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Central New York Fishing Hotline

September 24 - October 1

September 25, 2021 is a free fishing day. Anyone can fish the freshwaters of New York State on that day and no license is required! Since no license is required, it's the perfect time to take a friend or relative 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, Lake Ontario Fishing, and Oneida Lake Fishing Report (all leave DEC website).

Under 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

The 2021 Freshwater Fishing Guide has been printed and distributed. It's a smaller sized guide with a black and white cover and It can also be viewed online at Freshwater fishing Guide.

It's been an extremely windy week making getting out on many waters tricky.

Lake Ontario

Look for salmon around river mouths in 50 to 140 foot of water. Fishing down 25 to 100 feet with flashers and flies has been working, shades of green being a good color choice at this time. These depths do change so if not marking fish keep searching. Smallmouth bass can be caught from 5 foot out to 40 or more feet.

Oswego River

There are some salmon in the river with skein (salmon eggs still attached to the membrane) fished under a float, or bottom bouncing with egg sacs, egg imitating flies or plastics producing some action. Water flow is 6,390 cubic feet per second (CFS) as of Sept. 24. See Salmon River report below for link to information on salmon fishing.

Remember 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

There are more salmon entering the river each day with most of the activity still taking place in the lower river at this time. Try egg imitating plastics or flies. Some brown trout and occasional Atlantic salmon are also being caught. Please view Salmon Fishing on Lake Ontario Tributaries for more information. Current water flow is 350 CFS as of Sept. 24.

I forgot to add this last week but the Lower Fly section opened on September 15th.

Port Bay

The Port Bay South Boat Launch is currently closed for repairs.

Sodus Bay

Look for bass in the bay around the vegetation with Texas rigged worms or spinnerbaits. Try small minnows or jigs for yellow perch. Some northern pike are also being caught in the bay.

Oneida Lake

Just a reminder that the walleye daily limit on Oneida Lake is 3 fish with a 15" minimum length. Try for walleye in the 15 to 40 foot zone with blade baits or trolling with stickbaits in perch pattern. Looks like some more seasonable temperatures are coming so hopefully that will help the fall walleye shore bite get started.

Otisco Lake

Look for tiger musky in the 10 to15 foot depths out side of weed edges with spinnerbaits, chatterbaits or big swimbaits. Largemouth bass are being caught in the weed beds by flipping creature baits or jigs.

If you catch a tiger musky on Otisco Lake 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.

Skaneateles Lakes

Try trolling down 40 to 50 feet with small spoons for the trout. Keep watching the depth finder, if you see balls of bait adjust your down depth to that depth. For smallmouths try drop-shots, tube jigs or Ned-rigs in 20 to 30 foot of water.

Owasco Lake

Trolling is working for lake trout in 90 to 100 foot of water, as is vertical jigging.

Cayuga Lake

Look for lake trout in 60 to 150 foot of water vertical jigging, or trolling over 100 foot of water and down 50 to 80 feet.

Canandaigua Lake

Look for lake trout in 100 foot of water trolling 50 to 70 foot down.

Sandy Pond, Seneca Lake, Keuka Lake, Whitney Point Reservoir, Chenango, Tioughnioga and Susquehanna Rivers

No new information.

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.