Long Island and NYC Fishing Report- February 29, 2024

White perch and holdover stripers stir in the brackish estuaries, the ponds give up largemouth bass and perch, and offshore wreck trips see decent fishing for cod on jigs and bait.

Long Island and NYC Fishing Report

  • Perch move into the shallows as temperatures warm and they prepare to spawn, prompting fast action and aggressive bites. 
  • Offshore wreck trips land decent numbers of keeper and short cod on jigs & bait, with a noticeable improvement in the fishing this past weekend. 
  • Noticeable uptick in holdover catches this week. 

Petey Trovato from Lindenhurst Bait and Tackle told me:

“Me and the little guy went fishing the other day. We had one pickerel and that was about it, but we’re going back today with the nice weather and hopefully we’ll have better action. The weather’s going to be warm and the freshwater fishing should get really good over the next week for bass, perch, and pickerel.” 

Capt Joe. From the King Cod out of Captree reported on their Sunday, 2/25 trip: 

“Improved fishing today as there seems to be a little bit of life now to the west. 16 keeper Cod, and around a dozen shorts made it over the rail today for a light crowd of 13 anglers. Fish where caught on both bait, and jigs. We will be sailing again on Friday, March 1st, Saturday March 2nd, & Sunday, March 3rd.” 

The King Cod needs a few more reservations to make it’s March 1st trip happen, learn more by visiting their Facebook page.

Paul McCain of River Bay Outfitters in Baldwin told me:  

“Yellow perch are getting ready to spawn and moving into the shallows, and that action has been fast. If you find the school you can land a dozen in under 10 minutes. The same can be said for White perch in the brackish waters. 

Fishing is only going to get better as spring settles in. We’re in that transitional period where it’s going to be a rollercoaster of warm and cold weather. Once the weather ticks up a few degrees, the fish really tend to come alive and bites shouldn’t be too hard to find.  

Pickerel have been feeding more aggressively, in contrast to some slower action the past few weeks when it’s been more wintery. Whether on a fly or on spinning tackle, those fish can make for fun aggressive bites this time of year.” 

Here’s what local anglers have been posting on social media:

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by @nothingeverchanging

 

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A post shared by Brian (@bsprex)

 

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A post shared by Joe Tangel (@kingcod_fishing_)

If you have a catch you’d like to share, DM me on Instagram @nick_onthewater.

Everybody OK after last night’s wind? Those gusts were so strong I found a few of my neighbor’s roof shingles in the road while walking my dog this morning. If you live more inland you probably didn’t think it was all that crazy, but up on the North shore it was LOUD, and it made my whole house creak. It looks like the recently-restored beaches out East held up to the storm, after the thrashing it took not long ago which eliminated a ton of the beach. 

Speaking of beach erosion, this past weekend I joined the Long Island Beach Buggy Association (LIBBA) in their annual Operation Christmas Tree event. Back in January, Christmas trees were donated to be placed in strategic areas to strengthen the dunes. After a few weather delays due to snow, the operation successfully took place and a ton of volunteers showed up to help haul the trees down the beach and place them in their barriers. 

LIBBA’s Operation Christmas Tree event was a success this past weekend, with a solid turnout on the beach.

The hype is building fast. Back-to-back 50-degree days, and some epic striper fishing footage on the OTW YouTube channel has me super-ready for the spring. Over the next couple of weeks I’ll be cleaning the dust off my kayaks and getting them ready to target freshwater species for the better half of March before getting salty once again in the back bay.

I’ll be undertaking my daily ritual of walking a hot thermos of coffee down to the nearest body of water and checking for bait. I’m definitely getting ahead of myself, but if this spring is anything like last year—which the current weather forecast has me thinking it will be—we might be in for an early start again.  

Long Island and NYC Fishing Forecast

As the weather warms up, the freshwater fishing should really turn on. It’s tempting to launch a kayak on one of LI’s lakes this weekend, but remember that water temperatures will be dangerously cold still, so be sure to pack a dry-suit and a PFD if you plan to venture out on the water. 

Holdover fishing has seen a noticeable uptick with the weather, and many holdover fishermen are optimistic we’ll have a repeat of last year’s epic Spring and opening week of the striped bass season in NY. It was one of my personal best, and many others back in 2023. 

The weekend has some spotty rain in the forecast but pleasant temperatures. I’d encourage anyone to get out and fish if they can. Places like Belmont Lake, Blydenburgh, Argyle Lake, Hempstead Lake, and Twin Lakes can yield perch, stocked trout, bass, and chain pickerel.  

My ideal freshwater outfit for most of Long Island’s ponds is 10- to 15-pound braid with 4-pound mono or fluoro leader. If I’m tired of snapping knots, or if I’m fishing a more rocky area, I’ll upsize to 10- to 12-pound leader as necessary.  

For lure selection, the most universal choice that can probably catch every fish in one of these lakes is a 1/8-ounce jighead rigged with a 2- to 3-inch soft plastic. Think crappie magnets, keitech easy shiners. Lastly, there’s  the old faithful ¼ ounce kastmaster spoon. 

Get out there and fish, and DM your photos to me @nick_onthewater on Instagram.

Thanks for reading, and tight lines.  

The L.I./NYC Fishing Report is written and compiled by NYSDEC licensed kayak fishing guide, Nick Cancelliere (@nick_onthewater).

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