September 7, 2023
Visitors come from near and far to fish in the pristine waters of Oswego County, especially during the legendary salmon run in the fall. With access to New York State’s largest lakes, two famous rivers and dozens of plentiful tributaries, lagoons and ponds, the area is a world-class fishing destination.
However, this fall will bring about changes in one of these leading fisheries. Construction is underway on the west bank of the Oswego River, and Oswego County and City officials are working to raise awareness about the project to ensure the safety of anglers.
“In 2019, the structural integrity of the River Walk was compromised by flood damage,” said Tim Stahl, Oswego County’s director of Community Development, Tourism and Planning. “Rehabilitation efforts are continuing and crews are working to repair and stabilize the retaining wall and sidewalks and mitigate any other damages.”
Riverwalk access to part of the “High Wall” behind the US Post Office on West First Street, or NYS Rte. 48, closed through summer 2024. The portion of the riverwalk behind Bridie Manor Restaurant north to just past the Utica Street Bridge is closed through Sunday, October 15.
Once completed, construction on the FEMA-funded project will enhance public access to fishing in the High Wall area.
“We work hard to make sure visitors have the best fishing experience possible,” said Daniel Brettwig, deputy director of community development, tourism and planning for Oswego County. “When this riverwalk project is completed, it will help ensure quality fishing access for many years to come; however, until then, public safety is a major concern.
County officials are working with Ritch Batchelor of RTB Tackle — Oswego’s only tackle store — to help make fishing nets available to anglers.
“At this point, we have a network with an extension handle of 12 feet or more, and we’re looking to expand our options,” Batchelor said. “This will help the fishermen to pull their potentially record-sized catch from the wall without exposing themselves to the risk of entering the enclosed parts of the river bank.”
Fishermen are reminded that the Oswego River remains an accessible and largely viable fishery. The section of river walk from Bridie Manor south to the Post Office opened on Friday 1 September after repairs and improvements.
The portion of the “high wall” area from the public parking lot south of the Post Office to the Brookfield Renewable US Power Station—including the “curvy” wheelchair access ramp—remains open. Fishing is still allowed at Varrick Dam as well.
Anglers should also note that fishing on both sides of the Oswego River north of the Utica Street Bridge to the mouth of the river still offers excellent fishing real estate – as does the area around Brettebeek Park in Oswego Harbor.
For more information about year-round Oswego County fisheries, including websites, guides, and other resources, go to www.visitoswegocounty.com.
Access to the Oswego River Walk – Oswego County and City officials are working to raise awareness about limited public access to the West Bank of the Oswego River south of the Utica Street Bridge. A FEMA-funded construction project is currently underway to rehabilitate the structural integrity of the river walk that was damaged during floods in 2019. This map shows the affected sections of the project.
Oswego River Offers High Quality Fishing – Excellent fishing opportunities abound on the Oswego River although access is limited along its west bank due to construction. Portions of the riverwalk are under repair due to damage from high waters in 2019. Open sections include both sides of the Oswego River north of the Utica Street Bridge, the area around Brettebeek Park in the harbor and Varrick Dam. Some areas of the riverwalk are also open, including south of the post office to the power station. Hunters can use the “zigzag” wheelchair access ramp (pictured) to access this section.