This ambitious rock bass hit a Bomber larger than itself.
Panfish like this pumpkinseed are plentiful in the pool between Locks 06 and 07.
I live on Oneida Lake, but I like fish dinners at world famous Rudy's of Lake Ontario. So last Friday I headed up to Oswego for a bite to eat and watch the sun go down over the big pond.
Like everyone else, I'm usually busy and always in a hurry. But the second week of June was unusually hectic. Several deadlines converging all at once, inventory forcing me to work extra hours at my part-time job, and the new home I just closed on made the period one of the busiest weeks in my life. When Friday finally rolled around, I wasn't gonna hurry anymore, and took the long, scenic road to the city; NY 48, along the Oswego River.
At the mouth of Ox Creek, the stream looked very inviting. By Minetto, it cast its spell on me, splashing my imagination with fishing scenes. By the time I reached Oswego, I couldn't fight the urge anymore. Pulling off the road just downstream of the upper power dam, I grabbed a couple rods out of the trunk and headed down to the water.
I'd never fished the pool between the dams before, but Larry Muroski, owner of the Oswego Salmon Shop, assured me many times in the past that the place was loaded with fish, including one of my favorites, catfish. Not just your average size whisker-pusses either; but some of the biggest in the drainage, monsters up to 20 pounds.
While scanning the rapids for pockets, eddies, seams and other likely holding areas, visions of catfish the size of miniature Minotaurs swam through my imagination. I decided on a spot about 100 yards downstream of the power plant, where the rapids left the shoreline and pushed towards the center of the river. I cast a worm weighed down with a large split shot across the current and let it sweep downstream. When it sank to the bottom at the current's edge, I worked it back slowly along the river floor.
A pumpkinseed of about five inches took my bait right away. Next cast I reeled in a decent rock bass. About an hour later, the tally was one sheepshead, five smallmouth bass, two rock bass and two sunfish; and numerous hits I couldn't connect with.
No catfish, however, and I wanted one bad.
So I decided to cross the stream and try my luck off the concrete bulkhead at the base of the lower lock, where the water is much deeper to accommodate shipping. It looked like perfect habitat for catfish. I got some hits and pulled in some more panfish, including a couple perch.
Before I knew it, the sun began to set. Hunger returning, I packed my gear and hit the road for Rudy's.
Unfortunately, I hadn't caught a catfish. But I fished a new spot, one I believe will give me some good cats and walleyes in the future. After all, everything these popular species crave is right there: rapids near the safety of deep water.
To get to Lock 6 from downtown, head south for 1.2 miles on NY 481 from its intersection with Bridge Street, turn right onto the lock road, and park in the small lot. Head north, climb down the tall stairs and fish at the end of the wall.
A family fishing below lock 6.
A sailboat leaving lock 6