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Central New York Fishing Hotline

January 30 - February 6

For people visiting the hotline for the first time, and as a reminder to frequent visitors, the hotline is always done the week before. For example, it was done on January 29th this week. Information for the hotline is obtained by talking to employees at bait shops, searching fishing web pages, or directly from anglers. Ice thickness information is obtained the same way; we do not go out and check ice thickness. Remember ice thickness can vary greatly, even on the same water, so use extreme caution and your own good judgment if deciding to venture out. Some safety measures to follow are: use a spud and check ice thickness as you venture out, fish with a buddy, and bring a rope and ice-picks.

Also, just a reminder that from November 1st - May 1st, all persons aboard a pleasure vessel less than 21 feet regardless of age must wear a Personal Flotation Device while underway.

The DEC Bureau of Fisheries annual report highlights many of the findings and accomplishments of activities and efforts carried out by Bureau of Fisheries staff. The reports are not inclusive of all Bureau staff activities conducted during a given year.

Tip of the week: When fishing with tip-ups, especially during the extreme cold conditions we've had, it's important to periodically walk around and "break-them free". By that, I mean making sure they are not frozen in or snowed over. It makes it easier when you have a flag if you don't have to break inches of ice to get your tip-up out. Plus, if it's snowing or the wind is really blowing, some of the shorter tip-ups may become covered and not work properly. Plus, by periodically clearing the hole of ice or snow you're moving your tip-up which causes your minnow to also move around. Sometimes this can help illicit some extra strikes. For more information on ice fishing please view Ice fishing basics.

Region 7

Lake Ontario

Lake report is done for the season.

Oswego River

The river is down from last week and is flowing at 3,710 cubic feet per second (cfs) as of 01/29. The cold temperatures have made fishing difficult, but anglers that are still going out are catching steelhead and brown trout with egg sacs working.

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 flow is the same as last week and is 285 cfs as of 01/29. The cold temperatures are causing slush ice to form, especially in the mid and lower river, which can make fishing difficult. Shelf ice is also forming along the edges of parts of the river. Because of the slush ice, most anglers are fishing the upper river and overall fishing was slow again last week. With the cold temperatures, try fishing the deeper holes like the Schoolhouse, Wire Hole, and Trestle Pool, with egg sacs, trout beads or pink trout worms. For information on the steelhead please view DEC Studying Ongoing Salmon River Steelhead Disorder

Oneida Lake

Anglers are getting out on most areas of the lake with ice thickness reports ranging from 10 to 12 inches. As usual, watch out for pressure ridges etc. Big Bay continues to see a lot of pressure and overall fishing was slow over the weekend for bluegill and pumpkinseeds. For anglers looking to catch chain pickerel this would be a good spot, try tip-ups and minnows. Other areas of the lake, like Lewis Point, Cleveland, Constantia and Chapman Park are producing walleye and yellow perch. Walleye and perch are being taken in 12 to 30 foot of water. Anglers fishing for perch and walleye occasionally catch a burbot through the ice. Burbot are one of the more "unusual" fish in the state as they spawn during the winter. For more information on burbot, please view Larger Unusual Fish Species.

Sandy Pond

Ice reports range from 8 to 12 inches on the pond. Fishing continues to be slow for anglers targeting perch. Small jigs tipped with spikes seem to be working better than minnows at this time. Pike are hitting on tip-ups and minnows.

Whitney Point Reservoir

Ice reports are ranging from 9 inches on the channel to 10 inches on the pond. Anglers are still getting some white crappie, yellow perch and walleye.

Otisco Lake

There is 7 to 9 inches of ice being reported on the north end, and 6 to 8 inches by the county park. The north end is producing bluegill, pumpkinseeds and an occasional black crappie. No word on the other areas of the lake.

Skaneateles Lake

There have been some anglers out on the north end, with ice reports ranging from 3 to 5 inches. No safe ice on the south end as of 1/29.

Owasco Lake

There is 4 to 5 inches of ice being reported on the south end only out to around 5 to 7 foot of water. Still no safe ice to report for the north end as of 1/29, ice has formed multiple times but it continues to be broken up by the wind.

Cayuga Lake

Ice reports of 6 to 10 inches on the north end. Anglers are getting yellow perch and pickerel. As always, use caution as there are generally pressure cracks in this area and ice doesn't form evenly. Pickerel, though bony, are good eating. One way to deal with the bones is to grind the filets in a food processor and make fish patties out of them. Another option is to search online, as there are methods of fileting them that get rid of the y-bones.

Susquehanna, Chenango and Tioughnioga Rivers

No new information this week.

Eastern Region 8

Lake Ontario

Most of the small tributaries are frozen over so no new information to report.

Seneca Lake

No new information to report. Typically perch fishing can be good this time of year for anglers braving the cold, but no reports of how the fishing has been.

Sodus Bay

Ice reports for Sodus range from 8 to 10 inches. Anglers are catching some yellow perch but most are small. Overall fishing continues to be slow, anglers moving around trying different areas and depths seem to be having better luck.

Irondequoit Bay

Ice reports vary but some areas of the bay have 6 inches. Anglers fishing deep water, 30 foot, are getting some yellow perch.

Canandaigua Lake

Ice reports for the north end range from 4 to 8 inches and 3 to 4 inches on the south end.

Keuka Lake

Anglers have been fishing around Pen Yan with 5 inches of ice being reported in spots.

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.