By Frank Campbell
First and foremost, the Greater Niagara Fishing Expo is set for Feb. 15-18, 2024, at the Niagara Falls Convention Center. The show’s motto is “Teaching Fishing,” it offers the fishing community a long list of educational opportunities focused on fish, fishing, boating, and all the components needed to succeed on the water. The Expo offers over 250 seminars delivered by over 80 qualified instructors this year. The website is www.niagarafishingexpo.com.
After all the rain and snow melt during this last week of January, the Niagara River and area tributaries were trashed for a few days. They are slowly starting to make a recovery, and conditions should be suitable by the weekend. They are calling for sunshine two days in a row, a rare occurrence for this winter, just like our Buffalo Sabres winning back-to-back games!
Mike Ziehm of Niagara Falls got the itch to hit the shoreline in the Niagara Gorge, and he was rewarded with some chunky steelhead. When he first went out, there was only about 1 to 2 feet of visibility, making fishing difficult. White and silver spinners and bucktail jigs did the trick for him, with the best fishing above the power plant. By Tuesday, he found 3-foot plus visibility and was 5 for seven on trout. If the water is stained, shore fishing is the way to go.
The first boats hit the water this week, and on Monday, Capt. Matt Yablonsky of Wet Net Charters was excited when his first drift produced three trout with customers Sean Robinson and Bob Lewin of Philadelphia, Pa. It was slow after that. He was using egg sacs to entice the fish to hit. As the water clarity improves, so should the fishing from boats.
Streams were high and muddy, according to Matt Vogt of Newfane. He’s been checking the tributaries, and places like Burt Dam and 18 Mile Creek were speedy and high. Small streams were unfishable earlier this week, but when they come down, there could be a push of fresh fish in many tributaries. When the water is stained like that, Vogt says to increase the size of your baits and stick to colors that may stand out, depending on how stained the water is. Last week, he had safe ice in Olcott and Wilson harbors, but that is all gone for now. Nothing is safe.