• Oswego Salmon Fishing Charters…, Oswego Salmon Bite Smokin’

    Posted on July 10th, 2018 admin No comments

     

    A limit of nice kings on June 25, 2018, for Bill and Dave.

    If  you’re thinking about booking a salmon fishing charter, do it now, and book it out of Oswego!  The Oswego king salmon bite since late April minutes out of Oswego Harbor has been one of the very best ever.

    Oswego Harbor is the largest and best protected Lake Ontario harbor with plenty of deep water right out the front door.  Just a week or so ago, kings were concentrated in water as shallow as 65 feet where we were getting our first bites just before sunup.  Right now as postspawn alewives are beginning to move offshore, most of the action has been in 100 feet of water or deeper.  Occasional browns and steelhead are also being caught along with the kings.

    July is a perfect time to book a charter for kings.  They are still feeding actively, mint silver, and delicious eating.  Both morning and afternoon fishing is good.

    The only hitch at this point is that many charters are booked heavily, especially on weekends, so you will want to contact them to book a trip ASAP.

  • Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Fishing…, June Fishing Charters the Best?

    Posted on June 13th, 2018 admin No comments

    Lennie Beebe battling an early morning king salmon aboard the Fish Doctor in early morning on June9, 2018

    One of the most common questions I hear is, “What time of the season is the best fishing?”  Well, it would take a book to answer that one, but in a nutshell;

    It all depends on what you want to fish and what type of tackle you enjoy.  If you want to fish for brown trout in shallow water, you generally must fish in April, May, and early June.  If you like  ultralight gear the answer is the same when we’re trolling on or near the surface with noodle rods and 8 to 10 lb. test line.  If you want the biggest kings and cohos of the season, you should fish in late August and early September.

    Good fishing any time of  the year depends on conditions.  If weather patterns and especially winds are consistent, with no major changes, fishing is consistent.  Get a big blow and it changes everything.  Fishing can be the best all season, but one major weather change, especially high winds, can change everything.  If you’re fishing when a major cold front comes thru.  Don’t expect a good bite.

    That said,  especially over the past 5 years, I think the best fishing of the season, especially because of the beautiful weather, calm seas, and multispecies catches, occurs in June.

    A few days ago , on June 9, 2017, I had a plan based on what I had been seeing and catching the previous few trips.  I talked with  Leonard Beebe and his  sons Adrian and Len that morning before we left the dock, and explained that there had been a lot of bait(alewives) and plenty of kings a little northwest of  the Oswego lighthouse and we should not have to go far to find them.  With consistent weather conditions and light winds, I guessed the kings had not moved far.

    We  never put the boat on plane as we left the mouth of harbor the compass bearing steady at 330 degrees.  My eye was on my Fish Hawk surface temp.  When it dropped from the 60s to the high 50s in 65 feet of water I started setting riggers, and slide divers.  Before  all of our lines were in the water a screaming drag on a slide diver rod shattered the early morning calm.  King on!

    For the next 5 hours action was steady and by 10:30 a.m., Leonard and his boys boated 13 kings up to 19 lbs., Keeping a limit of 9, most of them caught on rigger rods with line as light as 12# test.

    I wasn’t surprised.  King salmon fishing in June, 2017, and in many months of June before had been just as good.  Exactly one week earlier Karl Schmidt and his fishing buddies had done exactly the same catching one king after another their whole trip.  Two years earlier on the same first Saturday of June that Karl has fished for over 20 years, Karl and his crew had 10 kings and one lake trout in the boat by 6:30 a.m.

    On the way back to the dock, as I was filleting the kings that Leonard and his boys had caught, I was thinking…,  does salmon fishing get any better than that?

    Maybe June IS the best!

  • Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Fishing…, 2018 Prospects

    Posted on January 14th, 2018 admin No comments

     

    A 10 lb. domestic rainbow boated in June, 2017

    Yours truly tends to be a bit verbose  in the winter when time  is more available than during the 24-7 charter fishing season. Sooo…, with charter customers asking,  “What do you think fishing will be like this season?”, let’s take a short and sweet look at this by species ranked 1 to 10.

    King Salmon –   8-10   But, this depends on when kings show  up in Oswego.  If we start catching them in late April or early May like some years…, 10.  King salmon fishing in 2018…, I’ll give it an 8 overall with some outstanding fishing in late, June  near shore and offshore in July and early August.

    Spring Cohos –  5   Some years  we catch decent numbers  of spring cohos well into June, but other years  nomadic leave Oswego  in late April and early May.  The word is…, unpredictable.   

    Late Summer Cohos – 7  Not so with late season cohos that always show upin eastern Lake Ontari9o in late August and provide decent fishing  until the run the Salmon River in late September.  Late summer coho fishing in 2017…, 8.    2018…,  ?

    Brown Trout –  10    Look for exceptional spring/ summer fishing for larger than average browns.  We caught more yearling browns in 2017 while fishing for browns and cohos than I’ve seen in years.  2-year olds were plentiful and larger than normal in the spring and summer harvest was down because all the attention was focused on kings.  Expect plenty of  2-year olds and some jumbo 3-year olds, along with the occasional monster.

    Lake Trout(April 1 – June 1) –  10    Every spring just outside Oswego Harbor  lake trout fishing is as good as it gets, but lakers leave the Oswego area in late spring. Summer lake trout fishing out of Oswego is almost nonexistent.  If you want summer lakers, head north to Stony Point.

    Steelhead   -  ???    Excellent in June the past few years, including 2017.  Fishing in July and August 2017 was better than normal because we were fishing kings way offshore in “steelhead country”!  Steelhead fishing is all about conditions, but in mid to late summer, you can always find them offshore.

    Domestic Rainbows – ???    Normally caught incidental to brown trout and salmon fishing, domestics were more abundant and larger than normal in 2017.  Where most domestic rainbows are still less than the legal 21″ limit by early May, domestics were averaging 22-23 inches at that time in 2017.  Dandy bonus fish.

    Atlantic Salmon – 1!     We see very few trophy Atantics each season, but they are spectacular!

     

  • Oswego Trout and Salmon Fishing…, Snow, Baby, Snow!

    Posted on March 17th, 2017 admin No comments

     

    After Stella in Syracuse, NY, centered in the 5,122 sq. mile Oswego watershed.

    What started as a topsy turvy winter in northern New York with temperature swings into the 60s and very little snow accumulation by early March, is ending in an old fashioned winter.  When winter storm Stella plowed thru the northeast, it left an average of 20 inches of fresh powder on the morning of March 16 in the 5,122 sq. mile Oswego River watershed.  On top of that, 8 to 12 inches of lake effect is predicted for March 17.

     That may be bad news for residents of the area, but for spring brown trout trollers fishing out of Oswego Harbor, the news could not be better.  The Iroquois transaltion for the Oswego River they named is, “small water flowing into larger water”.  Not quite so small, the Oswego is Lake Ontario’s second largest tributary.  What happens in the way of winter precipitation in it’s watershed has a huge effect on spring fishing out of Oswego.  The more flow,  the higher and more turbid the warming, nutrient laden river water,  the greater the attraction to baitfish and predators, and the better the early spring fishing for browns, kings, lakers, Atlantics, and coho salmon.   

     Yes, folks in Central New York are having some tough late March weather  and are sure to be tired of shoveling and plowing snow.  We’re hearing lots of groaning, but we’re also hearing, “Snow, baby, snow!”, not only by skiers and snowmobilers, but by Oswego trout and salmon anglers.

  • Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Fishing…, 5/14/16 Report

    Posted on May 14th, 2016 admin No comments

    Chjuck with one of 12 kings that went into the cooler on 5/12/16

    If you’re waiting for the king salmon season, wait no longer.  The king salmon bite is on!

    King salmon fishing could not have been  better out of Oswegoon the morning of 5/12/16 when my crew of Adirondackers climbed aboard the Fish Doctor and we headed out to deep water where I had located a bunch of kings, cohos, and lakers suspended over deep water.  It took a few minutes for the trout and salmon to “warm up”, but when they did, it was steady action all morning.

    We were fishing a “high, wide, and handsome” program away from all the other boats with megaboards way out and loaded with leadcore sections and copper.  It was a spoon bite all the way, with not much attention paid to the dodgers and flashers that were in the water.

    The result was a limit of kings up to 18.5 lbs. and many small kings released.  The speed troll we were fishing was purposely a little hot for browns and lakers, and avoided all but one of each of them.

    Heck of a king salmon bite for May!

  • Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Fishing…, Salmon Bite is on!!!

    Posted on July 20th, 2015 admin No comments

     

    Dave and Angela Brown with a double on kings on the afternoon of July, 17, 2015.

    Ask Joe and Darlene Winot, their son Joe, Jr., and Joe’s kids Carter and Gage and they will tell you, “The king salmon bite is on in Lake Ontario.”, minutes away from Oswego Harbor.

    The Winot family fished aboard the Fish Doctor this past weekend on July 18 and 19.  On Saturday morning when my crew for the day arrived at the dock , the weather was raunchy with lightning flashing, thunder booming, and a torrential downpour literally dampening my angler’s spirits.  That storm blew by quickly though, and only delayed our 5:00 AM departure a few minutes.

     Very often, after a thunder storm, king salmon turn on, and that is exactly what was about to happen as I rigged our downrigger lines and we started trolling.  The first hit was a screamer, a big king peeling line off the reel as the clicker on the reel buzzed a “Wake up!” alarm.

     I had an ace up my sleeve, having located a hot spot the previous afternoon,  far from any other boats and we trolled steadily towards it.  Not seeing any bait or fish showing on the 12” Garmin fish finder  for nearly a half mile after we caught our first king,  I was starting to wonder if things had in 12 hours.  They hadn’t.

     As soon as the schools of alelwives, a king salmon’s favorite forage, showed up on the fish finder screen, the rods started popping.  Before the bite was over, the cooler was full…, 11 king salmon up to just over 20 lbs., plus two nice lake trout.  The next day was a near repeat of the first, with slightly fewer but larger kings boated, the biggest 24 lbs.

     If you’re thinking of booking a king salmon trip, now is the time and Oswego is the place.

  • Oswego Salmon Charters…, May 31, 2015, Report

    Posted on May 31st, 2015 admin No comments

     

    George Robinson with one of 10 adult kings he and his fishing buddies boated aboard the Fish Doctor on 5/30/15.

    Ask Kevin and George Robinson and their two fishing buddies, and they will tell you the king salmon fishing out of Oswego is really heating up.  You could not pick a better time in the next two weeks to fill your cooler with silvery, good eating spring kings! 

     On a 5/30/15 charter fishing trip aboard the Fish Doctor the Robinson crew never expected they would be fishing for kings.  Instead, they had booked the trip to fish for browns which generally provide plenty of action in late May.  After listening to me explain that 2-year old browns were smaller than normal with most still only 15-18 inches because of slow growth during the long, cold winter, then telling them how good the king salmon fishing had been in since early May, they quickly decided to target salmon.

     Good decision.  Our lines had not been in the water more than 15 minutes when the first king smashed a 55 Pirate on a slide diver.  A rousing way to wake up my crew as Dunkin Donuts coffee cups went flying and the first man at bat grabbed the bucking rod with the screeching reel. 

     That fish was followed by another  and another and another with steady king salmon action the entire trip, plus some steelhead and lake trout excitement.  Before trip’s end, they boated 10 adult kings and tangled with others that won the battle and swam  away.

     Bottom line is the kings have arrived with the alewives which are moving onshore to spawn.  With peak spawn generally around midJune, the kings will stage just outside the spawning masses of alewives for two to three weeks until these baitfish finish spawning and begin to move offshore. 

     Until then, you could not pick a better time to charter a fishing trip for spring kings out of Oswego.

  • Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Fishing…, A Different 2014 Salmon Season

    Posted on October 18th, 2014 admin No comments

     

    A limit of king salmon boated on May 18, 2014, just outside Oswego Harbor

     In a nutshell, the 2014 fishing season was, verrrryyyyy interesting!

     Brown trout fishing, as usual in the Oswego area of Lake Ontario, was super beginning in midApril when the Fish Doctor was launched.  Lake trout action in 30 – 40 feet of water just outside Oswego Harbor was nonstop.  The big news, though, was the  early king salmon fishing.  Attracted by a heavy flow of  warm water from the Oswego River flowing  into the icy, 35 degree water of the lake, kings produced steady fishing   a stone’s throw from the Oswego lighthouse beginning the last week of April. 

    By late May, hordes of alewives moved inshore and the king salmon feeding frenzy was on.  Fish Doctor anglers aboard my charter boat cashed in on the action, boating many kings on ultralight tackle, trolling stickbaits and spoons right on the surface from planer boards.  Most of the kings were caught in the top 30 feet of water.   

    Tangle with a feisty 15 lb. king on 10 lb. test line, and you’re in for a fish(not fist) fight!    Just ask Rev.  Thomas James,  who fished with me on May 26, 27, and 28.  The first couple days, we worked hard for the kings we caught and lost more of these tough battlers than we landed.  The third day, however, we zeroed in on the kings and there were no escapees.  The hottest rod on the boat was the lightest, a 6-foot custom  rigger rod with a Penn 965 International reel  and 10 lb. test Berkley Big Game line.  Set 65 feet down on the center downrigger, it was all we needed in the water, and a handful with kings up to 15 lbs. stretching the line.  By midmorning Rev.  James and his fishing buddy boated their limit of 6 kings, two 8 and 10 lb. lakers and released one king.  The trip was typical of many this spring with catches of up to 20-30 kings, steelhead, lakers, and browns per trip. 

    Ditto for June…, kings, kings, kings, a little further out, but still keying on the muddy plume of Oswego River flowing into the frigid lake water, where schools of prespawn alewives were stacked up.  On the morning of June 7, Karl Schmidt and his crew of Fish Doctor anglers boated 8 kings and a laker by 6:30 AM trolling along the edge of the river plume in 70 feet of water.  Black/silver, and black/green spoons were the medicine for the kings, along with some of Stingers new UV patterns.More than half of the kings boated have been wild fish, with no fin clips.  The remainder are adipose fin clipped st  ocked fish, resulting from an annual stocking of 1.7 million fingerling .

    Alewife spawning peaks in midJune, and aggressive, actively feeding kings key on the deepwater edge of this baitfish concentration.   As the lake temperature warms and alewives begin to move offshore to deeper, colder waters, kings will follow them, a typical midsummer pattern.  So it was in July, 2014, one of those years when the spoon bite far outshadowed the flasher/fly bite until August.

    That is when Lake Ontario trollers started scratching their heads this season.  At a time when adult king salmon normally move inshore, most adult kings were being caught in deep water, mixed with immature fish.  Later in August, when huge numbers of kings and cohos stage in Mexico Bay, far fewer fish showed up there.  Later, in September, when spawning kings normally  begin to swarm into the Salmon River and other spawning tributaries, fewer fish showed up these streams.

     

    Why adult kings stayed offshore far later in the season and why there were fewer king salmon staged in Mexico Bay are unanswered questions.  With runs of spawning kings showing up in tributaries like the Oswego River as late as late November in past years, there is still plenty of time for kings to show up.  The question is, will they, and if not, why?

  • Lake Ontario Salmon Fishing…, Unbelievable for April!

    Posted on April 28th, 2012 admin No comments

    Every spring in the Oswego area ofLakeOntario, fishing starts off with a bang in April.  Brown trout, coho salmon, rainbow trout, lake trout, and occasional Atlantic salmon, aggressively feeding in the warming  water near the mouth of theOswegoRiver make for some exciting light tackle trolling.  King salmon in the shallows are a rare April catch, normally not showing up until early May, and even then, usually in deeper water offshore.

     

    When Tim and his son Garrett along with Jeff and his daughter Emily climbed aboard the Fish Doctor at Oswego Marina onApril 13, 2012, they knew it was prime time forLakeOntariobrown trout, and expected to see some dandy browns on their 6-hour morning trip.  I expected the same, but was hoping, based on some earlier reports I had heard, that they might be in store for an unexpected bonus

     

    Seeing gulls working bait inside the harbor breakwalls, I knew we wouldn’t have to go far to catch fish.  With only three lines in the water, one of the rigger rods snapped upright, and Garrett was into the first brown trout of the tripit.  On our second troll past theOswegolighthouse, the rod didn’t spring upright when the fish jerked the line free of the downrigger release.  Instead, the ultralight 6’ rigger rod doubled over,  the drag on the 5500LC ABU Garcia levelwind reel screeching as an unseen monster with a #44  Sutton  in it’s mouth peeled two hundred feet of 10 lb. test line from the spool. 

     

    I knew before the fish ever stopped running that it was a king.  After a give and take battle, the silvery king came to the net,  later pulling a digital scale to 17.8 lbs.  In the next five hours we boated  around 30 trout and salmon, four of them silvery spring kings.  Three of them were caught just inside the entrance to the harbor, the fourth just outside.  Since then, we have boated king salmon on almost every charter trip.

     

    I have fishedLakeOntarioin the spring since 1978, and never, ever have seen so many king salmon caught in April offOswegoHarborand Nine Mile Point inMexicoBay.  Why this is happening this year, no one knows for sure, but it does coincide with one of the warmest months of March ever.  Water temperature inOswegoHarborin late March reached 55 degrees, compared to normal temperature ranging from the mid30s to low 40s.  By early April, this warmer water from theOswegoRiverflowing east to Nine Mile Point attracted hordes of alewives and king salmon followed them.  Ever since, the April salmon fishing inshore in water less than 50 feet deep has been better than any I’ve ever seen.

     

     On my last charter trip, Patty and Dave McMahon, who have fished with me for 15 years, including on many spring trips, could not believe it.  Leaving the dock at Oswego Marina at6:00 AM, it was only a  5-minute run to 40 feet of water where I had been catching kings.  We set up our lines with a dodger/fly on one corner rigger  back 15 feet and down 30 feet, and a spoon on the other corner rigger at the same depth, but back 25 feet.  Spoons were rigged on two Dipsy Diver rods, plus two leadcore lines fished from the planer boards.

     

    By  9:00 AM Pattyand Dave had boated 6 kings up to 18.8 lbs. and lost several others.  Along with the salmon they boated 6 browns up to 12.7 lbs., plus three lake trout.  At one time, they had 5 fish on at once, three of them kings. They released all but four king salmon and two browns. 

     

    Once the king salmon move into theOswegoarea andMexicobay, they are usually there thru the rest of  the season..  If this happens this year, there is no question that 2012 will be one of the best king salmon seasons ever.

     

    If it never happens again, you can be sure that no one who has fished theOswegoarea this April will ever forget the early spring king salmon fishing of  2012..

    Dave and Pat with a few of the 6 kings and 6 browns they boated by 9:00 AM on 4/26/12.

  • Snow, Baby, Snow for L. Ontario Spring Salmon and Trout Fishing

    Posted on January 26th, 2011 admin No comments

    Most of us like to look on the bright side, especially folks who fish.  If the fish aren’t biting, they should start any minute.  If they don’t start biting, well, it’ a nice day to be outside.  If it really isn’t a nice day outside, well, your garden needed the rain anyway.  You know, like we’ve all heard before, “A bad day of fishing is better than a good day at work!”

     

    Well, those of you still in northern New York may be having a little trouble looking on the bright side this winter.  On the night of Jan. 24, in Saranac Lake, NY, it was 47 degrees below zero, and -22 degrees in Watertown on the east end of Lake Ontario.  In Syracuse, NY,  south of Lake Ontario where snowfall is usually less than in Mexico, NY, where I live, by Jan. 22, 2011.  109.8 inches of snow had fallen.  The average snowfall by that date is 59.3 inches!  So far, we’re talking a far much colder and snowier winter than normal.  The record snowfall for Syracuse is 191 inches, and the area is well on its way to that.

     

    The Oswego and Niagra Rivers are New York State’s two largest Lake Ontario tributaries emptying directly into deep water areas of the lake..  I moor my charter boat at the mouth of the Oswego River in Oswego Harbor, right in the city of Oswego, NY.  .  The river’s watershed is huge, stretching all the way south to the southern drainages of the largest Finger Lakes, Cayuga, Seneca, and others.  It also includes Oneida Lake, one of the largest inland lakes in New York, as well as the Syracuse area, and tens of thousands of acres of farm land.  When the snow melts in the spring runoff from this drainage basin funnels down the Oswego River, increasing the flow into the lake.  The spring runoff, warmed by the sun, carries with it nutrient laden water, the food of plankton, which attracts baitfish like smelt and alewives as it enters the lake.  Following the baitfish…, predators like brown trout, rainbows, chinook and coho salmon, and Atlantic salmon.

     

    Yes, folks in Central New York are having a tough winter and are sure to be tired of shoveling and plowing snow.  We’re hearing lots of groaning, but we’re also hearing, “Snow, baby, snow!”, not only by skiers and snowmobilers, but by Lake Ontario anglers who know that a heavier than normal snow pack means better than normal spring fishing!

     

    Since the year, 2000, the two winters with the highest Syracuse snowfall were 2000-01 with 191.9” and 2003-04 with 181.3”.  It’s not a coincidence that my two best springs for chinook salmon fishing offshore of Oswego Harbor were 2001 and 2004, when flow in the Oswego River was high from the huge snow melt.  I didn’t keep an accurate log of my salmon catch in 2001, but I did in 2004…, 201 chinook salmon in 31 trips.  The only reason these fish were just outside Oswego Harbor…, the attraction of the Oswego River and it’s plume of warm water that extends out into the lake, like a magnet to baitfish, trout, and salmon.  

     

     If the cold, snowy weather in Syracuse and central New York continues, we will be looking at one of the heaviest snowfalls in the past 20 years, and some super chinook salmon fishing in Lake Ontario this spring.. 

     

     High river flows have the same effect on brown trout fishing in the Oswego Harbor area, but for a different reason.  Spooky,  browns are much easier to catch in colored water.   When river flow is high and the discharge plume outside Oswego Harbor is turbid with visibility as little as 3 to 5 feet, baitfish aren’t as easy for brown trout to locate and chow down on so browns feed longer.  In addition, light penetration thru turbid water is reduced, so the sun doesn’t shut down light sensitive browns. 

     

     It’s easy for me, sitting in North Carolina as I write this, and I apologize to those folks up north who are wearing out snow shovels, but I think I’ll join the chorus, “Snow, baby, snow!”

    In Feb, 2007, the snow was so deep near Oswego, NY, that our Adirondac Goldens walked right up onto the roof.

    In Feb, 2007, the snow was so deep near Oswego, NY, that our Adirondac Goldens walked right up onto the roof.