Bill Hilts Niagara Falls USA Fishing Report

  • Forecast for March 21, 2019 from Destination Niagara USA
  • Clear waters, active fish in river and streams
  • Shore casters and boaters doing well

Happy Spring!

Rich Pisa of Kenmore, NY was fishing the lower Niagara River gorge and caught this steelhead this past week.

Stream and river action are both strong right now and this week’s weather doesn’t look too bad as of right now, especially on Sunday.  In the lower Niagara River, Ricardo Davila of Wheatfield has been doing well in the Niagara Gorge from shore casting spoons.  Water has been very clear there. Hopefully we will see a little snow melt and rain to help stain that water up a bit.  Still, he’s been taking some nice steelhead from shore.  Boaters have more opportunity to move around and steelhead and brown trout are both producing consistently by anglers drifting shiners, egg sacs or plugs like Kwikfish or MagLips off three-way rigs.  If you are looking for browns and lakers, try drifting the Niagara Bar with a shiner near the green buoy marker.

Greg Schloerb of Amherst with a Burt Dam steelhead.
Ricardo Davila hit the Artpark area from shore in the lower Niagara to take steelhead like this one casting spoons.

The tributaries are opening up nicely and if there’s good flow, there will be some fresh trout in there.  The most popular area in Niagara Falls USA off Lake Ontario is 18 Mile Creek near Burt Dam.  Egg sacs and jigs are working to produce some feisty steelhead with an occasional brown trout. Don’t forget about the piers in Wilson and Olcott, too.  Those should start to turn on soon. And speaking of Wilson, the 7th Annual Wilson Bullhead contest is coming up soon, April 5-7.  Make sure that’s on your fishing radar screen.

Speaking of brown trout, it appears a few boats have been trolling the shoreline out near Fort Niagara and picking up some browns in 6 to 8 feet of water.  Use small stickbaits, either flatlining off the back or working the shoreline with in-line planers.

Brad and Terry Harris of Missouri hoist up some steelhead they caught in the lower Niagara River last weekend fishing with Capt. Ernie Calandrelli of Lewiston.
Capt. Nick Calandrelli of Lewiston holds a steelhead and Bill Blanchard of West Seneca shows off a walleye on the final day of the walleye season in the lower Niagara River last Friday.

On Saturday March 23rd, there will be a Lake Ontario Fisheries Symposium sponsored by NY Sea Grant and the Lake Ontario Sportfishing Promotion Council from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Finger Lakes Mall (adjacent to Bass Pro), Auburn. Expert panels and presentations on Lake Ontario will be offered up. Register for free at

Also, on March 23rd, the 8th Annual Fisherman’s Paradise Flea market and Swap Meet will take place at the Alexander Firemen’s Rec Hall located at 10708 Route 98 in Alexander.  Admission is just $2.  Kids 12 years of age and under are free.  For more information, call Joe Kugel at 440-0004 or Jim Thompson at 585-591-0168.

April 1 is opening day of the inland trout and salmon season.  DEC does plenty of stocking in its inland waters.  Call the Randolph Hatchery stocking hotline at 358-2050 for details.  Stocking will take place in Niagara Falls at Hyde Park Lake and Gill Creek, as well as Oppenheim Park Pond in Wheatfield on April 11.

Capt. Matt Gantress of Amherst, NY shows off a Niagara Bar brown trout.

The Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Association will be assembling and floating the net pens for the 2019 project season starting at 9:30 a.m. on April 6.  This will take place at the Town of Newfane Marina in Olcott.  In addition to holding over 67,000 salmon in pens, they will also be holding 7,000 steelhead in pens to improve survival rates and imprint the fish to these waters. 

Remember that April 6 is also the Niagara County Federation of Conservation Clubs annual awards banquet starting at 5:30 p.m. at Cornell Cooperative Extension Niagara in Lockport. Call Dave

Bill Hilts, Jr. – Outdoor Promotions Director

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Destination Niagara USA, 10 Rainbow Blvd., Niagara Falls, NY 14303