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Central New York Fishing Hotline

August 21 - September 4

The Central New York Fishing hotline (formerly the Region 7 Fishing Hotline) turned an amazing 35 on June 5th! The first Region 7 Fishing Hotline was recorded on June 5, 1980.

A number of County web sites offer good information on fishing in the area, 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 page as well.

Tip of the week: The amount of forage available to gamefish can be extremely abundant this time of year, as many young of the year fish are reaching a size that gamefish are starting to feed on them. With abundant food available to them gamefish can often be "well fed" and hard to catch. A few things to try are: try to match the "hatch". Fish lures or baits that are similar in size, color, shape, etc. to what the fish are feeding on. Another option is to try for reaction strikes. Sometimes fishing a fast moving bait erratically can get fish that are full or aren't actively feeding to hit. Basically they strike the lure out of reflex

Region 7

Lake Ontario

The Chinook salmon fishing continues to be slow over the last week, as the salmon are really scattered. So, basically it's a searching game looking for salmon and bait. Fish are being found from 150 to 600 feet of water. Depending on the day, flasher and flies, cut-bait and spoons were all working for the salmon when found. Dipsey divers, copper (350-600 feet), lead core, wire and diver and downriggers have all been working at times. For lake trout troll cowbells and peanuts (small plugs) near bottom in 150 foot of water. Brown trout are being found in 70 to 90 feet of water, with spoons working. For more information on trolling please view Trolling for Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon. Smallmouth bass are being found in 20 foot of water with crabs or minnows working.

Oswego River

The river is down to 3,120 cubic feet per second (cfs) as of 8/21. Look for smallmouth bass in the river with tube baits or crayfish. Try crayfish, nightcrawlers or cut-bait for the channel catfish and freshwater drum (sheephead). A few walleye are also being found by the powerhouse.
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


The Salmon River Fish Hatchery will be closed to the public for the three days of August 24-26, due to a major roof repair job.

The flow is down to 185 cfs as of 8/21. Things are quite on the river which is usual for this time of year, though there are some smallmouth bass being taken in the lower river and some 2-year old brown trout being caught in the middle river. You never know when the first few salmon will start trickling in, but it's usually around Labor Day when we start hearing reports of a few entering the river.

Oneida Lake


Fishing has been difficult on the lake over the last week. Walleye fishing has been slow, which may be due to the young of the year gizzard shad finally getting big enough for the walleye to start feeding on. A few walleye are still being taken in 30 to 40 feet of water. Smallmouth and largemouth bass are also taking advantage of the gizzard shad and schooling activity is being reported. So, keep an eye out for birds diving as that can usually be seen from a farther distance then the fish breaking the surface. If you can get to the schooling fish while their still at the surface try swimbaits, chatterbaits, stickbaits or topwaters. If not, you can try these same baits in the area as you wait for fish to come to the surface again.

Skaneateles Lake


Anglers fishing from 10 to 35 foot of water are still getting some smallmouth bass with tube jigs and drop-shot rigs. Trout are being taken 50 feet down over 150 foot of water on small silver spoons. Yellow perch, rock bass and smallmouth bass are hitting on worms, crayfish or minnows in 30 to 40 foot of water near bottom.

Sandy Pond


As the aquatic vegetation gets thicker fishing on the pond becomes more difficult. If fishing for bass try spinnerbaits or weed less frogs.

Otisco Lake


For tiger musky try fishing chatterbaits with a swimbait trailer, big in-line spinners and spinnerbaits in 10 to 15 foot of water around and over weed beds. Don't forget to use a wire leader, and If tigers follow but don't hit, try doing a figure 8 at the boat. Also, if you see a fish that doesn't hit, or hits that you don't hook, try the same area again later in the day. Look for largemouth bass in the weed beds. Try casting into the holes in the weeds with a Texas rigged tubed jig or creature bait.

Cayuga Lake

Lake trout fishing continues to be good for both anglers trolling and vertical jigging. Water fleas and weed mats are a nuisance in some areas, so be prepared as you may have to deal with them. Trolling 70 to 100 feet down in 100 to 150 foot of water, with spoons or flasher and flies continues to work for the lake trout. Vertical jigging with plastics in 70 to 115 feet of water also continues to work well. If looking for Atlantic salmon or brown trout, try trolling 40 to 60 feet down.

Owasco Lake


Lake trout are being taken by anglers vertical jigging in 65 to 110 foot of water, and also by anglers trolling flasher and flies 100 feet down over 150 foot of water. Yellow perch and bass are being taken on minnows or crayfish, also try tube jigs for the bass.

Whitney Point Reservoir


For walleye, try jigging a bucktail jig tipped with nightcrawler or trolling worm harnesses in the old river channel. Look for bass along shore with crankbaits or tube jigs.

Chenango, Tioughnioga and Susquehanna Rivers


Look for walleye in the deeper holes with crankbaits or jigs and try tube jigs for the bass. Usually darker or more natural color lures work best. If looking for musky try large stickbaits, spinnerbaits or large minnows. If a musky follows but doesn't hit try some of the suggestions mentioned above for tiger musky.

Eastern Region 8


Lake Ontario


Chinook salmon are being found 80 to 100 feet down over 300 to 350 foot of water. Fish are still scattered though, so cover water looking for bait as depths salmon are being found in has changed daily. Some brown trout are still being taken by trolling with spoons in 150 feet of water. Lake trout are being caught near bottom trolling in 150 foot of water with flasher and flies working.

Seneca Lake


Weed mats and fleas are making trolling difficult in some areas so be prepared to deal with them if trolling. Lake trout are being taken by anglers trolling 70 to 100 feet down over 100 to 150 foot of water. Vertical jigging is producing lake trout in 70 to 115 feet of water.

Sodus and Irondequoit Bay

Anglers continue to catch bass in and around the weed beds. Try spinnerbaits, topwaters and plastics.

Keuka Lake


Water fleas and weed mats are also a nuisance on this lake in some areas, so be prepared to deal with them if trolling. Fishing with alewives near bottom in 100 to 125 foot of water is producing some lake trout. Vertical jigging with plastics in the same depth range is also working. Having a hard time getting reports, so if anyone would like to contribute to the report please use the fwfish7 link below.

Canandaigua Lake

Fishing continues to be slow but some lake trout are being taken by anglers trolling 55 to 90 feet down over 100 to 125 foot of water. Having a hard time getting reports, so if anyone would like to contribute to the report 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.