Upstate and Western New York Fishing Report- January 25, 2024

Tim Thomas steelhead
Tim Thomas of Amherst found difficult conditions in the lower Niagara River last weekend so he used Pro Cure scent on his plastics to catch steelhead like this one.

Greater Niagara Region

Frank Campbell

Fishing has been difficult the past week due to Western New York weather conditions. Snow, wind, and cold are being followed up with rain and melting snow that will undoubtedly have an impact on any kind of fishing.

Tim Thomas steelhead
Tim Thomas of Amherst did well over the weekend fishing from shore in the Niagara Gorge of the lower river catching steelhead like this one.

One person who couldn’t take the long delay in fishing trips was Tim Thomas of Amherst. Despite poor conditions in the lower Niagara River, he knew that his best option for a hook up was from shore in the Niagara Gorge. When he arrived last weekend, he found about a foot of visibility. To help tip chances to his favor, he used 4-inch soft plastics that was covered with Pro Cure steelhead scent. He put the bait on a 1/16-ounce jig head, using a ½-ounce fixed float. He did not find the need to use a slip bobber and he caught double digit steelhead, finding all his fish not any deeper than 5 feet of water. He also caught one lake trout. When walking around the icy rocks, make sure you have Korker Ice Cleats or some type of ice traction. Do not fish alone.

Mike Ziehm lake trout
Mike Ziehm of Niagara Falls caught this lake trout in the gorge on a jig.

Mike Ziehm of Niagara Falls chimed in with a report on Tuesday that said the water was still filthy, with one foot of visibility below the power plant and two feet above the plant. White and chartreuse bucktail jigs produced some steelhead and lake trout for him.

Mike Ziehm steelhead
Mike Ziehm of Niagara Falls made it out Tuesday in the lower river this week and managed to catch steelhead like this one in difficult conditions.

There hasn’t been anyone boat fishing that we have heard of, and the water could become more stained mid-week when we start receiving the one-two punch of rain and snowmelt. Winds up on Lake Erie haven’t been as much of a problem because of shoreline ice limiting erosion. Lake Erie was still at 35 degrees earlier this week.

Tyler Siegmann lake trout
Tyler Siegmann of Lewiston shows off a lower Niagara River lake trout he caught before the water muddied up. Fishing should be good again once it starts to clear.

Tributaries off Lake Ontario are offering limited fishing options. If you can find open water, there is a chance to get a line wet. Large streams with flow, such as below Burt Dam, are your best option for success. Smaller streams were currently iced up.

Mark your calendar for the Greater Niagara Fishing Expo, slated for Feb. 15-18, 2024 at the Niagara Falls Convention Center. Admission is $10 a day or $25 for all four days. With over 200 educational seminars available, it’s the perfect “teaching fishing” show for anyone who fishes – young and old. Check out niagarafishingexpo.com for details.


Wayne County Fishing Update

Chris Kenyon

Streams

The ice is on the banks of Maxwell Creek on the south side of Lake Road. The flow is good, however finding ice free spots is tough. Rain and warmer temperatures this week will make it easier to fish. If you can fish Maxwell use egg sacs for steelhead.

Remember the regulations for Lake Ontario tributary fish. Three in combination, not to include more than two Rainbow Trout (or Steelhead) in the lake, and not to include more than one Rainbow Trout (or Steelhead) and one Brown Trout in the tributaries.

Bays

We have ice, however, do not fish in the deeper water. Sodus Bay has 4 to 5 inches 100 feet from shore out from Davenport Marina and Oak Park. The shanties were out this weekend. Ice anglers are happy.

We have rain and warmer temperatures this week which will soften the ice. With any snow coming it will be a slushy mess. Hopefully we don’t have open water later this week.

There is safe ice over by LeRoy Island. The pike fishing was slow; however, you should try different bait. Pike minnows work, although they are not cheap.

Port Bay has the same ice situation; however, the 500-acre bay usually freezes uniformly. Do not carve any holes next to the tribs flowing into the bays. The under-ice current has been steady with all our recent rain.
Always use caution with first ice and don’t take any ATV’s out yet.
Bait shops that are open are highlighted below.

Bass season has closed except for catch and release fish until June 15th.

Pike season will continue until March 15th and when we get safe ice you should concentrate near LeRoy Island.

Erie Canal

Widewaters will be the first place to dig holes in the ice. The ice is safe with a solid 4 inches, however that can change with higher temperatures and rain predicated this week.

Anyone underway in a boat less than 21 feet in length anytime between November 1 and May 1 must wear a securely fastened life jacket.

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.

Oswego County

The levels on the Salmon River have been steady this past week, and the fishing has been average. The Oswego levels were very high but they finally come down. Unfortunately, with the high temperatures and rain we are facing, the lower levels might be short-lived.

Karl T. steelhead
Karl T. landed this steelhead while fishing with Sich’s Guide Service.

Salmon River, Pulaski NY

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

With the water flow holding at 500 CFS this week, the fish have been condensed into the deeper holes. This led to good fishing when you found them. With recent higher temperatures and rain, we will likely see an uptick in runoff. This typically slows the bite.

There has been a good mix of fresh and dark fish in the system this week. Steelhead are spread out throughout the system. Black Hole, Town Pool, 81, Compactor, Sportsman, Pineville, Trestle, Wire and Schoolhouse are all “go to” spots.

The best baits have been egg sacs in purple, blue, peach and white. The old pink worm has been taking a few as well. Jigs have also been taking more fish too. We recommend whites with a touch of color (such as pink, peach, chartreuse), and black or browns. Don’t be afraid to tip your jigs with wax worms.

Brooke T. steelhead
Brooke T. from Endwell NY with a beautiful winter steelhead caught fishing with Chasin’ Tail Adventures.

Oswego River, Oswego NY

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

With the high and dirty water the past week not many Anglers has been finding success on Oswego River. But if you give it a go, the best bet is to go big!

In these conditions try beads in 10-12mm sizes. Chartreuse, oranges, and combination of 2 colors, such as Starburst, Tangy, Atomix Yellow and SUV Orange.

Just above the powerhouse has been a very productive spot. And as the water remains high don’t overlook the kiddie pool. Lots hold there to get out of the heavy currents and actively hit jigs, beads and stickbaits.

Tight Lines!

Note about shore access: construction along the Riverwalk is complete in most areas, but much of the high wall remains closed. Click here to see a map of the areas that are closed due to construction.

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.

Welcome to Oswego County - Watch the Video

Welcome to Oswego County – Watch the Video

Discover more at visitoswegocounty.com

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