by Capt. Tom Pierce - USCG 194007

It is now October 23rd and the first reports of walleyes being caught from shore are trickling in.  Off points from about a half hour before sunset until after dark seems to be the pattern.  Use long floating plugs, blue and white or silver.  A strong wind blowing onshore on dark nights works best.   GOOD  LUCK !

Yes, it is true, a few walleyes are being caught by a few dedicated anglers.  Remember the Old Fisherman's saying "Five percent of the fishermen catch ninety five percent of the fish."?  The five percent are the ones left fishing, the others are not on the lake,  just count the boats.

The NYSDEC would have you believe the fishing is good based on the catch rates reported during the creel survey.  The creel survey is based on the number of fish caught, not on the number you can keep.  Oneida Lake has always been managed as a quantity not quality (big fish) fishery,  the number of catch able fish varying from a high of 1 million to a low of 200 thousand.  Before Cormorants the average being 600 thousand.

The DEC believes that if you catch fish, you should be happy, even if you have to throw them back.  There are two big problems with that mind set.

1. Because walleye are such good table fare, anglers prefer to keep what they catch.

2. The survival rate of caught and released walleye is not good.  Researchers have advised that  catch and release events not be held when water temperatures exceed 64 degrees Fahrenheit. The Pro Walleye Tour recognizes this as a big problem and tries to schedule most of their events in the spring or fall.  To their credit they have also sponsored many research studies on the subject.

The majority of walleye being caught in July and August are being caught in the vicinity of the buoy line from 109 to 125.  These fish are being caught using lead line, down riggers, Dipsey Divers or pulling copper.  Flutter spoons and jointed plugs are favorites.  Reduced oxygen levels below 40 feet reduce your chances in these depths.

Some fish are being caught in the weeds by jig fishermen.  I can not advise you on jig fishing, my last outing with “Fishin’fil” attests to this.  He caught 19 I caught 1.  Of these 20 there was one keeper.  Who knows how many of these releases survived, probably more than if we were night fishing or trolling but still not good because of the warm water.  My observations are that the majority of people are aware of the problem, and take special care when releasing “shorty”.


Perch are just now beginning to school up and load up for the winter. (Aug.24, ‘02)

Crabs near weeds, minnows on the North Shore drop offs.  Sometimes in the shallow top or the deeper bottom but some where near the drop. Drift until you find them, then drift that spot.  My experience is “Keep The Bait Moving”.