|Fishing lesson below Lock #3.|
Oswego means different things to different folks. To most, it’s simply the county hugging Lake Ontario’s southeastern corner. History buffs recognize it as Lake Ontario’s oldest port city. And academics think of its SUNY campus, one of the state’s greatest teachers colleges.
Anglers, on the other hand, appreciate Oswego for its original Indian meaning: mouth of the river. From October through March, they’re drawn to the city with dreams of catching trophy trout and salmon the size of the ones swimming through their imaginations.
Unfortunately, chinooks and browns won’t be in the city’s fast waters until next month.
But that’s OK. You see, the remaining 22 miles of river, stretching from Three Rivers to the top of its last dam, is the haunt of massive quantities of popular warmwater game fish like walleyes, northern pike and black bass, and lesser species like sheepshead, catfish, carp, panfish, bowfin, gar, you name it.
What’s more, much of the river’s most productive water is accessible to the public and easy to reach. You see, the water’s natural course is fairly steep, and it tumbles over some serious drops in places like Phoenix and Fulton.
The rapids were tamed by locks and dams when the Barge Canal was built early in the 20th century. Harnessing the river’s power opened a tsunami of economic opportunity. Hamlets around the dams flourished, becoming cities. Before long, riverside communities built recreational infrastructure like river walks, parks and public launches.
Fulton is especially blessed. Its east bank offers access sites at both of its bridges.
The South First Street access site (at the southeastern corner of the NY 3 Bridge) offers parking for about 20 cars and pedestrian access. You’ll have to climb a long set of stairs to get to the water. You won’t be able to reach the rapids from here, only the deep, slow moving water in the canal, and the channel coming out of the powerhouse.
The northern (Oneida Street) bridge offers similar access on its southeastern corner, also off South First Street. From this site you can walk north on the canal’s western retaining wall for about a quarter mile, to a spillway, arguably the hottest fishing spot in Fulton.
Before the State stocked salmon and trout into Lake “O,” Fulton was considered the hottest fishing destination on the Oswego River for everything from walleyes to monster catfish.
Still is, in fact, and its wealth of public access makes it one of the most convenient fishing spots in the state for warmwater species.
|View from the top of the lock.|