Hopefully, the spring weather has arrived with more consistent temperatures into the 50-degree range now. Be sure to mark your calendar for the Lewiston Smelt Festival – the date has changed from the first Friday in May to the first Friday in June – June 5 this year – to help with the weather situation. As far as when the smelt will be running, it’s always a crap shoot. With the removal of the ice boom and warmer temperatures, we could see an earlier run … if there is going to be one.
As far as the Lake Ontario tributaries, all streams have rainbows and browns now according to Roy Letcher of Newfane. Eggs, wax worms, and crawlers are all working. There was already a report of a couple of bullhead caught in the Wilson/Olcott area. Mark your calendars for April 3-5 for the 8th Annual Niagara County Bullhead Tournament out of the Wilson Conservation Club. More details to come. Letcher also noted that boats are getting browns along the shoreline out in the lake; piers are showing a few browns, too, on plugs, spoons, and spinners. Live bait under a bobber will also work.
A mix of wind and rain continues to muddy the water up in the Niagara River and make fishing difficult from both boat and shore. More wind and rain is coming Friday. Shore anglers have been tossing spinners or drifting egg sacs or beads to take trout along the shoreline. Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls caught a beautiful 12-pound brown trout along Artpark using a No. 4 spinner this week, an impressive catch for sure. Boaters have been encountering tough conditions. Running bright baits with sound or movement could be the ticket, such as MagLips or Kwikfish. Water clarity was about 2-3 feet at the last report. Capt. Frank Campbell of Lewiston was hitting some lake trout on Pautzke-dyed minnows in chartreuse on Wednesday morning. He’s been averaging about 6-8 fish a trip, mostly a mixed bag of trout and the occasional walleye. Walleye, Northern pike, pickerel and tiger musky seasons close on March 15.
Some inland trout stocking is starting to take place by DEC around Western New York. Weekly updates are recorded at 358-2050 if you want to hear numbers and locations. No word on when they will be stocking Hyde Park Lake, Gill Creek or Oppenheim Park Pond yet.