Upstate and Western New York Fishing Report- March 28, 2024

Beau Canzoneri with smallmouth bass
Beau Canzoneri of Sanborn with a kayak smallmouth bass from Olcott Harbor.

Greater Niagara Region

Frank Campbell

April 1st is the state’s inland trout opener. Trout stocking is taking place all around the state to get ready for kick off, including additional stocking after the season starts. Two of those spots are Oppenheim Park Pond in Wheatfield and Hyde Park Lake in Niagara Falls. While a specific date has not been set, DEC is saying it will be the first week of April when hundreds of fish will be stocked in Oppenheim and thousands will be stocked at Hyde Park. When we say “inland trout opener” this does NOT include the Great Lakes tributaries. Those are open all year for trout fishing. Check out the regulations at March 30 is the official opening of the NYPA Fishing Platform and its other fishing facilities. Take note that the platform and facilities will be closed on April 8. If you want to check on the platform’s status, call 286-6662.

Kurt and Jaxson Heine with steelhead
Kurt Heine of Massachusetts with his son Jaxon Heine of Virginia with a nice steelhead they caught in the lower Niagara River fishing with Capt. Joe Srouji of Angler Edge Charters.

Kurt Heine with first steelhead
Kurt Heine of Massachusetts with his first steelhead ever, fishing the lower river with Capt. Joe Srouji of Angler Edge Charters.
Jaxon Heine steelhead
Jaxon Heine of Virginia with his first steelhead ever, caught in the lower river fishing with Capt. Joe Srouji of Angler Edge Charters.

Saturday morning conditions were tough on the lower Niagara River reports Capt. Joe Srouji of Angler Edge Charters. Big north winds and water that was still somewhat stained from earlier in the week made fishing difficult to start. However, by afternoon the wind settled, and the sun came out – all good to turn fish on. His afternoon bite was incredible using typical steelhead baits, including eggs and minnows. Capt. Connor Cinelli of Grand Island reports he did well Monday using silver 3.0 Mag Lips off three-way rigs. His crew landed steelhead, lake trout and brown trout, fishing Devil’s Hole, Artpark, and Stella. They caught fish everywhere they dropped a line.

Jeff Frischkorn with steelhead and lake trout
Outdoor writer Jeff Frischkorn of Ohio with a lower Niagara River lake trout he caught with Capt. Frank Campbell.
Avery Shulz with steelhead
Avery Shulz of Pennsylvania with a lower Niagara River steelhead he caught fishing with Capt. Chris Cinelli of Grand Island.
Dawson Lundquist smallmouth bass
Dawson Lundquist of Grand Island with a big Niagara River bass he caught with Capt. Jeff Draper of Grand Island.
Grace Frischkorn with lake trout
Grace Frischkorn of Ohio with a Niagara River lake trout from Devil’s Hole with Capt. Frank Campbell.

Capt. Matt Yablonsky of Wet Net Charters reports that the steelhead bite is finally picking up. Devil’s Hole and Artpark are both producing fish. The egg bite is starting to improve and there is a good bite on minnows as well. Yablonsky filmed a show last December with Mark Romanack and Fishing 411 television on the Niagara Bar. That show will air this week on the World Fishing Network on Saturday at 7:30 a.m.; and The Sportsman Channel on Friday at 10:30 a.m., on Sunday at 11 a.m., and Monday at 5 a.m. It will be on the show’s YouTube Channel next week.

Scott Feltrinelli of Ontario Fly Outfitters reports that he has already started to catch smallmouth bass in the tributaries. Beau Canzoneri of Sanborn (pictured above) proved that when he pulled out his kayak and hit 18 Mile Creek recently and caught several healthy smallmouth bass by drop shotting some Baby Z too plastics. Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctors in Olcott reports that some yellow perch were being taken over the weekend off the piers. Casting spoons and spinners is an option to catch trout off the piers, too. The Wilson pier is producing a few fish, as well. Remember that the Niagara County Bullhead Tournament is set for April 12-14 so mark it on your calendar. Call 628-6078 for more information.

Wayne County Fishing Update

Chris Kenyon

Lake Ontario

The good ole March wind continues to blow. Currently it’s a south wind with gusts of 30 mph.
The charter boat captains in Wayne County are anxious for the season. Some boats are in the water and the captains are preparing all the rigging and electronics for the trout and salmon catch.

The good news is around 90,000 kings are coming to Wayne County. And I don’t mean some sort of fancy get together with silly costumes and funny head gear. We are talking king salmon, and the net pen project is a go.
The charter captains are preparing the pens, and the salmon will be coming in early April. We will keep you posted on the exact dates. Ya hooooo!


Strong south winds have kept the boats off the bays. The perch have not spawned yet and the word on the bay is it will be another two weeks. They have been hitting white rubber 2-inch shad bait. Tip that with a spike and when the wind stops, concentrate on the drop-off points in Sodus and Port Bays.

Docks for the launch sites will be scheduled to arrive sometime in April and before the May 1st walleye and pike opener.

Launch sites for Sodus: Next to the Coast Guard Station (till Memorial Day) and Bay Bridge Sport Shop. The water level in Sodus might make the Margarita dock an easier launch site. Check it out. It’s on your right on Route 14 just past Martin’s Marina.

Launch sites for Port Bay: Barrier bar road at the north end of West Port Bay Road and the south end DEC site.
Use caution at the Port Bay ramps because the docks have not arrived yet.

Pike season closes March 15th.

Erie Canal

The strong gusty winds which kept the boats off the bays is not really a problem on the canal. It is a little choppy however you can fish safely from a boat or the shoreline.
Crappies are still hitting in Widewaters. Fish near the Port Gibson bridge.

The bass season starts June 15th if you wish to keep your catch. Make sure the fish are 12 inches and the limit is five fish.

The official opening of the canal is May 17. 2024.

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 fish are feeding. Fishing remains good, from river to lake.

Franko with steelhead
Franko, from Scranton PA, with his first steelhead. Booking with a guide is a good option for first timers!

Salmon River, Pulaski NY

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

Fishing on the Salmon River remains good. Things did slow down a bit after this past weekend’s bitterly cold temperatures. Hopefully the warmup earlier this week will get things back on track.

The best baits have been blue, white and purple. Beads have also been effective in sizes 8 and 10 mm. The classic pink worm has been working as well. Beads with a yellow base are working best, such as “Eggactly,” Candy Corn,” “Tangerine,” and “Bloodline.”

Fish are really spread out from top to bottom, so don’t be afraid to cover water.

Kevin C. with steelhead
Kevin C., of Binghampton NY, with a big steelhead caught with Chasin’ Tail Adventures.

Oswego River, Oswego NY

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

The number of fish in the system has been decreasing as fish spawn and head back to the lake. The best bait remains beads in 8mm. We recommend covering water to find the fish that are willing to bite.

Fishing remains decent behind the hotels in the lower river for brown trout. But remember, walleye season is closed.

Swim baits and blade baits, fished close to the bottom, have been taking bass and trout. White, silver, and gold are good color choices. Don’t be afraid to throw a deep diving crank as well.

Lake Ontario – Lake Ontario – Oswego, Mexico, Port Ontario NY

Click Here of the 10 day Forecast

Fishing this week was tough with the all the wind. Heavy south winds cleared up the shoreline. But Friday that pattern should change. It should create some colored water to get the brown trout feeding.

There have been plenty of 2-yearold browns around with a few holdovers as well. Stick baits in naturals work great in clear water and bright baits in the dirty water. Spoons on short cores are also a great way to target shallow trout.

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

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