NEW YORK - New York may bring to mind skyscrapers and congestion. Still, its state boasts world-class fisheries - one being the Salmon River, which provides habitat to Chinook salmon and steelhead trout populations. Lake Ontario is another prime spot for fishing salmon, with May through October being its peak season. Oak Orchard in Western NY is also an acclaimed destination for steelhead anglers looking for success.
1. Salmon River
The Salmon River is an incredible wilderness river offering world-class fishing opportunities. It features exhilarating rollercoaster rapids, massive white sand beaches, and deep green pools filled with foaming pillows of water that create spectacular scenes for fishing enthusiasts. The river offers an abundant fishery, including salmon and trout. Additionally, its habitat supports river otters and Bald Eagles, making this riverside habitat essential to many Native American tribes' culture.
2. Oswego River
New York State boasts more shoreline per acre than some island nations, providing anglers with ample opportunities for fishing - especially salmon migration from ocean to freshwater spawning grounds along the Oswego River! Starting in early autumn, the Oswego River offers schools of Chinook salmon up to 10 pounds that are an excellent target for trolling using flashers and cut bait or egg imitations. This makes for an exciting fishing adventure!
3. Black River
Anglers will find plenty of fish along this long and winding river - known as one of the state's great walleye factories - both upper and lower reaches can catch large specimens here. Plus, it makes an excellent destination for kayakers and canoeists. The river starts as a narrow stream that winds west through an expanse of northern hardwood-conifer forest before eventually heading southwards. While its lower stretches are usually navigable, conditions may become hazardous during low water levels.
4. South Sandy Creek
South Sandy Creek in Jefferson County's town of Ellisburg is an annually-stocked freestone tributary of Lake Ontario that flows from Tug Hill west through Ellisburg village before emptying into its waters. Fall provides exceptional angling opportunities when water temperatures decrease, and steelhead migrate upstream to spawn, offering less-than-crowded fisheries that provide opportunities for drift fishing or bottom-bouncing techniques that produce excellent results in this section of Salmon River.
5. Lower Niagara River
The Niagara River is a natural boundary between the United States and Canada, offering excellent salmon fishing opportunities on either side. Because more water enters Lake Ontario via this stream than any of its tributaries, the Niagara is considered ground zero for fall Chinook and coho salmon runs. Lower Niagara River provides anglers ample opportunities for lake trout, smelt, brown trout, muskellunge, and walleye, depending on the season. Access points include Whirlpool State Park, Devil's Hole State Park, and Lewiston's New York Power Authority fishing dock - providing anglers a year-round opportunity - with November through April being prime months to fish this river.