Copyright 2016 James Marsh
Fly Fishing The Oswego River New York
The Oswego River is a tributary of Lake Ontario and is
one of New York's better steelhead, salmon, rainbow,
and brown trout streams. The section of the stream
below the dam is a short one of only a mile in length, but
it's also very wide, averaging four to five hundred feet
in width. Even so, it has huge runs of salmon and
steelhead, as well as brown trout and actually has more
fish at any one time than any of the other tributaries of
the Great Lakes.

Its steelhead fishing is the prime attraction. These large
fish, averaging between five and twenty pounds, start
coming into the river in the early part of October and run
throughout the Winter into early Spring.

The Oswego River also has good runs of Chinook
salmon that enter the river between late August and
October. Coho salmon, averaging from six to twenty
pounds, also show up at this time of the year. The large
brown trout, averaging four to over fifteen pounds, enter
the river in September and can be caught from then until
early Winter. Brown trout fishing is best from mid
October until the end of November.

Wading can be difficult below the dam for the first
quarter of a mile. The water consist of deep pockets and
pools with runs mixed in between them. It's a shale
bottom that requires cleats on your wading boots.
Beware of sudden rises in the water level. There's a
warning siren but you should continously check the
levels visually. The upper part of the river has large
walls and a concrete channel. This area is mostly fished
by anglers using spinning and casting gear.

Below the section of the river with walls, you will find an
area that is suited for fly fishing with runs and some
pools. This is just above the Route #104 Bridge. Below
the bridge the river gets larger and slower due to its
confluence with Lake Ontario. This section of the river
has a coble bottom and/or large rocks. It shouldn't be
waded on higher flows.

There is a suitable fly fishing section on the north side of
the Oswego River that's directly across from the walled
section. This section is just below the Varick Dam locks.

Fly fishing the Oswego River is usually done using a
floating fly line, long leader and weighted fly. Sink tip
lines and a short leader can also be used. Much of the
fly fishing is done using the traditional wet fly swing.

The river is usually crowded with salmon anglers during
the early Fall season. These are meat fishing anglers
that are lined side by side at times.

Fly fishing the Oswego River can be very productive at
times, especially when one fines the fish concentrated in
a certain area. It's not uncommon to hook several
steelhead and brown trout in a good day of fly fishing.

The steelhead season runs from September to mid May.
Steelhead fishing continues into the Spring months until
as late as the first of May.
During the Summer, the water is too low and warm for
trout or steelhead.
Brown trout fishing is best from early October to the end
of November. Chinook and Coho Salmon run in the Fall.
Steelhead follow them.
All but the very coldest days of Winter is good for
Type of Stream

Brown Trout
Rainbow Trout
Coho Salmon
Chinook Salmon

Large in width, short in length

North Central New York

Nearest Town

Species Dependent


Special Regulations
Yes, check for current regulations

Non-Resident License
State of New York

National Weather Service Link

USGS Stream Flow data

Fly Fishing Gear, Tackle,
Steelhead, Salmon and Trout
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Oswego River Fishing Report:
Coming Soon
Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us (
with the dates you will be fishing this
stream and we will send you a list of our
fly suggestions. Please allow up to 24
hours for a response.

2. Call us 800-594-4726 and we will help
you decide which flies you need.

3. Email us (
with a budget for flies and we will select
them to match the budget and get them to
you in time for your fly fishing trip.

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