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Central New York Fishing Hotline

September 25 - October 2

FREE FISHING DAY: National Hunting and Fishing Day, Saturday, September 26, is a designated free fishing day in New York. Anyone can fish the fresh waters of the state and no fishing license is required! All other freshwater fishing regulations still apply.

You can still go fishing under the Governor's PAUSE Executive Order. However, in light of the COVID-19 outbreak, we ask that you please act safely when fishing. If you arrive at an angler parking area that is congested, consider finding another area that is less crowded. When you're on the water, please make sure there is ample room between you and your fellow anglers. Don't share a boat unless it is large enough so that all persons aboard can always remain at a minimum distance of six feet apart. Providing ample distance helps to reduce the spread of colds, flu and COVID-19 and also contributes to an overall better angling experience. Good Luck Fishing!

For those interested, there are also other fishing hotline/reports available for the region. A few of the web sites are: Wayne County Tourism, Visit Oswego County, and Oneida Lake Fishing Report (leaves DEC website).

The New York State Freshwater Fishing Regulations Guide runs from April 1st of the current year to March 30th of the following year. The new guide which started on April 1, 2020, has a cover photo of angler holding walleye. It has been sent out to locations that sell licenses but unfortunately, because of COVID-19, many of these retailers are currently closed. The guide is available to view on our web site at the above link.

Under a new law, known as Brianna's Law, all motor boat operators will need a boating safety certificate. How soon this certificate is required depends on your age, but by January 1, 2025, all operators of motorized vessels regardless of age will need a certificate. For more information on Brianna's Law, classes, and the age breakdown please view Boating Education (leaves DEC website) on the NYS Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation site.

Region 7 and Eastern Region 8

Lake Ontario

Chinook salmon are staging at river months and being caught from 80 foot out. Flashers and flies, meat-rigs and spoons are working. For smallmouth bass try 15 to 25 foot of water with tube jigs, crankbaits and drop-shot rigs.

Request for assistance with a Lake Ontario Fish Diet Study and Coho Salmon Head Collection.

Oswego River

The flow is up a little from last week and is running at 825 cubic feet per second (cfs) as of September 25. The cool weather has helped to bring a few more salmon into the river. There is some rain predicted in the forecast for early next week that should also help bring in some fish if it actually happens. For information on salmon fishing please see the Fishing for Pacific Salmon link under 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 website (leaves DEC website) for more information on this and also for information on the life jacket loaner programs in the area.

Salmon River

Due to the current low water level, and to ensure enough salmon make it to the hatchery for egg collection, The Lower Fly Section will remain closed until further notice.

The river flow is 185 cfs as of September 25. Salmon continue to enter the river and are being taken mainly in the lower river (Route 81 downstream). Of course that's where all the pressure is too. Some fish have made it farther up the river. For more information on fishing for salmon please view Pacific Salmon Fishing in Lake Ontario Tributaries.

Water flow information by Brookfield Renewable Energy for the Salmon River can be found at the Brookfield Renewable website (leaves DEC website).

Sodus Bay and Sandy Pond

Look for bass along the outside edge of weed beds with topwaters, spinnerbaits and stickworms.

Oneida Lake

Look for walleye in the 20 to 40 foot range by trolling or using blade baits. Bass fishing has been challenging so basically just cover water and try different baits. Keep an eye out for surface activity as young of year (YOY) gizzard shad should be big enough for bass to start targeting. When you see this surface activity get there quickly and try lures like topwaters, stickbaits, or swimbaits .

Onondaga Lake

The Onondaga Lake boat launch dedicated to Kenneth P. Lynch is now open. It's located just off 690 by the entrance to the State Fair Orange Parking Lot. For bass try 2 to 5 foot of water around the isolated clumps of vegetation with wacky rigged stickworms. .

Cayuga Lake

Water fleas have been bad at times so be prepared to deal with them if trolling. Sometimes using a heaver pound test line helps avoid some of the fleas. Vertical jigging is also an option if they get too bad. Lake trout are being taken in 70 to 90 foot of water by anglers vertical jigging. Trolling in 90 to 150 foot of water is also working. Look for bass on the north end with spinnerbaits, stickworms or jigs.

Skaneateles Lake

Try trolling 60 feet down with small spoons for the trout. Look for smallmouth bass and rock bass in 15 to 25 foot of water with tube jigs, drop-shot, and Ned-rigs.

Owasco Lake

Water fleas have been a nuisance at times here as well. Lake trout are being taken in 70 to 90 foot of water by anglers trolling or vertical jigging.

Otisco Lake

The DEC Otisco Lake boat launch is now open.

If you catch a tiger musky that has been tagged, the tag should be located near the dorsal fin and be gray in color, please do not remove the tag if releasing the fish. Write down the tag number, length of fish, and location of the catch and either send an email to or call 607-753-3095 ext. 213 to report your catch.

Seneca Lake

Look for lake trout down 70 to 100 foot over 150 or more feet of water.

Keuka Lake

Water fleas have been making trolling difficult at times. Lake trout are being taken near bottom in 115 to 120 foot of water by anglers fishing alewives near bottom. Jigging at those same depths with white paddle tail plastics is also working. Trolling 65 to 70 feet down over 100 to 120 foot of water with rainbow colored spoons is also working for lake trout.

Canandaigua Lake

Trolling down 90 feet is producing some lake trout.

Whitney Point Reservoir

Look for walleye with stickbaits, jigs or worm harnesses in the old river channel.

Chenango, Tioughnioga and Susquehanna Rivers

The Grippen Park boat launch is back open, construction has been completed. Try tube jigs or topwaters along shore for the smallmouth bass. Look for walleye in the deeper holes with hair jigs.

Warm water (bass, pike, etc.) angler diary cooperators are needed for Seneca, Keuka, Canandaigua, Hemlock, and Canadice Lakes. If interested please contact Region 8 Fisheries at or by calling 585-226-5343.

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.