New York Salmon Bite – The Best in Many Years

By: Andy Bliss

Salmon fishing on Lake Ontario this year has been incredible. In Oswego, we normally get some kings late June and then early July and then they go away until mid August, but this year they never left. We’ve been catching salmon of all sizes and lots of them. A typical trip this year we are taking 20 salmon bites. Last year there were days where we couldn’t even catch kings. Some days last year we couldn’t even find kings.


Right now the fish are just starting to stage. If you want to go out in deep water you can still catching fresh fish, but the staging fish are starting to darken up like they always do. We look forward to our salmon staging, because the bite gets good when they do and those tend to be our larger fish. What’s surprising is the staging fish hasn’t even started yet and the bite is already real good.

We have lots of salmon in great numbers now. What I’m most excited about is the amount juvenile fish we are seeing. Typically, if we are fishing stagers we won’t catch 15-17 inch fish, but this year we are catching tons of them mixed in with the stagers. This means we’re going to have great runs in the next few years.


What’s been surprising is the amount of bait we’ve seen this year. This time of year we don’t typically see bait in the Salmon River area that we fish for the staging salmon. However, this year we are seeing bait and not just bait, but large balls of it. That bait is drawing in all different sizes and species. We are seeing lake trout, steelhead, brown trout, coho and kings eating a ton of bait, which is one of the reasons why the size on all species is up.


King fish has been amazing. We are catching larger fish that we’ve seen in a long time. However, the coho fishing has been the biggest shocker. Due to positive changes made by the folks at the Salmon River Hatchery our coho returns have skyrocketed. I’ve caught more coho this spring and summer than I ever have. It’s been like the old days. And they are big, healthy fish. We’ve caught eight to 17-pound coho already. The kings and coho are huge.

This time of year big eight and 11-inch Pro Troll flashers with a piece of meat in an Atomic meat rig has been off the charts. I have Atomic meat rigs on every rod. Meat (herring) has been working so well that we are running an eight-rod spread and seven of the rods have bait on them. Bait has been the ticket this summer. Most days we’ve been going through 25-30 pieces of bait a day and we’ve had some days where we used more than 40. Natural and Chartreuse Fire Brine herring strips have produced the most fish for us this summer. However, on low light conditions Blue and Green Fire Brine herring have been taking fish, too.


Over the next month and half you’ll be able to catch kings in Lake Ontario. You can target kings in the lake until the first or second week in October and the best method remains trolling close to the bottom with flashers and meat (brined herring). That’s been the standard method for everyone this summer. When those big kings turn off the feed and start thinking more of spawning than feeding the best way to get them to bite is to aggravate them. We do that with a big flasher and brined meat.


Editor’s Note: Andy Bliss operates Chasin Tail Adventures. For more info on this Lake Ontario trolling trips for salmon please visit or