Fishing is great in Lake Ontario and the Niagara River as National Fishing and Boating Week approaches June 3 to 11!
Despite record high water levels in the lake, salmon and trout fishing continue to be good in the lake. Some good fishing was being reported over the holiday weekend from John Van Hoff of North Tonawanda while fishing out of Wilson and Olcott. Best depths were 60 to 100 feet down over 200 to 300 feet of water with spoons and flasher-fly combos. Salmon up to 23 pounds were reported the past week. The last day of the month, Capt. Bob Stevens of Sunrise Charters sends word that he did well on salmon west of Wilson in 150 to 170 feet of water so spring action is continuing. East winds have helped to keep salmon boxed in off the shores of Niagara USA.
In the Niagara River, the lower section below Niagara Falls is still holding some trout, including lakers and steelhead. Kwikfish lures worked for Capt. Arnie Jonathan of Lockport last weekend. They boated walleye, bass, suckers and silver bass. One sucker was a potential state record had they known.
Capt. Frank Campbell of Niagara Falls had a few banner days on smallmouth bass casting the shoreline with stickbaits and jerk baits. MagLips were working for trout, fished off three-way rigs. The silver bass action continues to be very good for drifters and shoreline casters. From shore, try tossing jigs or spinners.
Upper Niagara River bass fishing continues to be good. Remember that the regular season doesn’t open until the third Saturday in June (June 17 this year) and if you are targeting bass, you must use artificial baits. Some walleye are being caught at the head of the river and at the head of Strawberry Island on worm harnesses and jigs. Capt. Ryan Shea of Tonawanda also likes to target large carp this time of year on some of the flats, using crayfish imitation flies. Seek out the flats where these fish will be spawning. They can be a lot of fun!
As we mentioned, National Fishing and Boating Week is June 3 through 11. To help celebrate National Fishing and Boating Week, Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge is hosting its 26th Annual Youth Fishing Derby, on Saturday, June 3. The event will be held at Ringneck Overlook, on Oak Orchard Ridge Road. On-site registration begins at 7:30 am. There is no pre-registration or reservations required. Fishing is from 8:00 am to 11:00 am. The event is free and open to youths 17 years old and under, with no experience necessary. If this is your first time, some fishing gear will be available to borrow. Certificates will be awarded for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place participants in three age categories: 7 years and under, 8-12 and 13-17 years.
For the boating end of things, there will be a vessel examination on June 3 by the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary at the Lewiston Landing boat launch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Call Tom Chiappone for more information at 772-7242.
Just a quick reminder on water levels: There is still a state of emergency along the Lake Ontario shoreline for high water levels. This isn’t really going to affect the fishing that much, but the Niagara County Sheriff is asking that boats creating a wake stay at least 600 feet from shore. This doesn’t include trolling. Caution is advised for floating debris when you are out in the lake moving around. The problem seems to be launching. The best spot to be right now is the Town of Newfane Marina in Olcott. Fort Niagara has an open launch, but you need boots up to your knees or above.
Golden Hill State Park launch is closed and Wilson-Tuscarora Park is day to day (but you need hip boots there, too).
It’s worth the effort for the good fishing!!