DEC Announces Record-Breaking Fishing in Lake Ontario

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced that fishing for trout and salmon in Lake Ontario has set records this year, with veteran anglers reporting some of the best fishing in decades.

“The New York waters of Lake Ontario provide a world-famous recreational fishery for trout and salmon, and fishing has been exceptional this summer,” Commissioner Seggos said. “Preliminary results from the Lake Ontario Fishing Boat Survey indicate that fishing for Chinook salmon has been outstanding along the entire New York shoreline.”

Fishing success is measured by “catch rate,” which is the number of fish caught per boat trip. The catch rate for Chinook salmon during April to June 2018 set a record that was 227 percent above the previous five-year average. The catch rate for all trout and salmon species combined also surpassed the previous record high, more than 37 percent above the previous five-year average.

Fishing for brown trout and coho salmon has also been excellent in 2018, with catch rates 38 and 21 percent higher than their respective, previous five-year averages. Atlantic salmon represent a relatively small portion of the Lake Ontario fishery but catch rates for Atlantic salmon were 73 percent above the previous five-year average.

Chuck Parker, President of the New York State Conservation Council (NYSCC), said, “This is the second year in a row that the take of Chinook has been above average at Oswego, as reported by Council members. There are so many variables that can and do affect the quality of the fishing opportunities we have. We at the NYSCC recognize that the science-based management practices of the DEC’s Bureau of Fisheries are an integral force in sustaining the New York’s world class Lake Ontario fishery.”

Captain Vince Pierleoni, of Olcott, said, “It’s the best Chinook fishing I’ve seen since 1989.”

Captain Bob Songin, of Pt. Breeze, said, “The fishing out of Wilson Harbor to the Niagara River has been spectacular, with many Chinook and coho salmon hitting as well as the occasional lake trout mixed in.”

Fishing for Chinook salmon and brown trout has also been great in Eastern Lake Ontario with large numbers of fish caught all along the shoreline. Oswego produced a 28.1-pound Chinook salmon that won the grand prize in the Spring Lake Ontario Counties (LOC) Trout and Salmon Derby.

Lake Ontario is consistently ranked among the top fishing destinations in the country by national publications. Lake Ontario and its embayments and tributaries comprise more than 2.7 million acres and support thriving populations of fish, including a variety of trout, salmon, bass, walleye, yellow perch, and panfish.

A recent statewide angler survey estimated that more than 2.6 million angler days were spent on Lake Ontario and major tributaries. The estimated value of these fisheries exceeded $112 million annually to local economies.

DEC encourages anglers to head out on Lake Ontario and experience some of the best trout and salmon fishing in the U.S. Additional information about fishing Lake Ontario can be found on DEC’s website.