Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

Central New York Fishing Hotline

August 26 - September 2

Tip of the week: When fishing for early season salmon in the tributaries you are often faced with low clear water, which makes fish spooky. Try using a fluorocarbon leader, fishing in the deeper pools or fishing early or late in the day. Also, with the low flow little weight is required. Use just enough weight so that you are "ticking" the bottom as your bait drifts down.

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

Salmon fishing has really picked up with fish starting to stage off river mouths. Look for fish in 115 to 125 foot of water with cut-bait, j-plugs, spoons and flasher and flies. Shades of green and white have been good colors.

Oswego River

The river is up from last week and is at 1,480 cubic feet per second (cfs), as of 8/25. Anglers are still getting a few walleye and smallmouth bass. For the walleye try using large stickbaits or jigs, and for the bass try crayfish. No salmon to report yet.

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 still slow on the river, which is usual for this time of year. It shouldn't be too long before the first salmon start trickling in though.

Oneida Lake

Things remain pretty much the same, with walleye fishing continuing to be challenging. Some anglers are still getting them on blade baits fished in 20 to 25 foot of water, or trolling with stickbaits in 25 to 30 foot of water. Some walleye are also being taken shallow, 10 to 15 foot of water, on crankbaits or stickbaits. Smallmouth bass are being taken around the shoals on drop-shot rigs, tube jigs or live crayfish. Young of the year gizzard shad should be getting large enough for the bass to start feeding on them. So, keep an eye out for surface feeding activity. If you see some, cast into the area with topwater baits, lipless crankbaits, chatterbaits or swimbaits. It can provide some exciting fishing.

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 fishing continues to be good in 80 to 140 foot of water. Both trolling and vertical jigging are working for these fish. Fleas weren't as bad last week, but still be prepared to deal with them if trolling. Sometimes going to a higher pound test monofilament, like 25#, helps to avoid the fleas accumulating up on the line. Vertical jigging is also a good alternative, as is trolling with other gear like wire, copper, or lead core. A few Atlantic salmon, brown trout and rainbow trout are being taken by trolling 30 to 50 foot down with small spoons. For largemouth bass look along the outside weed edges with plastics or crankbaits.

Skaneateles Lake

Trolling 40 to 50 feet down with small spoons is producing some lake trout and rainbow trout. 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. rock bass are also being caught by anglers targeting bass.

Owasco Lake

Trolling 70 to 80 feet down with spoons or flasher and flies has been producing some lake trout. Trolling a little higher in the water column, like 40 feet, is producing some browns and rainbows. Fleas have been bad in some areas, try suggestions listed on the Cayuga report. Weed mats have also been an annoyance, so be prepared to deal with them also.

Otisco Lake

The lake level has been down, so be careful when boating.Tiger musky have been hitting for anglers casting stickbaits, swimbaits, and spinnerbaits. If a tiger musky follows but doesn't hit, try that area again a little later in the trip. Anglers trolling are also getting a few tigers on spoons or stickbaits. Largemouth bass are still hitting on tube baits or creature baits fished around the vegetation on the north end of the lake in 2 to 10 foot of water.

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 walleye, try trolling with worm harnesses or jigging with a bucktail jig tipped with nightcrawler in the old river channel. 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.

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 80 to 90 feet down over 200 foot of water. Cut-bait, spoons and flasher and flies have all been working at times.

Sodus and Irondequoit Bay

Look for largemouth bass along the weed edges with plastics or crankbaits. A few walleye are being caught in the cut at Sodus early and late in the day.

Seneca Lake

Lake trout are being taken by anglers trolling with flashers and flies, or spoons fished 75 feet down over 100 to 120 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 100 foot of water around the Bluff area. Trolling with spoons or flashers and flies 90 feet down over 135 foot of water has also been working. If anyone would like to contribute please use the fwfish7 email link below.

Canandaigua Lake

Rainbows are hitting on spoons fished 60 to 65 feet down over 75 to 95 foot of water. Lake trout are being caught at the same depths but 70 to 85 feet down. Spoons trolled at 2.1 to 2.5 mph has been working. Fleas and weeds have been bad at times so be prepared to deal with them if trolling. 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.