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Central New York Fishing Hotline

May 20 - May 27

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 (; Oswego County (; and Wayne County ( Oswego and Wayne counties also have a weekly fishing hotline on their web page as well.

Tip of the week: The last few weeks have been a little "crazy" weather wise. In a three day span we went from an 80 degree day to having snow. I thought this might be a good time to reuse a tip on having confidence when fishing. Confidence is not something that is often talked about when people discuss fishing, but it's very important. Let's say you watch the weather report and see that it's not going to be what you would consider a "perfect day", or you talk to someone at the dock who mentions fishing has been very hard, or you read this hotline and see that fishing has been slow on Lake X. If you start your day off with negative thoughts like the fish aren't going to bite today, or I'm not going to catch anything, you're not going to have any confidence and most likely you will put less effort into the day. Often tiny little adjustments can make a big difference in the number of fish we catch. With little confidence we often don't make these adjustments as we think what is the point, the fish aren't biting anyways. It can often be difficult to do, but try to keep a positive attitude when fishing.

Fishing licenses are now good for 365 days, check to make sure your license is still valid before heading out on the water! April 1st is also the start of the new regulation guide, April 1, 2016 - March 31, 2017. You can obtain a copy from a licensing agent or it can be viewed online at Freshwater Fishing Guide.

A few sections of area streams, ponds and lakes will have been stocked by Friday May 20th. These streams, ponds and lakes are;

Broome County - Arctic Lake (April 18), Greenwood Lake (April 19), Finch Hollow Site 1 (April 20), Little Choconut 2e (April 20), Nanticoke 7a (April 20), Nanticoke Lake (April 20), Palmers Pond (April 18), Patterson Pond #1 (April 20), Oquaga Creek (April 11), Chenango Lake (May 6, April 21, March 30), Dudley Creek (March 29), East Branch Nanticoke Creek (April 29, April 13, March 29), and Nanticoke Creek (April 29, April 13, March 29).

Cayuga County - Owasco Outlet (May 6), Owasco Inlet (April 18), Salmon Creek (April 19), Fall Creek (May 4, April 6) and North Brook (April 7).

Chenango County - Bowman Lake (April 18), Jeffrey Pond (April 18), Mill Brook Reservoir (April 18), Pharsalia Y Pond (April 18), Guilford Lake (April 14), Genegantslet Creek (April 26, March 29) and the Otselic River (March 30).

Cortland County - Casterline Pond (May 17, April 21), East Branch of the Tioughnioga River (May 17, April 5), West Branch of the Tioughnioga (May 17, April 5), Little York Lake (April 21, April 5), Merril Creek (April 5), and the Otselic River (March 30).

Madison County - Lebanon Reservoir (April 15), Eaton Brook Reservoir (April 15), Upper Lelands Pond (May 18), Canaseraga Creek (April 7), Canastota Creek (April 7), Chittenango Creek (May 18. April 4), Cowaselon Creek (April 7), Old Chenango Canal (April 7), Payne Brook (April 7), Beaver Creek (March 28), Chenango River (April 1), Limestone Creek (March 28), Oneida Creek (March 31), Otselic River (March 30), Sangerfield River (March 25) and Stone Mill Brook (March 28).

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

Oswego County - North Branch Salmon River (April 20), Salmon River (April 20), Redfield Sportsmen's Pond (April 20), Black Creek (April 5), Rice Creek (April 5) and West Branch of Fish Creek (April 5).

Tioga County -Tri-county Pond (May 5), Catatonk Creek (April 14), Cayuta Creek (May 17, April 12), East Branch of Owego Creek (May 16, March 28, April 6), Owego Creek (March 29, April 7), and West Branch of Owego Creek (March 29, April 7).

Tompkins County - Enfield Creek (April 6), Trib. 4 of Enfield Creek (April 6), Virgil Creek (April 20, April 6), Buttermilk Creek (March 30), Fall Creek (April 15, March 28), Salmon Creek (April 15, March 28), and Sixmile Creek (April 20, March 30).

For more information on trout fishing please view Fishing for Stream Trout.

Region 7

Lake Ontario

Brown trout are still being taken in 10 to 25 foot of water on stickbaits or spoons, with the early morning action being the best. Natural colors have been working but so have bright colors, so don't be afraid to experiment. Using side planers is also recommended for these shallow water trout, especially on calm bright days. When the brown trout bite slows try moving out deeper as anglers have been getting some lake trout and Chinook salmon in 100 to 150 foot of water. Spoons in shades of green, or black and silver have been working for the Kings.

Oswego River

The river is about the same as last week and is currently at 2,580 cubic feet per second (cfs) as of 5/20. Walleye fishing has been slow so far. Try using large stickbaits after dark, as that is often a great way to catch walleye in the river. Bullhead are being taken around Wrights Landing.

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

Things are slowing down on the river which is usual for this time of year. A few "drop-backs" are still being taken though. Covering water is often the key to catching steelhead during this late season fishing.

Oneida Lake

Walleye fishing has been hot or cold depending on the day. Fish are being taken in both shallow and deep water. Good baits have been stickbaits, blade baits and black/purple bucktail jigs. Bluegills and pumpkinseeds are being taken in the bays on worms. Smallmouth bass are being found in 5 to 10 foot of water on crankbaits. Pickerel are being taken on a variety of baits throughout the shallow water areas. As gobies become more abundant in the lake, it may be necessary to adjust your fishing style to avoid the bait stealing gobies. Sometimes just fishing worms 1.5-2 feet off bottom, instead of right on bottom, can help avoid some of the gobies.

Cayuga Lake

Trolling stickbaits near the surface is still producing some brown trout and Atlantic salmon early in the morning. Lake trout are being found in 100 to 150 foot of water. Yellow perch fishing has been slow but some are being found on the north end with small minnows or jigs working. Pickerel have been biting a variety of baits on the north end.

Skaneateles Lake

A few lake trout, rainbow trout and Atlantic salmon are being taken by anglers trolling. Yellow perch fishing continues to be hit or miss. The water is still really cold on the lake. No word on how the catch and release bass fishing has been.

Owasco Lake

Look for lake trout in 150 foot of water, and try the north or south ends for yellow perch.

Otisco Lake

Anglers taking advantage of the catch and release bass season are getting a few smallmouth bass on football jigs and crankbaits. Bluegills are biting on the north end along shore. For tiger musky try stickbaits, chatterbaits or large spinnerbaits in 5 to 15 foot of water. For walleye try casting stickbaits from the causeway after dark.

Sandy Pond

A few walleye are being taken on stickbaits or jigs.

Whitney Point Reservoir

Look for bullhead and catfish on the north end or off Keibel Road, night crawlers are always a good choice. Try minnows or small jigs around woody structure near shore for crappies, and jigs or worm harnesses for walleye around the old river channel.

Chenango, Tioughnioga and Susquehanna Rivers

Look for walleye in the deeper pools with jigs or crankbaits. Try cut-bait for catfish.

Eastern Region 8

Special Permit Allows Increased Fish Harvest at NYSDEC Avon Office Pond

Pond maintenance is planned to begin May 2 at the DEC Region 8 headquarters. This work will require lowering of the water level. Although steps will be taken to avoid fish mortality, fish kills are possible.

To reduce potential fish kills, effective April 18, 2016, until further notice - Black bass, Yellow perch, Crappie, Sunfish, and Bullhead may be taken by rod and reel, for human consumption only, in any number and at any size from the DEC Region 8 Office Pond. A special permit is required to harvest fish in excess of the Statewide Regulations or during the closed season. Special permits are available at the DEC Region 8 front desk Mon-Fri, 8:30 AM - 4:45 PM.

Permittees must have a valid fishing license or meet the requirements for not needing a license. Environmental Conservation Law (ECL) 11-0517(2) gives DEC authority to allow removal of fish by rod and reel from a water body when a loss of fish is anticipated.

A few sections of area streams, ponds and lakes will have been stocked by Friday May 20th. These streams and lakes are;

Chemung County - Eldridge Lake (April 8), Park Station Pond (April 8), Post Creek (March 21), Sing Sing Creek (April 28, March 21), Newton Creek (March 21), Cayuta Creek (April 25, March 22), and Wyncoop Creek (March 23).

Schuyler County - Potomac Pond (May 5), Foster Pond (May 5), Ballard Pond (May 2), Cayuta Creek (April 22).

Steuben County - Canisteo River (May 13, April 4), Bennett Creek (April 4), Canaseraga Creek (April 27, April 5), Post Creek (April 28, March 21), Meads Creek (March 31) and Cohocton River (April 26, March 25).

Yates County - Keuka Lake Outlet (April 21).

Lake Ontario

Brown trout are being taken in 10 to 20 foot of water with both stickbaits and spoons working. Getting on the water early has been key. Using side planers is also recommended for these shallow water trout. Lake trout are being found in 100 foot of water near bottom.

Sodus and Irondequoit Bay

Fishing was difficult last weekend with the cold and wind so not much to report. With the warm weather this week, hopefully the water will start to warm up and action will increase. Look for yellow perch and black crappies in the bays with small minnows. Try worms for the bullhead and bluegill.

Seneca Lake

Lake trout are being taken in 90 to 150 feet of water. Look for Atlantic salmon near the surface with stickbaits, spoons or streamers. If anyone would like to contribute please use the fwfish7 email link below.

Keuka Lake

Anglers are getting lake trout trolling 45 to 55 feet down over 150 foot of water. If anyone would like to contribute please use the fwfish7 email link below.

Canandaigua Lake

Trolling near bottom in 125 to 200 foot of water is producing some lake trout. Browns are being taken on stickbaits and spoons trolled near the surface on the south end. Yellow perch fishing has been good on the north end with fathead minnows and small jigs working.

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 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

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 Good luck fishing.

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