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July 2003

Onondaga & Madison Counties

The month of June is the third best open water fishing month of the year, with October and November holding at one and two. This June looks to be shaping up to be one of the best in years. We had a long cold winter and a late cold spring. Baitfish and other food sources have been scarce, the fish are hungry, and by the end of the month, all species will be legally in season. If the fishing in the month of May has been a little off this year don’t despair. Remember that everything is at least three weeks behind. For instance, on a recent pike fishing outing I was surprised at how cold the water still was, and there were no weeds at all in places that I usually fish. The bite was off, probably due to the fact that the fish were still in their post spawn period. This brings about a circumstance that in all of my years of fishing I have probably seen only two or three times. Everything will bust loose at once.  Pike, walleye, trout, bass, tiger muskies and salmon will should hit their peak periods around the same time. For instance one day you could troll planers for browns, the next troll spoons for pike, that night fish for walleye, go bass fishing the following day, and catch bullheads the following night, and do well at them all!

The fishing in Onondaga County has gotten off to a slow start, but it should pick up a ton very soon. Northerns are just starting to hit in the Onondaga County section of Oneida Lake. Bass sized shiners free swum or beneath a bobber in the weeds will take pike, pickerel, bass and an occasional walleye. Some of the pike are big. Remember to fish in the pockets of the weeds not on the edges. If you start to pick up weeds with slime on them move back deeper into the weed beds.

Otisco Lake is starting to pick up, and should be great in June. Tigers are showing up in the Narrows, Turtle Bay and along the Causeway. Large minnows are the ticket, along with slowly fished, very large spinner baits in black or brown. Trolling for browns with spoons in silver or yellow is also a good bet.  Walleye can be caught along the riprap and the causeway with #18 silver rapalas fished at night. Bass in Otisco are usually easy to find before opening day then seem to disappear once the season starts. This year will be different.  Fish along the east shoreline and near the water intake. Remember that if you catch bass with spawn in them please release them.

Trolling for trout in Skaneateles Lake can be threefold. By putting a downrigger at ninety feet, trolling a small spoon or flatfish about twenty feet down and long lining a streamer along the eastern shoreline gives you a chance at either a laker, a brown or a rainbow. The odds are even better if you fish just after or during a weather change.

Pike and walleye fishing in Onondaga Lake has been bad. The water is just starting to warm up enough to get things rolling. Come bass opener the lake will be hot. The bass should be hungry and plentiful. The smallmouth will also be a little girthier than usual due to the abundance of baitfish last season. The mouth of Nine Mile Creek and the northwest corner of the lake are the best bets for early season action. A great place for early season pike is right smack in mud lock. Fish off the side walls or the bridge with a large shiner under a bobber about a foot from the bottom. Remember to bring a long handle net. The Seneca River is a great spot for early season smallmouth bass. It used to be good for walleye too, but the last few year classes of walleye were literally for the birds if you know what I mean. It’s too bad. The bass will be near transition bottom such as below rapids and near bridges. Largemouth will be in backwaters and along the shoreline. Pike will be found in the same areas as largemouth.

This looks to be a good spring to catch fish. Good luck and I would appreciate your feedback or photos for this article. I will also try to answer any questions you have about fishing in New York. You can do this by calling me (John West) at (315) 455-5120 or by e-mail at Thank you. When you catch that trophy, take it to A-1 Taxidermy at 4300 West Genesee Street, Syracuse where owner Morris Mathews will mount it in a very natural and lifelike way at a reasonable price. Stop in his shop and view his gallery, the entrance is off Scott Ave.

For you archers, one place you should have on your list is the Shafthouse Archery Shop at 7826 Black Creek Road, Kirkville (off Fyler Road between Kirkville and N. Chittenango). They are a High Country Bow Dealer, and are competent at bow tuning, fletching and handle many other accessories. Call 315-687-3641 for an appointment.

The Anglers Assoc of Onondaga at Webster Pond on Valley Dr, Syracuse is well along into their Youth Fishing Program at Webster Pond. Many nice rainbow and brook trout have been caught. Nothing huge, but some nice size fish. The Anglers have a Band Concert scheduled for the 3rd Wednesday in July on the front lawn. The Band is from LaFayette.

The Anglers annual Picnic for members has been scheduled for the second Wednesday in August, the 13th. The picnic will be catered by Dan Galloway. The Anglers Banquet is set for Saturday Oct 11, 2003 with tentative location, the Valley American Legion.

The Anglers have received a letter from our Kayak Winner, Alaina Bailey of Webster, NY thanking us for her Kayak and also informing us that her Mother r eceived a Kayak for her birthday and they can Kayak together. See picture in this section. Have a great summer.

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