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The Fishing Line - The Salmon Are Running!

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The Fishing Line - The Salmon Are Running!

Freshwater Fishing, Fisheries Management, and Boating News

In This Issue:

  • Lake Ontario Tributary Fishing
  • Lake Erie Steelhead: 2021 Fall Fishing Forecast
  • Fishing Finger Lakes Tributaries
  • Salmon River Hatchery Update
  • Saranac River Atlantic Salmon Run
  • Fish Fact Friday

The start of Fall signifies several things here in New York - apple picking, pumpkin spice everything, football games and...(most important) the annual trout and salmon run in New York's larger tributaries.

Lake Ontario Tributary Fishing

Angler with Chinook salmonWith higher than average water levels, good runs of migrating salmon and trout are expected in Great Lakes tributaries this fall. Anglers can expect quality fishing opportunities for Chinook and coho salmon from now through early-November, but the first two weeks of October is when it typically peaks. Steelhead fishing turns on later in the season, usually in late October through November when water temperatures are around 45-58 degrees F. And lest we forget brown trout where world-class waters such as Niagara River, Oswego River, Oak Orchard Creek, Eighteenmile Creek, Sandy Creek and Maxwell Creek provide peak fishing opportunities in November and December.

For information on fishing Great Lakes tributaries, visit the DEC website.

Lake Erie Steelhead: 2021 Fall Fishing Forecast

Angler with Lake Erie steelheadNew York’s Lake Erie tributaries boast some of the highest angler catch rates for steelhead (PDF) in the entire country, and the arrival of fall’s colors signals the beginning of the steelhead season. This year is shaping up to be a more “typical” fall on the Lake Erie tributaries compared to the hot and dry conditions in recent years. Plenty of rain in recent weeks coupled with cooler temperatures has already brought in the first runs of steelhead into the lower sections of favorite fishing destinations such as Cattaraugus, Eighteen Mile, and Chautauqua creeks. As long as this pattern continues, anglers should experience excellent fishing in October and November. Expect a lot of jacks in the early going with larger fish becoming more plentiful as the water temperatures cool off. Anglers looking for current water conditions can look online at the USGS water gauges for all of the major Lake Erie tributaries, or visit the DEC Lake Erie Fishing Hotline for weekly updates on the steelhead fishery.

Steelhead Fishing in Lake Erie Tributaries

Brown troutFishing Finger Lakes Tributaries

Anglers that prefer to avoid crowds and get in on some high quality tributary fishing should consider setting their sights on New York's Finger Lakes. Of the 11 Finger Lakes, nine have annual migratory trout and salmon runs, so there is no shortage of opportunities to choose from. Pair a fishing trip with a wine tasting for a fun fall Finger Lakes weekend.

For information on tributary access (Public Fishing Rights) visit DEC's website.



Salmon River Hatchery Update

Observation Deck Construction (Salmon River Hatchery)The new fish ladder at the Salmon River Hatchery is up and running, and fish have wasted no time using it. Construction crews continue to lay the foundations for an improved outdoor visitor experience, pouring lots of concrete pillars and pads for new observation decks, a new pavilion, new roadways, and an access ramp to the back of the Hatchery's "spawn house." Although the construction will keep the hatchery closed to the public through the fall, the fall egg collection will go on as planned. This much anticipated event generally takes place beginning the day after Columbus Day as long as the hatchery's water temperatures have come down to acceptable levels. A Facebook Live event during the spawn is planned for a day the week of October 11th. Be sure to check DEC's Facebook page for a scheduled date.

Saranac River Atlantic Salmon Run

Angler with landlocked salmonWith much cooler nights and increased rainfall, the fall Atlantic salmon run has begun. Anglers are catching salmon all the way to below the Imperial Mills Dam. Please be advised that DEC and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are currently netting salmon in the river as part of a research project but are returning all fish back to the river after a sample is collected. We have received reports of some quality fish. 

Fish Fact Friday

Coho salmonAfter hatching, Chinook salmon spend just four months in a tributary before taking a trip downstream to spend a majority of their life in Lake Ontario, whereas coho salmon spend 1½ years in tributaries before migrating out to the lake.


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Basil Seggos, Commissioner

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Going to be anyway. Why 20 years ago I picked up deer hunting lol. 
just have to pick your days and spots. 
plenty of good spots available 

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