Lake Ontario, Niagara River
Lake Ontario and Trib’s
The first day of winter is here and things are actually warming up a bit – into the 30’s all week; the 40’s after Christmas. The big news this week was the formation of up to five inches of ice in the back bay of Wilson Harbor. However, caution is still advised. Make sure you take every precaution and never fish alone. There is no such thing as “safe ice.” Pike, perch and trout were being reported. Nothing hot and heavy, but hard water fanatics just want to be out there enjoying the season.
As far as tributary action, brown trout and steelhead dominate the catches at Burt Dam and 18 Mile Creek in the Town of Newfane. There is open water from the base of the stairs at Fisherman’s Park to the dam. Jigs tipped with a wax worm or spike, eggs or egg imitations should produce some fish – fished under a float. Water was low and slightly stained. Melting snow and ice should help improve water color.
Lower Niagara River
High winds out of the southwest on Tuesday made for some turbid conditions on Wednesday, so it will be a few days before any boaters will score on trout again. Fishing was good earlier in the week for steelhead and there were plenty of lake trout still around, no matter what you were using for bait. Small egg sacks in pink and chartreuse were working off three-way rigs, as was Kwikfish and MagLips.
Lake trout season re-opens on Jan. 1 in New York’s lower river; Canada’s season is already open. If you do fish in Canada and you catch one for the frying pan, don’t stop in NY waters when you head back, and make sure you follow all of the necessary procedures. A new license year starts Jan. 1 in Canada, too.
There’s a new educational option tied in with the Greater Niagara Fishing and Outdoor Expo set for Jan. 20-22, 2017 at the Conference and Event Center, Niagara Falls. A little mini on-water steelhead fishing session with area guides is now available. Check out www.niagarafishingexpo.com.
Shore fishermen can do well when the water is a little murkier. Cast brightly colored jigs, spoons or spinners to take trout. Artpark is the best spot to cast.
Upper Niagara River
The water is stained and there’s not much going on right now. When the waters start to clear, don’t be afraid to cast some hardware off Broderick Park for a trout – spoons, spinners and jigs. Water temps are down to around 34-35 degrees.
Here’s wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas!
Bill Hilts, Jr., Director, Outdoor Promotions
Sportfishing has a $30 million annual economic impact in Niagara USA!