Yesterday (May 11, 2008), walleyes were surprisingly elusive for this time of year. I went to all the popular early season spots on the Oneida and Oswego Rivers and cast crankbaits (Rapalas, Bombers and Rat-L-Traps) and YUM Walleye Grubs until my arms hurt, but I couldn't get one.
I didn't go fishless, however. At Brewerton's north public fishing access site, Cty. Rte. 37, below the I-81 bridge, I nailed a two-something pound smallie and a large Sheepshead on a grub. A little further downstream, at the north wall, a couple hundred feet east of the US 11 Bridge, an 18-inch pickerel took a nightcrawler I was dragging steadily on a spinner harness.
Here's a photo of Pulaski native Todd Frank, arguably NY's most successful walleye tournament pro, holding a nice six pound walleye caught in Oswego Harbor.
At Caughdenoy, I got a couple smallmouths and a Sheepshead. Large shad were everywhere in the fast water and everyone working crankbaits was inadvertently snagging them. No walleye were at the dam, but there were a lot of panfish.
The rapids in Phoenix didn't produce any walleyes but the floodgate pool was loaded with yellow perch, sunfish, and a smattering of crappies that were hitting tiny marabou jigs and minnows.
In Oswego, I finally saw a walleye weighing about six pounds. The lucky angler took it using the oldest trick in the book: weighing it down with enough lead to get it to bottom, casting cross current, and letting it swing back to the wall.
Walleyes should remain in Oswego, primarily below and downstream of the NY 104 bridge, for as long as the water continues running at around 6,000 cubic feet per second.