Best Places to Catch Salmon in New York

So, you’ve decided to catch yourself some of those tasty pink-fleshed salmon. You get out of your home only to realize that New York fishing spots are more than you thought, and so you wonder, “What’s the best place to catch Salmon in New York? “

We’ve done the homework for you and found three places in New York where you can catch some salmon. Stick around!

1.   Salmon River

Best places in New York where you can catch some salmon. Stick around! Fall fishing on the Salmon River

The Salmon River is arguably the best Salmon fishing spot in all of New York. It’s located in Oswego County and extends 17 miles from the Lighthouse Hill Reservoir to Lake Ontario.

12 miles out of those 17 are available for public fishing where you could catch various types of fish. You can find three types of Salmon in the Salmon River, Chinook Salmon, Coho Salmon, and Atlantic (landlocked) Salmon.

A 2007 study by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation concluded that fishing in Oswego County pumped 43.6 million dollars in that year.

Salmon River contributed greatly to that number because it’s stocked with 30,000 Atlantic Salmon, 80,000 Coho Salmon, and 300,000 Chinook Salmon every single year!

That’s not even mentioning the natural reproduction contribution to the increased number of fish.

The fishing area extends for 12 miles, and thus, there are many fishing spots. Keep in mind that not every place in the Salmon River is viable for fishing. You have to go to one of the designated fishing spots if you want to catch more fish.

The Salmon River is so stocked with Salmon that you could pretty much seize some catch all year long. For those who want the larger sizes, the peak of the Salmon population is between October and March.

The high popularity of the Salmon River makes the fishing spots overly crowded most of the time.

If you don’t fancy shoulder-to-shoulder fishing, there are some private pay-to-fish areas where you could enjoy a lot more freedom of fishing.

The Douglaston Salmon Run is one of the most popular private fishing areas on the lower part of the river.

What Is the Best Time to Fish Salmon River NY?

The best time to fish for salmon in the Salmon River in New York is typically from late August to early October. This is when the salmon are known to spawn in the river, making them more active and easier to catch. The best time of day to fish for salmon is usually early in the morning or late in the evening, when the sun is not as strong.

Fun Fact: In 1989, Angler Jerry Lifton held the world record for the biggest Coho Salmon at the time while fishing in the Salmon River. His catch weighed a whopping 33 pounds and 4 ounces, the heaviest Coho Salmon in Oswego County and the world at the time.

2.   Lake Ontario

Lake Ontario is another great place for Salmon Fishing. New York is the only American State to have access to that lake through Oswego County.

Much like the Salmon River, you can still find Salmon in Lake Ontario throughout the year. The peak, however, is between May and October.

You can find many types of Salmon in Lake Ontario, including the Chinook, Coho, and Atlantic Salmon. There’s also the Pink Salmon, which isn’t as popular to find in Salmon River.

New York State stocks around 1.7 million Chinook Salmon and 250,000 Coho Salmon in Lake Ontario every year, making Lake Ontario one of the most popular fishing lakes in the state.

Keep in mind that Lake Ontario extends north to the Canadian border where the rules and regulations of fishing will differ. When you fish from the American side in New York, you should be aware of the rules and regulations.

This regulations guide contains the latest rules of fishing in New York City starting from April 1st, 2022.

Fun Fact: Remember the world record set in Salmon River? It was broken on July 13th, 1998 by Stephen Sheets Jr. He was fishing in Lake Ontario out of Oswego County (yet again) when he caught a 33-pound and 7 ounces Coho Salmon. With that feat, he broke the 9-year-old World Record when he beat Jerry Lifton’s Coho by just 3 ounces!

3.   Lower Niagara River

Lower Niagra River

The Niagara River itself flows 36 miles between New York in the US and Ontario in Canada.

The lower part of it is around 14 miles and its fishing spots range from Whirlpool in the North to the river mouth at Lake Ontario.

You can get various types of fish whenever you fish in the Lower Niagara River. If you want the Salmons, you should visit between September and November.

There are various fishing spots that you could choose from which you could check here. Like any fishing place in New York, you should follow the regulations to avoid being fined.

Fun Fact: The average water flow of the Niagara River is 200,000 cubic feet of water every second. Because of that, it supplies Lake Ontario with 80% of its water!

Recommended Equipment

If you want to catch some Salmon, here’s the equipment you need to have:

Fishing rod, bait, reel, bait

Rod Weight

7, 8, or 9 pounds are three line weights that work well with Salmon. These weights have enough power to turn the Salmon and exhaust them enough to be caught.

Rod Length

We recommend using 9 or 10 feet rods. They provide further casts and more torque when you fight the fish. Using lengths below 9 feet for Salmon will make your fishing much harder.

Rod Action

Fast action rods are the go-to for Salmon fishing. They may be stiff and hard to cast, but they fight through the wind and cast further if you use them correctly.


As for the reels, smooth discs are advised to exhaust the fish. Salmon are strong grabbers and many anglers lost their catch because their reels got stuck.


Salmon fish have a taste for Salmon eggs. It could be theirs or other Salmon’s. Either way, this makes Salmon eggs the best bait choice for Salmon fishing.

Sand Shrimp is another popular bait, especially for Chinook Salmon. You could try and place both of them as bait at the same time. It works for many anglers.

Final Words on Salmon Fishing in New York State

What are the best places to catch salmon in New York?

The best places to catch Salmon in New York are Salmon River, Lake Ontario, and Lower Niagara River.

We’d be lying if we said that you can find a fishing spot in Salmon River that’s calm and relaxing to fish in unless you pay for a private area.

Lake Ontario and Lower Niagara River may not yield as much catch as Salmon River, but they’re more relaxing to fish in. Still, a few of the top salmon fishing destinations in the U.S. are found in New York.

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