Upstate and Western New York Fishing Report- July 20, 2023

Matt Vogt largemouth bass
Matt Vogt of Newfane with a big largemouth bass from Niagara County.

Greater Niagara Region

Frank Campbell

There has been some water movement out in the lake and things have changed a bit thanks to recent winds, but fishing is still good for salmon and trout. Capt. Pete Alex of Vision Quest Sportfishing reports that good numbers of brown trout are being caught in under 70 feet of water with an occasional salmon (now that the water is cold on the inside). There are numerous bait mounds inside of 70 feet of water, which attracts the browns and occasional salmon. Dreamweaver DW size and Michigan Stinger Stingrays off riggers, sliders, divers and 7 and 10-color lead cores or 200-foot and 250-foot weighted steel or coppers (all off boards) are working best according to Alex. There are pods of kings with an occasional Coho and steelhead mixed in offshore out to 450 feet of water right now. They are moving daily, and the best approach is to cover as much water as possible until you find a school of fish and then work them. Spoons are best in the top 60 feet. Flasher-flies and meat is best when fishing below 60-foot is working best right now. Mixed classes of salmon are being caught with occasional matures mixed in. Out of Olcott, Scott Rohe of Cheektowaga reports steady but slow action on kings. He fished 100 to 300 feet of water. Spoons on the 70-foot rigger were hot. Also, a diver out 220 feet with a flasher/fly took some nice salmon. In the Lake Ontario Counties Salmon, Trout and Walleye Summer Derby, Cameron Hasner of Greece, NY is still leading for the Grand Prize with a 28-pound, 11-ounce Orleans County fish. Connor Suba of Ohio took over the Steelhead lead with an 11-pound fish he caught out of Olcott with Capt. Kurt Driscoll of Stalker Charters. The derby continues through July 30. Check out the leaderboard at

Marty Polovick of Lockport (left) and Richard Heim of Grand Island
Marty Polovick of Lockport (left) and Richard Heim of Grand Island show off some salmon during the LOTSA contests. Polovick weighed in the Big Fish on Friday with a 23.7-pound king salmon.

Scott Rohe king salmon
Scott Rohe of Cheektowaga with a chunky Olcott king salmon caught over the weekend.
The Streaker team
The Streaker team placed second in the 3-2-3 LOTSA Challenge and second in the Curt Meddaugh Memorial 3-Fish contest. From the left are Matt Dunn of Newfane, Doug Parker, Sr. from Lockport, Doug Parker, Jr. from Wilson, and Marc Dunn of Pendleton.

The Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Association held its in-club tournaments Friday and Saturday and hats off to the winners. In the Saturday LOTSA King Salmon big fish contest, Bob Herkalo of Bangor, Penn. with the Sweet Jane team that included his brother Mike, caught the biggest fish overall — a 25.82-pound salmon they reeled in between Wilson and Olcott in 225 feet of water with an NK Green Dolphin spoon. It was caught on a diver back 165 feet on a No. 2 setting. The big king currently sits at eighth place on the leaderboard for the LOC. In the club’s 3-2-3 contest, which amounted to three fish over two days with three winners, it was Robert Schneider of Massachusetts and the Royal Flush team with his son Devon Glynn of Massachusetts, with an impressive three fish total of 69.19 pounds. Schneider found a huge temperature break in 210 feet of water, 60 to 80 feet down. Flashers and cut bait did the trick to produce two 23-pound kings Saturday. Runner-up was the Streaker team with Matt and Marc Dunn, as well as Doug Parker Sr. and Jr. They totaled 62.09 pounds of salmon by fishing off Wilson in 400 feet of water, using 300 and 400-foot copper lines rigged with meat and flies behind flashers to produce the big boys. Leading the way in the Curt Meddaugh Memorial 3-Fish contest on Friday, Gary House of Hamburg led the Red Dawn team with a total weight of 56.28 pounds. Streaker finished runner-up there, too, with 54.74 pounds of salmon. Big fish on Friday was Marty Polovick of Lockport with his 4 Poles team, weighing in a 23.7-pound king salmon. Check out all the details at

Neil Stenzel smallmouth bass
Neil Stenzel of Niagara Falls with a 5.25-pound smallmouth bass he caught on a Silver Minnow crankbait in the Niagara River.
Whitney Williams smallmouth bass
Whitney Williams of Lockport with a 4-1/2-pound smallmouth bass from the upper Niagara River.

Good news in the Niagara River – the moss is nearly gone. Mixed reports on river action both above and below Niagara Falls. Bass action in both the upper and lower river sections can be good, but it appears you must be using the right bait in the right spots. For example, Capt. Frank Campbell of Lewiston reports that one angler took three drifts at Stella Niagara in the lower river and caught 27 bass on drop shot rigs. Crayfish will also work well for bass. In the upper river, Thure Larson of East Amherst reports decent bass fishing around Motor and Strawberry islands. Catching the largest fish of the day was Whitney Williams of Lockport, showing up her father Jim and Larson. Her two biggest fish were 4-5 pounds.

Wayne County Fishing Update

Chris Kenyon

Lake Ontario

The Sodus Pro-Am was held Saturday and Sunday, with all the action at the weigh-ins under the tent at Sodus Point. See the complete leaderboard for Pros and Ams

The salmon have been in water 150 to 200 feet, down 90 fow. The meat rigs are catching more fish; however, flasher flies and spoons will work.

Charters are fishing straight out from Sodus and Port Bays. July and August have been the most productive for kings in Wayne County.

Don’t forget the LOC Summer Derby started Saturday, July 1st and continues through July 30th.


The largemouth bass are being caught near the islands in Sodus Bay. Fish between LeRoy Island and the east shoreline.
The weeds are heavy at the south end of Sodus so use your Texas rig when casting into or around weeds.

For the tasty bluegills… fish Port Bay. The “gills” have been caught everywhere. Use small jigs tipped with spikes. Launch your boat at the south ramp off West Port Bay and start fishing on both sides of the bay.

The largemouth bass fishing is also excellent in the 500-acre Port Bay.

Erie Canal

The bass are hitting at Widewaters. Fish the south side next to the weedlines. Widewaters has an excellent Wayne County Park and launch site. Launching at Widewaters will give you the longest distance between locks in the county.

Bait for fishing is available on the south end of Sodus at Davenports and Bay Bridge Sport Shop.
On Port Bay Jarvis Bait Farm is open on Brown Road. The signs are on East Port Bay Road at the junction of Brown Road.
Toadz Bait is near the end of West Port Bay Road.

Notable Freshwater Fishing Regulation Changes

The following list offers a summary of the most notable fishing regulation changes resulting from the adopted rulemakings described above.

  • New statewide regulation for rainbow trout, brown trout, and splake in lakes and ponds. The season will now be open year-round, with a five-fish daily limit, any size, with a “no more than two longer than 12 inches” harvest rule.
  • Statewide Atlantic salmon regulations will now allow for a year-round open season.
  • Ice fishing is permitted on all waters in New York unless specifically prohibited with the exception of Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, Herkimer, Lewis, St. Lawrence, Warren, and Washington counties where previous rules remain.
  • New specific dates replaced floating dates for statewide season openers to include:
    • May 1 – Walleye, Northern Pike, Pickerel, and Tiger Muskellunge.
    • June 1 – Muskellunge. (Note that in 2022, DEC will allow for the fishing of muskellunge beginning the last Saturday in May to accommodate previously planned fishing trips);and
    • June 15 – Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass.
  • A five-fish daily walleye limit in Oneida Lake.
  • A new regulation to limit the growth of the walleye population in Skaneateles Lake. No daily possession limit; 12-inch minimum size limit, open year-round.
  • The statewide sunfish daily harvest limit has been reduced from 50 to 25 fish: and
  • The statewide minimum size limit for crappie has been increased from nine inches to ten inches.

Orleans County

Orleans County Sportfishing Coordinator Ron Bierstine:

Phil and Jenny S with a couple nice PB Kings
Phil and Jenny S with a couple nice PB Kings

Like the most recent up and down summer weather, the water conditions are up and down too. Rain and thunderstorms coming and going along with some winds. The winds though are not long lasting or too stiff so according to Captain B. Songin it’s been just enough to sometime move cool water in and warm water out or you might find the cooler water out and the warmer water in. And most action is in 100 – 200 fow. For the most part though the weather hasn’t kept trollers off the water for any long periods and good fishing continues. Mid week is looking like clear skies and then chance of rain or storms returning end of week.

Vince, Mike and Anthony king salmon
Capt. Lou Borelli’s clients Vince, Mike and Anthony from Rochester will have some great fillets from these teenager and mature Kings. Smiles to go along too!

Captain L. Borrelli fishing out of Bald Eagle Creek found plenty of teenage Kings this past weekend and his best water was 100 – 150 fow and fishing 70 – 90 ft down. (See picture below.) He found some of that cool in shore water for the end of the weekend and then the action was best 50 – 60 ft down. At trolling depth the currents have been tricky, probably because of the water moving and mixing so experiment with your trolling direction for best action. For Captain L. Borrelli it was a spoon bite and he says the “fishing continues to be good with summer in full swing.”

The rec husband and wife team of Phil and Jenny S. (pictured above) recently dialed in on some big Kings. They enjoy Lake Erie walleye action and found the Kings pulled a little harder and burned just a little more drag then walleyes! They were liking it and their excitement showed. One hundred ten – 130 fow water was best with meat on riggers and spoons on dipseys and flasher/flies on a 400 copper all working. They ran their spread anywhere from 50 – 90 ft down. I’m guessing they’ll be back for more big King action!

No results yet from the latest 2nd round of KOTO so when those come in we’ll get those out.

• The LOC Derby is in full swing and runs from July 1st to the 30th. Follow them on Facebook. View the current leaderboard here.

Oswego County

Spey Nation

Don’t Miss Spey Nation!

Visit the website to learn more….

August 11-13, 2023

Oswego County Tourism caught up with the organizers to ask some questions about the event:

Q. Spey Nation is just around the corner, is there anything unique that anglers won’t want to miss?
Angler’s won’t want to miss out on hearing from industry experts in a casual Q/A setting. It’s also an opportunity to take a hands-on class with an expert instructor that will be sure to improve any angler’s skills.

Q. Can anyone come to Spey Nation?
The Friday night social hour at Tailwater Lodge and Saturday presentations at the Pineville Boat Launch are all open to the public with no pre-registration needed. The classes require a fee and pre-registration (

Q. What’s the best way for attendees to interact with you leading up to the event?
The event link on the Swing the Fly website provides all the details on the event including the presentations and class registration. As for social media Spey Nation is on Instagram (@speynation) and Facebook (@SpeyNation).

Charter Tips

Charter Tips – From the Captains

Click Here to Watch the Video

1. Get to know the area. If you’re in town the night before go check out where you have to meet in the morning. It’s better to know before hand than get mixed up in the early morning hours. There will be a lot going on.

2. Take motion sickness in advance. If you’re going to take motion sickness medication: start the day before your trip. If you wait until morning of, you could get sick before it’s in your system

3. Get supplies ahead of time. Make sure you have supplies the night before you trip: food, drinks, etc. You don’t want to be late waiting on subs to be made. Also remember stores don’t sell beer until 9am in NYS.

4. Go over you expectations with your Captain the day before the trip. E.g. fish you would like to target. Nothing worse for the captain than customers showing up wanting to fish browns and the captain had already set up for salmon. But remember conditions change so take the Captain’s advice too. That’s why you hired them.

5. Be prepared for the weather. Dress in layers, have rain gear, and don’t forget the sunscreen. Conditions can change quickly don’t let the weather ruin your day.

6. Be on time.

7. Buy your License ahead of time.

8. Stay Hydrated.

9. Book early and give notice if you have to cancel. Prime fishing days book far in advance. So plan as far in advance as you can. We all know life happens and having to canceling your trip could happen; just do right by your captain and let them now asap. This will give them a chance to rebook the day.

10. Enjoy the day. You’re not at work, you’re fishing.

free fishing guide

Free Oswego Fishing Guide

Click Here to Order a Free Guide

The 68-page guide includes a detailed overview of fishing opportunities on eastern Lake Ontario, Oneida Lake, the Oswego and Salmon rivers and a variety of other tributaries, as well as the more than 40,000 acres of public lands available for hunting.

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