SANDY CREEK, NY — The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced the North Sandy Pond boat launch located in the town of Sandy Creek, Oswego County is now open following record-high water levels on Lake Ontario. During the closure, DEC implemented several site repairs to ensure safe and convenient public access to the launch.
“Lake Ontario’s fishing is incredible right now and we want New Yorkers out there to enjoy it,” DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said. “With the reopening of North Sandy Pond’s launch and Governor Cuomo’s recent tourism initiatives, such as ‘free fishing’ without license on Lake Ontario, the Lower Niagara, and the St. Lawrence River through Labor Day, we’re giving residents and visitors even more incentives to have a safe, fun day on the water.”
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo last week announced the launch of a new campaign to boost tourism in the Lake Ontario region following recent flooding that has hampered tourism in communities along the shoreline. The new initiative includes free fishing (no fishing license required) for the New York waters of Lake Ontario, St. Lawrence River, and Lower Niagara River through Labor Day, as well as 50 percent off State campgrounds and vehicle entrance fees along the lake and river. A new Lake Ontario television ad airing in New York and multiple neighboring states will promote this new campaign and activities in the region. The Governor also announced the state will provide $5.25 million to modernize the Salmon River Fish Hatchery in Oswego County, among other economic and resiliency funding.
Lake Ontario is New York’s most heavily fished waterbody, offering the potential to catch trophy-sized fish from a wide variety of species, including Chinook and coho salmon, steelhead, brown trout, lake trout, Atlantic salmon, bass, walleye, and panfish. Lake Ontario is consistently ranked among the top fishing destinations in the country by national publications. The past few years have provided record-breaking fishing for several popular species and the 2019 season is, again, providing excellent opportunities along New York’s scenic northern coastline.
A full list of state- and municipally-operated Lake Ontario/St. Lawrence River boat launch facilitiesand their status can be found on DEC’s website. As water levels continue to decrease, launches will be reopened when considered safe. In the past month, Oak Orchard West (OPRHP) in Orleans County, Grass Point’s Fisher’s Landing (OPRHP) in Jefferson County, and Wright’s Landing (City of Oswego) in Oswego County; the City of Rochester launch on the Genesee River in the Port of Rochester; the Sandy Creek Boat Launch; and the Irondequoit Bay State Marine Park have reopened.
This week, Governor Cuomo also signed new legislation, Brianna’s Law, to improve boating safety. Brianna’s Law requires all motorboat operators to complete a boating safety course and obtain a certificate from the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. New age requirements begin Jan. 1, 2020, with full compliance by Jan. 1, 2025. For more information, go to the NYS Parks Boating Education website.
Anglers and boaters are asked to be aware of the part they may play in the spread of invasive species and to take action to help stop their spread. Following recommended guidelines such as properly cleaning, draining, and drying your boat and gear will lessen the likelihood of spreading these species and diseases as you fish or boat.
To learn more about fishing Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence and New York State fishing regulations, DEC’s Guide to Great Lakes Fishing contains valuable information about the area’s waters and tips for increasing success. For more regional news, fishing reports and local information related to Lake Ontario fishing, visit the I Love NY website.