If you are looking for some sort of a fishing update, the easiest way to describe our situation right now is that it’s a mess. Mother Nature took a few weeks to play some April Fool’s chicanery by throwing up a complete smorgasbord of weather wizardry that included excessive rains, high winds, snow, ice, sleet and unseasonably cold temperatures.
Just prior to this last round of severe weather, some decent trout fishing was reported in the lower Niagara River for boat drifters and shoreline casters. Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls was tossing some No. 3 spinners to take steelhead in the Devil’s Hole area and boaters were drifting minnows on three-way rigs to take a mix of steelhead, brown trout and lake trout.
There was a report of some smelt taken along Artpark two nights ago, but most of the reports are showing very limited numbers if any at all. Some of the boat captains have reported seeing large pods of baitfish showing up on their fish finders and they suspect smelt. Water temps were around 37-38 degrees as of Tuesday and it won’t be long.
The big smelt celebration is May 4 at Lewiston Landing for the annual Lewiston Smelt Festival. Come on out at 5 p.m. and join in on some of the festivities.
The Niagara River pen rearing project for salmon and trout will be starting up the week of April 25 and if you would like to lend a hand, give Capt. Frank Campbell a call at 716-523-0013. The project will be housed in Youngstown next to Youngstown Yacht Club. The NYPA fishing platform is still closed.
For Lake Ontario and the tributaries, no one has been able to get on the lake to work the shoreline for browns, steelhead and Coho salmon. The piers have been empty because of all of the northerly winds and every tributary is high and muddy. It should bring in any remaining steelhead attempting to spawn this spring and open up any creek mouths that have been closed because of earlier northerly winds.
Bullheads should still be available around Wilson in both branches of 12 Mile Creek and when the waters start to clear, perch should be available again, too, in both Wilson and Olcott harbors and off the piers. Everything is in a holding pattern right now.
Pen projects in Wilson and Olcott are underway and hopefully this weather event will not impact those numbers. The Lake Ontario Counties Trout and Salmon Derby has pushed its dates back to May 11-20 this year and the Wilson Harbor Invitational tournament is May 19. The Lake Ontario Pro-Am Salmon Team Tournament is June 1-2 and the Don Johannes and Pete DeAngelo 3 fish-1 fish contest is May 31. Get those contests on your fishing calendar.
The weather looks clear and 50 this weekend and if things don’t change too much and the waters settle down, it could be good enough for some fishing.
If things don’t settle down you might want to consider attending the Bison City Rod and Gun Club’s annual Outdoor Gear and Flea Market on Saturday, April 21 from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The club is located at 511 Ohio Street in Buffalo. There will be a full-day boating safety class at Fort Niagara from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 21. Call 390-7727 for more info or for future classes.
Bill Hilts, Jr. – Outdoor Promotions Director