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Central New York Fishing Hotline

September 22 - September 29

September 23, 2017 has been designated as a free fishing day. Anyone can fish in the freshwaters of NY on that day and no licensee is required. Since no license is required, it's the perfect time to take a friend or relative fishing.

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 pages.

April 1st was the start of the new Freshwater Fishing Regulation Guide: April 1, 2017 - March 31, 2018. You can obtain a copy from a licensing agent or view it at Summary of Freshwater Fishing Regulations.

Little has changed from last weeks report as we continue to have stable summer-like weather conditions.

Region 7

Lake Ontario

Salmon are still being found in 50 to 100 foot of water. Chinook salmon fishing continues to be good on the lake with flasher and flies or cut-bait producing the most action, with some fish being taken on J-plugs. Try for smallmouth bass in 20 to 30 foot of water with crayfish, tube jigs or drop-shot rigs.

Oswego River

The river is flowing at 1,460 cubic feet per second (cfs) as of 9/22. There are Chinook salmon being reported in the river, but keep in mind that it's still early in the season and the water temperature is still warm. For information on salmon fishing please view the Pacific Salmon Fishing in Lake Ontario Tribs link found below in the Salmon River report.

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 at 335 cfs as of 9/22. Salmon fishing contuse to be good with fish being taken throughout the river, the most pressure is still being taken in the lower section of river. Both coho and Chinook salmon are being caught. With the warm temperatures predicted for the week, along with clear bright skies, fishing early or late in the day will likely be more productive. The Lower Fly section opened on Sept. 15th.

For information on salmon fishing please view Pacific Salmon Fishing in Lake Ontario Tributaries.

The annual Salmon River Hatchery Open House will take place on Saturday September 23, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Cayuga Lake

Fleas have been a little more of a nuisance again this week. So, be prepared to deal with them, just incase you run into them. Sometimes using a heavier pound monofilament helps to avoid some of the fleas, as does trolling with lines that don't run straight "up and down", as lines fished off downriggers do. Instead try trolling with wire and Dipsey's, or copper. Vertical jigging is also another option if fleas get too bad. Anglers continue to have good luck catching lake trout either trolling or vertical jigging. Trolling with flasher and flies or spoons, 70 to 90 feet down over 150 to 200 foot of water has been a good starting point, as has vertical jigging with plastics in 85 to 100 foot of water.

Skaneateles Lake

Trolling 40 to 60 feet down over 60 to 150 foot of water with small spoons is still working very well for lake trout and an occasional rainbow trout. Look for smallmouth bass in 15 to 35 foot of water on perch colored Rapalas, tube baits, drop-shots, topwaters, and wacky rigged stickworms (Senko style baits). Rock bass should be biting in the same areas and on the same baits.

Owasco Lake

Like Cayuga, fleas have been a nuisance at times, so be prepared to deal with them just incase (see Cayuga Lake above for tips on fleas). Lake trout are being taken 80 to 100 foot down on spoons or flasher and flies. A few rainbow trout are also being caught 40 to 60 feet down on small spoons over the same depths.

Oneida Lake

Smallmouth bass are feeding on young-of-year (YOY) gizzard shad. So, keep an eye out for surface feeding activity while your out there. Bird activity is often easier to see at a distance then fish breaking. If you see it, get to the area quickly and try surface lures, swimbaits, chatterbaits, or lipless crankbaits. It can make for some exciting action when it takes place. If not seeing surface activity keep an eye out for shad dimpling on the surface, that will at least let you know they are in the area and bass should be around them. Walleye are being taken in deep water by anglers trolling with worm harness or blade baits. When anglers find them, yellow perch fishing has been good on small minnows. Temperatures need to cool down to get the fall walleye bite started.

With round gobies now abundant in the lake, it may require some adjustment in the way anglers fish for walleye. The same thing was required when zebra mussels become established in the lake and the water went from turbid to clear, fishing methods needed to be changed to match the conditions. Gobies are very bottom oriented fish so sometimes just getting a foot or two off bottom will help to avoid some of them. If using worm harnesses try trolling instead of drifting, the faster speed keeps them higher off bottom and also helps to avoid some of the gobies. Using artificial lures instead of live bait can also help. Walleye tend to be "well fed" in goby waters and can be difficult to catch; full fish are generally harder to catch than hungry fish. Sometimes going for reaction bites can help, fish hit out of reflex instead of hunger. This can be accomplished by giving erratic action to your lures by speeding them out, slowing them down, stopping them briefly, giving short quick jerks with the rod, etc.

Sandy Pond

Vegetation is making fishing more difficult but try weed less baits for the bass.

Otisco Lake

For tiger musky try casting or trolling with large spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, stickbaits, or swim baits. Don't forget the wire leaders even if your not targeting tigers, it will help save some of your expensive bass baits from being bitten off. If a tiger follows but doesn't hit try that same area a little latter in the day. Look for largemouth bass in and around the weed beds with creature baits, rubber worms or tube baits. If that's not working, try fishing on the deep weed edges with drop-shot baits or bass jigs.

Whitney Point Reservoir

Look for walleye along the old river channel trolling with a worm harness or by jigging with a buck tail jig tipped with a half a nightcrawler. If anyone would like to contribute please use the fwfish7 link below.

Chenango, Tioughnioga and Susquehanna Rivers

Try tube baits in the deeper holes for the smallmouth bass and walleye. Natural colors tend to work better. For musky try large spinnerbaits or live minnows. If anyone would like to contribute please use the fwfish7 link below.

Eastern Region 8

Lake Ontario

Look for Chinook salmon in 70 to 150 foot of water with flashers and flies, and cut-bait working; green and white continue to be good colors. Smallmouth bass are being taken in 20 to 30 foot of water.

Sodus and Irondequoit Bays

Look for largemouth bass around the weed beds.

Seneca Lake

Trolling spoons or flashers and flies down 50 to 70 feet has been working for lake trout. If anyone would like to contribute to the hotline or if they have a good recommendation for a contact (baitshop, etc.), please use the fwfish7 link below.

Keuka Lake

Lake trout are hitting on alewives fished near bottom in 120 foot of water. Vertical jigging at the same depths with plastics, white paddletails have been working well, is also producing lake trout. Smallmouth bass are being caught 15 to 20 feet down over 30 to 60 foot of water. Live minnows or a jig and twister tail have been working. Panfish are being taken in 20 to 30 foot of water on worms. If anyone would like to contribute to the hotline or if they have a good recommendation for a contact (baitshop, etc.), please use the fwfish7 link below.

Canandaigua Lake

Trolling 75 feet down with flashers and flies is working for lake trout along with an occasional rainbow. If anyone would like to contribute to the hotline or if they have a good recommendation for a contact (baitshop, etc.), please use the fwfish7 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.