish weighed in by Arthur O’Mara of Moravia while fishing on the Niagara Bar the first weekend of the derby. Niagara also produced six of the top seven brown catches and 16 of the top 20 brown trout for the derby.

Arthur O'Mara brown trout
Arthur O’Mara of Moravia caught this 12-pound 11-ounce brown trout on the Niagara Barto win the division in the LOC Derby

Robert Sczepczenski king salmon
Robert Sczepczenski of North Tonawanda with a 29-pound, 5-ounce king salmon caught out of Olcott with Capt. Nick Glasser (left) and Capt. Vince Pierleoni of Thrillseeker Sportfishing.

So where were they catching the winners? The second-place salmon was caught off Olcott 80 feet down on a downrigger over 400 feet of water with a Magnum Dreamweaver spoon in an Alewife pattern. For the steelhead, out deep off Wilson and Olcott proved to be the best waters. Steiner was trolling waters over 400 feet deep and used a diver back 200-foot outfitted with a Hawk’s Custom Meat Rig to take her biggest steelhead ever on her birthday trip off Olcott. It was a bit unusual for so many brown trout to show up on the leaderboard for the fall, but Niagara owned the division this time around. The winning brown was caught on the drop-off at the Niagara Bar, 65 feet down over 65 feet of water with a DW spin doctor and A-Tom-Mik hammer fly. Yes, they were fishing for kings, but the browns were hungry. Fishing with Jeff Smith of Pa. on his boat Playing Hookey, the duo boated over 30 fish – mostly browns but with some nice kings mixed in. Speaking of the Niagara Bar, it was hot over the long weekend for John Van Hoff of North Tonawanda. Holiday action was outstanding for staging kings, using flasher/fly combos to pound mature salmon. Riggers down 60 feet and divers 200 back on a No. 2 setting saw constant action at the drop from 80 to 100 feet of water. They caught kings up to 25 pounds.

Noah Blanchard walleye
Noah Blanchard of Williamsville caught this lower river walleye on his 14th birthday fishing with Capt. Arnie Jonathan of Lockport.
Gary Laidman salmon
Gary Laidman of South Wales caught this Lake Ontario salmon this week fishing with Capt. Joe Cinelli of Grand Island.
John Van Hoff king salmon
John Van Hoff of North Tonawanda had a great Labor Day on the Niagara Bar catching king salmon up to 25 pounds like this one.

Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctors in Olcott reports that the harbor action for perch, pike, bass and panfish has slowed, probably because of the intense heat this week. With things back to normal next week, look for action to pick back up. Recent northeast winds helped bring in a few salmon and brown trout for pier fishermen, but it was just a teaser. For boat trollers, there have been a few staging kings first thing in the morning, but it doesn’t last long. Best depth was 250-foot. The best spoon has been Carbon 14. The best colors are black, black and purple, and black and silver. Flashers and flies in dark green, green, and white, and chartreuse are also working.

Mike Rzucidlo walleye
Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls with a nice walleye from the Niagara Gorge casting from shore with a stickbait.
Pete Wrobel musky
Pete Wrobel of Niagara Falls caught and released this musky off the NYPA fishing platform in the Niagara River gorge over the weekend.

In the lower Niagara River, Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls was continuing to catch walleyes and bass casting from shore with stickbaits, both at night and during the day in the gorge area. Pete Wrobel of Niagara Falls reports the first salmon off the NYPA fishing platform came this weekend and he also caught the first steelhead on the pin this fall. In addition, he caught and released a decent muskellunge off the platform. Egg imitations were working well. From boats, it has still been consistent fishing for both walleyes and bass from Devil’s Hole to the green can out in Lake Ontario off Fort Niagara. Worm harnesses and jigs are working for walleyes; crayfish, drop shot rigs, Ned rigs, tubes and swim baits should produce bass as we head further into September. Upper Niagara River action continues to be very good for bass and sheepshead.


Wayne County Fishing Update

Chris Kenyon

Lake Ontario

The kings are staging closer to shore in 150 to 200 fow down 80 to 100 feet. The smaller non-staging kings are out deeper in 400 fow.

Spoons have worked the best with meat rigs also catching kings.
The LOC Fall Derby awards were held Sunday at Riley’s Pub on the south end of Sodus Bay. The Grand Prize salmon caught by Robert Karker didn’t break the 30-pound class, which has been the typical weight for the last two years.

Check out the LOC Derby page for a complete leaderboard

Pier fishing has started with some kings and brown trout caught off the Sodus Pier. Cast out heavy spoons and bring a long-handled net.

Always use caution angling off any piers as the current flowing in and out of the bays can be very fast and dangerous.

Bays

Labor Day is the end of summer and the recreational boating season has slowed. This is good news for anglers fishing the bays.

Sodus has been the hotspot for bass. Fish the weedlines and concentrate off the points jutting into the bay.
The bass are hitting top water bait and Senko worm rigs.

There have been some smallmouths caught near the channel and a few perch netted near the northeast breach in the bay.

The green algae colored water has left Port Bay and largemouth bass have been caught along the southern weedlines. There has been a mixed bag of panfish caught near the Port Bay channel.

Erie Canal

Channel cats are still being caught in the canal. Fish the pools next to the current using shrimp and worms.
If you don’t have a boat there are pull-offs located along Rout 31 or fish from the trails in Clyde, Newark, and Port Gibson.
The canal has perch, bluegills, largemouth bass, catfish, crappies, and walleye.

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:

Heather and Rick aboard Get the Net Fishing Charters
Heather and Rick aboard Get the Net Fishing Charters have a nice mix of fish from the inside waters near Bald Eagle Creek. Courtesy Capt. Lou Borrelli

The John Cook “Old Timer” final leg of the KOTO (King of the Oak) took place this past weekend and congrats to Capt. Mike Grager for his 2023 top finish. Capt. Bob Stevens of Sunrise II took first place in the final round. Lots of other trollers were out and about too for the holiday weekend and their last chances for the Fall LOC Derby. Also wrapping up derby fever was the high dollar Big Boys Tourney.

Although derby time is behind us, there’s still lots of good open Lake action likely through September. And thanks to a return to warm, if not hot and calm weather for this week you can bet the off-shore action will be hanging in with the nearer shore stuff sliding out a little. Maybe those ornery bottom hugging staging Kings will just hunker down with their bellies deeper in the mud! Mud sharks!

Look for the hot weather to hang in through the mid and end of week with a cool down and chance of storms end of week and weekend. Look for chance of NE winds and cooling near shore waters after that.

Here’s a couple of reports from the past weekend… Limit catches or close to limit catches and mostly full coolers were the norm.

The Shotgun team
The Shotgun team of Eric B., Marc B., Parker S and Brion S. had a nice weekend salmon box.

Local anglers aboard the Shotgun boat were 10 for 12 on King salmon. Their pattern was spin doctors/flies or cut bait in 75 – 130 fow a couple miles east of port.

Capt. Lou Borelli aboard Get the Net worked 110 – 115 fow from the glass house to the flats. Lots of bait and active fish and any color as long as it was white was good. A white paddle with GRC glo ghost meat rig was their MVP. With a brighter sun spoons started working like the Warrior Lures black pearl. In the evening it was back to the same water if not a little deeper where they found big fish and also dropped a fair number of big matures.

Orleans County

Orleans County Sportfishing Coordinator Ron Bierstine:

Heather and Rick aboard Get the Net Fishing Charters
Heather and Rick aboard Get the Net Fishing Charters have a nice mix of fish from the inside waters near Bald Eagle Creek. Courtesy Capt. Lou Borrelli

The John Cook “Old Timer” final leg of the KOTO (King of the Oak) took place this past weekend and congrats to Capt. Mike Grager for his 2023 top finish. Capt. Bob Stevens of Sunrise II took first place in the final round. Lots of other trollers were out and about too for the holiday weekend and their last chances for the Fall LOC Derby. Also wrapping up derby fever was the high dollar Big Boys Tourney.

Although derby time is behind us, there’s still lots of good open Lake action likely through September. And thanks to a return to warm, if not hot and calm weather for this week you can bet the off-shore action will be hanging in with the nearer shore stuff sliding out a little. Maybe those ornery bottom hugging staging Kings will just hunker down with their bellies deeper in the mud! Mud sharks!

Look for the hot weather to hang in through the mid and end of week with a cool down and chance of storms end of week and weekend. Look for chance of NE winds and cooling near shore waters after that.

Here’s a couple of reports from the past weekend… Limit catches or close to limit catches and mostly full coolers were the norm.

The Shotgun team
The Shotgun team of Eric B., Marc B., Parker S and Brion S. had a nice weekend salmon box.

Local anglers aboard the Shotgun boat were 10 for 12 on King salmon. Their pattern was spin doctors/flies or cut bait in 75 – 130 fow a couple miles east of port.

Capt. Lou Borelli aboard Get the Net worked 110 – 115 fow from the glass house to the flats. Lots of bait and active fish and any color as long as it was white was good. A white paddle with GRC glo ghost meat rig was their MVP. With a brighter sun spoons started working like the Warrior Lures black pearl. In the evening it was back to the same water if not a little deeper where they found big fish and also dropped a fair number of big matures.

Oswego County

Public Access Temporarily Limited: Oswego’s West Riverwalk Rehabilitation Project is Underway

(Click Here to Read the News Release)

Visitors come from near and far to fish Oswego County’s pristine waters, especially during the legendary salmon run of the fall season. With access to New York State’s largest lakes, two renowned rivers and dozens of bountiful tributaries, lakes and ponds, the area is a world-class fishing destination.

This autumn, however, brings about changes to one of these premier fisheries. Construction is underway on the west bank of the Oswego River, and Oswego County and City officials are working to raise awareness about the project to ensure angler safety. (Click Here to Continue Reading)

Steve S. with early run king
Steve S., of Cape Coral Florida, caught this early run king while fishing with High Adventure Sportfishing.

Salmon River, Pulaski NY

Click Here of the 10 day Forecast

Salmon have been steadily entering the river for the last week or more. But with above average temperatures, no big pushes, just a steady flow. We’ve mostly been seeing action early and then it dies down when the sun comes up.
More fish have moved to the upper stretches of the river, where the water is cooler and there’s more shade. If you’re not on fish, keep moving to find the pods. Once you find them, there’s been action!

The best baits this time of year are flies an egg patterns or rubber egg imitations.

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

Jill and Scott
Jill and Scott from Waterford NY, doubled up their catch with Driftwater Fishing.

Lake Ontario – Oswego County

Click Here of the 10 day Forecast

The kings and Cohos are in! Fishing has been phenomenal this past week.

With high temperatures, most boats are concentrating on the 90-120’ depths The kings and cohos have been very active. From just west of Oswego to Salmon River has been good, especially 9 mile point to the high rocks.

The best lures lately have been 8” Stinger flashers trailing A-TOM-MIK flies in Black Eye Pea/Live Lime Mirage, Green Bikini/Green Glow, Green Jeans/Hammer, AA Hammertime/Stud and Hot Tamale/green combos.
Many boats are having success with 11” flashers pulling flies as well. Chartreuse/Live Lime Mirage, Valium/Green Flow, and Jack’s Pretty Girl/Hammer. Overall we recommend:

  • 300-350’ coppers
  • Divers at 150-220’
  • Downriggers 75-120’
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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