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Trolling action has been turning in some good mixed bag action for browns, Kings and lakers. No serious winds as of late so the near shore waters have been on the clear side and skinny at times. But apparently there’s enough gloom thanks to passing storms along with some chop to make the fish comfortable being shallow. Lots of bait lurking ever closer to near shore is probably the biggest draw for the fish! Captain Hajecki from Crazy Yankee Sportfishing just recently had a good trip targeting mostly Kings in 12 – 16 fow just east of Point Breeze. He said long leads and stick baits were the ticket for a great mixed bag of Kings, browns and lakers. “Not sure if the fish will stay in that skinny water.” But if the bait hangs around and the water conditions are reasonable the hungry big predators will be nearby!

Cool weather is hanging on thru about the mid week along with passing storms and mostly gloomy weather. Cool conditions are hanging in so any last lick steelhead chances in the Oak likely are still hanging on. Flows are good at about moderate to medium with slightly stained visibility and so far not topping out much above 60°F. Bass action has been pretty good with multiple hook ups on big feisty bass. Not very technical fishing, put a drift or swing out there – fly, bait or lure and hang on. Casting chances for brown trout also offering up good chances for hook ups.
Reports of some hook ups at the Oak Orchard piers at Point Breeze over the past weekend. That same cool weather is keeping near shore water temps cool and the brown trout lurking. They look to be getting well fed up on bait so alewives might make a near shore shallow water push sooner then later bringing more browns within casting range or for personal small craft action. Always the chance for wild card hook ups on any trout or salmon swimming in Lake Ontario this time of year. Temps forecast to warm for end of week and weekend.
Steelhead pen rearing project concluded with a good release of the 10,000 fish in 2 pens at dusk on 4/24/23. Conditions were favorable and the fish seemed to disperse well after towing out to the Oak Orchard River mouth. Little to no bird or cormorant predation evidenced even into the next day – today, thanks to control efforts. King salmon nets for 126,000 fish were dropped at the marina later afternoon on 4/24/23. Those fingerlings should be making the short trek out to the Lake also with minimal bird predation.
Trib wise – back to a bit of a cool down in the weather for this beginning and mid week period after some unseasonably warm temps. There was some precipitation on the cool down with a chance of showers today. Look for a slight warm up for end part of the week/begin part of the weekend and then another cool down end part of the weekend/begin part of next week. Flows for now down some from slightly high to about medium and slightly stained with 2 – 3 ft of visibility in the Oak. Water temps are just hanging in cool enough now thanks to the cooler weather to hopefully still find a few steelhead lingering or dropping back in the Oak.
Fishing pressure pretty light so reports are thin to confirm any steelhead hook ups. There are definitely smallmouth bass catch and release chances though and guys have been into some good Lake run fish. The other area smaller tribs have moderate and dropping flows and slightly stained or going toward clear water color with mostly bass and warm water hook up chances. A west wind forecast today and tomorrow after the previous flat and calm and clear should make for some stained water brown trout pier and shoreline casting chances especially on the backside days as things clear for semi stained conditions.
For the open Lake action, we are following a stretch of flat and calm where the near shore waters went on the clear side. Even in that skinny water, Capt. Jon Forder from Mister Sportfishing found some hungry brown trout along with a mixed bag catch including a real nice Coho. Check out the pic below for a great fish that jumped 5 feet out of the water! There’s been good numbers of mostly smaller browns hooked up but some bigger drop back trib fish are mixed in. For the mid week period looks like we may get some stiffer winds that could set up some nice near shore color for end of week or weekend.
And Capt. Rob Westcott from Legacy Sportfishing says “any rain, wind and cooler temps should improve the shoreline brown trout action later this week. Lake trout action should improve as the season moves along generally in that 50 – 80fow range. Bait is showing up in the 80 – 160fow range and they’ll be moving closer shortly. Look for better numbers of Kings in the spring catch as the bait moves in.”
All in all, things look ahead of schedule but maybe some cooler weather will help stall the spring time action from moving along too quick. Enjoy your rec or charter action and practice catch and release where practical for good future hook up chances! Spring and cold water shallow fish probably offer the best chances of the season to let a few successfully go.

Have you given up on the Oak for steelhead chances? Maybe you shouldn’t – check out the great fish caught just recently in the pic below courtesy of Lindsey Agness. A big fresh female that, by the looks of things, hasn’t spawned yet. And about now in this week of keen, drying out, warm weather, the drifting chances are improving thanks to dropping and clearing flows.

Yesterday there was some water level fluctuations and while the flows were down, it revealed a few pods of steelhead around where you would expect them in the gravel spots. Probably some fish had retreated to the holes too. Flows did rebound and anglers faced some difficult wading situations. Use caution when you find flows that are likely to change quickly. Flows are now slightly high with more then a foot of visibility that could be approaching 2 feet. Flows look like maybe one notch less then full bore turbine water. Look for a few steelhead spread out around the middle or lower river reaches. Fish will be dropping back from the dam too. And if fish could drop back from the overflow channel they would. But since they can’t you’ll have to go to float techniques for what’s probably a fair number of fish landlocked in that channel. Still good opportunity to re-release them back into the turbine channel for access back to the main Lake.

Suckers are numerous, a few bass are around and water temps are warming. So get your last lick of cold water steelhead chances while they last for April. Other area smaller tribs have medium to slightly high flows and slightly stained water color. Water temps are warmer than the Oak and no doubt things have moved further along in those smaller waterways. Look for a few steelhead and brown trout stragglers and more bass.

In the open Lake Ontario around the Point Breeze area anyway it’s a medium pick for mostly browns near shore. At the end of this past week, winds receded and left some nice green water near shore, the civilian and charter trollers did better on Sunday. Reports of some lakers caught in the 60fow range west of the harbor. Reports of a few salmon too. Forecasted stronger mid week winds may bring on the “yoohoo” water again but then the tasty green on the retreat. So be a student of the weather and winds and water conditions for best boating trolling chances. Those same past Sunday semi stained waters that trollers scored in also brought on some hook ups for the foot soldiers, land lubber casting crowd. Being stuck on a pier or the lakeshore doesn’t mean you can’t get in on the action too this time of the year!

On Monday, April 03, NYSDEC delivered 126,000 King salmon and 10,000 steelhead for pen rearing in the Oak Orchard. There was a great crowd of volunteers to help receive the fish. Delivery was a little earlier then previous years with the fingerlings reported to be ahead of schedule just a bit, thanks to warm hatchery temps. Fish will be fed and reared in the pens for something like 3-4 weeks before release. Water conditions in the Oak are heavily stained with temps about 45°F.

Point Breeze launch docks are reported to be going in soon this week or by next week. This should make it easier for launching and getting out on the open Lake waters for spring trolling action. The same stain in the tribs from all the recent rains has been making the open Lake waters around harbor mouths challenging, plus adding in windy days and the near shore waters have been holding on to the mud. Capt. Forder from Mister Charters said yesterday even the 50 – 80fow range had lots of sedimentation but was showing some good marks on the fish finder. Today Capt. Chas from Searcher Charters said they got their coho/brown trout limit in their one day trip because the near shore waters were clearing enough in the 10fow range. What they did today was taking days previous to do because there was just too much dirty water. This is what the spring so far has been offering up, and wind or more runoff ahead can and will change conditions daily!

Flows in the Oak are high and dirty. Looks like turbine flows are wide open and overflow levels are diminished. Water color is less then a foot of visibility. There was something like another 0.50 inch of rain area wide last night and this morning. For now trib flows are trying to drop back but will probably be at a stalemate or rise slightly from the latest precipitation. With any luck overflow levels in the Oak will not overtop the spillway again. There is the chance for thunderstorms tomorrow and maybe into Thursday on rising temps and then a bit of a cool down for the end of week.

The other area smaller waterways east and west have the same high and dirty flows. They will be the first tribs to drop and clear if we can string together any kind of drying period. Look for flows in the Oak to stay at least slightly high/slightly stained or high/dirty in the near term. With so much high and dirty water to contend with, the fishing pressure has been pretty light. No doubt, there are steelhead doing their thing and at least there’s been no spike in water temps to chase them out like in the Oak. With just a few more inches of visibility that approach one foot, anglers should be able to make some productive drifts.

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