By: Chris Shaffer

A few years ago when we came to Lake Ontario in the dead of winter it was a chore to find open water. Many of the tributaries were choked up with ice. Some of our well-known pro staffers couldn’t even get their boat on the water. So far this winter that hasn’t been the case. And after spending a week in the greater Syracuse area it’s safe to say we didn’t even see any ice floating down the river. This winter has been mild when it comes to New York standards, and the fishing has been good. We spent this past Friday and Tuesday filming Pautzke Outdoors in Cuse Country and caught more than enough fish to be successful.

From what we remember in previous trips the water on the Oswego River is much higher than it has been in recent years. In fact, it jumped up again over the weekend when the heavy rains hit. It’s on the fall now. Fortunately, that hasn’t slowed the bite. Fellow Pro staffer Kyle McClelland and I joined Andy Bliss of Chasin Tail Adventures and floated the Oswego with great success. While we only caught one brown this time we managed to tangle with dozens of quality steelhead and some beautiful fish. We even caught a stout lake run rainbow that we won’t forget any time soon.

To be honest, I called Bliss a month ago to ask him if I could come out and film for a day to test out Pautzke’s new Trout Eggs. We fished them exclusively for the first two hours and after catching more than enough fish with them to do an episode McClelland got antsy and wanted to try out a jig. I think part of it was because he wanted to test out the new Fire Gel. This scent isn’t on the market yet, but will be released in early February and results were even better than we thought. When the jigs were coated with the Anise and Steelhead Fire Gel bites came often. Scent made a difference.

We started up at the dam around 9:30 am and caught a few fish there before moving downstream and fishing near the power plant. After catching a few more here we moved downstream and picked them out of a few more spots. Bliss brought several batches of the new Trout Eggs, which were all tied in Atlas Mike’s spawn netting and tied up with Miracle Thread. He had regular Premium Trout Eggs right out of the jar, and also BorX O Fire cured Premium Trout Eggs with Fire Power scent in them, as well as another batch of the BorX O Fire cured Premium Trout Eggs with brown sugar in them. All of them caught steelhead throughout the day.

We found steelhead holding in a variety of places. Most often they were pinned in pocket water, but we also found them in slower, deep holes. The key was avoiding fast water. The good news is it doesn’t look like the Oswego, or the Salmon River for that matter, is going to freeze up anytime soon. We drove over the Black River and it wasn’t locked up, either. It’s shaping out to be a good season here and once again a trip with Bliss proved to be a success.


Editor’s Note: For more information on guided trips with Chasing Tail Adventures please visit: