Our business is in providing anglers with an easy way to get out on trips with guides and charters, however, our driving goal is to continually make angling more accessible. Joe Addona is an angler and blogger living in Queens, N.Y., and we’re pleased to share a guest post from Joe that will give you tips for fishing the Croton Watershed. Whether the area is your home, you want to make a quick escape from New York City, or you’re passing through on Fall travel, try out these tips and let us know how you do or share new techniques you find success with.
Fall Fishing in the Croton Watershed by Joe Addona
If you talk to anglers about the Croton Watershed or keep up with the NYbass.com forums, there’s a pretty consistent attitude towards the bodies of water in the area; “Things aren’t the same as they used to be, and fishing from year to year has become so different it’s hard to figure out what will work.”
While I definitely agree with these opinions, as anglers, we have to adapt just like fish do. Whether you’re fishing a reservoir, pond, or even heading out into the salt, each year poses its own unique challenges and ways at finding success. It’s our adaptability that allows us to succeed each year. If you’re looking to fish the Croton Watershed, you have to have a diverse skillset and not key in on one specific method.
Fall fishing in the Croton Watershed and, more specifically, New Croton Reservoir (where I spend the majority of my time) is just like any other fishery in the Northeast; bites are usually few and far between, but you have the chance to hook up with a fat pre-winter bass.
This time of year, bass are more baitfish-focused than ever. When the water cools (between 75-55 degrees), baitfish migrate back into coves. The Croton Reservoir system doesn’t have shad as a native species, so here, bass feed heavily on bluegill and perch. Not far behind these species’ migration to the creek arms are the bass.
Transitions are the first thing I look for in order to up my chances in the Fall. I’m not so much talking about cover transitions like sandy bottoms turning to rocky bottoms (although those are still great areas to target), but more where long flats have a steep drop-off into deeper water. During this migrational period, each specifies of fish finds themselves at these locations at one point or another.
Depth transitions are the quickest way to access the shallows as a bass, and they also provide enough cover for them to roam unseen. At New Croton during the Fall I’m keyed in on these areas. If you’re going out there for the first time, check out their contour map.
Aside from a few really nice transitions, New Croton has no shortage of coves. Within them, I like to focus on weedy/rocky areas as that’s typically where most of the bluegill are found during the Fall transition. As a bank fisherman, it’s tough to reach the far edge of the weedline, but I’ll typically see most strikes coming when pitching into either edge, not directly into the weeds.
Top Three Fall Lures:
Whopper Plopper 130 (Powder)
In terms of topwater selection for fall bass fishing, nothing really comes close to the River2Sea Whopper Plopper. With the heavy chugging sound and steady motion, it’s perfect for those windy and sometimes rainy days we experience in the Fall. I’ll usually go with the white color in New Croton as bass have shown to strike that color more often than others, but let your confidence guide you.
Gary Yamamoto Senko (Green Flash)
Speaking of confidence... At New Croton, there isn’t a soft plastic I’m more confident in than the Green Flash Yamamoto Senko. I’ve caught more quality bass on this, rigged with a weighted Mister Twister Hook, than any other soft plastic in my arsenal. This is something I’ll use throughout the year at NC because of its track record.
Strike King Burner Spinnerbait (Smoky Shad)
Do you notice the pattern yet? White/natural colored lures have always been the top producing colorway at New Croton Reservoir. Maybe it’s because of the fishing pressure the reservoir has experienced over the years, but I always find a more realistic looking color gets the job done. The white & black spinnerbait with willow blades is meant to mimic baitfish, so tie one on with a Tuffbait Green Shiner trailer and go to work.
If you’re new to Manhattan & New York City or just haven’t gotten the chance to fish in a while, hopefully these tips encourage you to get out on the water in the Croton Watershed this fall. There are so many easily accessible bodies of water ripe for the picking that it’d be a shame not to.
Joe is the Founder & Managing Editor of N.Y. Spinner, a new breed of fishing website that honors the timeless traditions passed down by the pioneers while embracing the new techniques, technology, and stories that continue to evolve the sport. We’re here to inspire the younger generation of freshwater anglers by providing expert advice, quality interviews, and unique content you won't find anywhere else.