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Central New York Fishing Hotline

February 17 - February 24

President's Day weekend (February 18-19, 2017) has been designated as a free fishing weekend in New York, to encourage more people to try ice fishing. Residents and visitors age 16 and older will be able to fish the waters of New York State without a license, providing great opportunity to learn about this popular activity.

Tip of the Week: With all of the snow we have had this week, coupled with the warm weather predicted for the weekend and next week, be prepared to deal with deep snow and slush if going out ice fishing. It may pay to have a pair of high topped waterproof boots with you, just incase there is a lot of slush on the ice.

For information on ice fishing, please view chapter 9: Introduction to Ice Fishing, in our I FISH NY Beginners Guide to Freshwater fishing.

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 February 17th 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.

A reminder that from Nov 1 to May 1, all persons aboard a pleasure vessel less than 21 feet must wear a Personal Floatation Device (PFD) while underway. For more information on boating regulations please view the NYS Boater's Guide. A link can be found in the right hand column under Links Leaving the DEC Website.

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.

Region 7

Lake Ontario

The lake report is done for the season.

Oswego River

The river is up from last week and it's flowing at 9,360 cubic feet per second (cfs) as of 2/17. This region has received significant snowfall over the last week, and with the warm weather predicted for the weekend the flow will likely be climbing when the snow starts melting. Anglers have been getting some brown trout and steelhead.

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 up from last week and is flowing at 1,100 cfs as of 2/17. Similar to the Oswego River, this region also received heavy snow and with the warm weather the flow will likely be increasing. Steelhead fishing continues to be slow over the last few weeks but some fish are being caught on egg sacs with blue mesh, either bottom-bounced or fished under a float. Beads, nymphs and pink trout worms are also working at times. Steelhead Fishing in Lake Ontario Tributaries

Oneida Lake, Sandy Pond, Otisco Lake, and Whitney Point Reservoir

Though anglers are getting out on portions of these waters, ice conditions are varying greatly. This coupled with deep snow on the ice, and very warm weather predicted over the next week, anglers are advised to use extreme caution and their own good judgment if venturing out on the ice. The Whitney Point Crappie Derby has been cancelled, and there is a current ice conditions page for the reservoir on their web site (crappiederby.com).

Cayuga Lake

Shore anglers continue to get some Atlantic salmon. When anglers can make it out in boats, they are also getting some salmon as well as lake trout when trolling.

Skaneateles Lake

The launch is closed for the season. Some rainbow trout are being taken by shore anglers fishing the marshmallow and worm rig.

Owasco Lakes

No new information to report at this time.

Chenango, Tioughnioga and Susquehanna Rivers

Recent rain and snow melt events have the rivers running high and turbid. No new fishing information to report for these waters.

Eastern Region 8

Lake Ontario

There are brown trout and steelhead being taken in some of the tributaries, most streams have a decent flow of water at this time after the rain and snow melt. There has been some ice and snow to contend with and with the warm weather the flows will likely be increasing. Egg sacs or egg imitating plastics are usually good bait choices.

Sodus and Irondequoit Bays

Though anglers are getting out on portions of Sodus Bay, ice conditions are varying greatly. This coupled with deep snow on the ice, and very warm weather predicted over the next week, anglers are advised to use extreme caution and their own good judgment if venturing out on the ice.

Keuka, Canandaigua, and Seneca Lakes

No safe ice and no new information. 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 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.