Upstate and Western New York Fishing Report- February 22, 2024

John Anaka with walleye
John Anaka shows off a nice walleye he caught in Tonawanda Creek recently.

Greater Niagara Region

Frank Campbell

We can always count on some type of bad weather for the Greater Niagara Fishing Expo and this year was no different. Rather than getting people on the water (both hard and soft) last weekend, most anglers (both young and old) opted to stay indoors because of the weather. The Niagara River conditions are slowly improving, and we should see some people this week as temperatures should reach 50 degrees today. It looks like a nice weekend, too.

Parker Cinelli with steelhead
Parker Cinelli of Grand Island with a Devil’s Hole steelhead he caught with his dad, Capt. Chris Cinelli of Grand Island.

Tracey Mikolajek with lake trout
Tracey Mikolajek of Orchard Park with a Niagara River lake trout she caught with Capt. Ryan O’Neill of Buffalo Wingz Sportfishing.

The river was trashed after the high winds last week. According to Capt. Chris Cinelli of Grand Island, when you can get back on the water, it should be good because it appeared there were a lot of fish in the river during his trips out last week. A mixed bag of trout and walleye are available to drifters from Devil’s Hole to the Niagara Bar. The best baits should be minnows, shiners, and eggs. MagLips and Kwikfish will also work if you get the right wind or adjust your boat to the right speed. All presentations are fished off three-way rigs. In the Niagara Gorge, shore casters can do well before the boaters as the shoreline normally clears first.

Mike Ziehm with steelhead
Mike Ziehm of Niagara Falls is the first person out that we heard to catch a fish in the stained Niagara River water. Here he is with a big steelhead he caught on Tuesday.

Mike Ziehm made it out for a short time on Tuesday and managed to catch a couple nice trout and lose another with about a ½-foot of visibility. He was using one of his homemade No. 4 spinners in chartreuse and pink. Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls will use No. 4 and No. 5 spinners, jigs, and KO Wobbler spoons to target fish, seeking out the clearest water he can find.

Capt. Ryan O'Neill with steelhead
Capt. Ryan O’Neill of Buffalo Wingz Sportfishing shows off a steelhead he caught in Devil’s Hole on a MagLip 3.5.

Mike Erdt of Williamsville found low, clear conditions at Burt Dam less than a week ago. He caught two fish on eggs and one on a bead. He also saw fish caught on jigs. Many of the small tributaries have been locked up with ice over the past week, reports Scott Feltrinelli of Ontario Fly Outfitters. With the recent snow (and possible rain) and warmer temperatures this coming week, look to see water levels rise and stain. Feltrinelli insists that this will create good conditions for fishing. Many of the fish have backed out into the lake with the low and icy conditions earlier in the week. He is hoping to see new fish move into the tributaries when the water levels rise.


Wayne County Fishing Update

Chris Kenyon

Streams

A few steelhead have come from Maxwell Creek; however, the action is terribly slow. Pier fishing is also a challenge because of ice build-up. Maybe with the warmer temps this week, you’ll have a chance to cast out into the Sodus Bay channel.

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

Even with the cold few nights experienced in Wayne County, there is no safe ice. Sodus and Port Bays do not have enough ice, and many parts still have open water.

The bad news is the next three days we will have 45-degree warmth. Who wants this warmth, anyway???
Don’t take any chances and stay off the bays.

I guess we can hope for open water on all bays. Then we can launch boats. Of course, if it freezes again, you’ll have to winterize your motor.

Next week I’ll have a more positive report…open water or safe ice!

Bass season has closed except for catch and release fish until June 15th. Remember this!! You cannot keep any bass while ice fishing.

Pike season will continue until March 15th and the best place to hook pike is near LeRoy Island on the northeast corner of Sodus Bay.

Erie Canal

Widewaters is covered with a slushy covering, however with warmer few days predicted, it will disappear.

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.

Orleans County

Orleans County Sportfishing Coordinator Ron Bierstine:

Coming out of another stretch of cold weather and some snow over the past weekend. There are area accumulations of around 4 – 6 inches of windblown snow, probably greatest along the lakeshore. Weather forecast ahead is warming, highs at least in the 40’s°F right thru the weekend, save for a colder day expected Saturday bracketed by a couple of cold nights. Chance of rain or showers end of week. Trib flows all around are low and clear, with flows in the Oak being the least low. There has been some renewed icing especially in the smaller waterways.

Fishing pressure has been pretty light, mostly concentrated on the Oak where careful long and light drifters have still scored some steelhead hook ups like at the dam. Downstream swingers have had some action on brown trout.

Look for snowmelt ahead and the chance for rising flows with the smaller area waterways opening back up. Any significant rain added to the equation could bolster flows all the more. After the blowout conditions of 3+ weeks ago and the subsequent dry conditions since, the area could use more precipitation or snow for melt-off to help raise trib flows back up. Good trib maintenance flows for springtime March and April could help out the steelhead action (and near shore Lake Ontario) so we’ll have to wait and see what the weather ahead may bring in the way of precipitation and temps.

Show Season Schedule

Stop by any of these shows, pick up our travel guides and mini calendar when you introduce yourself to the Orleans County Tourism staff at the following outdoor shows over the next few months:

  • Springfield Sportsmen’s Show – Eastern States Expo, MA • Feb. 23 – 25, 2024
  • Empire State Outdoor Sportsmen’s Show – Suffern, NY • Feb 29 – March 3, 2024
  • West Virginia Fishing, Hunting & Outdoor Sports Show – Morgantown, WV • March 2 – 3, 2024
  • Connecticut Fishing & Outdoor Show – Mohegan Sun Earth Expo Center, CT • March 22- 24, 2024

Oswego County

The steelhead are spawning – get ready for an incredible dropback season!

Art F. and his grandson Sam
Art F. and his grandson Sam enjoyed a sunny day of fishing with STS Guide Service.

Salmon River, Pulaski NY

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

Like last week, with water levels at (750) the fish have been spread out. There aren’t many big number spots now. But there are a few fish just about everywhere. On the positive side fish are starting to move to spawning areas and the population of post spawn fish is increasing. This will help increase pockets of fish.

Don’t be afraid to cover water to find activity. Classic winter spots like the Schoolhouse, Trestle, Sportsman, 81 and Town Pools have all been good. But also start concentrating on the slower, deep spots below know spawning grounds.

The best baits have been egg sacs in pink, blue, peach and purple. The reliable pink worm has been taking a few as well! The bead bite has slowed down, but a bright bead early in the day has taken a few bites. Jigs are still taking a few fish too. Don’t be afraid to tip your jigs with wax worms.

Bottom bouncers have been having the most success this week. A few bank anglers, deploying side planers and plugs, are capitalizing as well.

Pete D. with steelhead
Pete D., from PA, landed this steelhead fishing with Blue Line Adventures.

Oswego River, Oswego NY

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

Now that the water levels have stabilized the fish seem to be more active.

Beads and jigs have been working, but the egg bite has really started picking up with finicky biters. Try fishing beads in 10-12mm sizes. Chartreuse, oranges, combination of the 2 colors, such as Starburst, Muskegon Madness, and UV Tangerine. For egg sacs, try chartreuse, pink and peach.

Just above the powerhouse is always a very productive spot. And as the water remains high don’t over look the kiddie pool.

The harbor has also been fishing well lately with the high water. Egss on the bottom has been taking trout, while swim baits and blade baits have been taking walleye and trout. White, silver and gold are all great colors.

Tight Lines!

free fishing guide

Free Oswego Fishing Guide

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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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