Tuesday, June 28, 2016
I have been doing the Lake Ontario fishing thing for a long time. When I think about it, I wonder why I choose to wake from a nice sleep at 3am, grab a coffee and drive to the boat that is docked in Oswego, NY. I wonder why I choose to keep my fishing tools in tip top shape, keep the boat clean and well maintained and keep abreast of the latest fishing methods. I wonder why as a seasoned AARP member, I keep on fishing and am willing to put up with the demands of that particular life style. Sometimes I wonder why I am still fishing and most importantly I wonder why I still love the fishing challenge.
The other night I attended a NYS Department of Environmental Conservation "State of the Lake" meeting as I have for over 30 years. It is a great way to keep myself informed regarding fishing and environmental related subjects. I have always wondered why more anglers do not take advantage of the myriad of data regarding the condition of the lake. Many make a living off the lake and they seem to take and not give. I would think that more stakeholders would be interested in the detailed status of the fishery. Now I wonder how many stakeholders will be upset with me for pointing out this fact and to that I say, "If the shoe fits wear it".
This year I clearly saw just how divided the stake holders seem to be. I wonder why I did not notice this before. Anyhow, there really appears to be several stake-holder positions that make DEC's job a bit complex. First there are the lake trollers, who basically fish from April thru October. It is a combination of recreational and charter anglers who take advantage of what DEC says is a "put, grow, and take fishery". Some practice "catch and release", if they desire, while others will combine catch and release and catch and keep outings according to their customer's preferences. Their fish of choice, of course, is the mighty Chinook salmon.
Late September starts the transition whereby salmon and trout move to lake tributaries. Some lake fishers move their angling prowess to the streams and rivers with the legendary Salmon River leading the way. This group of fisher persons have interests in both fisheries. Some apply the "put, grow and take methods and some may go the "catch and release" route. In September and October they target salmon and later in the fall/winter season they hunt for steelhead.
Next comes the Steelhead seeking group who are more inclined to practice catch and release methods. At the meeting the other night an attendee proposed that DEC set up a catch and release only section which would be off limits to the put, grow and take angler, protecting steelhead harvest for the catch and release aficionados. By the way, the proposal came from a lodge operator who believes that a steelhead should be caught and released as many as ten times making their customers happier and their cash registers a little fuller. I wonder if that person knew anything about proper catch and release methods as related to catch and release mortality. If steelhead could think I wonder what they would think of that. Probably would like it better than becoming someone's dinner.
The next angling group are fly fisherman who already have a section of the Salmon River all to themselves. You have to fish their way since a portion of the river has been set aside just for them. In this section of the river it is fish their way or the highway. All fish caught must be released.
Can you begin to see just how difficult the Job is for DEC to keep everyone happy? Each group seems to want what is best for their particular angling style. As long as the proponents are happy with dedicated areas, portioned off to fit a certain angling style, variety of choice seems to work. As it stands now, the system is working well and lake and tributary anglers alike seem to be somewhat happy. However, things can get a bit contentious when one group proposes a change that effects another group. Until then enjoy the fishery.
Recently the NYSDEC and Federal personnel completed their spring bait assessment trawls. They found that the young of years class of alewives was very low, probably due to a couple of very severe winters. There is a concern that the alewife population could be in jeopardy. According to the scientists they might have to cut salmon stocking so that these predators would have less of an effect on the alewife population.
I wonder why that every time there is a concern regarding a diminishing population of alewives the mighty Chinook salmon is always the fish targeted for reduced stocking. Well, there is another predator in the lake that never seems to be affected. That predator is the long lived alewife gobbling, least sought after fish by anglers, the Lake Trout. True, that most anglers will target lakers when other fish become elusive and difficult to catch mostly due to unfavorable wind patterns. Stocking fewer fish such as chinooks, will affect the lakes mega million dollar fishing industry in a negative fashion. Stocking fewer lakers would probably have no revenue effect at all. I wonder why we do not consider this. If we need to make stocking cuts I would hope planting fewer lakers will be considered. That is if we can put aside the fact that Lake Trout were native to the lake and thus must be restored to a natural reproduction population, so say the feds. By the way, the natural reproduction goal has not been achieved despite over thirty years of annual stocking. Yes a few natural born lakers have been seen, however, the returns are minimal.
When you fish with us, you do not have to wonder whether we have the experience necessary to catch fish. You will quickly see that we know what we are doing, since we have been doing this longer than most. Want references? We can provide plenty. Ever wonder which charter boat guided an angler to the current NYS record brown trout? Yup, you guessed correctly if you picked us. It is your choice to keep your catch, practice catch and release, or a combination of both. You choose what best fits your needs. You can have it your way. It is your choice, not ours.
We love to fish and would love to have you fish with us.
Posted By: Capn Gerry Bresadola @ 2:14:22 AM
Thursday, December 10, 2015
Posted By: Capn Gerry Bresadola @ 11:11:04 AM
Well fellow anglers, I am happy to say I'm baaaack! After medical repairs to my "Adonis type physique" I am ready
to return to the fishing arena known as Lake Ontario, I guess it would be an understatement when I say I am more excited
to return to the fishing battles that lie ahead, than I have ever been in years past, Having missed the last two months
of the lake season, if you know me, you will certainly agree that fishing has been an important part of my life for the
past 30+ years, That is why I am ready to set sail, commence trolling and catch a hell of a lot of fish.
Being a member of the Cold Steel fishing team made my two-month hiatus a
whole lot more tolerable, Capt, Tom Burke and Capt, Andy Bliss on the Cold Steel and my fishing partner Capt,
Zack Rayno made sure that the months of August and September went off without a hitch, It's good to have teamed
with the likes of Tom, Andy, and of course Capt, Zack, While Tom is a seasoned veteran on the water, Zack had to take
over Captains duties that included a myriad of new responsibilities, In essence he had to pay attention to the front
of the boat as well as the back, This young man certainly rose to the task at hand, He did an outstanding job, T
hanks to all of you guys!
Ok, enough about the past, now on to the future, In all the years I have fished Lake Ontario waters, usually
the fishing was spectacular, some years the fishing was just good and sometimes the angling results were...
I guess I will say it, kinda tough, What you need to know is that even in the tough years, the fishing is still
pretty darn good, but you do have to work a little harder, That is how a world class fishery works, Everything is
relative and that is why an off year in a world class fishery can provide plenty of angling action, I'm saying this
because I hope 2016 will return us to the spectacular type of scenario that we are in the habit of experiencing,
I am saying this because when you come fishing on LO you will usually experience very good results, That's just
the way it is, some years the fishing can be great, some years it is good, and some years the fishing can be tough,
However, as the saying goes, "when the going gets tough, the tough get going",
Two abnormally cold winters produced significant ice cover on the lake, When spring arrived we found that frigid
water was significant, I am hopeful that we experience a normal or average winter that results in lake
temperature and wind patterns conducive to quality recruitment of stocked fish, In addition, normal winter
temperatures should result in a robust baitfish population that possesses high caloric levels that result in
chunky trout and salmon, As usual, Mother Nature remains in control and we are at her mercy, Good conditions provide
plenty of good fishing, By the way, so far the month of December 2015 has served up some spring like weather with
temps in the 50's, This makes me smile,
At the end of the fishing season on the lake, Capt Tom Burke has each vessel delivered to expert boat mechanics
for a thorough maintenance checkup, After 6 solid months of use it is important to check things out and where
repairs and improvements may be necessary, they are completed before the vessels are winterized and stored for
the snowy months, This year the Dixie Dandy received new carberators and a state of the art electronic ignition
system for each engine, This is just another reason why you might want to consider using the Cold Steel Charter
Fleet as our equipment is kept in tiptop shape,
The 2016 season will once again see Capt,Tom and Capt, Andy aboard the Cold Steel with Capt, Zack and myself
manning the Dixie Dandy, Since we work closely with one another you can expect to have a quality charter
experience, In other words we catch fish and oh yeah, we have fun doing it, About 3 decades ago when I
started charter fishing we communicated via a marine radio because there was no such thing as a cell phone,
While we still use the radio for weather and Coast Guard updates, fishing information is usually passed on
via text messaging, I make it a point when our clients see Capt, Zack typing messages on his phone to explain
that he is not texting a lady friend (well maybe sometimes), Rather he is either receiving text full of fishing
information or sending text to other boats that we are working with, When you give good information you get good
information in return,
The Eastern Basin fishery offers a variety of trout and salmon fishing depending on when you choose to fish,
Trout and salmon are available all season long, Brown trout fishing starts in April and they remain available
in the months of May through September, Lakers provide good fishing starting in April, Steelhead will attack a
lure practically all year long with June/July usually the best months to hook into this acrobatic fish, Coho like
to appear in the August/September time frame, They are a school fish and when they show up they provide fast and
furious catching, The "boss" fish of the lake known as the Chinook salmon is another species that is available
just about all season long with July, August and September serving up the most action, This hard fighting creature
is probably the most sought after "big boy" of the lake, That is why we also call the species the King salmon, It
is truly a magnificent fighter,
Remember the Lake Ontario fishery continues to maintain its world class status, This is due to a state of the
art stocking program and quality research performed on the newly acquired, state of the art Kaho research vessel,
Wild fish reproduction seems to be occurring on a yearly basis providing potential for enhanced rod and reel action,
Couple this with stakeholder input and the work of the NYSDEC and Federal Lake scientists, and you will see why
our World-Class fishery continues to thrive,
Thursday, March 19, 2015
Posted By: Capn Gerry Bresadola @ 3:45:27 PM
We all know about the very brutal winter we have been dealing
with for the past few months. Relentless bone chilling temperatures,
and massive amounts of snow, have many of us screaming "when will it end".
With only about six weeks till our mid April fishing season begins and
with the local temperature rising to a balmy 10 degrees above zero,
I decided to head to Oswego to check out the lake. What I found was
snow, more snow and even more snow.
And as you can see above, there is ice, plenty of ice, in fact, there is a hell of a lot of ice. Even for Upstate NY it is an unusual sight.
Another unusual sight this year is the huge ship that is moored to the Port
Authority pier wall on the East Side of the ice covered Oswego River.
(see first image below) The vessel, the American Fortitude, awaits the spring thaw when it
will be towed to a shipyard where it will be cut up for scrap.
This 60-year-old 700-foot behemoth is currently totally iced in
as it awaits its final voyage. This is the vessel that replaced
the infamous Edmond Fitzgerald on the shipping routes carrying
cargo to various Great Lake ports. This unusual sight will be
gone by spring as the ice and snow give way to spring runoff.
Then the American Fortitude will be towed to its demise and we will be
able to fish. I hope!
Still another unusual happening while fishing
on Lake Ontario is the process of landing an Atlantic salmon on a regular basis.
I say this because since the stocking program started, catching an Atlantic salmon while
trolling is not a common occurrence.
While a few are caught, this fish is just not as plentiful as a Chinook, Brown,
Steelie, Coho or Laker. First of all, not as many Atlantics are stocked as
are other trout and salmon species. For example, we stock about 1.6 million
fingerling Chinooks, as opposed to 200,000 yearling Atlantics. However, after
30 or so years of annual plantings, the Atlantic has not achieved spawning numbers
as well as the Chinook. The Chinook now has a confirmed wild fish presence which
augments the annual 1.6 million stocking program.
The non native Pacific Salmon has become naturalized to the lake while the
native Atlantic has not made any real restoration progress even after many
years of trying. It seems as though Atlantic restoration efforts have lagged
far behind the now naturalized non-native Pacific Salmon. Try as hard as they
have, over thirty years of effort has provided poor results at best. I find
it interesting that the Native Lake Trout restoration effort has also provided
poor results and remains dependent on annual stocking efforts. Many states have
officially abandoned their annual Atlantic restoration effort yet the program
on Lake Ontario continues with updated plans that, hopefully, will result in
better success than in years past.
By the way, Atlantic salmon is a native species that makes them highly
regarded fish in some people's eyes. It seems that the Atlantic restoration
efforts are aimed at landlocked salmon and not the andromous strain that
would run from the ocean to Lake Ontario and back. Some believe that
landlocks evolved from the ocean strain and adapted to the lake and
evolved to their fresh water only preference. In other words, the
freshwater lake has become their ocean. Some question whether the landlocked
strain is really a native species or whether it evolved from its ocean going
ancestors. See how complicated this is? As we begin to stock another missing natural fish,
(Cisco) to provide a more nutritious source of food for the Atlantic, it is
hoped that this will be the puzzle solving moment that will usher in the return of the wild Atlantic.
No one really knows if this effort will produce desired results. Like I stated
earlier, 30 years of effort has provided dismal results. Since previous methods
have failed perhaps the return of the Cisco will return us to the "Promised Land"
of what some would consider the way it was and thus the way it ought to be. Would
not adding a sustainable land lock population to the lake be a major success story?
Then again, is it possible that it could make things worse as the mix of fish and
food will be altered once again? The return to conditions of over 200 years past
may not be possible as the natural order of things may have changed and, yes, man
would have had a lot to do with it. After all, isn't man part of the natural order?
Oh well, all we need is another thirty years to find out. As we move toward the
2015 season, Eastern Lake Ontario should benefit from the cold winter. As we
transition from winter to spring I would expect that the lake will warm faster
in the east than the west as the ice flow from Lake Erie will add to the cold
water flowing from the mighty Niagara River. I would expect that baitfish will
seek out the warmer water and the predator fish will follow. The warmer water
will be in the east and fishing should be great. That's been the pattern whenever
we have a cold winter with plenty of ice cover. The browns that are there will
stay there and salmon will move in to feed on the bait that found its way to
warmer water. Unusual sight, not really, it usually happens after a damn cold
winter. Come fish with the Coldsteel Fleet for a wonderful day on beautiful
Here is what things currently look like. Only six weeks till we start fishing.
Monday, January 26, 2015
Posted By: Capn Gerry Bresadola @ 7:11:01 PM
Over the years I have talked about an annual Oswego fishing season
spectacular that is akin to fishing in brown trout heaven. A unique set of
circumstances, a combination of warm nutrient rich shoreline river water plumes,
favorable shoreline and bottom contours, and near shore predator feeding
patterns, make for some of the best brown trout angling opportunities on the
entire lake. This brown trout happening occurs just about each and every spring.
As the season segues from spring to summer, if you move
gradually to deeper water your brown trout successes will only continue. If you
choose to stay with the browns you can catch them well into August and on most
days never have to wander more that 2 to 3 miles off shore.
The fact is
brown trout do not wander very far from their birthplace or in this case the
area in which they were stocked. While salmon will roam, Mr. Brown stays at
home. So a combination of warmer nutrient rich water luring baitfish and plenty
of inquisitive, hungry, predators, presents a fish catching puzzle that is
generally easy to solve. Here is an interesting info tidbit as to why you might
want to choose Oswego for your next brown trout outing. The last three NYS
Record Brown Trout, led by the current NYS Record 33lb, 2oz monster were all
caught from Oswego east to an area known as the "High Rocks", just east of
Nine-Mile Point. If that fact is not enough to attest to Oswego's big fish
reputation, I don't know of a better testimonial. By the by, the current NYS
record brown was caught on our vessel, the Dixie Dandy.
The prime factor influencing the brown trout bonanza is the
Oswego River and the immense flow of warm water emptying into the lake. It is
the odds baby, and the odds are in favor of the Oswego River and the numerous
smaller tributary waters that enhance the big rivers fish magnet
Now that I have explained why the Oswego area provides great
Brown Trout fishing here is a tip that can make an outing even better. Fish on
Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday. There are a couple of reasons why one should
consider this option. First it is a fact that Brown Trout are a skittish, wary,
fish. They are line shy, and noise shy, especially from the sounds caused by
boats. Secondly, when fishing for browns you will do best when fishing away from
boat traffic and if the water is crystal clear running lures far from the boat.
So why do Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays increase catching odds? Read on!
In the spring there is plenty of boat traffic because most
anglers are aching to get back on the water after their share of winter
doldrums. Everyone is excited about returning to the lake, hence heavy boat
traffic. Heavy boat traffic means plenty of noise on and in the water. On some
spring days the concentration of fish might be in the Oswego Harbor. On the
weekends plenty of fish are feeding in the harbor causing numerous boats to
troll in the confinement of the surrounding sea walls. If the lake is too rough
to fish, the harbor area provides protection from the rolling seas. It doesn't
take long before you are trolling in a maze of vessels large and small all
trolling with plenty of lures in the water sometimes only 30 to 50 feet apart.
Before you can yell, "fish on" tempers can flair, tangles can occur, and the joy
of fishing can quickly become a painful experience.
Crowded weekend fishing gives way to more solitary
opportunities as most anglers return home on Sunday leaving the next few days
open for pressure free fishing with almost non existent fishing vessel armadas.
Monday to Wednesday trips allow ample trolling room all along the shoreline. If
the water is crystal clear running lures far back in your trolling pattern makes
those wary browns more cooperative. Many times this is not possible on those
One last thought. When fishing for browns it is always more
productive to be able to fish far from other boats if you can. On crowded
weekend days, it is tough to go solo. Make a couple of circles because you are
getting plenty of strikes and you will soon have company because experienced
anglers are savvy to the movement of vessels that are catching fish. In addition
inexperienced fishers search out other boats especially if several vessels are
fishing in a cluster. Take it from me, clusters are not good. On land they say
"build it and they will come". On the water they say "catch a fish and they will
come. On Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, fewer will come since fewer are on
the water. It is harder to generate a cluster. Basically you can fish where you
want, troll at the speed you want, and run your lures where you want. Now who
wouldn't want that?
When I started fishing on the big O, boat to boat
communication was very different that it is today. The internet, cell phones,
texting and other social media have revolutionized the information highway.
Basically it means that getting good information on where to fish and what to
use is just a click away. Today everyone is a world class fisherman, at least on
Facebook. Just ask and they will tell you. After all, if you read it on the
internet it must be true. I guess what I am saying is if you can, fish on light
boat traffic days, fish away from everyone else, and don't answer the phone.
Fishing on light boat traffic days, and fishing away from other boats is doable.
Not answering the phone is probably asking too much. In any event, adhering to a
few basic brown trout fishing skills will definitely improve your catch rate,
especially on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. Be quiet, be alone and be
Thursday, December 04, 2014
Posted By: Capn Gerry Bresadola @ 8:33:42 AM
A couple of weeks ago, on a cold
winter day, I drove to Oswego to check out the lake. Seems like I can only stay
away for so long. As I drove into the Fort Ontario Park and looked out into the
churning lake, I had to do all I could to focus my imagination on a fast forward
swing to what April waters might look like. Each year we begin our season on or
about the middle of April when the Oswego River drainage flows invite the fish
of winter to
trade their cold weather habits for the allure of the
nutrient rich, warm spring water.
The Oswego Harbor and surrounding area is a
magnet for football browns and spring kings. The huge warming river flow
is just what the doctor ordered to get the trolling season off on the right
foot. This is what makes the Oswego area such a great place to hunt for early
season salmon and trout. Rig up with light tackle and the right assortment of
stickbaits and spoons and the rods will spring into action. Will it be a
brown, a king, a steelie, a laker, a coho, or an elusive atlantic that grabs our
lure? For sure, one of these mighty creatures will take the bait and the battle
will be on. That's what we call trout and salmon fishing Oswego style.
With yours truly at the helm and Captain Zack Rayno creating
and rigging the trolling presentations, we will trick'em good. When you add in
our fishing partner the FV Cold Steel manned by Capt. Tom Burke and 1st Mate
Capt. Andy Bliss and the information sharing we provide each other starts
flowing, well what can we say but "fishing will be great." Quite simply, we know
how to do it.
We look forward to the 2015-fishing season. Come join us for
spectacular angling adventure.
Thursday, March 13, 2014
Posted By: Capn Gerry Bresadola @ 4:45:03 AM
Visited Oswego Harbor a few days ago and I must tell
you that I have never seen ice cover like we have right now. From the marina
entrance, to the lighthouse, and into the lake as far as one can see, it is a
frozen panorama of ice, ice, and more ice. Look out in the crystal abyss and it
is hard to believe we will be fishing out there in 5 or 6 weeks (I hope). Once
the melting snow empties into the Oswego River it will not take long for the
warming currents to do their job and melt those ice packs into the greenish blue
spring waters we know and love.
I read somewhere that hard core global warming
aficionados insist that these frigid times are the result of global warming. I
do not recall, but wasn't the mantra some 30 or 40 years ago that a new ice age
was coming, and at that time did we blame the deep freeze proclamation on global
warming? Who is right and who is wrong? All I know is that it is damn cold out
there and cold means ice, lots and lots of ice.
aside, I traveled to Oswego to have lunch with the Dixie Dandy first mate Zack
Rayno who in a few weeks will become Captain Zack Rayno. Let me say that this
young man is rarin' to go. Having fished all winter from his river drift boat he
will complete his season in a few weeks and turn his efforts to the lake
fishery. Talk about charged up, this young buck is airbrush painting what will
be some unique spoons, stick baits and attractive attractors unique to the Dixie
Dandy and Coldsteel fishing vessels. If you are interested in a spring tributary
drift boat trip on the Salmon River with my Coldsteel Sportfishing associates
Tom Burke, Andy Bliss and Zack, visit Capt. Tom Burke's website
www.coldsteelsportfishing.com or call Tom at 315-298-2500. I am certain that
Zack, Tom or Andy would be happy to take you down the river for some exciting
steelhead action. If you are wondering where I will be, think of someplace warm.
2013 Stocking numbers include 1.76 million Chinook Salmon, 220,000
Coho, 677,000 Rainbows, 331,000 Brown Trout, 128,000 Atlantics, 523,000 Lakers
and 133,000, walleyes. This bodes well for the future especially when you add in
the possibility of naturally reproduced fish. Alewife populations appear to be
good and will continue to provide an abundant food source for the predator fish.
An international effort to rehabilitate native ciscoes continued
in 2013 with the stocking of approximately 7,300 fingerling bloaters, and 16,000
yearling bloaters. They also stocked 9,000 Lake Herring into Irondequoit Bay.
Lake Herring are near shore members of the Ciscoe family, while bloaters are
found in the offshore depths. I guess the motto is "use all the water be it
shallow or deep". I have said before that ours is a put, grow and take fishery.
Stocking is the put part, healthy bait populations are the grow part, us angler
guys and gals are the take part. You can take 'em and eat 'em or you and catch
'em and release 'em. It's your choice, and either way is ok. In my not so humble
opinion Lake Ontario continues to be one of the best-managed fisheries on the
planet. No brag, just fact.
The Cold Steel Fishing Fleet looks
forward to fishing with you in 2014. We know how to do it!
Thursday, December 19, 2013
Posted By: Capn Gerry Bresadola @ 3:06:00 PM
If you like your fish, you can keep it. If
you like your charter service you can keep that, too. After many, many, many
years chasing fishes on Lake Ontario our angling service is poised to enter a
new method of operation that will positively enhance your charter experience.
How's that you ask, well let me explain? The Dixie Dandy is now a part of the
Cold Steel Fishing Fleet. Owned by legendary Charter Captain Tom Burke.
The team now consists of the 33' Egg
Harbor "Cold Steel" with Capt. Tom and Capt. Andy Bliss comprising a seasoned
crew with several Salmon Tourney wins to their credit. Tom's second boat is the
highly regarded 31' "Dixie Dandy" manned by me and my 1st mate Licensed NYS
Guide Zack Rayno. Believe me when I say that the combined on water experience of
the 2 crews is second to none. The Dixie Dandy guided angler Tony Brown to the
current NYS Record Brown trout, a 33lb 2-oz monster in June 1997 and won the
Oswego County Pro Am that same year. Both vessels have earned solid reputations
for providing quality, productive and enjoyable charters.
The two charter services spent the
2013 season working together to form a smooth running, team approach to Lake
Ontario trolling efforts. When you fish with the "fleet" you get to take part in
a multi boat charter effort that provides double access to the daily fishing
puzzle that must be solved to produce quality fishing action. Each vessel knows
exactly what the other is doing. From lure selection, trolling speed,
presentation depth and patterns, locating active fish and getting them to hook
up is made simpler as you get two for the price of one. Pieces of the fishing
puzzle are shared between the two vessels to maximize catches and provide a
top-flight charter experience. This system has clearly proven that "working
together" methods generate quality results. That is why we can say with
certainty that in 2014 the Cold Steel Charter Fleet will provide another season
of exciting and productive angling adventure.
Tom, Andy, and Zack are all involved
in the fishery on a yearly basis. In addition to their April through September
lake trolling efforts, they each fish the fall and winter months guiding on Lake
Ontario tributary streams for trout and salmon. Be it on the lake or tribs, they
are proven, time tested pros totally committed to their charter and guiding
professions. I myself would like to fish the tribs, however the warm breezes
emanating from Georgia and Florida lure me to the south where stripers,
sailfish, pompano and the Daytona 500 await. My motto is, "let the younger guys
do it", because in the winter, the southern climate beckons. Once April returns,
so do I, and the Dixie Dandy returns to action. Damn I'm a lucky guy.
While many historic battles have
taken place along the shores of Lake Ontario, the beat goes on as the latest
environmental turmoil arises over the latest lake water level proposal. While
still in the study phase, environmentalists and the outdoor community favor a
more natural approach to control by allowing the lake to rise and fall according
to the whims of nature. I have seen high water one year and low water the next
and while I prefer the high water it may not be the best solution with regard to
proper lake management according to an International Joint Commission.
On the other side of the equation are
property owners and businesses that could face financial disaster depending on
too high or too low water levels. For example a marina might have plenty of
water for a time but when nature causes low water conditions, the marina could
actually be out of business during the low water cycle. As these people say,
muskrats and cattails would be placed ahead of property values. The solution is
most likely somewhere in the middle, which is usually the case. We shall see
what transpires and what elected officials move from the sidelines into the
fray. This one should be good as it affects so many Lake Ontario stakeholders.
Tuesday, February 05, 2013
Posted By: Capn Gerry Bresadola @ 3:48:00 PM
Spring brings an exciting and very productive
start to some of the best brown trout fishing opportunities within Lake Ontario
waters. The massive water flow that is the Oswego River acts as a water driven
magnet luring hungry browns to congregate in, near, and around the Port City
waterfront. Simply put, the warm, nutrient rich river water fills the harbor and
surrounding near shore lake area with brown trout and salmon attracting flows
that big fish love. In the
spring, the magic words are, warm water and colored water. Combine these two
ingredients and you will find terrific brown trout fishing.
The Oswego Harbor offers early
season opportunity as fish roam within the walled structure of the harbor in
search of food. During the early spring, trout and salmon will call this large
area home as they prowl the nutrient rich confines gorging on bait in the
enhanced food chain situation. The fish are like a kid in a candy store,
gobbling up the goodies we call baitfish.
A big location advantage comes with the protection offered by the harbor
walls. The mighty Big O can be churned by stiff breezes causing the open waters
to become unfishable, however the protected harbor offers the early season
angler a comfortable "honey hole." In early spring the Oswego Harbor is almost
always fishable, while the near shore lake spring fishing is definitely a
“no-no" when breezy west, north and east winds blow. It is nice when you plan a
fishing trip and you can fish comfortably even on windy days.
Since Brown Trout do not have the wandering, bait chasing tendencies,
attributable to their brethren salmon, they can usually be found in warmer near
shore spring waters. Biologists tell us that their radio telemetry studies
indicate browns range 3 to 4 miles from their stocking site. Westerly breezes
move the river plume east of Oswego with warmer, colored water and becomes a
beacon attracting hungry browns. Easterly winds move productive waters to the
west, so when you venture into the lake in early spring go right or left
depending on the wind direction and you do not have to go far. A wise old brown
trout angler once told me that salmon will chase the bait, while brown trout
will wait. 30 years of trolling for browns have proven to me, he was right.
It is no secret that the Oswego area is a great place to fish. Weekends
can get pretty busy on the water as recreational boats and part time weekend
charters zoom in the on the Oswego bulls eye. Here is a tip, if you can, try to
fish the Monday through Thursday time frame. As the area clears out on Sunday
afternoon, you can bet that Monday will play to fewer boats and terrific
fishing. Things will remain that way throughout the week weather permitting,
then the weekend migration will return and fishing will segue to crowded, noisy,
boat traffic situations. I'm just sayin.
Thursday, January 17, 2013
Posted By: Capn Gerry Bresadola @ 3:48:00 PM
Time and time again I have sung the praises of the
wonderful Lake Ontario Fishery. While there are many good fishing ports around
the lake, I believe that Oswego, NY offers many advantages to the charter and
recreational angler alike. Having fished the eastern basin of the lake for over
30 years I made the move to Oswego over 12 years ago. Here are some reasons why:
Safe Harbor - From a safety standpoint the wall
protection at the mouth of the Oswego River presents the boating angler with
optimum return to port protections. Two distinct lakeside entrances give the
boater options so that west, northwest, east and northeast winds can be
safely navigated when returning from a day of fishing.
Spring Fishing - The harbor itself holds plenty of
trout and salmon in the spring. The warmer water of the Oswego River's
runoff attracts bait and predator fish well into the protection of the
harbor. The warm water plumes flow into the lake offering hot spots for
attracting and holding fish. Sort of like “catching fish in a barrel” (not
always, but sometimes). On those windy spring days when the lake is boiling
with choppy seas, it's the Oswego Harbor to the rescue. Most times you can
stay within the harbor walls and catch plenty of fish, while remaining
comfortable. Oh, by the way, it helps if you are fishing in a boat with an
enclosed cabin such as the Dixie Dandy, because we are not fishing in the
Caribbean, we are fishing in northern New York. Sometimes it is Brrrrr time.
East or West - Prime inshore fishing hot spots are a
short distance from Oswego no matter if you cruise east or west. Basically
one can leave the harbor and start trolling and begin catching fish. Knowing
what effect winds have on water coloration is the prime factor in deciding
which way to go. In any event long runs to a fishing spot are the exception
rather than the rule out of Oswego. Shorter runs mean more time with rods in
the water rather than the rod rack.
Deep water fast - As the water warms things turn
around as cold water trout and salmon leave the warming spring temperatures
for the cooler waters flowing offshore. As the lake stratifies into
horizontal layers of warm to cold water in many parts of the eastern basin
long runs to preferred fishing areas become necessary. However, not so much
in Oswego, as the underwater contour drops about 100' per mile as you head
into the lake. Need to fish over 300', it is only a 3-mile run? Need five
hundred feet? You guessed it, only 5 miles. Again shorter runs mean more
time with the rods in the water. More time with rods in the water means more
time with a fish on the end of your line. Isn't that amazing.
Fall back - As we transition to late summer/early
fall, staging salmon move back to shallows in front of the Harbor. Now we
are back to fishing a mile or two from shore on most days. As the days pass
we fish closer and closer to the harbor entrance till we follow the salmon
into the harbor as they return to the site where they were stocked. Now we
can catch the Kings and Cohoes just like we did in the spring only there are
many more of them to target. What a nice way to end up.
An easy walk - If you make the Oswego area you home
port whether it be for a charter or your weekend fishing outing, you are
close to all types of amenities. Want a motel? You can walk to it. Want a
good lunch or dinner place? You can walk to several. Want to fish for warm
water species in the river? You can walk to a bunch of good sites. Pizza
shops, Donut shops, museums and parks, you guessed right you can walk to all
of them. When you arrive, you can park your car and return to it when you
are ready to leave. Now that's what I call convenient.
Oswego is truly a great fishing destination. Try
it and you will certainly like it. I sure do! Especially the pizza!
Monday, December 10, 2012
Posted By: Capn Gerry Bresadola @ 9:11:04 PM
The Dixie Dandy is tucked away in winter storage awaiting the
start of another fishing season. It won't be long till the next fishing season
breaks over the horizon and the next adventure begins. A combination of natural
and man caused low water levels has placed sport fishermen in some precarious
positions as Lake Levels spin lower and lower. Navigating up the Little Salmon
River in an effort to return to my winter storage area proved an adventure as I
bottomed out a few times but managed to bulldoze my way through the low water
offered by the Little Salmon River.
Thank God for the Dixie Dandy's rugged keel. The
water levels are the lowest I have ever experienced and battles are raging to
see which side wins in the effort to secure sensible water level regulation.
It is amazing to me just how
quickly the lake fishing season floats on by, proving that, time sure does fly
when you are having fun. Did we have fun? If you relate great catches to fun
filled experiences, you definitely had fun. Having fished Lake Ontario for
nearly three decades, believe me when I say that the 2012 fishing season was in
my opinion the very best ever. Talk to any experienced Lake Ontario angler and
you will find that nearly all are in agreement.
Starting in April, greeted with outrageous brown
trout fishing, we soon found plenty of early season salmon roaming in front of
the Oswego Harbor area and they definitely gobbled up our trolling offerings.
This wonderful fishing lasted from early spring through the end of September. We
were blessed with good fishing, great fishing, with never any poor fishing. How
about "dat." Lake Ontario has always provided fantastic fishing opportunities
and in 2012 she absolutely outdid herself.
With gas pump prices surging higher and
higher, many fishermen dialed back their outings as the price of fishing
definitely increased. Fuel for the car, and fuel for the boat, does have a major
impact on the number of trips a boat owning angler can make. With the great
fishing we had, it seemed as if there were fewer boats on the water. One would
think that better fishing would translate to more fishing trips, however that
was not the case. My observation here is purely anecdotal, however the NYSDEC
Estimated Fishing Effort from April 15th – Sept. 30th (56,182 boat trips) showed
a 19.4% decrease compared to the previous 5 year average. So I guess my on water
observation was spot on.
According to a couple of well informed friends
in the Salmon River guiding business, low water and large numbers of fish led to
super tributary fishing. They also say that reduced "Game Warden" coverage led
to plenty of illegal catches. I wasn't there, however I truly believe the
observations of those who are on the river most every day. The Salmon River
Hatchery finally achieved their egg take goals a few weeks behind schedule and
the number of illegal catches might have led to the prolonged process. I'm just
I certainly hope that the 2013 season is a
repeat of 2012. One thing for sure is that Lake Ontario will provide good
fishing as it always does. If the stars align and nature cooperates, we could
see a continuation of what happened in 2012. It certainly would be nice to see
the economy rebound, gas prices trend downward, and more and more anglers become
involved in our wonderful Lake Ontario fishery. Ya think?
Check out the brand
new research vessel KAHO. This 4 million dollar floating research
laboratory will be berthed in Oswego, NY
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