Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

Central New York Fishing Hotline

July 22 - July 30

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.

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 was also the start of the new regulation guide, effective 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 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.

Region 7

Lake Ontario

Chinook salmon fishing has picked up some over the last few weeks with cut-bait working well, depending on the day spoons and flasher and flies are also working. Depths keep changing so if not marking fish keep searching. Brown trout are being taken on spoons fished in 25 to 50 foot of water. Lake trout are being taken near bottom in 160 foot of water. Smallmouth bass are being caught on crayfish in the Mexico bay area.

Oswego River

The river is about the same as last week and is at 942 cubic feet per second (cfs), as of 7/22. Anglers are getting a few walleye, channel catfish and smallmouth bass. For the walleye, try using large stickbaits after dark as that is often a great way to catch walleye in the river. For the catfish, try cut-bait or nightcrawlers. As a word of warning Harbor Fest will be taking place during the last weekend of July so expect a lot of boat traffic during it.

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 slow on the river, which is usual for this time of year.

Oneida Lake

Walleye fishing continues to be challenging, but some anglers are getting them on blade baits fished in 20 to 25 foot of water, or trolling with stickbaits in 25 to 30 foot of water. There was a Hexagenia (May fly) hatch taking place on the lake, and reports of walleye having them in their stomachs. So, between the May flies, gobies, and gizzard shad now getting large enough for walleye to target, walleyes are likely well fed at the moment. Smallmouth bass are being taken around the shoals on drop-shot rigs, tubes or live crayfish. Largemouths are hitting topwaters fished near shore over the wind blow matted vegetation.

It may be necessary to adjust your fishing style if fishing with worms 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

Lake trout are being taken in 100 foot of water with both trolling and vertical jigging working for these fish. Fleas are making trolling difficult in some areas so be prepared to deal with them. Often using flea-flicker line, or a higher pound test monofilament sometimes helps. Vertical jigging is a good alternative if fleas get to bad. A few Atlantic salmon are being taken trolling 25 to 50 foot down with small spoons.

Skaneateles Lake

For smallmouth bass try topwaters, flukes, tube jigs, drop-shot rigs, or a Ned-rig. A Ned-rig is basically a jig head with a short (3-4") piece of the tail section of a stick worm (Senko and Stik-O's are examples) threaded on the hook.

Owasco Lake

Trolling 90 feet down over 130 foot of water has been working for the lake trout. Flasher and flies or spoons have been working. Fleas have been bad, try suggestions listed on the Cayuga report. Weed mats have also been an annoyance, so be prepared to deal with them also. Try along the shoreline for smallmouth bass using weightless stick worms (Senko and Stik-O's are examples), tube jigs or topwaters.

Otisco Lake

Tiger musky fishing has improved with fish hitting on stickbaits, swimbaits and spinnerbaits. Largemouth bass are still hitting on tube baits or creature baits flipped into the vegetation on the north end of the lake.

Sandy Pond

For largemouth bass try flipping or pitching bass jigs or plastics into the vegetation. Try weedless topwater baits over the vegetation.

Whitney Point Reservoir

For the smallmouth bass try small crayfish colored crankbaits fished along shore or tube jigs. Look for channel catfish on the north end or off Keibel Road. If anyone would like to contribute please use the fwfish7 email link below.

Chenango, Tioughnioga and Susquehanna Rivers

A word of caution for anglers headed to the Susquehanna River: with the current low water levels, launching and retrieving boats at many of the launch sites has been difficult, or impossible, at this time.
For smallmouth bass try small crankbaits, tube jigs, topwaters and the Ned-rig (see Skaneateles report for description) or live bait like crayfish. For musky, try large stickbaits, spinnerbaits or a large minnow fished under a bobber. Look for walleye in the deeper holes with bucktail jigs or crankbaits. If anyone would like to contribute please use the fwfish7 email link below.

Eastern Region 8

Special Permit Allows Increased Fish Harvest at NYSDEC Avon Office Pond
Pond maintenance began May 2 at the DEC Region 8 headquarters. This work requires lowering 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.

Lake Ontario

Chinook salmon are being found in 70 feet down over 250 foot of water with cut-bait working well. Lake trout were being found near bottom in 150 to 200 foot of water. A few steelhead are being taken fishing 40 feet down over 300 foot of water.

Sodus and Irondequoit Bay

Look for largemouth bass along the weed edges with plastics or crankbaits. Try over the vegetation or along shore with topwaters or weightless stick worms (Senko or Stik-O are examples). Early morning has been best for the bass.

Seneca Lake

Lake trout are being taken by anglers trolling with flashers and flies in 100 foot of water. Weed mats have been an annoyance when trolling, so be prepared to deal with them. Fleas have also been a problem in spots. See Cayuga report for suggestions on dealing with the fleas. If anyone would like to contribute please use the fwfish7 email link below.

Keuka Lake

Some lake trout are being taken by anglers jigging in 60 to 90 foot of water around the Bluff area. If anyone would like to contribute please use the fwfish7 email link below.

Canandaigua Lake

Lake trout are being taken in 60 to 75 foot of water on flashers and flies trolled at 1.5-2.1 mph. Trolling spoons off lead core is also working. If not catching fish keep changing sizes and colors of spoons. If anyone would like to contribute please use the fwfish7 email 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 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.