Record-breaking cold and adverse weather conditions have put a damper on fishing action in Western New York.
The lower Niagara River was too stained to fish on Tuesday, but there is hope for the weekend if not before. However, the extreme cold may keep people from being on the water or casting from shorelines along the Niagara River. Just before this most recent cold snap, some walleye were hitting jigs, both above and below Niagara Falls.
Perch were hitting in some of the marinas in the upper river and trout were cooperating below the falls from Devil’s Hole to the Niagara Bar. From the boats, lots of charters captains are running, call first, w/MagLips and Kwikfish lures working off three-way rigs. Egg sacs also produced some steelhead, browns and a mixed bag of other fish species.
In the tributaries of Lake Ontario, the only hope was 18 Mile Creek at Burt Dam, but water flow has been slow. By the time you read this, there will probably be ice below the trestle at Fisherman’s Park.
The only other good news could be for hard water anglers in Niagara County. Wilson and Olcott harbors could have some safe ice by the weekend, but make sure there is at least 4 inches of ice. Follow all of the usual hardwater safety protocols.
The New Year is here on Monday, which means that lake trout season will be underway in the lower Niagara River. The walleye limit in those same lower river waters will be one per person and the new license year in the Province of Ontario waters will be in effect. From a competitive fishing standpoint, the New York State Winter Classic Fishing Tournament will be going on (starting Jan. 1st) for the next two months until February 28th. Check out www.nyswinterclassic.com for details.
At the same time, Capt. Bob’s Outdoors in Clarence has a derby going on Jan. 2 through March 15. You will need to stop down to the Main Street store to register.
In three weeks the Greater Niagara Fishing and Outdoor Expo will be held at the Conference and Event Center Niagara Falls January 19th to the 21st. The three-day event is a must-attend if you want to learn more about fish and fishing. With 70-some speakers and over 120 different seminars to choose from, the education during this event is second to none on the Great Lakes. Bass fans will be clamoring over the likes of Bass Elite pros Shaw Grigsby and Mark Menendez. Walleye chasers will be able to learn from Mark Romanack, Lance Valentine, Sam Cappelli, Joe Fonzi and Don Ruppert. For salmon there’s Dan Keating, Mark McClutchey, Greg Amiel, Matt Yablonsky and Rick Hajecki. In the trout arena, there’s Frank Campbell, Danny Colville, and Drew Nisbet . And the sold-out show floor has 150 top quality exhibitors, too. Check out www.niagarafishingexpo.com for all of the details.
Happy New Year!
Bill Hilts, Jr. – Outdoor Promotions Director