Destination Niagara USA Fishing Forecast – April 12, 2017

  • Smelt Run is On!
  • Dippers out Every Evening!  
  • Lewiston Smelt Festival set for May 5
Hans Mann of Eden, New York, shows a 29-inch Brown Trout he caught Tuesday off Fort Niagara in Lake Ontario.

Lower Niagara River

Trout action continues to be spotty from both boat and shore following the storms that came through last week.  The big news is that the smelt have started running in the Lewiston area and dippers have been going out every night.  It hasn’t been a strong run so far, but they are getting some.  The Lewiston smelt festival is set for May 5.  For more details on that, watch the Outdoor Beat this week on Time Warner Cable/Spectrum or On Demand on the website at

Getting back to the fishing, shoreline casters are tossing spoons and spinners and picking up a few trout.  Boaters are doing a little better because they can move around to look for active fish.  With so much bait in the river right now, it’s tough to get the trout to hit.  Some boaters have opted to turn the corner at the fort and troll the shoreline for browns, Cohos, lakers and steelies.  One boat Tuesday caught all four, including a nice 29 inch brown using Thundersticks.  No reports on kings on the Niagara Bar yet.  

The LOC Derby opener is May 5 to 14.  Go to to find out details including registration points and weigh stations.

Niagara County Trib’s

The water level and flow at Burt Dam and 18 Mile Creek is finally coming down and slowly starting to clear.  Last report was that the water was at 380 cfs and the some fresh steelhead have shown up ready to drop eggs.  Of course, eggs or egg imitations will be the preferred bait, but you can still catch them on jigs or crawlers.

Keg and Hopkins creeks should also be holding fish.  

The Wilson Conservation Club bullhead contest was a success last weekend despite poor conditions for the most part. Most of the winning fish were caught Sunday morning. Leading the way was Joel Feagin of Wilson with two fish weighing in at 4 pounds, 5 ounces.  He was using shrimp in the east branch of 12 mile creek.

Pier action is picking up for casters in Wilson and Olcott using spoons and spinners. Browns are the primary target.

Lake Ontario

Out in Lake Ontario, it’s been a mixed bag for trollers. Stickbaits or spoons in tight to shore using boards or downriggers in 12 to 25 feet of water for browns, Coho salmon and the occasional Atlantic salmon.  Head out to 40 to 60 foot depths for lake trout.

Nick Glosser holds up an 11-pound Atlantic Salmon he caught with this West Virginia angler aboard Thrillseeker II.

The Lake Ontario Pro-Am Salmon Team Tournament is set for May 19-21 out of Wilson and Olcott. The registration link is now live, go to

The Wilson Harbor Invitational Tournament is May 13.

If you want to learn more about spring salmon fishing, attend the next LOTSA meeting on April 13 at Cornell Cooperative Extension Niagara on Route 78 in Lockport.  At 7 p.m., local angler Matt Dunn will pass along some of his secrets on how he won several Lake Ontario contests including the Greater Niagara Fish Odyssey last year.  Some Daiwa representatives will also be in attendance to talk about their new Great Lakes rods and reels.  

For more information on LOTSA, check their new website out at  

Bill Hilts, Jr., Outdoor Promotions Director

Destination Niagara USA, 10 Rainbow Blvd., Niagara Falls, NY USA, 14303
716.282.8992 x.303| 1.877 FALLS US, f:716.285.0809
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Sportfishing has a $30 million annual economic impact in Niagara USA!