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June 6, 2008
Bass'n in Oswego County
By Spider Rybaak
Anglers Anticipate Bass Season Opener
New York's regular bass season opens on Saturday, June 21, and you can bet your best lure the shorelines and open waters of Oswego County will be swarming with guys tossing every bait imaginable in their bid to battle with one of these tackle busters.
Oswego County: Best Waters in the State
Oswego County boasts two of the best bass holes in the state: Lakes Oneida and Ontario. In addition, it offers smaller, more intimate places like Panther Lake and Lake Neahtahwanta. Throw in the Oswego, Oneida, and Salmon rivers and you come up with an angler-friendly bassin' combination that's hard to beat.
Lake Ontario's inshore water is a smallmouth factory. A lot of nice ones were taken between the mouth of the Oswego River and Little Salmon River during the last month on lures targeting brown trout. This stretch will remain a hot spot all season long.
Oneida Lake is so full of bass it lures major tournaments regularly. Recent televised events testifying to the lake's productivity included the ESPN Bass Master Memorial and the Outdoor Channel's Ultimate Match College Tournament.
Its outlet, the Oneida River, isn't as famous but it has its own wealth of fishy surprises. Incorporated into the New York State Canal System, the river's drop-offs along the main channel harbor great quantities of smallmouth bass, while its lengthy, natural oxbows claim better than average bucketmouth populations.
The Oneida joins the Seneca River at Three Rivers, creating the Oswego River. The inside channels of this mighty stream's numerous islands, the mouths of its tributaries, its weedy bays and the edges of its wetlands, are dynamite largemouth territories. The channel drop-offs are great for smallies.
In the city of Oswego, Wright's Landing and the turning basin near the Port Authority hold bass year-round; while the insides and outsides of the jetties are smallmouth magnets early in the season and in autumn.
Oswego County's best kept bassin' secret is the Salmon River, a stream famed worldwide for its extraordinary salmonid fishery. It offers exciting whitewater and pocketwater bronzeback action in its upper reaches, superior largemouth angling in the estuary, and some of the best smallmouth action on the east side of Lake Ontario around its mouth, particularly from the lighthouse downstream.
The Upper Salmon River Reservoir (a.k.a. Redfield Reservoir) has good populations of both bass, while the Lower Reservoir, (a.k.a. Lighthouse Hill Reservoir) is best known for largemouths.
Panther Lake and Fulton's Lake Neahtahwanta claim their own dedicated following of bassaholics. The former is loaded with keepers of both species while the latter boasts trophy largemouths.
This season, indulge your bass fantasies on the waters of Oswego County. Fast water or slow, weedy or open, deep or shallow, or a combination of all the above await you in this sportsman's paradise.
For current fishing conditions and detailed information on Oswego County's fishing hotspots, visit the Oswego County Web site at www.visitoswegocounty.com or contact the Oswego County Tourism Office, 46 E. Bridge Street, Oswego, NY 13126; 800-248-4FUN (4386); .
Spider Rybaak is an award-winning outdoor writer who has been published in more than 20 periodicals. He is the author of “Fishing Eastern New York” and “Fishing Western New York” guide books that cover 429 streams and lakes in New York State. Contact him by
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