Niagara Falls USA Fishing Forecast for Jan. 18, 2018 – Destination Niagara USA, Visit the EXPO

  • 2018 Niagara Outdoor Expo IS ON this Weekend
  • You can FISH THRU the EXPO
  • Learn at the EXPO, Over 120 Seminars!
Ohio writer, Rick Henniger, shows off a beauty brown from the lower Niagara.

Yes, people are catching fish, but you do have to work for them. More importantly, right now, is the fact that the Greater Niagara Fishing and Outdoor Expo is about to open, slated for Jan. 19-21 at the Conference and Event Center Niagara Falls. Check out the website at for all the details and make sure you print out your $5 parking voucher for the city parking lots. With 70 guest speakers, 120 seminars and clinics, as well as over 150 vendor display booths, this is a fishing extravaganza like no other. I can’t emphasize enough, how good this event is from an educational standpoint. You are guaranteed to learn something new. There are too many quality speakers to list. Simply click on the website and be amazed.

Capt. Frank Campbell with a chunky river brown trout as he eyes it up for the camera.

One of the educational opportunities for the Niagara Fishing Expo already started this morning, when Capt. Frank Campbell of Niagara Falls hit the lower Niagara River and took out a couple brothers for a trout fishing lesson. Yes, on-water lower river trips are available through Monday morning, held in conjunction with the Expo. Despite the cold conditions, Craig and John Austin of Niagara County, still managed to go 4 for 7 on steelhead this morning, they were using MagLips and fished off three-way rigs. It’s been tough fishing with the colder weather, but that should change this weekend when things will warm up into the 40s. Last Thursday, when the temperatures soared into the 60’s,

Jason Henniger of Ohio with his first steelhead ever!

quite a few people made it out and took advantage of the spring-like weather. Rick and Jason Henniger of Ohio reeled in a dozen nice browns and steelhead in the lower Niagara fishing with Campbell,  using MagLips and Kwikfish in gold and silver. The best fishing was downriver, away from the boating pressure on Artpark. Shore fishermen have it a bit tougher with the shoreline shelf ice and extreme caution is advised.

The last warm up also produced some good walleye fishing in the lower river according to Capt. Chris Cinelli of Grand Island. He reported better than a dozen fish caught last week using minnows and Kwikfish. Just a reminder that the walleye limit in the lower Niagara River is only one fish per person from Jan. 1 to March 15.

Off Lake Ontario, Wilson has some safe ice, but Olcott was busted up with the excessive run-off created by the warm weather and ensuing rain. Water is stained in 18 Mile Creek, but it’s still fishable. Use jigs tipped with a wax worm and fished under a float to take trout and a few Coho salmon that are still hanging around. Things should open up nicely this weekend.

ill Hilts, Jr.; Outdoor Promotions Director
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Destination Niagara USA, 10 Rainbow Blvd., Niagara Falls, NY 14303

Niagara Falls USA Fishing Forecast for Dec. 28, 2017 – Destination Niagara USA


Bob Rustowicz of Cheektowaga, New York, with a nice upper Niagara River walleye during Christmas week!

Record-breaking cold and adverse weather conditions have put a damper on fishing action in Western New York.

The lower Niagara River was too stained to fish on Tuesday, but there is hope for the weekend if not before.  However, the extreme cold may keep people from being on the water or casting from shorelines along the Niagara River.  Just before this most recent cold snap, some walleye were hitting jigs, both above and below Niagara Falls.

Perch were hitting in some of the marinas in the upper river and trout were cooperating below the falls from Devil’s Hole to the Niagara Bar.  From the boats, lots of charters captains are running, call first, w/MagLips and Kwikfish lures working off three-way rigs.  Egg sacs also produced some steelhead, browns and a mixed bag of other fish species.

In the tributaries of Lake Ontario, the only hope was 18 Mile Creek at Burt Dam, but water flow has been slow. By the time you read this, there will probably be ice below the trestle at Fisherman’s Park.

While fishing with Capt. Matt Yablonsky of Wet Net Charters, Randy from Tonawanda, New York, hit some steelhead in the lower Niagara River. MagLips was the hot lure.

The only other good news could be for hard water anglers in Niagara County.  Wilson and Olcott harbors could have some safe ice by the weekend, but make sure there is at least 4 inches of ice.  Follow all of the usual hardwater safety protocols.

The New Year is here on Monday, which means that lake trout season will be underway in the lower Niagara River.  The walleye limit in those same lower river waters will be one per person and the new license year in the Province of Ontario waters will be in effect.  From a competitive fishing standpoint, the New York State Winter Classic Fishing Tournament will be going on (starting Jan. 1st) for the next two months until February 28th.  Check out for details.

At the same time, Capt. Bob’s Outdoors in Clarence has a derby going on Jan. 2 through March 15.  You will need to stop down to the Main Street store to register.

In three weeks the Greater Niagara Fishing and Outdoor Expo will be held at the Conference and Event Center Niagara Falls January 19th to the 21st. The three-day event is a must-attend if you want to learn more about fish and fishing. With 70-some speakers and over 120 different seminars to choose from, the education during this event is second to none on the Great Lakes. Bass fans will be clamoring over the likes of Bass Elite pros Shaw Grigsby and Mark Menendez. Walleye chasers will be able to learn from Mark Romanack, Lance Valentine, Sam Cappelli, Joe Fonzi and Don Ruppert. For salmon there’s Dan Keating, Mark McClutchey, Greg Amiel, Matt Yablonsky and Rick Hajecki. In the trout arena, there’s Frank Campbell, Danny Colville, and Drew Nisbet . And the sold-out show floor has 150 top quality exhibitors, too. Check out for all of the details.

Happy New Year!

Bill Hilts, Jr. – Outdoor Promotions Director

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



Niagara Falls USA Fishing Forecast for Dec. 21, 2017 – Destination Niagara USA

Bob Rustowicz of Cheektowaga won the brown trout division of the Capt. Bob’s Outdoors fall derby with a 30-inch Johnson Creek fish.

While weather forecasters are calling for a white Christmas followed by a blast of Arctic air from the North Country, anglers right now have been limited in where they can get a line wet.  High winds, rain and snow melt contributed to muddy conditions in the Niagara River both above and below Niagara Falls.

Shore fishermen should be the first to be able to target trout in the lower river from the Whirlpool to Artpark.  Jigs, egg sacs or egg imitations like trout beads fished under a float are good options for drifters.  Casters can use spoons, spinners or jigs to hook up with a steelhead or brown trout.  Lake trout are still around, too.  Remember that laker season opens on January 1.  January 1 is also the start of a special walleye regulation. The daily limit drops from three to one until March 15 to help protect spawning females.

Patrick Vinh Truong of Buffalo caught this nice steelhead from the Artpark area of the Niagara Gorge on an egg sac.

In the upper river you can try to target trout with egg sacs just above the upper rapids before the white water. Some perch can be found in some of the marinas where water clarity is a bit better. Find some emerald shiners for best success.

Lake Ontario tributaries have been low and slow in Niagara Falls USA.  At Eighteen Mile Creek at Burt Dam, the water flow was limited and more clear than stained.  In those situations with clear water, downsize your presentation with lighter line, smaller hooks and smaller baits.  Steelhead and brown trout are available, but they have been limited in numbers.  In Wilson, the harbor ice that had started to form was busted up from the weather conditions. With temperatures soaring into the mid-40s on Saturday with rain, we are probably back to square one.

Here are a few last minute gift items for Christmas to consider: A Lake Ontario Counties derbies Season Pass at  You can save $20 by purchasing one before Dec. 31 – a great stocking stuffer.  You can also buy tickets for the Greater Niagara Fishing and Outdoor Expo Jan. 19-21 at the Conference and Event Center Niagara Falls. Admission tickets and special clinic tickets are available.  However, the popular LOTSA Salmon School is already sold out – the earliest ever!  Check out Here’s wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas!

Bill Hilts, Jr.

Outdoor Promotions Director
Destination Niagara USA
10 Rainbow Blvd., Niagara Falls, NY 14303
p: 1-877 FALLS US | 716-282-8992 x. 303

Niagara Falls USA Fishing Forecast for Dec. 7, 2017 – from Destination Niagara USA

Drew Nisbet with a Lower Niagara River steelhead from shore.

A good old-fashioned snow storm hit Western New York this week. In fact, it’s still going on south of Buffalo.  So far, it hasn’t touched Niagara Falls USA with snow, but it did impact water conditions in the Niagara River.  Rain and high winds hit first, creating a muddy mess in the Niagara River that was quite severe.  Just prior to the change though, the Niagara River was on fire with a focus on steelhead but offering anglers a mixed bag of fish all the way around – from Devil’s Hole to the Niagara Bar.

Tributary brown trout are in!

Capt. Frank Campbell of Niagara Region Charter Service was using MagLip plugs in 3.0 size to take steelhead, brown trout, lake trout, Atlantic salmon, walleye and Coho salmon just prior to the storm.  The plugs were fished off three-way rigs.  Along Artpark and in Devil’s Hole, boat drifters were also using egg sacs and beads to take trout.  Shore fishermen have been picking up trout, too, but it had slowed a bit.  With the storm still going on, we don’t know if anyone will be able to fish by the weekend.   We may see some of the white stuff by then, too. Water temperatures were still in the low 40’s.

In the John Henning Memorial Musky Tournament, Frank Alcorn of Pennsylvania won the Niagara Musky event last Sunday with a fat 47-inch muskellunge trolling with a Legend perch bait.  Also just prior to the storm, Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls used egg sacs and spinners to take some small trout in the smooth water before the upper rapids area just before the water plummets over the falls.  Remember that lake trout season is closed in the lower river and bass season is now catch and release only all around the state (except Lake Erie).

Bob Rustowicz with a beautiful coho salmon from a local tributary stream in Niagara County.

In the tributaries off Lake Ontario, water continues to be stained but fishable.  Some nice steelhead and browns have been caught on egg sacs or egg imitations, jigs tipped with wax worms and fished under a float, beads fished under a float and a variety of flies and streamers.

Burt Dam and Fisherman’s Park has fish in it and is probably the most consistent producer.

With this being the end of the year, there are a few Christmas parties going on you should be aware of.  The Niagara River Anglers Association will be holding it’s Christmas meeting on Monday, Dec. 11 at the Sanborn Farm Museum on Route 31 starting at 6:30 p.m. and the Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Assn. has their Christmas meeting Dec. 14 at Cornell Cooperative Extension in Lockport starting at 7 p.m. with the Niagara County Fisheries Board.  Also, the Niagara County Federation of Conservation Clubs will have its year-end holiday gathering at the Hartland Conservationists Club located on Orangeport Road in Gasport starting at 7 p.m.

Bill Hilts, Jr.
Outdoor Promotions Director
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Destination Niagara USA
10 Rainbow Blvd.
Niagara Falls, NY 14303
p: 1-877 FALLS US | 716-282-8992 x. 303
f: 716-285-0809

Niagara Falls USA Fishing Forecast for Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017 from Destination Niagara USA

  • Devil’s Hole Stairs to Gorge – Repaired and Reopened!
  • Big Musky on a Good Bite All Week
  • Walleye, Steelhead and Lake Trout fishing good from Shore and Boat
Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls is still doing well off the New York Power Authority fishing platform, catching walleye, trout and occasional Coho salmon, all on homemade jigs.

There’s another storm blowing in this weekend, but Niagara County could luck out on some of the rain and white stuff, should it arrive. Keep your fingers crossed!

This just in from New York State Parks: The stairs into the Niagara Gorge at Devil’s Hole State Park will be reopened on Saturday, November 18, after having been closed all summer so that they could be rebuilt.  The stairs had been expected to be closed until Spring 2018.  This is great news for shore fishermen who like to cast for trout in the Devil’s Hole area.

Lower Niagara River trout fishing has been good from both boat and shore. We will have to wait and see what the storm blows in for water clarity. Rain and wind in Lake Erie can sometimes impact the lower river fishing. Conditions were near perfect the past week and steelhead are cooperating nicely along the Artpark shoreline. Boaters were bouncing egg sacs off three-way rigs to take some nice steelhead. Of course, you will catch some lake trout along the way. Be careful with them and release the fish immediately. Lake trout season is closed until Jan. 1 in New York waters, Dec. 1 in Canadian waters. Other baits that you should try if the egg sacs don’t work for you include plugs like MagLips and Kwikfish. Minnows will also catch you a fish or two, as will egg imitations like yarn flies.

From shore, any egg or egg imitation will catch fish as will spoons, spinners and jigs. Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls is still doing well off the New York Power Authority fishing platform to catch walleye, trout and the occasional Coho salmon. This week he was using homemade jigs.

Rich Pisa with a nice steelhead from Niagara County, NY.

Upper Niagara River musky fishing was good the past week according to Capt. Chris Cinelli of Grand Island. He caught three on Monday using large common shiners.

In the Niagara Musky Association’s Tim Wittek Memorial Musky Tournament last Sunday, a total of 28 anglers competed – catching 16 fish for the day. Top fish was a 50 and a half inch fish caught by Jeremy Schneider of Stratford, Ontario using a homemade body bait. Second place was John Pensyl of Lockport with a 48-inch fish jigged a Red October Tube. Third place was Stratford with a 46-inch ‘lunge jigging a Red October Tube. All the fish were released unharmed to fight another day. Other notable catches included a 46-inch musky reeled in by Daniel Lacko of Kenmore, a 43-inch fish hauled in by Andrew Lacko of Kenmore (Dan’s father) and Andrew Porzio of East Aurora with a 40-inch ‘lunge. The season closes on Nov. 30 in the upper river and around the state – except in the lower river and Lake Ontario. That season closes on Dec. 15.

The Lake Ontario tributaries like 18 Mile Creek are still muddy but not high. Some salmon are still struggling to swim around as the browns and steelhead are taking over. While eggs and egg imitations are still good baits to use, the past week seemed to switch over to more of a live bait presentation like crawlers, wax worms and spikes according to Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctors.

Bill Hilts, Jr.
Outdoor Promotions Director

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Destination Niagara USA
10 Rainbow Blvd., Niagara Falls, NY 14303
p: 1-877 FALLS US | 716-282-8992 x. 303, f: 716-285-0809

Niagara Falls USA Fishing Forecast for Nov. 2, 2017

  • Fishing is Switching Gears with Colder Weather
  • Smaller Streams HAVE FISH NOW, especially AFTER EVERY RAIN
  • Musky Tournament is ON, Nov. 5
Tyler Dannhauser of Wilson was fishing in the gorge this week and caught a mixed bag of salmon and trout.

Weather conditions have certainly impacted the fishing this past week. High winds and rain resulted in water temperatures dropping 5 degrees since last weekend. That said, it could be just what the “Fish Doctor” ordered to force a transition into the next phase of fall fishing.

In the Upper Niagara River, the last month of musky fishing action improved with the adverse weather, just in time for the Niagara Musky Association’s Tim Wittek Memorial Catch and Release Tournament. The action will take place on Nov. 5 out of the launch ramp area at the foot of Sheridan from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. To get your blood circulating again, there will be a post-tourney chili-fest at the foot of Sheridan in Tonawanda. Cost is $25 to enter this catch-and-release “iron man” tournament. Call Scott McKee at 716-225-3816 for more information. If you just want to find our more information about fall musky fishing in the Niagara, stop in at the NMA monthly meeting at the Eldredge Club, 17 Broad St., Tonawanda, NY, on Tuesday night (Nov. 7) starting at 7 p.m. Guest speaker will be Marc Arena with Red October Baits. Water conditions were murky this week thanks to the wind. The lower river musky season extends to Dec. 15.

Mike Rzucidlo with another great Lower Niagara River king salmon caught from the NYPA fishing pier.

And speaking of the lower Niagara River, we had a report that there were some boats on the water today, just prior to the weekend. The first fish they caught was a musky – drifting MagLips off three-way rigs. They also caught a walleye before they hit some trout – steelhead and lake trout. Lake trout season is closed until the end of the year, but sometimes you just can keep them off the hook!

In the gorge area of the lower river, shoreline casters are still catching a mix of salmon and trout. Treated egg skein fished under a float has been a consistent producer for Rich Pisa of Kenmore around the whirlpool area. Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls was picking off some steelhead and salmon on a No. 4 spinner while casting the New York Power Authority Fishing Platform before he was chased off due to high water levels (probably due to the high winds).

If you want to check whether or not the Fishing Platform is open, call 716-796-0135, ext. 45. It usually closes down for the winter around Dec. 1.

Tyler Dannhauser of Wilson was fishing in the gorge this week and caught a mixed bag of salmon and trout.

At Olcott Harbor and 18 Mile Creek, good reports of steelhead and brown trout have surfaced to complement the salmon that are still hanging around upstream at Burt Dam. Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctors in Olcott reports that there are king and Coho salmon in various stages of their life cycle, including some fresh ones entering into the system. Egg skein and egg sacs work best. If the water is stained, chartreuse and orange-colored egg sacs are best. If we get the rain we are supposed to receive, you can try drifting an egg sac or a single egg in some of the smaller streams like Keg Creek to the east of Olcott, or 12 Mile Creek at Wilson, west of Olcott. Fishing pressure should drop off a little bit as whitetail deer fall into their rut stage and as crossbow season opens Nov. 4.

The regular big game season kicks off for the Southern Zone on Nov. 18. Waterfowl and other small game are also open to spread the activity out. No reports on perch in the harbors, but if the waters are clear enough, they should be starting to move in and become active. If you catch any nice fish, please share with us at

Stay safe!

Bill Hilts, Jr., Director, Outdoor Promotions
Niagara Tourism & Convention Corporation, 10 Rainbow Blvd., Niagara Falls, NY USA 14303
p: 716.282.8992 x.303| 1.877 FALLS US, f:716.285.0809
website | facebook | twitter | blog
Sportfishing has a $30 million annual economic impact in Niagara USA!

Niagara Falls USA Fishing Forecast for October 26, 2017

  • Olcott Pier: Salmon and ONE BIG MUSKY!
  • Trib’s Hold Lots of Fish after Every Rain
  • Shore Fishing and Boat Fishing is VERY GOOD

There are many fishing activities going on right now so you will have to pick

Young Ethan Brolinski of Lewiston with one of his three Coho salmon caught at Lewiston Landing.

and choose what you want to do.

For example, salmon fishing is good in Olcott right now at 18 Mile Creek and the lower Niagara River still has a mix of king salmon, Coho salmon and steelhead.  If you want trout, you can catch them wherever there is good water flow.  The most popular areas are the Niagara River and 18 Mile Creek, but you can do well after a rain in some of the smaller streams, too.  Fishermen were picking up some trout in places like Keg and 12 Mile Creeks last week.  Anglers are getting a few perch on Lake Erie and there are some hungry bass around as well.  There are lots of fish to cast for if you so choose.

Sean Keen of Grand Island shows off his first salmon ever, caught off the NYPA fishing platform in the gorge.

The piers in Wilson and Olcott are both good spots with spoons or spinners.  The talk of Olcott this past week was the huge musky that was caught off the Olcott pier by a fisherman using a homemade spinner.  According to reports, the fish was over 60-inches long, which would put it into a 50 pound class of fish. Huge! It was released to fight another day. The same angler did manage to catch a nice brown trout for the smoker later in the day.

In Olcott Harbor and up the creek, some nice salmon and trout are being caught by casters and drifters. One salmon caught by John Miller of Pennsylvania stretched 45 inches long! At Burt Dam and Fisherman’s Park, there have been lots of fish, but also lots of fishermen. Mostly salmon right now, but steelhead and browns are both being taken as well.

Lower Niagara River action for salmon has been slowing down for boat drifters in the Devil’s Hole area.  A few kings are still being caught, but Coho salmon have arrived, as well as a few trout.  Steelhead and browns are both possible catches.  Lake trout season is closed, but you may start to catch a few when the water temperatures finally drop below 60 degrees – probably this weekend.

Father and son team of Rich and Richard Pisa caught a double on king salmon in the Whirlpool area of the gorge.

Shore casters are still doing well in the gorge on salmon, but it is starting to slow a little bit. Spoons and spinners with glow in the dark tape is one approach; treated egg skein under a float is another option.

Downriver, boat drifters are started to target steelhead along Artpark.  Capt. Joe Marra of Lewiston even managed to pick up a few salmon there while targeting trout.  Ethan Brolinski, a 7 year-old fisherman from Lewiston, was casting around the launch ramp in Lewiston this past week when local captain Frank Campbell of Niagara Falls tossed him a “lucky” fishing lure to use.  Before Ethan’s day was up, he managed to catch 3 Coho salmon from the docks.

Let’s go fishing!

Bill Hilts, Jr., Director, Outdoor Promotions

Niagara Tourism & Convention Corporation, 10 Rainbow Blvd., Niagara Falls, NY USA 14303 p: 716.282.8992 x.303| 1.877 FALLS US, f:716.285.0809 website | facebook | twitter | blog

Sportfishing has a $30 million annual economic impact in Niagara USA!

Destination Niagara USA Fishing Forecast for July 27, 2017

Sandra Brown of Pa. with her husband, Ed (L), Joe Yaeger and her 32 pound-4 oz. King Salmon.

The Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Association held its annual club tournament(s) last weekend and some impressive fish were caught.  At the top of the list is the current leader in the Lake Ontario Counties trout and salmon derby, a 32 pound – 4 ounce king caught by Sandra Brown of Clearfield, Pennsylvania.  She was fishing on the Niagara Bar with her husband Ed and Joe Yaeger of Amherst.  The fish came on a Dreamweaver Spin Doctor and Mirage A-Tom-Mik fly, 60 feet down over 160 feet of water a mile east of the red can.

Matt and Marc Dunn of Newfane with some of their LOTSA catch.

For the LOTSA Curt Meddaugh Memorial Tournament, it was the best three fish for Friday.  The Streaker team, consisting of Matt Dunn of Newfane with his dad Marc (also of Newfane), Doug Parker of Lockport and Doug Parker II of Wilson (another father-son duo), won the event. Their three fish total for the day was 66.48-pounds, narrowly defeating 4 Poles led by Marty Polovick of Lockport. Yaeger’s Salmonella team finished in fourth despite having the 32-pound kicker. However, there was another aspect to the two day LOTSA contests. A 3-2-3 contest (best 3 fish over 2 days with 3 winners) was in place, and Yaeger’s Salmonella crew won the top prize with a total of 72.46-pounds.  Second place was Matt Dunn’s Streaker team with 70.99-pounds.  The Saturday club contest was for big fish and Capt. Adam Gearich and the Diversion II team led the way when Tim Bromund of Colden reeled in a 26-pound – 4 ounce king in 100 feet of water between Wilson and Olcott. LOTSA details can be found at

Check out the LOC Derby leaderboard at The Summer Derby ends on Sunday at 1 p.m. The awards ceremony is a Capt. Jack’s in Sodus Point at 4 p.m.

Lower Niagara River fishing action has been consistent.  A few more walleye are starting to show up and smallmouth bass fishing continues to be good.  Live bait like crayfish and shiners are working for bass; worm harnesses for walleye. Yesterday it was a rowdy crew from Texas fishing with Capt. Joe Marra of Lewiston and the highlight of the trip was a 6 pound smallmouth reeled in by Evan Scanlon – a personal best, caught along the Coast Guard Station.

Upper Niagara River action has leveled off but some bass and walleye are still showing up consistently.  The big news this past week was Capt. Chris Cinelli of Grand Island guiding Sawyer Dolce of Orchard Park.  Fishing the humps around Strawberry Island, Dolce was drifting a crayfish when a nice bass hit. Affixed to the back of the fish was another tag from the Canadian Tire bass tournament from two years ago. Cinelli had caught two previously in the lower Niagara River.  This is his first in the upper river, where the tagged fish were released.

Evan Scanlon of Texas with 6-pound smallmouth.

Erie Canal – It was a packed house at the Gasport Fire Hall last Sunday for the final grand prize drawing in the 27th annual Erie Canal Fishing Derby.  All the first place winners were put into a hat in one of the final orders of business.  Lynn Harrington reached into the hat and pulled out an Ace of Clubs – and that corresponded with a card being held by 13 year old Keegan Walczak of Amherst.  He won a new boat, motor and trailer from Brobeil Marine in Buffalo, a new Polar Kraft.  He ended up giving a high-five immediately to his dad Chris, who was also standing up front as one of the divisional winners.  In the youth division, James Benzinger won the new fishing kayak in the grand prize drawing for the kids.  He is from North Carolina and comes up every year to fish with his grandparents in the derby.  For a complete list of all of the winners go to

Keegan Walczak with his dad, Chris in front of Keegan’s new boat!

Bill Hilts, Jr., Outdoor Promotions Director.

Destination Niagara USA, 10 Rainbow Blvd., Niagara Falls, NY 14303, p:1-877 FALLS US | 716-282-8992 x. 303; f: 716-285-0809;  facebook | twitter | instagram

Destination Niagara USA Fishing Report – July 6, 2017

  • FISH: King Salmon Action is HOT
  • WHERE: Wilson Harbor, Niagara County, NY
  • LURES: A-Tom-Mik Twinkie set-ups & Dreamweaver UV Frog Spin Doctor

Lake Ontario salmon action is continuing on a consistent clip to the delight of trollers at Wilson, Olcott and the Niagara Bar.

Big King Salmon are becoming the norm off Wilson Harbor, Niagara County, NY, these last few days.

Don’t take my word for it, though, just ask Capt. Casey Prisco of Matamoras, Pennsylvania.  He was fishing in the Monroe County Offshore Classic last weekend out of Rochester and ran his boat 153 miles round trip in the one-day contest, settling in to fish off Niagara County in Wilson.  The fish zone was 71 to 111 feet down over 130 to 180 feet of water, using a Dreamweaver UV Frog spin doctor and an A-Tom-Mik Twinkie set-up.  With the A-Tom-Mik meat set out 205 feet on a diver.  Another productive rod was a 10-inch white green dot Dreamweaver spin doctor with A-Tom-Mik meat set down 91 feet.  He went 21 for 22 on fish for the morning before running back – catching nearly 84 pounds for five fish.

For local captains, the new A-Tom-Mik stud fly has also been a hot ticket for kings, too.  Earlier this week, we had some fishing writers from Germany show up in town for an “I Love NY” familiarization tour.  They did spend a few hours in the morning, catching salmon and steelhead with Capt. Mike Johannes and On-The-Rocks charters out of Wilson before travelling to their next stop.

The day before, they fished the Lower Niagara River for smallmouth bass with Capt. Frank Campbell of Niagara Region Charters, catching roughly 25 fish on spinnerbaits. The biggest was 6 pounds. 

Fishing with Captain Frank Campbell, visitors to the Lower Niagara River in Niagara County, NY, are cashing in on GIANT smallmouth bass, like this 6-pound bronzeback.

There are quite a few fishing contests in the month of July and two are going on right now.  They include the Lake Ontario Counties Summer Trout and Salmon Derby and the 27th Annual Erie Canal Fishing Derby.

If you are going fishing on Lake Ontario, if even for a day, make sure you sign up.  Day passes are available.  Leading fish for the $10,000 Grand Prize is Lee Beaton of Clifton Springs, NY, with a 27 pound King caught out of Wilson.  Darryl Raate of Fulton is leading the steelhead division with another Wilson fish – this one weighing 13 pounds.  Top brown is 16 pounds, 2 ounces and the first place lake trout is 22 pounds, 10 ounces. The derby continues through July 30. Go to for details. 

Meanwhile on the Erie Canal, the derby kicked off on Wednesday, July 5, and will continue through July 16.  There is a family pass for just $25 if you want to take advantage of a group entry fee.  The leader board is wide open.  Get out there and catch some fish.  Find out information at

The Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Association is ready to have a party – a fishing party for its members.  You can join for just $10 and become part of the festivities, set for July 21-22 out of Olcott.  The first event on the fishing calendar is the Curt Meddaugh Memorial Tournament on Friday, a big fish contest that is free for club members.  All you have to do is register! Big fish for the day must be weighed in by 3 p.m. at the Town of Newfane Marina in Olcott.  On Saturday, the LOTSA Club Tournament will be going on all day.  This is a big fish contest, as well, and entry fee is $60.  Weigh in at Krull Park by 3 p.m. to be included for the cash prizes.  The final piece to the LOTSA fishing puzzle is the club’s 3-2-3 contest over the two days. Best 3 fish over 2 days of fishing, paying out the top 3 weights.  Entry fee is $50 for this portion of the contest.  The club picnic will be immediately following on Saturday and the awards will be handed out.  You can find out more information and also register for these contests at And speaking of LOTSA, the next meeting is July 13 at Cornell Cooperative Extension Niagara in Lockport, guest speaker will be Capt. Matt Yablonsky:  “Talking Small Boat King’s” at 7 p.m.

As we mentioned, bass fishing in the lower Niagara River has been decent and the moss really hasn’t been that bad.  In the upper Niagara River, bass and walleye are still cooperating at the head of the river and around Strawberry Island.  The best bait has been with a spinner and a worm.  Remember that you can now venture into Canadian waters without calling in.  Make sure you understand the live bait regulations and you are carrying a Canadian fishing license if you do cross the border. 

Bill Hilts, Jr.
Outdoor Promotions Director

Destination Niagara USA, 10 Rainbow Blvd., Niagara Falls, NY 14303; p: 1-877 FALLS US | 716-282-8992 x. 303, f: 716-285-0809;


  • Free Fishing this Weekend in New York State (June 24-25, 2017)
  • New USA-CANADA Border Fishing Rules Eased
  • Lake Ontario Counties Tourney Series Starting
  • Detailed Fishing Report for June 22, 2017
Scott Rohe with a nice Lake Ontario King Salmon.

Lots of good news in this week’s report. It’s a Free Fishing Weekend in New York State. However, you do have to abide by the fishing regulations. Check out to find out what the rules are in the waters you intend to fish.

This is also the weekend for the Hooked on Fishing Tournament presented by the Boys and Girls Club of the Northtowns both Saturday and Sunday. Everything is run out of Gateway Harbor, North Tonawanda. Register June 23 from noon to 6 p.m. or any time after 7 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. For more info visit or call 873-9842 Ext. 211.

Lake Ontario salmon fishing continues to be very good all along the Niagara County shoreline. Good reports are coming from the Niagara Bar to Olcott and beyond. Salmon in the upper 20 pound range were caught all last week and Capt. Dan Evans out of Wilson, fishing in a tournament on the north shore, managed to reel in a 32 pound chunk pre-fishing and releases the fish to fight another day. Top lures include a variety of Dreamweaver metal, Silver Streaks and Michigan Stingers.

However, the bigger fish seem to prefer the spin doctor and fly combos. The new A-Tom-Mik Stud Fly is really working well, producing that 32 pounder we just mentioned. White crush-glow pattern.  Meat rigs are also tricking fish to hit. Yes, Lake Ontario is open for business!  Start in 100 feet of water and head north out to 300 foot depths. Salmon seem to be in the top 80 feet of water. And some steelhead have started to move in to accompany the salmon so make sure you put a few baits out for them, too. In other good news, the lake levels have started to come down.

Captain Danny Evans with another nice Lake Ontario King Salmon, sliding to get out of the picture!

According to lake level reports, the waterline has dropped over 4 inches already and the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Water Board has announced that after the three-day experiment last week to increase outflows, they are going to continue with it to provide additional relief in the lake. The Town of Newfane Marina launch area and the Lewiston Landing launch are your two best bets for easy boat launch access.

More good news is that the Canadian Government finally passed a law that no longer required Americans to call into Canada Border Services when crossing the international boundary. You still need a fishing license and need to abide by the country’s regulations, but the hassle of calling in is no longer required. Remember no live bait other than worms in approved bedding or in water. Nothing in dirt. No minnows or crabs. Still, it’s just gotten a whole bunch better.

With the Lake Ontario Counties, trout and salmon summer derby just around the corner, set for June 30 to July 30, anglers are excited to take advantage of the summer action. Check out for details. In addition, the New York State Summer Classic Fishing Tournament is on and running through August 31. There are a total of 10 different fish species categories and 55 weigh stations throughout the state. To find out more information, check out

In the Lower Niagara River, water temperature are still slowly creeping up there.  Lake Erie hit 72 degrees this week, so the trout are history. The bad news is that the moss has become more of a problem.  Mostly bass were caught this week on jigs, Kwikfish and MagLips. Shore casters in the gorge have been using tubes, swim baits and marabou jigs. Inline spinners will work, too.  They can be caught but you will be cleaning your lures frequently.

Upper Niagara River bass fishing also continues to be good, but the moss is putting a kink in that action.  Some walleye are being caught at the head of the river and at the head of Strawberry Island on worm harnesses and jigs. The Great Lakes musky season opener was slow, probably due to the warmer water already flowing through the system.  For an outdoors update this week, check out to find out what’s happening.

Bill Hilts, Jr., Outdoor Promotions Director

Destination Niagara USA, 10 Rainbow Blvd., Niagara Falls, NY USA, 14303 p: 1.877 FALLS US | 716.282.8992 x.303 | f:716.285.0809 website | facebook | twitter | blog

Sportfishing has a $30 million annual economic impact in Niagara USA!

Travel Destination: NIAGARA USA

  • Water Temp Rising Now, Salmon Hitting with Fish to 22 Pounds
  • Smallmouth Bass Fishing is Good on Upper and Lower Niagara River
  • Southtowns Lake Erie Walleye Contest runs June 10-18

Niagara County, NY; June 9, 2017.   Despite record high water levels in Lake Ontario, salmon and trout fishing continues to be good in the lake, although it did slow down a bit with the recent east winds.  Some good fishing was being reported over the weekend from Tanner Niezgoda, of Newfane, while fishing out of Olcott

Jason Krebs with a pretty Lake Trout taken in the Lower Niagara River on a drift.

Best depths were 60 to 80 feet down over 150 to 300 feet of water with spoons and flasher-fly combos. Salmon up to 22 pounds were caught by Tanner and his sister.

Many of the captains have been tight-lipped on information with the Orleans County Open happening this weekend.  Be forewarned about the Niagara Bar with a report that moss is starting to come down through the river system.

In the Lower Niagara River, the fishing has been good to very good the past week.  Steelhead and lake trout are still holding on, but they probably won’t be around for long as the water nears the 60 degree mark. Minnows, Kwikfish and MagLips were all working on trout from boats up in Devil’s Hole; shore casters in the gorge have been using tubes, swim baits and marabou jigs.

That same hardware will also work on smallmouth bass downriver, but Chuck Booker of Amherst proved that his signature in-line spinners can also catch bass by going 17 for 20 on his last outing this week north of the sand docks in Lewiston.  

Yes, some moss is starting to show up, but you can still catch fish just fine. It will continue to get worse, though, as the month progresses.  Outdoor Writer Mike Brown of Ohio came into town over the weekend and his crew of family and friends managed to catch about 40 fish while fishing with Capt. Joe Marra of Lewiston.  Tip of the week: Don’t set your rod down to take a picture for your story in the Niagara River without reeling in a little line first.  Anyone who hooks into a nice spinning outfit in the river with a brand new reel on it could be returned to Capt. Joe.

Tanner Niezgoda, of Newfane, New York, Caught a beautiful lake Trout fishing Lake Ontario out of Olcott Harbor.

Upper Niagara River bass fishing also continues to be good.  Remember that the regular season doesn’t open until the third Saturday in June (June 17 this year) and if you are targeting bass, you must use artificial baits.  Speaking of bass, the Annual Opening Day Bass Contest sponsored each year by Kelly’s Korners will NOT be held this year.  Organizers for the tournament didn’t want to see the big bass end up in a fish fry and they decided to retire the event to help protect the resource.  Some walleye are being caught at the head of the river and at the head of Strawberry Island on worm harnesses and jigs.  This could be a sleeper area for the Southtowns Walleye Association’s tournament that kicks off on Saturday, June 10.

To help Celebrate National Fishing and Boating Week, there will be a Free Fishing Clinic at Ellicott Creek Park on Saturday, June 10 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.  Call Mike Todd at 851-7010 to pre-register – although it’s not required.  

Just a quick reminder on water levels: There is still a state of emergency along the Lake Ontario shoreline for high water levels. This isn’t really going to affect the fishing that much, but the Niagara County Sheriff is asking that boats creating a wake stay at least 600 feet from shore. This doesn’t include trolling.  Caution is advised for floating debris when you are out in the lake moving around.  The problem seems to be launching.  The best spot to be right now is the Town of Newfane Marina in Olcott.  Fort Niagara has an open launch, but you need boots up to your knees or above.  Golden Hill State Park launch is closed and Wilson-Tuscarora Park is day to day (but you need hip boots there, too).  It’s worth the effort for the good fishing!!