As Winter refuses to let go of her hold on the Northeast, we have had a few reminders of Spring. This has brought about thoughts of drag screaming, line-peeling king salmon!!! It has long been said that the King is the engine that drives the Lake Ontario fishery. In those terms the 2017 King Salmon fishing was an engine out of a race car!
Every year since 1985, the DEC has conducted a survey of boats fishing Lake Ontario between April and September.
The summer of ‘17 was one for the record books. According to the DEC’s preliminary Lake Ontario Fishing Boat Survey for 2017, “Despite limited access to the lake, those able to fish experienced good to excellent fishing quality. Chinook salmon catch rate reached a record high, and coho salmon catch rate was among the highest in the 33 years surveyed. Rainbow trout catch rates improved from recent years across much of the NY shoreline. “
Chinook Salmon – The 5.5-month lake-wide catch rates for Chinook salmon were at the highest levels between 2003 and 2017. The 2017 catch rate (0.14 fish per angler hour) was a record-high, and a 54% increase over the 2003 to 2016 average. The increase was primarily due to excellent fishing during July and August in all regions and above average fishing in much of the lake into September.
The DEC’s extensive record-keeping confirms that the four most popular species among Lake Ontario anglers are: 1.) Chinook salmon; 2.) brown trout; 3.) rainbow trout; and 4.) coho salmon. Last summer, the catch per angler hour for these four species combined increased 45 percent from the 2016 estimate!
If you still haven’t been to Oswego County to experience our incredible fisheries, just take it from our Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner- "The New York State waters of Lake Ontario provide a world famous recreational fishery for trout and salmon, and our numbers show that fishing success is as good as it's been in decades," Commissioner Basil Seggos said. "Lake Ontario consistently ranks as the most heavily fished water in the state and provides some of the best angling opportunities in North America. I encourage all anglers to fish this magnificent waterbody for large trout and salmon in 2018."
So if you haven’t experienced our spectacular fishery, you might want to make the trip!! This should be another year for the record books!!!
Licensed charters depart from marinas in Oswego, Mexico Bay and Selkirk. For a list of charters and guides, and current fishing conditions go to www.visitoswegocounty.com/fishing.
Stay tight and keep up the chase!
Capt. Andy Bliss