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Central New York Fishing Hotline

May 12 - May 19

Tip of the Week: Walleye, northern pike, pickerel and tiger musky season opened on Saturday, May 6th. For information on fishing for walleye, which includes some new tips for dealing with round gobies, please view Fishing for Walleye. You can also view tips on dealing with round gobies in the Oneida Lake report below.

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 page as well.

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.

A few sections of area streams, ponds and lakes will have been stocked with trout by Friday May 12th. These streams and lakes are;

  • Broome County - Patterson Pond (April 19), Palmers Pond (April 17), Nanticoke Lake (April 18), Nanticoke 7a (April 19), Finch Hollow Site 1 (also called Overbrook, April 19), Arctic Lake (April 17), Oquaga Creek (April 12), Chenango Lake (March 30), Dudley Creek (March 29), East Branch Nanticoke Creek (May 4, April 12, March 29), and Nanticoke Creek (May 4, April 12, March 29).
  • Cayuga County- Owasco Outlet (May 5), North Brook (April 14), Owasco Inlet (April 17), Salmon Creek (April 19), and Fall Creek (May 3, April 5).
  • Chenango County - Bowman Lake (April 19), Jeffrey Pond (April 19), Mill Brook Reservoir (April 19), Pharsalia Y Pond (April 19), Genegantslet Creek (April 3) and Otselic River (April 4).
  • Cortland County - East Branch of Tioughnioga (April 25), Merrill Creek (April 25), West Branch of Tioughnioga River (April 25), Casterline Pond (April 18), Little York Lake (April 25, April 18), Durkee Pond (April 25, April 18), Otselic River (April 4).
  • Madison County-Beaver Creek (April 20), Chenango River (April 19), Limestone Creek (April 20), Stone Mill Brook (April 20), T32 of E. Branch of the Tioughnioga (April 20), Canaseraga Creek (April 12), Canastota Creek (April 12), Chittenango Creek (April 10), Cowaselon Creek (April 12), Old Chenango Canal (April 12), Oneida Creek (April 11), Payne Brook (April 12), Otselic River (April 4), and Sangerfield River (April 3).
  • Onondaga County- is stocked by Carpenter's Brook Fish Hatchery. Their stocking hotline is (315) 689-0003 and the stocking list can be viewed at fishonondagacounty.com.
  • Oswego County- Black Creek, Rice Creek, West Br. Fish Creek, East Br. Salmon River, Reese Pond, and Grindstone Creek.
  • Tioga County - Tri-County Pond (May 4), Catatonk Creek (April 12), Cayuta Creek (May 9, April 11), East Branch of Owego Creek (May 11, April 5, March 28), Owego Creek (May 12, April 6, March 29), and West Branch of Owego Creek (May 12, April 6, March 29).
  • Tompkins County - Sixmile Creek (April 14), Virgil Creek ( April 18, April 5), Enfield Creek (April 5), Buttermilk Creek (March 30), Fall Creek (April 14, March 28), Salmon Creek (April 14, March 28), and Sixmile Creek (March 30).

For more information on fishing for trout, please view Fishing for Stream Trout. For information on streams with Public Fishing Rights, please view Central New York Public Fishing Rights Maps.

Region 7

Lake Ontario

Use caution when boating as the lake level is up at this time and there is likely to be debris floating around. Boaters are also being asked to observe a NO WAKE ZONE within 500 feet of the Lake Ontario shoreline.
Brown trout fishing remains good for those anglers able to get out on the lake. Stickbaits or small spoons still working either fished off boards or off down riggers. Some nice sized browns have been taken so far, and a few Chinook salmon have also been caught recently. Trolling these baits along the mud-lines has been working, if fishing clear water, try using planer boards to get the baits away from the boat.

Oswego River

The river is still up and is flowing at 19,900 cubic feet per second (cfs) as of 5/12. This high water still makes shore fishing difficult if not impossible.

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 down to 750 cfs as of 5/12. Typically, this time of year you are dealing with "drop-back" steelhead. A drop-back is a fish that has spawned and is now working it's way back out to Lake Ontario. Often these drop-backs are very hungry from the rigors of spawning and can offer some exciting action when they hit a bait. Try salmon egg sacs with blue, pink or chartreuse mesh, pink trout worms, single egg pattern flies, beads, or a good old night crawler often works well this time of year. Try fishing these baits either on bottom or under a float.

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

Last weeks rain events raised the lake level again so use caution when boating as there is likely to be a lot of debris floating around. Anglers are catching Atlantic salmon and brown trout by trolling on or near the surface with stickbaits or small spoons. Some lake trout are being taken by anglers trolling or vertical jigging over a variety depths out to about 140 feet. Look for yellow perch on the north end with small minnows.

Skaneateles Lake

Yellow perch are hitting on the north end for anglers using small minnows, check both shallow and deep till you find fish.

Owasco Lake

Use caution when boating as there is likely to be debris floating around with the recent rain and high water events. The Emerson Park boat launch is still being worked on so launching may require some patience if it's a busy day.

Oneida Lake

Walleye season opened on Saturday, May 6th. Anglers who braved the rain and wind did manage to get some walleye both in shallow and deep water. 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

Due to the high water level the DEC boat launch is CLOSED until further notice.

Otisco Lake

Walleye and tiger musky season started on Saturday, May 6th, but there isn't much to report as the cold front seems to have shut the fishing down. Some more stable weather will likely help. Trolling stickbaits is generally a good early season tactic for walleye, as is casting stickbaits from the causeway. Try large spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, stickbaits, swim baits or live minnows for the tiger musky; don't forget the wire leaders. For anglers taking advantage of the catch and release bass season there are some smallmouths and largemouths being taken in shallow water near shore.

Whitney Point Reservoir, Chenango, Tioughnioga and Susquehanna Rivers

Walleye season started on May 6th but with the high water there is nothing to report. With more rain in the forecast the rivers and reservoir will likely be rising again this weekend.

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 if a particular DEC launch is open.

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

A few sections of area streams, ponds and lakes will have been stocked by Friday, May 12th. These streams, ponds and lakes are;

  • Chemung County - Eldridge Lake (April 28, April 7), Park Station Pond (April 7), Cayuta Creek (April 24, April 4), Wyncoop Creek (April 4), Post Creek (March 27), Sing Sing Creek (April 21, March 27), and Newton Creek (March 27).
  • Schuyler County - Potomac Pond (May 1), Foster Pond (May 1), Ballard Pond (May 1), Cayuta Creek (April 21, April 4).
  • Seneca County - Canoga Creek (March 30).
  • Steuben County - Canisteo River (May 8, April 4), Canaseraga Creek (April 27, April 3), Post Creek (April 20, March 27), Meads Creek (March 31) and Cohocton River (April 25 and 26, March 23 and 24).
  • Yates County - Keuka Lake Outlet (April 13)

Lake Ontario

Use caution when boating as the lake level is running high at this time, as are the bays, and there is likely to be debris floating around. Boaters are also being asked to observe a NO WAKE ZONE within 500 feet of the Lake Ontario shoreline. See above for DEC closed launch sites.

When anglers have been able to get out on the lake, they have been getting a mixed bag of brown trout, steelhead, coho and lake trout. For the browns try stickbaits or small spoons. Trolling these baits along the mud-lines in 10 to 25 foot of water has been working, if fishing clear water, try using planer boards to get the baits away from the boat. Casting spoons off from piers is also producing a few trout.

Sodus and Irondequoit Bays

Use caution when boating as the lake level is running high at this time, as are the bays, and there is likely to be debris floating around. Boaters are also being asked to observe a NO WAKE ZONE within 500 feet of the Lake Ontario shoreline.

Northern pike season started on Saturday, May 6th. Try fishing spinnerbaits, large stickbaits, spoons or live minnows around any vegetation you find. Yellow perch are being taken in the bays on small minnows and a few bullhead are also starting to be caught.

Canandaigua and Seneca Lakes

Use caution as the water levels are up from recent rains and there may be some debris floating around on the lakes still. Try trolling near the surface with stickbaits or small spoons for Atlantic salmon and brown 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

DEC Announces State of the Fisheries of Keuka Lake Meeting.

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.