Western New York
(Trout stocking update)
DEC regional fisheries staff have battled high water conditions but have managed to stock several waters this month. Anglers can call the Randolph Hatchery Fish Stocking Hotline at (716) 358-4950 for weekly stocking updates. Among the waters stocked this month are:
Allegany County: Allen Lake (Allen), Dodge Creek (Clarksville), Little Genesee Creek (Bolivar), Genesee River (Wellsville, Amity), Dyke Creek (Andover), Cryder Creek (Independence), Black Creek (West Almond), Canaseraga Creek (Burns), Hunt Creek (Alma), California Hollow Brook (Bolivar), Root Creek (Bolivar).
Cattaraugus County: Quaker Lake (Cold Spring), Red House Lake (Red House), New Albion Lake (New Albion), Case Lake (Franklinville), Harwood Lake (Farmersville), Great Valley Creek (Great Valley), Forks Creek (Great Valley), Wright’s Creek (Humphrey), South Branch Cattaraugus Creek (East Otto), Mansfield Creek (Mansfield), Beaver Meadow Creek (Ellicottville), Connoisarauley Creek (Ashford), Bay State Brook (Red House), Quaker Run (Cold Spring), Red House Brook (Red House), Science Lake (Red House), Bone Run (South Valley), Guernsey Run (South Valley), North Branch Sawmill Run (South Valley), Little Conewango Creek (Conewango), Paisley Park Pond (Randolph). Elton Creek (Freedom), Haskell Creek (Hinsdale), Five Mile Creek (Allegany), Rice Brook (Carrollton), Birch Run Pond No. 1 (Allegany), County Ponds A&B (Randolph).
Chautauqua County: Goose Creek (Harmony, North Harmony), Clay Pond (Poland), Bear Lake Outlet (Stockton), Cassadaga Creek (Stockton), West Branch Conewango Creek (Villenova), Farrington Hollow Brook (Cherry Creek), Mill Creek (Gerry), Canadaway Creek (Arkwright).
Erie County: Cattaraugus Creek (Yorkshire), East Branch Cazenovia Creek (Aurora, Holland), Little Buffalo Creek (Lancaster, Marilla), Eighteenmile Creek (Boston Town Park), Cayuga Creek (Lancaster), Sprague Brook Park Ponds (Concord), Main Park Pond (Clarence), Ellicott Creek (Amherst).
Niagara County: Oppenheim Park Pond (Wheatfield), Hyde Park Lake (Niagara Falls), Gill Creek (Niagara Falls).
Wyoming County: Buffalo Creek (Java), Cattaraugus Creek (Arcade), Little Tonawanda Creek (Middlebury), Tonawanda Creek (Orangeville), East Koy Creek (Gainesville). Oatka Creek (Warsaw).
Lake Ontario: Some trollers were back out on Lake Ontario in search of nearshore brown trout. Catches consisted of good numbers of smaller browns with the occasional lunker mixed in. Target brown trout over depths of 6-20 feet of water. The top tactic is running shallow-diving stickbaits off planer boards, 75 to 100 feet behind the boards. Try to seek out slightly warmer and murky (but not muddy) waters.
Lake Ontario tributaries, harbors and piers: All of the Lake Ontario tributaries were running high and muddy at last look. Stained conditions will persist longer on the dammed streams. Egg sacs, egg flies, trout beads and grub-tipped marabou jigs are good trout offerings.
All pier sites were ice-free and offer opportunity to catch lake-run trout. Casting spoons works well.
Lake Erie tributaries: Tributary levels were high and muddy but improving at press time. Anglers were seeing decent action for a mix of fresh and drop-back steelhead. Bass and suckers were starting to show in the lowest sections, as well. Good steelhead offerings include egg sacs, egg flies, nymph patterns, trout beads, minnows and small jigs tipped with a wax worm (fished under a float).
Lower Niagara River: Trout action was spotty from both boat and shore. Obviously, the big news was the 31-pound brown caught in the lower river (see photo on Page 1). Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls scored on some nice trout off the fishing platform on spinners just before the water started to change color. There have been a few smelt reported at Artpark – mostly some bigger adults – but hopefully the best is yet to come.
Upper Niagara River: The upper river was in great shape with good green coloration at last report. City of Buffalo shoreline sites and sheltered harbors/marinas around the river are good places to target yellow perch. Dipping for emerald shiners has been hit and miss at the foot of Ontario Street and Sheridan Drive boat launch.
Chautauqua Lake: Anglers have been catching smaller yellow perch and the occasional keeper crappie in the canals. No crappie reports from the open lake yet. However, traditionally good spring crappie spots in the south basin include Ashville Bay, Burtis Bay, Cheney Point, Lakewood Bar, Rock Island and Grass Island. In the north basin, Bemus Bay, Whitney Bay, Dewittville Bay and the flats off Mayville are worth a try. Small jigs (1/32 and 1/64 ounces) with a small minnow, one-inch tube or other small plastic and fished under a float, are proven crappie catchers. Anglers were catching some bullhead at shoreline sites during low-light periods. Catches should continue to improve with rising water temperatures.
Orleans County: All of the tributaries within Orleans County were high and muddy, but improving. Lake Alice was still very stained, as was the mouth of Oak Orchard Creek and out into Lake Ontario for several hundred feet. As you get away from the mouths of the tributaries you will find some of that nice “Lake Erie” green water to enjoy. In The Oak, both fresh and spawned steelhead were up for the taking and with the higher water flows were on the move. Lake Alice was offering a great mixed bag of fish, including bluegill, crappie, perch, bass, suckers and bullhead. On Lake Ontario, some very good brown trout fishing was being enjoyed when the wind cooperates for that nearshore fishery. Action around the marinas was entering the all-out phase, getting boats ready to launch for another great season. The pens for the pen rearing project are ready to go and were just waiting for the delivery of fish. With the spring LOC Derby approaching it’s time for that shakedown cruise to make sure all of the work that was done this winter has you set to go.
Central New York
A number of county web sites offer good information on fishing in the region, including bait shops, guides, etc. A few examples are: Onondaga County (fishonondagacounty.com); Oswego County (visitoswegocounty.com); and Wayne County (waynecountytourism.com). Oswego and Wayne counties also have a weekly fishing hotline on their web page, as well.
Trout stocking: Several area trout waters have been stocked earlier this month. Among them:
Cayuga County: Fall Creek.
Chenango County: Genegantslet Creek and Otselic River.
Cortland County: Otselic River.
Madison County: Otselic River and Sangerfield River.
Onondaga County: Stocked by Carpenter’s Brook Fish Hatchery. Their stocking hotline is (315) 689-0003 and the stocking list can also be viewed at fishonondagacounty.com.
Lake Ontario: Shore fishing and trolling the shoreline for brown trout should be picking up now.
Oswego River: The river is way up from with the snowmelt and rain at last look and was pretty much unfishable.
Remember, the bridge to Leto Island is closed, and there are mandatory PFD zones on the river.
Salmon River: High and not an option at last check.
Oneida Lake: The annual walleye egg take at the Oneida Fish Hatchery (Constantia) was deemed a success. Anglers were getting yellow perch on small minnows and a few bullheads were starting to be caught. Use caution when boating; there is likely to be debris floating around with the high water.
Sodus and Irondequoit bays: Anglers have recently been catching good numbers of yellow perch on Irondequoit Bay, but expect many throwbacks for every keeper. Yellow perch were being taken in both bays and a few bullhead were starting to be caught.
Finger Lakes/Southern Tier
Trout stocking: DEC fisheries staff played catchup with their trout stocking efforts after heavy rains and snowmelt created high water conditions. Among the waters stocked ahead of the April 1 trout opener and the early weeks of the season are:
Chemung County: Eldridge Lake, Park Station Pond, Cayuta Creek, Wyncoop Creek, Post Creek, Sing Sing Creek and Newtown Creek.
Genesee County: Dewitt Pond (Batavia), Oatka Creek (Le Roy).
Livingston County: Sugar Creek (Ossian).
Monroe County: Oatka Creek (Wheatland).
Ontario County: Canandaigua Outlet (Phelps, Manchester).
Schuyler County: Cayuta Creek.
Seneca County: Canoga Creek.
Steuben County: Cohocton River (Cohocton, Avoca), Post Creek (Hornby), Meads Creek (Campbell). Canaseraga Creek (Dansville), Canisteo River (Hornellsville), Bennett Creek (Greenwood).
Tioga County: East Branch of Owego Creek, Owego Creek and West Branch of Owego Creek.
Tompkins County: Enfield Creek, Virgil Creek, Buttermilk Creek, Fall Creek, Salmon Creek and Sixmile Creek.
Cayuga Lake: Use caution when boating as there will likely be a lot of debris floating around. Anglers were catching Atlantic salmon by trolling on or near the surface. No word on the brown trout bite on the south end, but with the muddy water the bite should be starting soon. Tributaries were running high and turbid at last look.
Skaneateles Lake: The launch is now open and the docks are in. Yellow perch were hitting on the north end using small minnows. Tributaries were high and chocolaty.
Owasco Lake: Keep an eye out for floating debris if you head out.
Seneca Lake: Not hearing anything of late.
Susquehanna, Chenango, Tioughnioga and Unadilla rivers: Rivers were running high and were unfishable.
Whitney Point Reservoir: Not much happening but crappie action should start when conditions allow.
Tip of the Week: These high flows make trout fishing difficult. Sometimes looking for slack water areas where fish can get out of the direct current can help.
Lake Champlain: Not hearing much right now.
West Branch of the Ausable River: Water conditions were pretty darn good for mid-April, but temps remained in the low 50s so it would be wise to fish low and slow with streamers or nymphs. Some small caddis nymphs may be effective, as well.
The freshwater fishing during this report period continued to improve with the rising water temperatures. Largemouth bass were caught on crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and plastic baits. Panfish, including crappie, were being caught on worms, with spinners and small spoons catching yellow perch and pickerel. The larger lakes, including Massapequa Reservoir, Laurel Lake, Forge Pond, and Lake Ronkonkoma have offered some of the best action. Carp were caught on doughballs and corn in Argyle Lake and Southards Pond.
The trout fishing remained solid in Massapequa Reservoir, the Carlls River, White Pool and the Nissequogue River. Trout worms, small swimmers and streamers all worked well. There have been brackish water trout reported at the Argyle Lake spillway and at Bubbles Falls. Your best bet for spring trout is to check out the DEC’s website for the waters receiving trout stockings and target these areas before the summer raises the water temperature.
The winter flounder season opened on April 1. Most of the action was reported by open boats fishing in the South Shore bays and in the western Sound. The winter flounder season has been slowly improving during the past few years, and this year the early reports continue to show signs of the continued improvement. That said, the winter flounder fishing was still very spotty and catching a two-fish limit of 12-inch fish remained a good day. The best areas were those with dark, muddy bottoms in 10 feet of water or less during the flood tide. Both boaters as well as shore anglers reported catching flounder. Bloodworms and mussels fished with heavy clam chum was the best combination.
The opening day of striped bass was April 15. All indications pointed to good opening day as there were numerous report of adult bunker as well as a mix of small baitfish in the South Shore bays and North Shore harbors. Schools of large squid were also reported along the ocean beaches. The catch and release action has resulted in small, schoolie-sized stripers in the 2- to 4-pound range, with a few 24-inchers reported. These stripers were predominantly caught off the ocean beaches and in the back bays along the South Shore and in the Western Sound. Each day they have been progressively working their way to the East End of the island.
The stripers were generally caught by casting swimming plugs, diamond jigs and plastic baits as there was a need to cover a lot of water to find the fish. Once found, a few were generally caught until the tide changed or the baitfish moved.
Codfish, ling and the occasional pollack continued to be caught on the inshore wrecks and reefs between 90 and 120 feet of water. Fresh skimmer clams remained the top bait.
April 1 was the start of the new regulations guide, which is effective now through March 31, 2018. You can obtain a copy from a licensing agent.
Not hearing a lot on the fishing front, but more and more of the region’s trout waters are being stocked now that conditions permit. The Kayaderosseras is worth a look now. And the Battenkill and Mettawee rivers are always good options.
Southeastern New York
Many of the region’s trout waters have been stocked after some delays due to high water caused by snowmelt and heavy rains. Among the waters receiving trout are:
Dutchess County: Fishkill Creek, Sprout Creek, Ten Mile River, Webatuck Creek, Swamp River, Wappingers Creek
Putnam County: East Branch Croton River, West Branch Croton River, Croton Falls Reservoir, West Branch Reservoir
Orange County: Neversink River, Shingle Kill, Shawangunk Kill, Walton Lake, Round Lake, Wawayanda Creek
Rockland County: Ramapo River, Minisceongo Creek, North Branch Minisceongo Creek, Mahwah River, Stony Brook, Pascack Brook, Cedar Pond Brook, Sparkill Creek
Sullivan County: Callicoon Creek, East Branch Callicoon Creek, North Branch Callicoon Creek, Neversink Reservoir
Westchester County: Stone Hill River, Mianus River, Amawalk Inlet, Peekskill Hollow Brook, Waccabuc River, Titicus River, Croton River, Amawalk Outlet, Cross River Reservoir Outlet, Cross River Reservoir, Kensico Reservoir, Titicus Reservoir
Fishing was marginal as of last week but river levels were dropping and things may very well have improved by now.
Beaverkill and Willowemoc: Both rivers are still above normal but clear. Some limited wading was possible. Water temps were heading toward 50.
Delaware East Branch: Very high and not wadeable, and also off color.
Delaware West Branch: At last check was high, with water still coming over the top of Cannonsville. It was floatable but not wadeable. Even then, expect poor fishing because of very high water levels. Fishing will improve when flows get to 3000 cfs or less
Esopus: Still somewhat high. The tribs were worth a look for spawning rainbows.
Neversink: Remained unwadeable, but like the other tailwaters conditions will improve rapidly once the water stops coming over the dam. It was too high to fish the gorge.
Delaware Main Stem: Very high and off-color. Fishing was not possible but that may have changed by now.
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.
St. Lawrence River: Not hearing a lot but bullhead action should be picking up.
Black Lake: The folks at Chapman’s Sports in Hammond report lots of fishing action for perch and crappie, and bullhead anglers are also starting to see some success as well.
Chaumont Bay: Ahead of the walleye opener next month, the back bays are muddy and holding jumbo perch and bullheads. Ditto for the Chaumont River and Three Mile Bay.