Winter Chill is Here, but Fish are Too

  • Niagara Falls USA Fishing Report from Destination Niagara USA
  • Big fish in Trib’s during December runoff periods
  • Ice Boom going in on Lake Erie very soon
Corey S. of Massachusetts caught this big brown fishing with Scott Feltrinelli of Ontario Fly Outfitters.

Temperatures are in the single digits with the wind chill and there’s not much wind.

Efforts are underway to install the ice boom at the head of the river off Buffalo, but water temperatures are still fluctuating around 40 degrees. Ice is still a ways off. As a result, the Niagara River water is still susceptible to stained conditions when the winds are right.

Joel Juhasz of Lancaster caught this 30-inch steelhead in the lower river to take over the lead in the Capt. Bob’s Outdoors fall contest.

With temperatures being forecast in the 40’s this weekend, it should be a good time to get a line wet for some trout action in the Niagara River just before the Christmas holiday.

Earlier this week, a hand full of boaters were catching steelhead using minnows off three-way rigs. Shore guys were using spinners, jigs, and streamers to take steelhead, with the occasional brown trout also being caught. Lake trout season opens in New York on Jan. 1, 2020, but it’s open already on the Canadian side of the river.

Captain John DeLorenzo with a Lower Niagara River steelhead.
Captain John DeLorenzo with a Lower Niagara River brown trout.

The brown trout action that was hot earlier at Fort Niagara has slowed down.

In the upper Niagara River, Denis Kreze of Fort Erie has been hitting some lake trout using a Venom Donkey Snatcher in 18 feet of water. Lake trout season is open in the upper river all year long.

Roy Letcher of Newfane sends word that the water flows have been high with muddy conditions for most tributary streams running into Lake Ontario. Those streams could be in good shape by the weekend.

With cold weather in the forecast, we could be looking at some of the Niagara County harbors, like Wilson and Olcott, starting to turn to hard water soon.

Ric Davila of Wheatfield took a couple of steelhead before work on Tuesday using his two-handed Spey rod and a white bunny leech.

Good water was being reported in some of the smaller streams like 4-Mile and 12-Mile, but Keg Creek is closed at the mouth, preventing any fish from entering the stream. After the high water/rain event last week, the water levels have lowered, and fish have come in from the lake.

Scott Feltrinelli of Ontario Fly Outfitters with a Lake Ontario tributary brown trout.

December runoff is a no brainer to catch big lake-run fish on the move. Use a large size 6 white Zonker with copper flash. Slush ice can be a challenge when temps hover around freezing. Waiting it out can pay off big. “The sun recedes and with it the conveyor belt of slush ice,” says Scott Feltrinelli with Ontario Fly Outfitters.

Some last-minute stocking stuffers include a season pass for the LOC Derby at Save $20 ($10 off the regular price).  A 3-day pass for the Greater Niagara Fishing and Outdoor Expo is available from the website at The Expo is set for Jan. 17-19, 2020.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Bill Hilts, Jr. – Outdoor Promotions Director

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