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Central New York Fishing Hotline

August 16 - August 23

A drawdown will be taking place beginning next week on DeRuyter Reservoir, Madison County, to allow dam repair work to take place. Access from the dam will be greatly restricted once construction starts and launching from the fee launch site at the south end will not be feasible until the water level returns to normal next year. Note also that during the lake drawdown period this fall, anglers should expect higher than normal flows in Limestone Creek.

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. Starting on April 1, 2019 the guide you want to be using is the 2019-20 Freshwater Fishing Regulations Guide (PDF, 10 MB). The Fishing Guide can also be picked up where fishing licenses are sold.

Region 7 and Eastern Region 8

Lake Ontario and Bays

With the high water levels there are no wake zones for many Lake Ontario shorelines and bays please view the county sheriffs web pages for Wayne, Cayuga and Oswego counties. For information please view Lake Ontario Boat Launch Sites.

Salmon fishing continues to be good. In the west end fish have moved a little deeper than they have been and are in 200 to 300 foot of water down 90 to 150 foot. On the east end it's 200 to 300 foot of water down 90 to 100 foot. Spoons, flashers and flies, and cut-bait (meat rigs) are all working.

Sandy Creek Fishing Access site (Monroe County) - Launch is open; docks are unusable. Shoreline access will be restricted.

Port Bay West (Wayne County) - Launch is closed, but site will remain open for shoreline fishing.

Port Bay South (Wayne County) - Launch remains open, docks are unusable, and shoreline access will be restricted.

Sandy Pond

The Sandy Pond launch site was reopened on August 9th at noon. Just a reminder that there are still no wake zones in Oswego County, please view Oswego County Sheriffs web page for more information.

Oswego River

The flow is down from last week and it's running at 1,080 cubic feet per second (cfs) as of August 16. Look for catfish and sheepshead in the river with worms, cut-bait or crayfish.

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 currently running at 185 cfs as of August 16. There have been a few salmon reported in the lower river.

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

Oneida Lake

The DEC South Shore boat launch will be closed on August 21, and possibly also on August 22, for some site maintenance to take place.

Walleye are still being taken at a variety of depths from shallow weed beds to 25 or more feet. A variety of baits are working depending on the depth you are fishing, some popular ones have been worm harnesses, blade baits, swim baits and stickbaits. Look for bass in 5 to 15 foot of water around the shoals. It shouldn't be too long before the gizzard shad are big enough for the predators to start targeting them so keep an eye out for bird activity.

Otisco Lake

The algal bloom has diminished some so the water has a little less color to it. For tiger musky cast jerkbaits, chatterbaits, or spinnerbaits around the weed beds on the north end and along shore. Largemouth bass can be found in the weed beds fishing with Texas rigged plastics or working those same baits in the 10 to 15 foot zone on the edge of weeds.

Skaneateles Lake

Trolling 50 feet down with small spoons is working for trout. These trout are feeding on young of the year perch. Smallmouth bass and rock bass are biting in 10 to 40 foot of water on wacky drop-shot rigs, Ned-rigs and tube jigs.

Owasco Lake

Water fleas are being a nuisance at this time on Owasco for anglers trolling, so if trolling be prepared to deal with them. Flea-flicker lines or using a larger pound test monofilament sometimes help, and vertical jigging is also an option if fleas get too bad.

Cayuga Lake

There will be a large bass tournament taking place on the lake starting on August 22, so there will likely be more boat traffic. Water fleas are still being a nuisance at times on Cayuga for anglers trolling, so if trolling be prepared to deal with them. Flea-flicker lines or using a larger pound test monofilament sometimes help, and vertical jigging is also an option if fleas get too bad. Weed matts can also be a nuisance while trolling this time of year as well. An algal bloom is also still taking place on this lake at this time. Lake trout are being taken in 65 to 150 feet of water vertical jigging and 50 to 70 feet down over 120 to 300+ foot of water. Flashers and flies, and cowbells with spin-n-glo's are working.

Seneca Lake

Some lake trout are being taken by trolling or vertical jigging in 100 to 140 feet of water.

Keuka Lake

Lakers are being taken in 65 to 75 feet of water fishing close to bottom with live alewives or vertical jigging with white paddle tail plastics. Trolling 35 to 55 feet down over 80 to 90 feet of water with spindoctors is also working for lake trout.

Canandaigua Lakes

Vertical jigging in 75 foot of water early and late in the day is working for lake trout.

Whitney Point Reservoir

Try for smallmouths along shore with tube baits or wacky rigged stickworms. Channel catfish should be hitting on cut-bait or worms. Look for walleye in the old river channel with jigs or worm harnesses.

Chenango, Tioughnioga and Susquehanna Rivers

Look for smallmouths with tube baits, spinnerbaits and topwaters. For walleye, try jigs tipped with worms and for catfish try cut-bait or worms.

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.