ONEIDA LAKE FISHING REPORT
Central New York Fishing Hotline
April 8 - April 15
For those interested, there are also other fishing hotline/reports available for the region. A few of the web sites are: Wayne County Tourism, Visit Oswego County, Lake Ontario Fishing, and Oneida Lake Fishing Report (all leave DEC website).
Under Brianna's Law, all motor boat operators will need a boating safety certificate. How soon this certificate is required depends on your age, but by January 1, 2025, all operators of motorized vessels regardless of age will need a certificate. For more information on Brianna's Law, classes, and the age breakdown please view Boating Education (leaves DEC website) on the NYS Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation site.
A reminder that from Nov 1 to May 1, all persons aboard a pleasure vessel less than 21 feet regardless of age must wear a Personal Floatation Device (PFD) while underway. For more information on boating regulations please view the NYS Boater's Guide. A link can be found in the right hand column under Links Leaving the DEC Website.
The 2022 Freshwater Fishing Regulations Guide is in the process of being printed and should be available soon at places that sell fishing licenses. It can be viewed on the Freshwater Fishing Regulations page.
Barricades Up At Oneida Fish Hatchery
BY BOOKING ON APRIL 9, 2022
The picture of the fish hatchery was taken around noon yesterday and later in the day workers placed approximately thirty concrete barricades at the front entrance and rear parking area of the hatchery. You can see in the picture the construction equipment and as we rolled by it looked like workers were waiting for the delivery of the barricades, which happened yesterday afternoon. Parking is also blocked along Hatchery Road and the lots next to the hatchery’s maintenance facility, and the roadside parking area north of the county trail. The parking lot by the trail also remains gated as it normally would during the spawning season.
Signs posted yesterday on entrances to the facility indicated that the hatchery was closed to the public due to a COVID outbreak. In a statement released yesterday, the DEC announced that “to protect health, safety, and the spawning population, DEC is temporarily closing access to the hatchery and spawning sites.” The DEC also announced that the parking restrictions will remain in place through the remainder of the spawning season.
We are receiving all sorts of information regarding this controversy and will report more over the next few days–some of it is fairly wild and we want to confirm anything before posting it. One thing we should all take from this incident and controversy is the importance of the Oneida Lake Association in protecting our fishery. On that note, you can join the OLA at this link. Further, the OLA’s Annual Meeting will be in-person this year on April 27 at 7 pm at Millard Hawk Elementary School in Central Square. The meeting will also be available online and features a variety of informative speakers.
DEC Statement on the Scriba Creek Controversy
BY BOOKING ON APRIL 7, 2022
“This past week, DEC staff and Environmental Conservation Police Officers responded to events involving people fishing for walleye at DEC’s Oneida Fish Hatchery and nearby Scriba Creek during the walleye spawning run.
DEC takes seriously our responsibility to enforce New York’s environmental laws, ensure protection, conservation, and sustainable management of fish and wildlife, and values our partnerships with Indigenous Nations and the angling community to sustainably manage these resources. To protect this resource, New York State Environmental Conservation Law prohibits walleye fishing from March 15 until May 1. During this time, walleye are concentrated in certain streams and vulnerable to over-harvest. Similarly, Indigenous Nations have their own teachings regarding sustainable harvest practices, and we share mutual concerns in preserving wildlife.
DEC recognizes the importance of walleye as a subsistence and cultural resource for Indigenous Nations, and is actively consulting with the leadership of the nine State-Recognized Indigenous Nations to advance our shared conservation objectives.”
The DEC investigation remains ongoing. However, to protect health, safety, and the spawning population, the DEC is temporarily closing access to the hatchery in Constantia and spawning sites and is asking the public to respect these closures to help sustain the fishery here on Oneida Lake.
New York State has some of the finest fishing in the country. There is world class fishing for a wide variety of coldwater and warm water fish species. Whether it's smallmouth bass fishing on Lake Erie, brook trout fishing on a crystal clear Adirondack lake, Pacific salmon fishing on Lake Ontario, fishing for stripers on the Hudson River, brown trout fishing on the Beaver Kill or fishing for bluefish in Montauk's surf, there's something special here for everyone. With more than 7,500 lakes and ponds, 70,000 miles of rivers and streams, and hundreds of miles of coastline, fishing opportunities are always nearby!
New York State Freshwater Fishing Records
Smallmouth Bass 8 lb. 4 oz 20.5 Andrew Kartesz Jig & Grub Tail Lake Erie 6/4/1995
Smallmouth Bass 8 lb. 4 oz 20.5 Patrick Hildenbrand Berkley Powerbait St. Lawrence River 8/28/2016
Largemouth Bass 11 lb. 4 oz 25.5 John Higbie Spinnerbait Buckhorn Lake 9/11/1987
Walleye 18 lb. 2 oz 32 Brian Hartman Swimbait St. Lawrence River 5/5/201
Northern Pike 46 lb. 2 oz. n/a Peter DubucHeddon Flaptail Great Sacandaga Lake 9/15/1940
Popular Species to Target for Ice Fishing
While most freshwater fish can be caught through the ice, only certain species are in season through the winter. Some popular species to target through the ice in New York:
Ice Fishing Regulations
Ice fishing is permitted on many waters in New York State, but not all. Consult the Freshwater Fishing Regulation Guide (PDF) for ice fishing specific rules and regulations.
Ice shanties must be marked on the outside with the owner's name and address in letters at least 3 inches high. Shanties must be removed from all waters by March 15 to prevent them from falling through the ice and becoming hazards to navigation.
Baitfish are commonly used when ice fishing. Make sure your baitfish are certified disease free when you purchase them. Never dump unused baitfish or water from your bait bucket into a lake or pond. Undesirable aquatic invasive species might be mixed in with your bait or bait water. Consult the Freshwater Fishing Regulation Guide (PDF) for NYS Baitfish Regulations.
Safe ice should be your number one consideration when ice fishing. A minimum of three to four inches of solid ice is the general rule for safety. Ice thickness, however, is not uniform on any body of water. The guidelines presented here are based on new, clear ice on non-running waters. Since ice thickness can vary on a lake, check the ice periodically to stay safe.
Ice Thickness Table (for new, clear ice only)
Ice Thickness Permissible Load
2 inches or less Stay Off
4 inches Ice fishing or other activities on foot
5 inches Snowmobile or ATV
8-12 inches Car or small pickup
12-15 inches Medium truck
Note: This guide is based on new, clear ice on non-running waters. Slush ice is about 50 percent weaker. Clear ice over running water is about 20 percent weaker. Double the recommendations for white ice. Many ice anglers do not like to fish on less than five inches of ice, and do not like to drive a pick-up truck on less than 15 inches of ice. Use common sense!
Be cautious in areas where "bubblers" are used to protect docks. They can produce thin, unsafe ice some distance away. Be especially alert in areas near shore, over moving bodies of water, and where streams enter and exit lakes and ponds.
Remember, use the buddy system while ice fishing - it saves lives.