Upstate and Western New York Fishing Report- November 22, 2023

Greater Niagara Region

by Frank Campbell

Happy Thanksgiving! With the regular big game hunting season underway, fishing pressure in area waters has dropped off, especially in places like Burt Dam and 18 Mile Creek in Olcott. Fisherman’s Park at Burt Dam has limited numbers of cars in the parking lot, especially during the week. Karen Evarts at the Boat Doctors Tackle Barn in Olcott reports that there are still brown trout around, steelhead are moving in, and some late salmon are still being spotted, too. Eggs, flies and beads are the best baits right now.

In the lower Niagara River, action was very good last week but recent north winds have messed fishing up for a few days. Keep your fingers crossed that the winds switch back around again. Capt. Frank Campbell with Niagara County Sportfishing has reported some great fishing for salmon on the Niagara Bar, simply running Mag Lips in Green Machine and Lemonhead color patterns off three-way rigs. He caught a dozen kings over two days of action recently, along with brown trout, steelhead, and lake trout.

Gary Hall of Niagara Falls caught this salmon on the Niagara Bar with Capt. Frank Campbell, next year’s class of fish.
Gary Hall of Niagara Falls with a Niagara Bar salmon he caught with Capt. Frank Campbell of Lewiston this week.

Speaking of lake trout, the season opens for them on Dec. 1st in the lower Niagara River and Lake Ontario. Brown trout can be found throughout the river now and steelhead numbers have increased, too.

Mike Ziehm of Niagara Falls with a lower Niagara River steelhead he caught from shore in the gorge.

Egg sacs, beads, and Mag Lips are all producing trout. Capt. Joe Srouji of Angler Edge Charters likes running minnows off three-way rigs for catching trout.

Aidan Kelly of Elma caught his first brown trout in the lower river fishing with his father and Capt. Joe Srouji of Angler Edge.

Use a lighter sinker when running in shallower water. The regular bass season closes on Nov. 30th, but that will be followed up with a catch-and-release season through next June. Muskie season in the Great Lakes will continue through Dec. 15th. When the water turns super clear like it is now in the Niagara River or other area waters, try using smaller baits, smaller hooks, and lighter line. Use fluorocarbon leader material, too.

In the lower Niagara River gorge area, trout action continues to be decent with spinners and jigs, but some guys like running a chartreuse bead 8 to 15 feet under a float according to Bruce Kowalski with TAAR Outdoors.

Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls caught this big 17-pound lake trout in the lower Niagara River while steelhead fishing. Lake trout season opens Dec. 1st in the lower river.

Kowalski also noted some walleyes are being caught at the foot of Ferry Street and other upper river areas with 1/2-ounce jigs and swim baits.

Take note this holiday weekend. On Friday, Nov. 24, the Lewiston launch ramp will be closed for the day. According to Capt. Frank Campbell, because of low water conditions in the river, the Fort Niagara launches as well as the Youngstown launch will probably be tough to use, too, unless you have a smaller boat. Campbell said water is low enough that he wouldn’t chance it with his boat so take extra precautions.

Orleans County

Orleans County Sportfishing Coordinator Ron Bierstine reports:

Some rain expected today on the order of 3/4+ inch. If that much or more rain is realized, then look for a bump up in flows in the area smaller waterways like Marsh, Johnson and Sandy. Still not expecting something like a blow out event, but those low flows could rise to medium or slightly high with stained water color. Any bump up in flows could freshen up the action in those smaller waterways with the chance at some fresh fish migrations and a change from what’s been lower and clearer flows and corresponding tougher action. Weather ahead thru mid week looks OK and just slightly cooler for the end of the week. Earlier forecasts of chance of lake effect snow were changed.

I laid eyes on flows in the Oak yesterday and they are about the same as its been most of this fall season at medium or by most anglers consideration slightly high by fall standards. If there was more color to the water it would look like good later winter steelhead conditions. And – we may get some color or bump up in flows from the latest precipitation.

Mike K. from PA with one of the nice Atlantics that has shown up in the Oak this fall season.

Fishing pressure is not as intense as a few weeks ago and guys are spread out now on the Oak. Thanks to colder nights the water temps are down now so its more of a get-the-drift or swing down and slow kind of a scenario. Anglers making that switch and even getting into more natural colors are still having good success on mostly browns.

Mark Musser has been muggin’ the brown trout on Oak Orchard this week.

Still some “I think I can live” Kings around with both greener and whiter fish in the mix. Reports of a big steelhead here and there and still Atlantic salmon hook ups. Any slow down in action in the Oak probably not necessarily a result of that many less fish, just harder drifting conditions of the high-ish and colder flows. Any post spawn brown back on the feed can be a relative push over for a baitfish presentation. Look for drop back fish in the holes or the downstream slower, flat, frog water.

Oswego County

Steelhead season is in full swing. With the holiday weekend this is typically a busy time on the rivers. Fishing has been very good on both Oswego and Salmon.  Conditions, including the weather, look good for this weekend. New to steelhead fishing? – Consider booking a guide.

Salmon River, Pulaski NY

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

Dustin, from Oswego NY, landed this trophy while fishing with STS Guide Service.

Lots of steelhead have entered the river already; they are scattered from top to bottom.  The lower rtretch has started to see a slowdown in fresh fish. But otherwise, anglers are finding pods of fish from Altmar all the way through the Sportsman.   Considering all the salmon nests that have been built, the best baits are anything that imitate a single salmon egg. Beads, glo bugs, and soft eggs. Natural colors are typically you best choices, such as cheese, glo roe, Ontari-roe and tangerine. Egg sacs in blue, purple and yellow also produce well. But don’t be afraid to switch things up with a chartreuse bead or egg sac.

Oswego River

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

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

Tommy Q., of Rochester NY, caught this steely while fishing with Chasin’ Tail Adventures.

Fishing on the Oswego has been good, especially to the anglers willing to wade around. The Lower water conditions have allowed for greater access.   The wall anglers have had great success this past week throughout the day too.  Low light times are best. As water temperatures drop, we recommend to start concentrating on the slow water, looking for fish that are getting out of the current. Egg sacs in pink, lime and white have been best.  Beads in natural colors like Lightn up, Lorax, and tangerine have all been great too.The birds have been feeding heavy, so it’s finally time to break out the white jigs!

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