Rayno's Fishing Excursions

Come experience legendary fishing on Lake Ontario and it's tributary waters, including the famed Salmon River in Pulaski, NY with Captain Zack Rayno.

February ‘19 Update

Greetings my fishy friends.  Mid-February has arrived and it sure feels like it. 

This is a unique time of year for me.  Not only are we smack dab in the middle of steelhead fishing in the rivers, but the thought of trolling Lake Ontario’s shoreline for big brown trout is beginning to creep into my mind.  Now begins the annual prep of tackle, which always starts with a light-hearted review of lures and ends in a full-blown re-organization.  What’s not to love?!

Fortunately, the tributary fishing has remained pretty darn good, so these thoughts and chores have been kept at bay. 


As you can see, this season has been full of beautiful fish. There has been plentiful waterflow throughout winter too, which will hopefully carry over into a productive spring.

Speaking of spring, here are my remaining dates for steelhead fishing:

April : 9/10/11/16/18

While we are at it, here are my remaining Fall 2019 dates


September : 16/18/20/26/27

October: 8/9


November: 12/15/22/25/26/27

I hope to see everyone soon so we can enjoy a little time on the water. Like I always say, you can’t catch them from the keyboard!

December 2018 Update

Yep, it’s December already and I haven’t written an update! This fall was a busy one, but that’s always the goal, isn’t it?

Salmon season was as successful a fishing endeavor as I had hoped judging from the outstanding trolling on the lake over the summer. The evening gig panned out nicely, as we found aggressive Kings throughout the southeastern basin of Lake Ontario. As usual, trolling or casting lures did our damage on bitey Salmon.

As far as next year goes, I have a pretty positive outlook. Judging by how mild our winter has been to this point (I’ll regret saying that), I have high hopes that our prey and predator populations will do well.

September and October 2019 are filling in. If you plan on hitting the water for Salmon, I would choose some dates now!

Steelhead fishing this season has turned out to be excellent. If you follow the Facebook page you will notice my commentary on the quality of fish this year, and I’ll reiterate that now!

This November we experienced higher water flows, which didn’t hurt our fishing by any means. On the contrary, this saved a lot of fish from the warm and low water fate of a long leader, small fly and yellow rope through it’s gills. Sorry snaggers!

Coming into December, we are still experiencing a river flow above the minimum, which rocks. In staying out of the upper river, we’ve been able to avoid a lot of the crowd. I’m sure they’re all great people, but I prefer an empty riverbank.

All of this has me especially excited for the coming months of steelheading. I am curious just how big we will see this year, I think a mongo will be caught. In our lower-river adventures I see plenty of silver fish making their way in the system, I’m sure plenty more are to come.

If you’re feeling the urge to chase some winter fishes, I have days available after the New Year. As per the usual, we can find a few days and pick the one with the best forecast.

Looking ahead to April, I am excited to see just how many fish end up in the river system. I get the feeling our spring fishing should be eventful.

My availability is as follows:

April 2019:


After that, the big boat comes out of it’s winter nap…which brings me to my next trick!


Beginning in the Spring of 2019 I will be fishing on board Hat Trick Charters with Captain Jim Staves. This is a 28’ Baha Cruiser located in the same marina I have always fished out of in Oswego, NY. I am very excited to be on Hat Trick, Jim is a great fisherman, a great guy and a name synonymous with trolling Lake Ontario. Check out his website by clicking here to get a little more information on the operation.

If you are thinking about coming up to troll the big lake, get a hold of me soon. Sport Show season is upon us and dates will fill quickly. As I explained above, I am already excited to see what is in store for 2019 with how mild the winter has been to this point.

Photo Feb 01, 10 09 09 AM.jpg

As always, I’d like to give a sincere thank you to everybody who spent some time on the water with me this fall, it was fun as always. I hope you all have a great holiday and I hear from you soon.

See ya out there.

August 2018 Update

Howdy everybody!

I hope your summer is going well, I know mine is!

First and foremost, there's no other way to put this...the salmon fishing in Oswego, NY is off the hook!  Great catches have been consistent, there are just a ton of those silvery things swimming around out there this year.

You know what that means!  The tributary fishing should be rocking again this year, I am really excited about it.  As any of you who have chased kings with me in the river know, getting one of this brutes to eat plastic or metal is pretty hard to compare to anything else.

You'll also notice that not only have I been mining silver, but also gold!

I have taken a lot of time this summer and dedicated it to learning to chase carp.  What I've concluded is....it's awesome!  What an underrated fish and fishery....these babies pull and are damn fun to figure out.  You can expect to see more of this scaley beauties on RFE.

With that being said, I figured I'd give an update of remaining Fall '18 dates, so here they are.

Available as of 8/8/2018:

Night Trolling/Casting for King Salmon (6pm-12pm):

September: 19/20

October: 3

There are also some late trips available from 1am-7am.  If you're interested just contact me.

Salmon Fishing Daytime Gig:

October: 16/17/18/23/24/25

Most of you know the deal, we will be casting/trolling plugs or float fishing with bobbers.


November: 6/7/20/21

Plenty of December left, which incidentally is one of my favorite times to chase steelhead.

Don't hesitate to get a date in the book, this is going to be another impressive year!

See ya out there.

June 2018 Update -- Things are looking pretty silvery!

Greetings fishy folk!

Well, as I had assumed, the fishing is fantastic out here on Lake Ontario.  

Not only did our Brown Trout bite not disappoint right out of the gate, but just a bit offshore a strong Salmon bite is happening...doesn't get better than that!  

On board the Dixie Dandy it has been a typical Spring/Early Summer mish-mash of rods.  As a true thermocline has yet to develop, we're left with a bunch of homogenized water in which fish are comfortable.  Simply put, they're anywhere from 2 feet to 130 feet below the surface.  This means spread out the spread!

Bites have been consistent on spoons, but now our attractors coupled with A-TOM-MIK flies have started to take off.  Some A-TOM-MIK meat rigs have gone as well.  Stand-by spoons like NBK, Diehard, Tuxedo and their UV variations have been the ticket.  As far as flies, Hammer, Crinkle Green Glow and Stud have done the trick.

As for me, I have been kicking around on some inland waters for all kinds of finned critters...why not fish on my days off?!

Next order of business...fall dates!

Photo Sep 20, 10 16 57 AM.jpg

I am starting to book up lots of September-November and want to make sure everyone who is looking to come up has the opportunity.  

I will outline my available dates:


Early (6pm start) night fishing for salmon:


There are plenty of late starts (1230am) available, just contact me and we can find a slot.





Well that's my two-sense for now!  I hope everybody has a fishy summer and I'm looking forward to spending some time on the water together.

See ya out there!

Spring ‘18 Update — Steelhead Wrap Up, Trolling Begins!

Here we are, smack dab in the middle of spring and boy did it come fast.

As expected, steelhead fishing remained incredible. It is no short of spoiling, that’s for sure.  Although we had to endure some funky conditions here and there, I doubt anybody will forget the 2017-18 steelhead season any time soon.

There’s most certainly indication that next season will be a strong run as well, plenty of younger fish around.  It’s also encouraging to see a spring with ample amounts of water in the tributaries, I would assume our natural reproduction will be strong from this spring.  

As attention is turned to fishing out on the big lake, there is strong indication for another stellar season.  Many of you have heard me rant and rave about how incredible 2017’s trolling was.  Well, if I were to guess, 2018 will not be much different.  The brown trout fishing is as strong and consistent as I’ve ever seen.  

We’re also experiencing another spring where targetting kings is not uncommon.  Plenty of healthy silver bullets are swimming around just outside our harbor in Oswego and it’s only May.  Not only does Oswego have awesome fishing right now, but so does much of the Southern shoreline of Lake Ontario.  I think we are simply staring another strong class of fish in the eye, I am very excited.

With that being said, The Dixie Dandy has plenty of awesome dates left to book.  Whether you’re after a mongo Brown Trout or you’d like to take your shot at the mighty King Salmon (or maybe a nice combination of both) this is the season to do it.  

So, to condense everything written above, the fishing was silly good this past year in the Salmon River and now the trolling on Lake Ontario is silly good as well.  If you aren’t taking advantage of how truly excellent we have it right now, you’re foolish.  You can’t catch them from the keyboard!

If you want to hop on board The Dixie Dandy with me, reach out via phone (518-222-3027), email (Zrayno@gmail.com) or contact page on this website.  See ya out there!

Mid-Winter Update

Hey Everybody!

It's been a while so I decided to throw together a winter update.

The Fall and first portion of winter have proven to be great fishing.  The trend has continued and the number of steelhead in the river system is impressive.  

We've been experiencing a true winter this season, as the past few have been fairly mild.  That being said, it looks as though we have some nice stretches of fair weather in the forecast...sounds fishy to me.

I had discussed winter fishing with a whole bunch of you guys and it looks like February is the month to do it.  I assume we will see another push of fresh fish throughout the next month and have plenty of new contestants.  I am excited!  If you want to get in on it, get in touch and we will find a date that works best for you.  As of now all of my Saturdays are booked.

And while we're on the subject of warmer weather...don't forget what is peaking it's head around the corner!

Photo Aug 09, 10 09 09 PM.jpg

Along with T-shirt weather steelheading in April, the Dixie Dandy is chomping at the bit to let her 460's purr and collect some of Lake Ontario's bounty.  Don't wait to book those dates! (T-shirt weather is not guaranteed)

See ya out there!

Fall 2017 Update

Well, as usual, fall has moved at light speed!

As expected, the trolling on Lake Ontario finished out excellent.  Most days were good to great fishing, as high numbers of salmon remained just outside the harbor in Oswego, NY.

With the entire trolling season on Lake Ontario staying consistently good since May, one would think the river fishing would continue the trend.

Then Mother Nature interjected!  

After a summer with all the precipitation we needed and then some, fall delivered far less.  Couple that with unseasonably high temperatures and do you know what you get?

A snagging paradise!

With that being said, we made it happen this year in the drift boat.  Albeit, this required plenty of travelling, a flexible playbook of fishing techniques and a bit of persistence...we found biters!  As always, lots of laughs and fun were had while we hauled kings into the boat. 

As I described, the number of salmon in the river system weren't the issue.  There are plenty!  So, what does that mean?  Plenty of trout food!

Check out this hog Matt and his father Herb found a few years ago in November.

Check out this hog Matt and his father Herb found a few years ago in November.

There are already numbers of trout starting to trickle into the tributary waters of Lake Ontario and this is very encouraging.  I am very much looking forward to this coming November and the fun that it brings. 

Soon the goons will tote away the last of their spawning, zombie kings and we will have the river back!

So, with that being said, here are my available days for the rest of 2017



Don't miss out on this season!  Can't catch them from the keyboard!

See ya out there.

Big Waves and Big Kings

The string of bumpy weekends continues!

Although it wasn't the most comfortable troll the Dixie Dandy has ever been in, the kings continued to snap.  I think it's safe to say we have plenty of staging kings in 150 feet of water or less right outside Oswego's harbor.

I'm often asked what temperature water I like to fish when targeting kings.  Well, as I have described lately, forget the cold water.  These stagers are loving the bath water, many bites are coming out of 60 degree water and higher.  Fish the marks, not the temperature!

Another key to our bites...flies, flies and more flies!

Photo Aug 19, 12 07 54 PM.jpg

ATOMMIK Trolling Flies save the day again. I've been sticking to the standard, don't-leave-home-without-them, colors.  Hammer, TG, Big Fin, Pro-Am and Stud have been the real deal. Put a Spin Doctor or Pro Troll in front and you're in business.   

As I've stressed all season long...get here!

More and more kings continue to pile in to the Eastern Basin of Lake Ontario.  The Dixie Dandy has some great dates open still right through the middle of September.

Can't make it up for the big boat?  Check out the drift boat...it's going to be epic!  Night trolling dates are being scooped up quick, with the daytime dates going fast too.  Don't wait...you don't catch them from the keyboard!

See ya out there.

Kings, Kings, Kings!

The golden season continues!  Although I took this weekend off to attend a wedding, the Dixie Dandy was on the water nearly every day until that point.  Fishing out of Oswego continues to be bonkers.

The keys to the Dixie's success were a simple combination of white/glow/green paddles in the morning followed by chrome in the higher light conditions. Couple this with an ATOMMIK meat rig and anywhere from 350-650 feet of water under your transom, now you've got a deadly combination.

It's incredible to think about, but we are half way through August.  These fish are going to begin their transition from feeding to staging.  We all know what comes after that...

On that note, more and more days continue to book in my calendar for the fall.  Don't miss out on this incredible season!

Mid-Week Update

Well, I have a day that I am not on the water so I figured I would give a short update.

In short, the fishing remains incredible.  This season is absolutely spoiling all anglers who are experiencing it.  Conditions change and the fish continue to bite, it's a wonderful thing!

The Dixie Dandy continues to find the best bite offshore.  300 to 650 fow seems to be the most productive, as the inshore fisher remains unstable due to wind.  As of now, we have a stretch of very little wind through the week.  This could help stabilize the inshore fishery, which would be great on the gas gauge!

A mixture of baits have been in the program, due entirely to a seemingly ever-changing thermocline.  Yesterday morning we began fishing sub-100 feet down and by 5 hours later our rods were all fishing above 75 feet down.  ATOMMIK Meat Rigs  have been crucial to success when fishing deeper, while a spoon program seems to insure our success when fishing a bit higher in the water column.  Color selection seems to change on a daily basis, but UV Green and Purple Mirage rigs have been favorites.

It looks as if we may have some heavy west wind coming this weekend.  All I can say is, that's certainly coming from the right direction!  If we can continue to find great fishing through a Northeast blow, I'm thinking we will do OK with a West!

We still have plenty of good August and September days available on the Dixie Dandy, don't miss out on this phenomenal fishing!