The ins and outs of bullhead fishing

Bullhead are one of the tastiest fish from what I’ve heard. I wouldn’t know since I don’t eat fish, but I do enjoy fishing for them.

Around late spring at Sodus Bay, there are several anglers fishing for their next bullhead meal. Every spot known in the area is typically filled with anglers by dusk. If you plan on finding bullhead to eat or just want to catch and release, I wanted to share a few tips with you.

1) Use a middle sized fishing pole with a small hook and sinker so that the sinker carries your bait down to the bottom. Bullhead are bottom feeders so this way the bait is right in front of them.

2) Purchase chicken liver, chicken guts or worms because bullhead are attracted to the nastiest smells. If you want the meat to have a more distinguishing smell, you can leave it outside in the sun for a day.

3) Be sure to go bullhead fishing late spring/early summer. The season is best at this time so you can catch more.

4) Fish at night. Even though bullhead feed throughout the day,  I’ve found that they bite best at night. The later the better because I’ve had the most luck around 11 p.m.

5) Be sure to bring chairs to sit in especially if you aren’t fishing on a bridge because sometimes you may end up waiting for a bite for quite sometime.

6) Bullheads can be found in shallow water, therefore there’s no need to go into the deep water for them.

7) Use larger sticks as a way to hold your poles. I usually find large sticks and place them in the ground to hold the fishing pole up instead of holding it the entire time. If you can, you can also lean the pole up against a bridge if you’re fishing near one.

8) You will need light since it’ll be night time. I recommend getting a small propane lantern, just enough to light a small area.

9) Don’t forget a bucket to put the fish in if you decide to keep them. Put water from the area you’re fishing inside the bucket.



Bullhead fishing starting early


Usually I go bullhead fishing toward the end of May after finishing the spring semester when I move home for the summer. However, there has been word that the bullhead have been out earlier than usual.

Saturday, April 18, I went to Third Creek which is right off the shore of Sodus Bay near Alton. I originally wanted to fish off of Bay Bridge near Wolcott, but there were over 40 people along the entire bridge. My back up plan was Third Creek.

I arrived around 8:30 p.m. and there was plenty of room to fish. After lighting the lantern, setting up sticks to hold the fishing poles, and putting chicken guts and worms on the hooks, it was time to finally fish!

The waves were heavily crashing on shore causing the fishing poles to bob up and down as if there was a fish biting the hook. There was also a lot of garbage towards shore getting stuck on the hooks.

What a bad start to the night.

After about 30 minutes of that, it finally cleared up as the waves died down. Then, I finally started to get some bites. I caught a few and missed a few. Because it’s still early in the season I only caught four fish and had about eight bites. Not a bad start though!

Next fishing season…stream fishing

Even though there are still a few people who have been ice fishing before the ice melts, I’ve decided to call it quits for this season. On to the next fishing season which is stream fishing particularly for steelhead.

There’s a small creek in my hometown that eventually leads to a mouth into Lake Ontario. This particular creek is very popular in the spring and late fall. This past weekend there were about 25 parked cars in between the three parking lots. Seeing that, I assumed that the frozen creek has now melted.

Another place I like to fish at in the spring is at the pier in Sodus Point where you can fish the channel which is the main travel way from Sodus Bay to Lake Ontario, or on the beach side which is Lake Ontario.


If only the end of the season was as good as the beginning

With the warm weather quickly approaching, I decided to fit one more day of ice fishing into my schedule…at Sodus Bay. Bad idea on my end since the fishing hasn’t been that great the second half of the season.

As a result of the frigid temperatures this winter and the wind combined, the ice has thickened to at least 30 inches. With that being said, it’s turned into an arm work out drilling holes with a hand auger. So, it’s only worth it if the fish are biting.

On Friday, March 6, my boyfriend and I were out on the ice for about two hours and neither of us got a bite. Nor did the three tip-ups we had set up. For me, I get antsy when I haven’t had a bite in over 30 minutes so this was a stretch for me to patiently wait for a bite.

Unfortunately for us, we didn’t catch a single fish and that was when I decided I was done fishing Sodus Bay for the rest of the season until next year because it’s not worth it anymore. It was fun while it lasted…in the first half of the season.

No perch to be found in Sodus Bay

Although I haven’t been ice fishing in a few weeks, I’ve heard of many people who have went fishing at Sodus Bay and have been unsuccessful lately. Besides being very busy with mid-semester work, one of the reasons I haven’t been ice fishing is because the past few times I went, the fish weren’t active.

Last weekend at breakfast I overheard a conversation at a table to the left of me. It was two men talking about ice fishing, so instantly their conversation drew my attention. One of the men asked the other if he went ice fishing at the bay and he replied, “no I’m taking the day off because the fish haven’t been biting lately, but my son is fishing at Cayuga Lake”. The other guy replied that he went out on the bay and gave it a try but caught “dinks”.

That same weekend, a family friend went ice fishing on Oneida Lake because he tried Sodus Bay all week and didn’t catch any keepers.

Zac’s friend went ice fishing this past Friday at Sodus Bay and was on the ice all day. He said that he only caught two small perch over the course of the entire day. On Saturday, my best friend Kayla also went ice fishing on the bay and she said she sat out on the ice for four hours straight and didn’t get one bite!

Talking with my boyfriend as we tried figuring out why the fish haven’t been active, we came to the conclusion that since it’s been such a cold winter and Lake Ontario has started to freeze, the fish have no need to move to the bay. We figured that the perch are staying in the deeper water since the lake is just as cold and starting to freeze also. When you think about it, it actually makes sense as to why the fish haven’t been biting. There are probably very few perch left in the bay if they’re staying out in the deeper water.