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Central New York Fishing Hotline

May 1 - May 8

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.

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.

As a reminder, this is the first year with April 1st as the start of the new Freshwater Fishing Regulations Guide (April 1, 2015-March 31, 2016, this new guide has a picture of an angler holding a musky on the cover). The new guide should be available at any location that fishing licenses are sold. It is available to view at, Freshwater Fishing Regulations Guide.

Tip of the week: Walleye, northern pike, tiger musky and chain pickerel season starts Saturday, May 2nd. With the cold spring and late ice out, the walleye spawn on many waters was late. For example the walleye egg take at the Oneida Fish Hatchery (Oneida Lake) ended on April 23rd this year. Because of the late spring, many walleye should still be shallow near spawning areas (shoals, river mouths etc.). Fishing around those areas would make a good starting point when looking for walleye this weekend. For more information please view Walleye Fishing.

A few sections of area streams and lakes will have been stocked with trout by Friday, May 1st. These streams and lakes are;
Broome County - Arctic Lake (April 14), Greenwood Lake (April 15), Nanticoke 7a (April 16), Nanticoke Lake (April 15), Oquaga Creek (April 8), Palmers Pond (April 14), Patterson Pond (#1) (April 16), Dudley Creek (March 30), Nanticoke Creek (April 28, April 10 and March 30), East Branch Nanticoke Creek (April 28, April 10 and March 30), and Chenango Lake (April 17 and March 31)

Cayuga County- North Brook (April 8), Owasco Inlet (April 14), Salmon Creek (April 15), and Fall Creek (May 1 and April 2).

Chenango County- Bowman Lake (April 21), Guilford Lake (April 21), Jeffrey Pond (April 21), Mill Brook Reservoir (April 21), Pharsalia Y-Pond (April 21), Genegantslet Creek (April 17), and the Otselic River (April 27 and April 6).

Cortland County - Casterline Pond (April 30), Little York Lake (April 30 and April 23), East Branch Tioughnioga River (April 23), Merrill Creek (April 23), West branch of the Tioughnioga River (April 23), and the Otselic River (April 27 and April 6).

Madison County - Upper Lelends Pond (April 27), Beaver Creek (April 10), Canaseraga Creek (April 10), Canastota Creek (April 10), Chenango River (April 7), Chittenango Creek (April 8), Cowaselon Creek (April 10), Limestone Creek (April 10), Old Chenango Canal (April 10), Oneida Creek (April 7), Otselic River (Aprl 27 and April 6), Payne Brook (April 10), Sangerfield River (April 8), and Stone Mill Brook (April 10).

Onondaga County- is stocked by Carpenter's Brook Fish Hatchery. Their stocking hotline is (315) 689-0003 and can also be viewed at fishonondagacounty.com. Spruce Pond, Green Lakes, Furnace Brook, Spafford Creek, Limestone Creek, Onondaga Creek, W Br. Onondaga Creek, Tannery Creek, Ninemile Creek, Butternut Creek, Fabius Brook, Pools Brook, Carpenters Brook, Skaneateles Creek and Geddes Brook.

Oswego County - North Branch Salmon River (April 29), Salmon River (April 29), Black Creek (April 23) and West Branch of Fish Creek (April 23).

Tioga County - Cayuta Creek (April 7), Catatonk Creek (April 3), East Branch of Owego Creek (April 2 and March 18), Owego Creek (April 10 and March 19), and West Branch of Owego Creek (April 10 and March 19).

Tompkins County - Virgil Creek (April 16), Trib 4 of Enfield Creek (April 2), Enfield Creek (April 2), Buttermilk Creek (March 31), Salmon Creek (April 13 and March 30), Fall Creek (April 13 and March 30) and Sixmile Creek (April 16 and March 31).

For more information on trout fishing please view the following links: Stream Trout Fishing, Public Fishing Rights Brochures, and the 2015 Trout Stocking list.

Region 7

Lake Ontario

When the wind hasn't been too bad and anglers have been able to get out they are getting some nice brown trout. Trolling near shore with stickbaits or small spoons continues to work well. Fishing with side planers has helped on the days with less wind, as has fishing early in the morning. Good colors have been black and silver, blue and silver, and lures with some orange on them (like fire tiger). There were reports from anglers that when cleaning some of the brown they have been finding round gobies in their stomach. So, it may pay to also try some goby colored baits. There have been a few Atlantic salmon, lake trout, and Chinook salmon caught by anglers targeting the brown trout. For more information on trolling please view Trolling for Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon.

Oswego River

The river is down a lot from last week and is running at 3,980 cubic feet per second (cfs) as of 04/30. This flow should make fishing from shore much easier. There are still steelhead and brown trout being taken in the river. Walleye season kicks off this weekend, fishing with jigs or large stickbaits usually works well for the Oswego River walleye.

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 flow is also down from last week and is at 500 cfs as of 4/30. Look for steelhead in the riffle areas or holding in the deeper pools. Though, there are still some steelhead spawning in the riffle areas, there are also many "drop-backs". Drop-backs are steelhead that have finished spawning and are now working their way back to the lake. These fish are often very hungry after the rigors of spawning. Good baits are egg sacs (blue or chartreuse mesh), streamers, pink Powerbait trout worms, or good old night crawlers.

Oneida Lake

As mentioned above in the tip of the week, the walleye egg take was completed on Thursday, April 23rd at the Oneida Fish Hatchery. A good starting point for the walleye opener, which starts May 2nd, would be in shallow water around stream or river mouths, or around shallow shoals. Chain pickerel season also kicks off on May 2nd. Oneida Lake has an abundant pickerel population with many quality size fish, 20 inches or more. Look for pickerel in 5 to 10 foot of water, and just about any lure will work. Using lures with a single hook though, like spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, jigs or swimbaits makes unhooking them much easier. For anglers taking advantage of the catch and release bass season, try 5 to 10 foot of water with bass jigs, crankbaits or jerkbaits. Bullhead are being taken along the shore and in the bays, try worms or leeches. Black crappie fishing is often good this time of year in Toad Harbor, but no reports yet.

Skaneateles Lakes

The DEC launch is open. Anglers are still getting yellow perch on the south end of the lake with small minnows working. Some bullhead and black crappie are also being caught on the south end.

Sandy Pond

No new information for the pond. Hopefully, with walleye and northern pike season kicking off this weekend there will be something to report next week. Try stickbaits, spoons or large minnows fished under bobbers for the northern pike. For walleye, also try stickbaits along with jigs, and crankbaits. Bullhead fishing should be starting from anglers fishing from shore with worms.

Otisco Lake

Walleye and tiger musky season kicks off this weekend. Try trolling, or casting, with stickbaits, for both the walleye and tiger musky. Also try large swimbaits, spinnerbaits or minnows fished under a bobber for tigers. And worm harnesses, crankbaits and jigs for walleye. No word on the panfish bite, but crappie fishing can be good this time of year. The lake has both black and white crappie. Black crappie are found on the "clear side", north of the causeway, while white crappie are found in the more turbid water south of the causeway. White crappie are a relative new comer to the lake, but we had fish up to 13 inches in our 2014 Fisheries survey on the lake.

Cayuga Lake

Trolling stickbaits or spoons, on the south end of the lake is starting to produce some brown trout and Atlantic salmon. Fishing has been slow but the warmer conditions should help improve the bite. Watch out for debris, as there are reports of a lot of it out there. Lake trout fishing continues to be slow for anglers trolling. Fish are being marked at a variety of depths from 70 to 180 foot of water but getting then to hit has been difficult. Yellow perch are being taken on the north end with small minnows.

Owasco Lake

Trout fishing has been slow for anglers trolling, a few lake trout are being taken in 170 foot of water though. Yellow perch are being taken on the north end on small minnows.

Whitney Point Reservoir

Just a reminder that walleye season starts on May 2nd. Good baits are usually jigs, worm harnesses and crankbaits. As the water has lowered and anglers can fish from from the bank again, they are starting to get bullhead and channel catfish from shore. No word on the crappie bite but this is generally a good time of year to start working the shoreline with small jigs or minnows.

Chenango, Tioughnioga and Susquehanna Rivers

Just a reminder that walleye season, tiger musky and muskellunge season starts Saturday, May 2nd for these waters. Good baits for walleye are usually crankbaits or jigs tipped with a minnow or night crawlers. A number of muskies were tagged in 2014 on the Chenango and Susquehanna with gray Floy tags (looks like a piece of spaghetti) placed by the dorsal fin. If you catch one of these tagged fish, please Do Not remove the tag if releasing the musky. Please, write down the tag number and report the tag number, date of catch, location, and length to 607-753-3095; or use the fwfish7 email link below. If keeping the musky please report the same information.

Eastern Region 8

A few sections of area streams and lakes will have been stocked with trout by Friday, May 1st. These streams and lakes are;
Steuben County - Canaseraga Creek (April 29 and April 3), Cansteo River (April 6), Bennett Creek (April 6), Post Creek (April 30 and March 20), Cohocton River (April 23, March 25 and 26), and Meads Creek (March 27).

Chemung County - Eldridge Lake (April 24 and April 9), Park Station Pond (April 9), Post Creek (April 30 and March 20), Sing Sing Creek (April 30 and March 20), Newton Creek (March 20), Cayuta Creek (April 22 and March 24), and Wyncoop Creek (March 24).

Schuyler County - Potomac Pond (May 1), Foster Pond (May 1), Balllard Pond (May 1), and Cayuta Creek (April 21 and March 23).

Seneca County - Canoga Creek (March 31).

Yates County - Keuka Lake Outlet (April 17).

Lake Ontario

Steelhead fishing is winding down in the tributaries. Trolling near shore in 5 to 20 foot of water with stickbaits or small spoons has been working very well for brown trout. Fishing with side planers has helped on the days with less wind, as has fishing early in the morning. Good colors have been black and silver, blue and silver, and lures with some orange on them (like fire tiger). There were reports from anglers that when cleaning some of the brown trout they have been finding round gobies in their stomach. So, it may pay to also try some goby colored baits. Anglers going slightly deeper, 30 to 50 feet, or also having some luck catching a few Chinook salmon on spoons.

Canandaigua and Keuka Lake

Once again, little information to report, if anyone would like to contribute please use the fwfish7 link below. Anglers are getting some yellow perch and lake trout on both lakes. A few brown trout were being taken on Canandaigua by anglers trolling in 70 to 80 foot of water.

Seneca Lake

Lake trout fishing continues to be slow on this lake as well. A few lake trout are being caught in 70 to 100 foot of water. There are still a few rainbows being taken in Catherines Creek.

Sodus and Irondequoit Bays

Northern pike season starts on May 2nd, try stickbaits, spinnerbaits, spoons or large minnows under bobbers. Bullhead fishing has really picked up in the bays with the warmer weather, worms or leeches are both working well. This can also be a good time for black crappie and yellow perch fishing in the bays as well.

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.