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Central New York Fishing Hotline

August 18 - August 25

A number of county web sites offer good information on fishing in the region, including bait shops, guides, etc. A few examples are: Onondaga County (fishonondagacounty.com); Oswego County (visitoswegocounty.com); and Wayne County (waynecountytourism.com). Oswego and Wayne counties also have a weekly fishing hotline on their web pages.

April 1st was the start of the new Freshwater Fishing Regulation Guide: April 1, 2017 - March 31, 2018. You can obtain a copy from a licensing agent or view it at Summary of Freshwater Fishing Regulations.

Region 7

Lake Ontario

Salmon are still scattered and being found from 150 to 650 foot of water. Basically keep covering water till you mark fish or bait. When found, the Chinook salmon fishing continues to be very good with flasher and flies producing the most action at this time, cut-bait is also working at times. Try for smallmouth bass in 20 foot of water with crayfish, tube jigs or drop-shot rigs.

Oswego River

The river is down and is at 2,370 cubic feet per second (cfs) as of 8/18. Look for smallmouth bass in the river with crayfish or tube jigs, also try crayfish for the sheepshead.

Remember, the bridge to Leto Island is closed, and there are mandatory personal flotation device (PFD) zones on the river. Visit Oswego County Tourism web site for more information on this and also for information on the life jacket loaner programs in the area.

Salmon River

This river flow is at 185 cfs as of 8/18. Things are quiet on the river this time of year, which is normal, but it shouldn't be too much longer before a few salmon start trickling in. For information on salmon fishing please view Pacific Salmon Fishing in Lake Ontario Tributaries.

The Salmon River Fish Hatchery building continues to be closed due to construction. The grounds, including picnic area and fish ladder, are still open dawn to dusk. We anticipate construction to be finished early summer. If you are planning a visit, we suggest calling the Salmon River Fish Hatchery in advance. You can reach the hatchery at 315-298-5051, Monday through Friday 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM.

Cayuga Lake

Keep an eye out for weed mats and other debris, as they have been an issue for some anglers when trolling. Fleas have also been a nuisance for some anglers when trolling. Sometimes using a heavier pound monofilament helps to avoid some of the fleas, as does trolling with lines that don't run straight "up and down", as lines fished off downriggers do. Instead try trolling with wire and dipseys, or copper. Vertical jigging is also another option if fleas get too bad. Anglers continue to have good luck catching lake trout either trolling or vertical jigging. Trolling 60 to 90 feet down over 90 to 120 foot of water has been a good starting point as has vertical jigging in 65 to 95 foot.

Skaneateles Lake

Trolling 40 to 50 feet down over 60 to 80 foot of water with small spoons is working for lake trout and an occasional rainbow trout. Look for smallmouth bass in 10 to 20 foot of water on perch colored Rapalas, tube baits, drop-shots, topwaters, and wacky rigged stickworms (Senko style baits). Rock bass should be biting in the same areas and on the same baits.

Owasco Lake

Weed mats and fleas are making trolling difficult at times (see Cayuga Lake above for tips on fleas). Lake trout are being taken 50 to 60 foot down on spoons or flasher and flies. A few rainbow trout are also being caught at that depth.

Oneida Lake

Water color varies greatly depending on what area of the lake your fishing, from nice and clear to green. Walleye are being taken in deep water by anglers trolling with worm harness or blade baits. When anglers find them, yellow perch fishing has been good on small minnows. Gizzard shad should be getting big enough for the bass to start targeting them. So, keep an eye out for surface feeding activity while your out there. If you see it, get to the area quickly and try surface lures, swimbaits or lipless crankbaits.

With round gobies now abundant in the lake, it may require some adjustment in the way anglers fish for walleye. The same thing was required when zebra mussels become established in the lake and the water went from turbid to clear, fishing methods needed to be changed to match the conditions. Gobies are very bottom oriented fish so sometimes just getting a foot or two off bottom will help to avoid some of them. If using worm harnesses try trolling instead of drifting, the faster speed keeps them higher off bottom and also helps to avoid some of the gobies. Using artificial lures instead of live bait can also help. Walleye tend to be "well fed" in goby waters and can be difficult to catch; full fish are generally harder to catch than hungry fish. Sometimes going for reaction bites can help, fish hit out of reflex instead of hunger. This can be accomplished by giving erratic action to your lures by speeding them out, slowing them down, stopping them briefly, giving short quick jerks with the rod, etc.

Sandy Pond

The DEC launch was reopened on Friday, 7/21. Please use caution and watch your wake while boating in the bay.

Otisco Lake

Look for largemouth bass in and around the weed beds with creature baits, rubber worms or tube baits. For tiger musky try casting or trolling with large spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, stickbaits, or swim baits. Don't forget the wire leaders even if your not targeting tigers, it will help save some of your expensive bass baits from being bitten off.

Whitney Point Reservoir

Try along shore for smallmouth bass using crankbaits, spinnerbaits or tube jigs. Look for walleye along the old river channel with jigs or worm harnesses. If anyone would like to contribute please use the fwfish7 link below.

Chenango, Tioughnioga and Susquehanna Rivers

White marabou jigs were working for smallmouth bass, walleye, and rock bass around Rock Bottom Dam and Goudy Station. Small silver blade spinners are also working for smallmouths in the riffle areas. Fishing around hard structure (rocks, logs, etc.) with minnows or nightcrawlers is producing smallmouth bass and also catfish. Use as light a weight as you can get away with, it seems to be improving the bite. If anyone would like to contribute please use the fwfish7 link below.

Eastern Region 8

Due to high water level, the following Lake Ontario boat launches will be closed until further notice. Other boat launches may not have docks installed. You should call Region 8 Fisheries Office at 585-226-5343 if you have any questions on whether a particular DEC launch is open.

Sandy Creek FAS - Town of Hamlin, Monroe County
Port Bay South FAS - Town of Wolcott, Wayne County

Lake Ontario

Look for Chinook salmon in 100 to 300 foot of water; keep covering water to you mark fish or bait. Flashers and flies and cut-bait have been working. Lake trout are being taken near bottom on spoons are flashers and "peanuts". Peanuts are small plugs or flies.

Sodus and Irondequoit Bays

Use caution when boating as the lake level is running high at this time, and most bays have a 5 mph speed limit.

Seneca Lake

Fleas are becoming more abundant and can be a nuisance when trolling. Fishing with heavier line (20 pound +) sometimes helps as it collects fewer fleas. Another option is to vertical jig instead of trolling. Trolling spoons or flashers and flies down 50 to 70 feet has been working for lake trout. If anyone would like to contribute to the hotline or if they have a good recommendation for a contact (baitshop, etc.), please use the fwfish7 link below.

Keuka Lake

Fleas are becoming more abundant and can be a nuisance when trolling. Fishing with heavier line (25 pound +) sometimes helps as it collects fewer fleas. Another option is to vertical jig instead of trolling. Lake trout are hitting on alewives fished near bottom in 120 foot of water. Vertical jigging at the same depths with plastics, white paddletails have been working well, is also producing lake trout. Smallmouth bass are being caught in 15 to 20 feet down over 30 to 60 foot of water. Live minnows or a jig and twister tail have been working. Panfish are being taken in 20 to 30 foot of water on worms. If anyone would like to contribute to the hotline or if they have a good recommendation for a contact (baitshop, etc.), please use the fwfish7 link below.

Canandaigua Lake

Trolling 40 feet down with small spoons is producing a few rainbow trout. If anyone would like to contribute to the hotline or if they have a good recommendation for a contact (baitshop, etc.), please use the fwfish7 link below.

Note: We are always looking for new participants in our Angler Diary Cooperator Program for our program on the Finger Lakes. Our numbers have dropped in recent years, and we need new cooperators now more than ever. If you fish Cayuga Lake, Owasco Lake, Skaneateles Lake, Otisco Lake or any of their tributaries and want to learn more about this program and how to sign up, please contact the Region 7 Fisheries office at (607) 753-3095 ext. 213, or on-line at fwfish7@dec.ny.gov. If you fish Canadice Lake, Canandaigua Lake, Conesus Lake, Hemlock Lake, Honeoye Lake, Keuka Lake or Seneca Lake and want to learn more about this program and how to sign up, please contact the Region 8 Fisheries office at (585) 226-5343, or on-line at fwfish8@dec.ny.gov.

If you would like to contribute to the fishing report, or need more fishing information, or have any fishing/fishing equipment related questions, you can contact fwfish7@dec.ny.gov. Good luck fishing.

The fishing line can also be heard at (607) 753-1551.