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Central New York Fishing Hotline

May 29 - June 5

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.

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.

ON BACKGROUND from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP)

New York State recognizes the importance of recreation and continues to encourage the public to get outside locally and responsibly to prevent the spread of COVID-19. To support the alignment of policies in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut and the region's ongoing response to COVID-19, on April 18, Empire State Development issued updated guidance on marinas and the use of boats that removed the temporary suspension on the use of boat launches for recreation.

Access to boat launches will be allowed if strict adherence to the CDC/New York State Department of Health guidelines for preventing the spread of colds, flu, and COVID-19 is followed:

  • Try to keep at least six feet of distance between you and others.
  • Avoid close contact, such as shaking hands.
  • Wash hands often or use a hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid surfaces that are touched often, such as rails, posts, and tie off cleats.

In addition, starting April 17, New Yorkers are required to wear masks in public when appropriate social distancing cannot be maintained.

When boating and fishing, DEC and State Parks recommend New Yorkers to #RecreateLocal, avoid busy waters, and follow the guidelines on DEC's website about recreating and fishing responsibly in New York State. If an angler arrives at a parking lot and there are several cars, they should consider going to another parking lot. If an angler is fishing upstream, they should fish downstream of the other angler or consider fishing another day. Do not share a car, boat, canoe, or kayak with people not in your household while traveling to fishing or boating sites. Anglers fishing from boats should always be able to maintain at least six feet of distance between one another. More information about the benefits of being outdoors safely and responsibly here.

Region 7 and Eastern Region 8

Walleye, northern pike, chain pickerel and tiger musky season opened on Saturday, May 2. Please view this link for more information on walleye fishing.

Lake Ontario

When conditions allow and anglers can actually get out, fishing for brown trout has been good in 20 to 40 foot of water. The usual baits like stickbaits and small spoons have been working. With the clear sunny days using planer boards to get baits away from the boat may help. Some Chinook and coho salmon are being taken out deeper in 80 to 150 foot of water.

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

Oswego River

The flow is down some from last week and is running at 7,300 cubic feet per second (cfs) as of May 29. Try large stickbaits or jigs for walleye in the river. No word on the bullhead bite but with the warmer weather it should be picking up.

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

The river is up from last week and is at 750 cfs as of May 29. Things are slow on the river which is normal for this time of year. The Lower Fly area closed on May 15th.

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

Sodus Bay

Some yellow perch are being taken on small minnows in 20 foot of water. Bullhead fishing has been good with the warmer weather.

Sandy Pond

Try stickbaits or jigs for the walleye and spinnerbaits for the northern pike. Bullhead fishing should be starting with the warmer weather.

Oneida Lake

The Cleveland Dock Fishing Access Site is CLOSED until further notice due to site improvement construction.

Walleye are being taken in 10 to 40 foot of water by anglers jigging or trolling. There are also some walleye being taken by anglers casting stickbaits from shore after dark. Pickerel are biting in the shallows on pretty much everything. Bullhead fishing should be getting better with the warmer weather.

Cayuga Lake

Lake trout are spread out and are being taken in both shallow and deep water by anglers trolling or vertical jigging. Atlantic salmon are being taken near the surface.

Skaneateles Lake

Yellow perch, Atlantic salmon and some smallmouth bass (remember it's catch and release only) are being taken in 10 to 20 foot of water.

Owasco Lake

Look for yellow perch in 20 to 30 foot of water on small minnows or jigs. Lake trout are being taken in 60 to 80 foot of water by anglers trolling.

Otisco Lake

Try large stickbaits, swimbaits or spinnerbaits for tiger musky. Smallmouth bass are being taken near shore (remember it's catch and release only). Panfishing should improve with the warmer weather.

Seneca Lake

Look for lake trout in 40 to 100 foot of water. Atlantic salmon are being taken near shore.

Keuka Lake

Lake trout are being taken near bottom in 60 to 80 foot of water. Jigging with white fluke style baits or spoons, or fishing with alewives are working.

Canandaigua Lake

Try trolling in 40 to 80 foot of water for lake trout.

Whitney Point Reservoir

Bullhead and channel catfish fishing should be starting with the warmer weather. Look for walleye with stickbaits or worm harnesses.

Chenango, Tioughnioga and Susquehanna Rivers

With the stable conditions fishing should improve on the rivers. look for walleye in the deeper holes. Catfishing should improve with the warmer weather.

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 fwfish8@dec.ny.gov 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 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.