Eastern Lake Ontario
Lake Ontario is the 14th largest freshwater lake in the world. It stretches for roughly 200 miles along New York State’s northern border from the Niagara River to the St. Lawrence River.
Trout and salmon, Atlantic salmon, brown trout, Chinook and coho salmon, lake trout, rainbow trout/steelhead, smallmouth bass, walleye, carp, catfish
Major boat access points are:
- Oswego Harbor
- Catfish Creek
- Dowie Dale
- Mexico Point
- Port Ontario
- North Sandy Pond
Oswego County hosts one of the largest, most experienced charter fleets on Lake Ontario. Click here to search charter captains, river guides, and marinas and launch sites.
The river offers two distinct fisheries. From its mouth to Varick Dam, the first dam in the city of Oswego, Lake Ontario’s vast variety of fish species move in and out with the seasons. Above the dam, the fishery is natural, with minimal human intervention.
Chinook and coho salmon, rainbow, steelhead, brown trout, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, northern pike, walleye, channel catfish, yellow perch, pan fish, bullhead, sheepshead, carp.
The City of Oswego has developed an outstanding public fishing access to the Oswego River. A concrete walkway and railing lines both sides of the river and provide convenient access for anglers and walkers, with riverside parking, restrooms, and a fish cleaning station.
Public Fishing Access:
- Phoenix Public Accesson the west side of the lock, off Culvert Street
- Hinmansville Bridge, Co. Rte. 46, connecting town of Granby and town of Schroeppel
- DEC Fishing Access Site, Stop 28, Co. Rte. 57, just south of Fulton
- Ox Creek, Town of Granby – NYS Rte 48, south of Fulton
- Indian Point Landing, Town of Granby, off NYS Rte. 481
- Battle Island State Park, NYS Rte. 48, north of Fulton
- Black Creek, Town of Granby – off NYS Rte. 481, north of Fulton
- Minetto Town Park, off NYS Rte. 48, above the lock
- The bridge to Leto Island is closed.
- Varick Dam, Lock 7, Oswego: Mandatory Personal Flotation Device (PFD) zones on the Oswego River below the Varick Dam
- East and West Riverwalks, Oswego
- Wright’s Landing, off Lake Street, Oswego.
Unique in the Northeast, the Salmon River is an angler’s mecca. Thousands of trophy Chinook and coho salmon, steelhead, rainbows, and brown trout, driven by the urge to spawn, run its length each year. Twelve miles of classic riffs, pools and runs are accessible to those who would test its waters with rod and reel.
Atlantic, Chinook and coho salmon, brook trout, brown trout, steelhead, rainbow trout, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, northern pike, walleye, crappies, bullhead, pan fish.
Stay alert for changes in water levels on the Salmon River. Hydroelectric plants can cause rising water and swift currents. As soon as you notice the water level rising, get to shore. For current water level conditions on the Salmon River, call Waterline at 1-800-452-1742, code 365123 or visit www.h2oline.com.
- Estuary:A large marshy stillwater can be fished by boats. A handicap-accessible fishing access site is located just off the northern end of the NYS Rte. 3 bridge.
- Douglaston Salmon Run: Private, fee-access area, limited number of anglers daily, stretches 2.5 miles from the estuary to the Village of Pulaski. Permits are sold at the parking area located at 301 Co. Rte. 5 (Lake Street), on the river’s north bank. For details and fishing conditions visit douglastonsalmonrun.com or call 315-298-6672. Pools include Lower Clay Hole, Meadow Run, Clay Hole, Joss’s Hole, the Glide, Little Black Hole, and others.
- Black Hole:Located on the west end of Pulaski, this is the biggest, deepest hole on the river. The south bank is part of the Douglaston Salmon Run. The north bank is public. Park on Riverview Drive or Bridge Street.
- Long Bridge or Staircase Pool:Upriver, near the center of Pulaski. Access via a small parking area on Forest Drive, at the end of James Street. The “staircase” downstream of the bridge offers an exciting series of pools and drops.
- Short Bridge or Town Pool:Just below the US Rte. 11 bridge in Pulaski. Park in the Dunbar Field on Lewis Street (traveling north on NYS 13 in the village, turn right at the railroad tracks).
- Dunbar Field or Ball Field Pool:A section of riffs, pools and undercut banks in the channel between the mainland and an island. Park in the Dunbar Field lot on Lewis Street or along the bank.
- Haldane Community Center:North bank access to a series of riffs and small pools; park in the Haldane Center lot on Maple Avenue Extension.
- I-81 Pool:Access the north bank from the Community Center Complex; and south bank by parking behind Fat Nancy’s Tackle Shop, NYS Rte. 13 and walk several hundred yards down an ATV trail to the bridge.
- Railroad Bridge, Paper Mill Pool:East of Pulaski on Co. Rte. 2A. Park roadside near the railroad crossing. Follow the railroad path to the trestle. The Paper Mill Pool is upriver, and the Railroad Pool is downstream.
- Compactor Pool: Access this pool, located just below the Co. Rte. 2A bridge, from the paved, public fishing access site near the solid waste transfer station. This site has a paved launch ramp for drift boats and kayaks.
- Sportsman’s Pool:Located a half mile upriver from the above site, this hole is straddled by fishing access sites; the southern site is off NYS Rte. 13, the other is off Centerville Road.
- Pineville Pool:In the hamlet of Pineville at the Co. Rte. 48 bridge, park in the paved public parking area on the north bank off Sheepskin Rd. This spot has a paved ramp for drift boats and kayaks.
- Trestle Pool:Just downriver from the mouth of Orwell Creek, access this pool on the south side from the parking area on NYS Rte. 13; and from the north by taking Sheepskin Rd. out of Pineville for about ½- mile and turning south on the hard surface access road.
- Ellis Cove:Downriver from Altmar on Co. Rte. 52, a paved public parking area provides streamside access to a stretch of the river that offers deep runs, an undercut bank, and a couple holes. Looking upriver from the parking area, you’ll see two sets of cables crossing the Wire Hole.
- Schoolhouse Pool:Downriver of the Village of Altmar, access this pool from the fishing access site on the northwestern corner of the Co. Rte. 52 bridge. A second fishing access site, located across the road on the other end of the bridge, has a paved ramp and parking and is reserved for vehicles with drift boat trailers. Kayakers can use the ramp but should park in the other lot.
Fly-Fishing on the Salmon River
The Salmon River has long been regarded as one of the premier fly-fishing destinations in the world. There are two sections of the upper river, comprising nearly one mile, that are designated as catch-and-release fly-fishing areas.
Atlantic salmon, brown trout, Chinook and coho salmon, steelhead.
Fly-fishing with a traditional fly rod and reel, and artificial flies, is the only form of angling allowed on these stretches of the Salmon River. All fish must be released.
Lower Fly-Fishing Section: Open Sept. 15 – May 15. This section begins at the Co. Rte. 52 bridge in the Village of Altmar and extends ¼-mile to a marked boundary at Beaverdam Brook.
Upper Fly-Fishing Section: Open April 1 – Nov. 30. This stretch begins just above the Salmon River Fish Hatchery and continues to a marked boundary roughly 0.6 mile upstream. It has two fishing access sites with parking for about 12 cars each. They’re on CR 22, roughly 0.7 and one mile, respectively, from the fish hatchery.
- Trout Brook:Considered by DEC to be “one of the top producers of wild steelhead on Lake Ontario.” The DEC owns public fishing rights for 0.6 mile of its last leg, from the Centerville Road bridge access site to its mouth. Park on the shoulder and climb down a small, steep hill to get to the water.
- Orwell Brook:From Altmar, head north on Co. Rte 52 for about two miles to Tubbs Road. The brook is just beyond the intersection.
- Salmon River Reservoirs:
- Download DEC contour map of the Salmon River Reservoirs
- Lower Reservoir:Also called the Lighthouse Hill Reservoir. 164 acres
Rainbow and brown trout, largemouth bass and panfish. Access site is between the two bridges at Bennett Bridges. It offers parking for about 25 cars and shore-fishing access at the mouths of the upper Salmon River and the adjoining power company’s discharge canal. Take Cemetery Road out of Altmar for about 3 miles to Bennett Bridges. No motors, including electric, are allowed in the Lower Reservoir.
- Upper Reservoir:Also called Redfield Reservoir, this 3,379-acre impoundment is a terrific two-story fishery. Trout season is open year-round, and ice-fishing is popular.
Black bass, walleye, black crappie, and panfish, brown, brook and rainbow trout.
- Falls Road Day Use Project:Beach launch, picnic facilities, shore-fishing access, and parking. Take Co. Rte. 2 east out of Pulaski for about 9 miles, turn right onto Dam Road, then left at the four corners.
- Jackson Road Access:Paved ramp, parking for 40 rigs and shore-fishing access. 9.5 miles east of Pulaski on Co. Rte. 2.
- Little America Public Access:Parking for 30 cars and shore-fishing access. From the above site, continue east on Co. Rte. 2 for a little over a mile, turn right on CCC Drive and continue for .5 mile.
- Redfield Public Access:Beach launch and handicapped-accessible fishing platform. Off Co. Rte. 17, at the south end of the hamlet.
- O’Hara State Forest Public Access:Shore-fishing access and parking. Take Cemetery Road (Co. Rte. 22 north) out of Altmar for 3.2 miles. Turn right onto Co. Rte. 30, for about 0.3 mile, turn left on Pipeline Road and travel 2.2 miles to the access road on the left.
Sandy Pond is the largest embayment in the Eastern Lake Ontario Dune and Wetland Area, a 17-mile-long coastal barrier system. The North Pond is approximately 2 miles wide and about 5 miles long, while the South Pond is slightly smaller.
The South Pond can be accessed via the shallow channel at the southwestern end of North Sandy Pond.
Bullhead, carp, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, northern pike, crappie, panfish, walleye
- Download DEC contour map of Oneida Lake
- Download Oneida Lake Boating Safety Map
- Visit Oneida Lake Association
Reputed to be the “Walleye Capital” of New York State, this expansive 23-mile lake spans 50 square miles in the southeastern corner of Oswego County.
Bullhead, northern pike, pan fish, black crappie, smallmouth bass, walleye.
- Taft Bay:NYS Rte. 49, in Constantia.
- Toad Harbor:Shaw Road; Town of West Monroe. Handicap-accessible platform with railing. From I-81 exit 32 (Central Square), head east on NYS Rte. 49 for about three miles, turn left on Toad Harbor Road, drive about three miles, and turn left on McCloud Drive. Continue for about 1.5 miles to almost the end and turn on Shaw Road. At the end of McCloud Road is a launch for car top craft and parking. This is a popular surf fishing spot.
- I-81 Bridge: Directly below the north end of the I-81 Bridge, this site is at the source of the Oneida River. You can reach the lake if you’re a strong caster. Take Co. Rte. 37 north in Brewerton.
- Scriba Creek Wheelchair Accessible Fishing Access: A new fishing access site on Scriba Creek has been completed at the north end of the Oneida Hatchery in the Village of Constantia (Oneida County). The site accommodates 5-7 anglers and has a lowered railing for anglers fishing out of wheelchairs. The site is fully accessible and includes two picnic tables built to accommodate a wheelchair at either end. Fishing is generally best in the spring, but there are fish in the creek most of the year.
The outlet of Oneida Lake, the Oneida River meanders several miles before it converges with the Seneca and Oswego rivers at Three Rivers. A dam sits at Caughdenoy, the site of natural rapids, and Lock 23 lets the river gently step down seven feet to reach the level of the Seneca and Oswego Rivers.
Walleye, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, northern pike, crappie, channel catfish, panfish, carp, sheepshead
- Brewerton North Wall: Located on the north bank, on the east side of the US Rte 11 bridge, this concrete structure offers shore anglers a good casting platform for open water walleyes in spring and fall, and smallmouth bass and panfish all summer long. The shallow and weedy inside channel holds largemouth bass, northern pike and panfish.
- Caughdenoy Dam: Shore fishing access is above and below the dam along Co. Rte. 12. The plunge pool below the barrier holds large concentrations of warmwater species with walleyes, smallies sheepshead, white perch and gar pike rise. Access from the parking area along Co. Rte. 12 or Caughdenoy Marina.
- Big Bend:Located at the tip of an oxbow on the Oneida River in the Town of Schroeppel, this site offers shore fishing access at the Co. Rte. 12 bridge crossing the mouth of Peter Scott Swamp. Head east out of Phoenix on Co. Rte. 12 for about a mile.
Named by the Iroquois, “Ne-ah-tah-wan-tah” has been known to have two meanings: “the little lake near the great lake” and “the lake that hides from the river.” Set on the western edge of the city of Fulton, in the town of Granby, Lake Neatahwanta is a perfect year-round fishery.
Bullhead, largemouth bass, northern pike, crappie, panfish, bowfin
Sandy Pond, Oneida Lake, and Lake Neahtahwanta are prime ice fishing locations.
Please follow these safety tips from the Department of Environmental Conservation:
- Clear, blue, hard ice over non-running water should be at least two inches thick for one person to walk on; many anglers wait till it’s three inches thick.
- Three inches can support groups walking in a single file.
- It takes 7 ½ inches of ice to support a car, and 8 inches to support a small truck.
- Slush can make the ice 50 percent weaker.
- Ice covering running water can be up to 20 percent weaker.
- Be cautious of open water around bubblers, which are used to keep open water around docks and other structures. The bubbling action can undermine the ice for quite a distance.
- If you’re unsure of the area, check with a local tackle shop for current conditions before venturing out on the ice.
- Look for others already on the hard water and follow their paths.
- Use the buddy system.
- In warm, clear weather, be careful near shore where the sun’s rays can melt the shallow ice.
- Be especially careful near tributary mouths.