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Central New York Fishing Hotline

February 15 - February 22

The weekend of February 16-17, 2019 is a free fishing weekend. Anyone can fish the freshwaters of New York State and no license is required. Since no license is required it's the perfect time to take a friend or relative fishing. See ice fishing link below for information on ice fishing.

For people visiting the hotline for the first time, and as a reminder to frequent visitors, the hotline is always done the week before. For example, it was done on February 15th this week. Information for the hotline is obtained by talking to employees at bait shops, searching fishing web pages, or directly from anglers. Ice thickness information is obtained the same way; we do not go out and check ice thickness. Remember ice thickness can vary greatly, even on the same water, so use extreme caution and your own good judgment if deciding to venture out. Some safety measures to follow are: use a spud and check ice thickness as you venture out, fish with a buddy, and bring a rope and ice-picks. For more informtion see the Introduction to ice fishing chapter in the I Fish NY beginners guide.

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 (links leave DEC's website).

A reminder that from Nov 1 to May 1, all persons aboard a pleasure vessel less than 21 feet must wear a Personal Floatation Device (PFD) while underway. For more information on boating regulations please view the NYS Boater's Guide (link leaves DEC's website).

The New York State Freshwater Fishing Regulations Guide runs from April 1st to March 30th. The 2018-19 Official guide has a picture of an angler holding a giant smallmouth bass on the cover. The Fishing Guide can be picked up where fishing licenses are sold, or viewed at Freshwater Fishing Regulations.

Region 7

Overall, last week was a miserable week for ice fishing between the snow, freezing rain and very strong winds so there is little information to report this week. If venturing out please use caution and your own good judgment if heading out.

Lake Ontario

The lake fishing report is done for the season.

Oswego River

The flow is up and the river is running at 13,200 cubic feet per second (cfs) as of 2/15 some brown trout and steelhead are being taken. There is rain in the forecast so the river will likely be rising.

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

The river is currently running at 1,650 cfs as of 2/15. Anglers braving the elements are getting some steelhead with egg sacs with blue or pink mesh working.

There is a new water level flow page provided by Brookfield Renewable Energy for the Salmon River that can be found at

Oneida Lake

Use caution when moving around on the lake as there are some big pressure cracks out there, coupled with some deep snow drifts. The freezing rain earlier in the week also added a "crusty" layer that can hinder travel. Anglers are getting out pretty much all around the lake with 8 or more inches of ice being reported. Panfish are being taken in Big Bay. Walleye and yellow perch are being taken around the lake, with yellow perch action being a little better on the north shore and walleye on the south.

The new parking regulations at the Lewis Point Ice Fishing Access Site are apparently creating angler conflicts. The changes were made to stop the free-for-all parking that has existed in the past. If the lot is full when you arrive, please accept that fact and go to an alternate access spot such as Verona Beach State Park or the DEC South Shore Boat Launch. The Lewis Point site is through a Cooperative Agreement with the landowner. If parking issues continue the agreement may not continue and that access will be lost.

Sandy Pond

This area was hit with snow and though anglers are getting out no reports on current conditions or ice thickness.

Otisco Lake

Use caution if venturing out as the rain last week, coupled with rain in the forecast for today, will likely have deteriorated the shore ice in places.

Cayuga Lake

Anglers fishing from shore around Taughannock are getting lake trout.

Skaneateles Lake

The DEC launch is closed for the season.

Owasco Lake

No new information.

Whitney Point Reservoir

No information on how the shore ice held up to last weeks rain event. The Whitney Point crappie derby has been cancelled.

Chenango, Tioughnioga and Susquehanna Rivers

No new information.

Eastern Region 8

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 518-226-5343.

Lake Ontario

This little warm up should help to open up some sections of the streams for fishing.

Sodus Bay

Like every where else, use caution if heading out after last weeks rain event. There is likely also a crust on top of the snow from the freezing rain. Anglers are getting yellow perch and a few pike.

Seneca Lake

The Sampson State Park boat launch is closed as it will be worked on over the winter.

Canandaigua and Keuka Lakes

No new information. If anyone would like to contribute to the hotline or if they have a good recommendation for a contact (baitshop, etc.), please contact the Region 7 Fisheries office at (607) 753-3095 ext. 213, or on-line at

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.