Lake Ontario, Upper Niagara River, Lower Niagara River
Lake Ontario and tributaries
The first king salmon started showing up in slightly more reliable numbers as anglers prepare for May fishing contests. However, sharing information as far as locations and details is a bit more difficult. Remember that a study on king salmon will be starting up on May 1. The primary focus is three year old kings with an adipose fin clip. Be sure to save the head of any king with a clip and deposit them into the freezers located at Fort Niagara at the fish cleaning station; Bootleggers Cove and Wilson Boat Yard in Wilson, as well as at Wilson-Tuscarora State Park; in Olcott at the Town of Newfane Marina. That said, the county Fisheries Board is looking to collect a bit more information including the total number of salmon caught during the month of May. Pick up at copy of the form at the Town of Newfane Marina or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy. We need your help!
Trolling the shoreline for browns and Cohos with stickbaits is still an option and the lake trout bite continues to be very good out to 80 foot depths. Spoons are the lure of choice. A few trout are still up for grabs in area tributaries, but the warm water fish like bass are slowly turning on to replace the trout. Derbies and tournaments are starting up for salmon and trout very soon, with the Spring LOC Derby kicking off on Friday, May 6. There is a $15,000 Grand Prize for the biggest salmon and Niagara County is where you want to be based on previous winners. Details at www.loc.org on weigh stations and registration outlets.
The Wilson Harbor Invitational Derby is set for May 7. Their website is www.wilsonharborinvitational.com.
The granddaddy of tournaments, the 31st Annual Lake Ontario Pro-Am Salmon Team Tournament is set for May 20-22 out of the ports of Olcott and Wilson. Website is www.lakeontarioproam.net.
Lower Niagara River
Trout are still cooperating for anglers drifting and casting in the lower river, but some trips produce more bass than steelhead or lakers. Minnows or small egg sacs are the top enticement for drifters and are also working for shoreline casters. Spinners are another top casting lure. Boaters have been taking trout in the Devil’s Hole area, but the lower river sections can also be productive if the winds cooperate out in the lake at the Bar. It’s been a little lumpy out there. For all you smelters, the smelt run is still going on but it seems to be on the downhill slide. Remember that the Lewiston Smelt Festival is set for May 6 at Lewiston Landing complete with a smelt fry courtesy of the Niagara River Anglers Assn. and the Lower River Chamber of Commerce.
Upper Niagara River
As the waters slowly start to warm, the perch and panfish action will continue to improve along the river shoreline and around Grand Island. Bass fishing is all catch and release with no live bait so if you are targeting largemouth or smallmouth, keep that in mind. Fishing for panfish, though, Emerald shiners are the bait of choice. Buffalo Boat Harbor is seeing a fair amount of keeper perch being caught on shiners, too.
Bill Hilts, Jr., Director, Outdoor Promotions
Sportfishing has a $30 million annual economic impact in Niagara USA!