Spectacular Sodus Bay Fishing: Panfish to Pike

An angler enjoying some Sodus Bay fishing, showing off a northern pike.
Good sized northern pike like this one shown by Mike Seymour are a reason that Sodus Bay fishing is popular with anglers.

Let’s talk about Sodus Bay Fishing…twenty five years ago while promoting the Wayne County region during the winter sports show circuit any mention of Sodus Bay would bring an empty quizzical expression from participants. Not only was it pronounced wrong with “sod” displacing the “so”, no one knew where it was located. Over and over I said,

“Sodus Bay lies on the south shore of Lake Ontario halfway between Rochester and Syracuse.”

The empty gazes have long disappeared and inquiries of the region are not of its location; show goers now want to know, “How’s the fishing?” Sodus Bay had gained recognition.

The Geography of Sodus Bay, NY

This large embayment is 3,200 acres with 46 square miles of watershed and 21 miles of shoreline. There are three islands within the shores of Sodus Bay — LeRoy, Newark, and Eagle. Sodus Bay has nowhere near the depth of the Finger Lakes. The deepest sections run between 40 and 45 feet.

Silvery Waters in the Bay

“Silvery Waters” is the rough translation what the indigenous Native American population called Sodus Bay, and the original settlers used the bay for fishing and transportation. Today, the embayment is rich with all types of recreation, however, Sodus Bay fishing is still the dominant pastime. “Pan Fish to Pike,” defines Sodus Bay in angler terms. The entire bay with its islands, coves, points, and channel is a textbook habitat for warm water fish species.

Open Season for Sodus Bay Bass Fishing

Open season for Sodus Bay bass fishing observes the usual influx of anglers. The parking lot of Bay Bridge Sport Shop is full of trailers well before the opening of the tackle shop at 5 am. Owner Bill Henner and “morning guy” Harold Bean anticipate the crunch of people and are prepared to supply the anxious sport fishermen with bait and tackle. Bean says,

“When I arrive at 3:30 a.m. on opening day, they are already waiting.”

Watch The Weeds

Targeting the bucket mouth in Sodus Bay is a fairly easy task. Fish the weedlines anywhere and you’ll catch largemouths. The ever-present weeds hold the fish; however, you also lose many lures in the rough stuff. Use weedless frogs, and mice, and if you prefer plastic worms, go with the weedless hook.

Tournament bass anglers have been having hot action with Zoom Plastics. Hook the 4 to 6-inch worm in the middle and let the ends fall. It’s called the Wacky Rig. Gary Yamamoto plastics are also recommended by the pros.

What Fish Species Can You Catch in Lake Ontario?

Although most of the smallmouth bass are in Lake Ontario, you can hook smallies in the Sodus Bay channel by boat or fishing from the pier. Walleye are spotty in this Wayne County bay, but walleye can be difficult in any body of water. Worm-tipped jigs should be used for walleye near the four islands of the bay which are all located at the north end of Sodus.

Finding Walleye on the West Side

Concentrate on the west side of Newark Island, which has the best structure for walleyes. Anglers have also hit the walleyes between the south channel buoy and the cove at Greig Street. This area usually is only productive at dusk.

This same location has been the prime location for rock bass. During early summer the bite is on and the rockies are hitting with a vengeance. Sodus Point recreational boaters congregate near this area because of a sand bar, so the wise angler fishes early in the day or during the week.

Sodus Bay is known for pike, especially through the ice. However, they do remain in the bay the entire year. Large shiners are still the mainstay method for capturing pike. Fish the weedlines using a bobber.

Kenyon - Sodus. aerial view Sodus
This aerial view at ice out shows the protected waters of Sodus Bay.

Proven Pike Waters

Thornton and Hunter Points are proven pike waters. Grassy Point on the south end of the bay is another holding tank for the predator pike. Casting Little Cleos and the red and white Daredevil spoon will take pike early in the morning, especially around docks and other shoreline structures.

Sodus Bay is not an intimidating body of water partly because catching fish is not a difficult task. You could choose practically any location for some Sodus Bay fishing and it would be productive with even the most basic skillset. Trust me, you will not be disappointed in your Sodus Bay fishing adventurte. There is a great little map located at Sodus Bay Sport Shop that diagrams the entire bay, listing the points and islands listed above.

Boat launches are available at this shop and other marinas on the east side of the bay. West siders can launch at the village boat launch and parking is available off of Route 14 or at Warren’s Hook, Line & Sinker on Greig Street, Sodus Point.

Getting To Sodus Bay, NY

Sodus Bay, NY is located at the north end of Route 14 for anglers fishing the west side. The south end crosses Old Ridge Road, which runs parallel to Route 104, and the east side is off Lake Bluff Road. The bay is approximately 20 miles from the New York (NY) State Thruway.

Additional Information About Sodus Bay Fishing

Anglers who wish additional information can visit the Wayne County Tourism web page waynecountytourism.com or contact the office at 1-800-527-5410.

Original Article By Chris Kenyon 

About The Author

Chris Kenyon is an outdoor columnist for the Sodus Record-Sun and the Finger Lakes Times and freelances for several publications. He is a member of NYSOWA and AGLOW. He is also the Outdoor Recreational Coordinator for Wayne County Tourism.

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