Steelhead, Steelhead, Steelhead…and Browns and Lakers and Bullheads, OH MY!

Capt. Nick Calandrelli of Lewiston with a big Lower Niagara River brown trout from last week.

  • Niagara Falls USA Fishing Forecast for March 18, 2020 from Destination Niagara USA
Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls with a “chromer,” a steelhead, caught on a spinner in the lower Niagara River.

Fishing the waters in Niagara Falls USA has been one of the few constants in this time of uncertainty in the world.

Fishing in the lower Niagara River was on fire this week.  Double-digit catch days were the norm for boaters drifting a mix of minnows, egg sacs, and Pautske fire dye minnows.

Capt. Matt Yablonsky of Youngstown and Capt. Frank Campbell of Lewiston reported banner days on the water this week, nearly all steelhead.

Nick Hudak of Pa. with a lower Niagara River steelhead from this week, fishing with Capt. Matt Yablonsky of Youngstown.

Three-way rigs bouncing the bottom was the way to go, especially upriver as far as Devil’s Hole.  If the winds are switching to the southwest, throw on a MagLip or Kwikfish.  Speaking of winds, there will be something severe blowing in on Friday that could mess things up again, including some heavy rains.

Shoreline casters are picking up some fish, too.  Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls hit some steelhead on spinners this week in the gorge. There is 4 to 5 feet of visibility being reported.

Some bullheads were hitting in Wilson and Olcott and Lake Ontario was hitting the magical 40-degree mark.

Trolling the shoreline for brown trout and other fish is an option, as is casting the piers with spoons, spinners or stickbaits.

The Wilson Conservation Club announced this week that they are cancelling their Bullhead Contest set for April 3-5 due to the coronavirus.  Not because of the fishing, but because of the weigh-in and afterparty.

There have been good numbers of steelhead and brown trout in some of the main streams like at 18 Mile Creek and Burt Dam after last week’s rains.  Best baits have been egg sacs, wax worms and beads tipped with waxies or run clean, according to Ken Jackson of Sanborn.  Rain in the forecast will help the small to medium streams out for sure.

Nick Hudak of Pa. with a lower Niagara River steelhead from this week, fishing with Capt. Matt Yablonsky of Youngstown.

April 1 is the opening of the inland trout and salmon season.  Hyde Park Lake, Gill Creek, and Oppenheim Park Pond will be stocking on April 8 starting at 10 a.m.  For other stockings call the hotline at 358-2050.

There are a few cancellations or postponements we should report on due to health concerns.  The next Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Association (LOTSA) meeting set for April 2nd in Amherst, complete with a new flea market option, has been canceled. The LOTSA folks have even cancelled public involvement with the pen rearing project installation on April 4th in Olcott. That said, LOTSA board members will be doing all the work to get the job done in preparation for receiving the salmon and trout.

The Niagara Musky Association announced last Friday that they will be postponing its popular Awards Banquet set for April 4 at the Pearl Street Grill in Buffalo. The group has also cancelled its April 7 monthly meeting that was scheduled at the Eldredge Club in Tonawanda.

The Antique Fishing Tackle Show set for April 4 in Lockport has also been cancelled for the time being. It may be rescheduled in the future.

We will do our best to keep everyone updated on events such as derbies and tournaments. And, of course, the fishing. Stay safe out there!

Mike Ziehm with a lower Niagara River steelhead he caught this week from shore.

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
www.niagarafallsusa.com

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Niagara Falls USA Fishing Forecast for Feb. 19, 2020 from Destination Niagara USA

The NRAA Roger Tobey Memorial Steelhead Contest is set for Feb. 22 in the lower Niagara River and Lake Ontario tributaries. Sign up at Creek Road Bait and Tackle in Lewiston or the Lewiston Launch Ramp the morning of the event. It runs from sunrise to 2 p.m., with awards to follow at Lewiston No. 1 Fire Hall in the village. You must be a club member to participate, but they do give you a $5 discount to sign up for the year.

New steelhead leader in the Capt. Bob’s Outdoors contest is Andy Wengender of Webster with this 33-inch beauty from the lower Niagara River. 

Fishing was very good in the river until the winds and rain hit Lake Erie, causing stained water to slow things down.

Tracey Mikolajek of Orchard Park with her biggest lake trout of the day, fishing the Niagara Bar area of the lower river with Capt. Ryan O’Neill of Buffalo Wingz Waterfowl.

Shore casters in the lower river have had it tough this week and Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls reported about 2 feet of visibility or less on Tuesday.

Boaters have also struggled but a few fish are being caught by fishing MagLips off three-way rigs or egg sacs in bright colors like pink or chartreuse.

Jacob Strycharz of Orchard Park caught this lunker steelhead fishing the lower Niagara River with Capt. Frank Campbell of Lewiston.

As far as the Lake Ontario tributaries, fishing has been a mixed bag of browns and steelhead according to Scott Feltrinelli with Ontario Fly Outfitters. “Conditions are actually very good on most creeks and this is a great time of year to get out and fish changing water conditions,” says Feltrinelli. Stonefly hatches are also occurring on many creeks so remember to “match the hatch.”

Tracey Mikolajek of Orchard Park caught this steelhead in the lower Niagara River fishing with Capt. Ryan O’Neill of Orchard Park last weekend.

Remember that the WNY Boat Show is next week, Feb. 26 to March 1 at the ADPRO Sports Training House, 1 Bills Drive, Orchard Park. Free admission Wednesday and Thursday. For more info, https://wnyboating.com/.

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

Fishing 411 TV Show – Mark and Jake Romanack on the Lower Niagara River

Niagara Falls USA Fishing – from Destination Niagara USA…the FISHING REPORT for Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018

Mark Romanack with Fishing 411 TV Show hit the lower river this week and put a show together on brown trout with his son Jake and Capt. Frank Campbell.

After some muddy water slowed things up earlier in the week, anglers are catching fish again in the lower Niagara River. You never know what you are up against after a storm in Western New York. Winds, rain and snow can have an effect on water conditions, especially in the Niagara River. There is a difference, though, and fishermen and fisherwomen need to be cognizant of that difference between stained and dirty conditions.

Capt. Frank Campbell of Niagara Falls caught this brown trout on a MagLip plug fishing with the Fishing 411 TV Show that airs on the World Fishing Network.
Connor Cinelli of Grand Island caught this 8 pound lower Niagara River walleye using a Swedish pimple tipped with a minnow.

Mark and Jake Romanack of the Fishing 411 TV Show that appears on the World Fishing Network, visited town on Monday to put a show together on the lower Niagara River. The water was stained, but definitely fishable. Capt. Frank Campbell of Niagara Falls met up with them and they fished the afternoon using 3.0 MagLips in Double Trouble and Green Machine colors.

In 2 hours of actual fishing time they boated 9 browns on 9 hits, enough for a show. The next day the water was dirty. After 4 hours, not a single hit, but the crew was able to take some drone footage and film some tech tips before the headed back to Michigan.

As of today, the shore guys were already catching fish again according to Lisa Drabczyk of Creek Road Bait and Tackle in Lewiston. Along Artpark, pink and chartreuse spinners are working for steelies, orange for the browns. Chartreuse egg sacs and beads are also producing for the shore guys, as well as the boat drifters. Shore casters are out-fishing the boat guys right now, but that will change a bit as the waters start to clear a bit more.

John Keeler and his son, Shawn, were fishing the lower Niagara River last weekend and they caught nice steelhead like these fishing with Capt. Jim Rores of Grand Island.
Shawn Keeler with a nice lower Niagara River steelie last weekend.

In the Niagara Musky Association John Henning Memorial Musky Contest last Sunday, Andrew Lacko of Kenmore took top honors with a 41-inch fish caught on a Bondy bait. It was the only fish caught for the event held in the lower Niagara River. Musky season continues in the lower river and Lake Ontario until Dec. 15. Lake trout season is now open on the Canadian side of the lower river, but closed until Jan. 1 on the New York side of the river.

For the Lake Ontario tributaries, weather conditions have not been the best with a mix of rain, snow, wind, warm and cold temperatures. Still, trout are being caught. Not too many anglers have been hitting the streams according to Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctors in Olcott, but for those that are making the effort to wet a line, they have been rewarded with some nice brown trout, a few steelhead and even some late salmon. Spikes and wax worms are the baits being talked about most, usually tipped on a small jig and fished under a float. Fishing your bait slow with the slightly cooler conditions could help increase your chances for a hook-up.

Scott Feltrinelli with Ontario Fly Outfitters reeled in some nice brown trout this week from a favorite Lake Ontario tributary.

Scott Feltrinelli of Ontario Fly Outfitters caught some impressive fish yesterday in a favorite Lake Ontario stream. You might have to do a little searching. When you find them, the rewards are great.

Christmas Yule:

  • The Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Association has its Christmas meeting on Dec. 13 at 7 p.m. at Cornell Cooperative Extension Niagara, 4487 Lake Avenue, Lockport. It’s a joint meeting with the county’s Fisheries Development Board.
  • The Niagara River Anglers will hold their Christmas meeting on Dec. 10 at 7 p.m. at the Sanborn Historical Society. Call Paul Jackson at 731-4780 for details.
  • The Niagara County Federation of Conservation Clubs will hold its Christmas meeting on Dec. 12 at the Hartland Conservationists Club, Orangeport Road, Gasport. Doors open at 5 p.m. Bring a dish to pass.

King’s, Coho’s and Brown Trout Wacking Baits from Boat & Shore in Lower Niagara River

  • King’s, Coho Salmon on Niagara Bar ON-THE-MOVE to Devil’s Hole
  • Browns Biting at Night from Shore
  • Rainy Weather May Cause Big Run
  • Bass & Walleye Biting in Upper Niagara/Lake Erie
Mike Rzucidlo with an October brown trout casting from shore in the Lower Niagara River.
Jon Gwara with a nice King Salmon fishing with Captain Frank Campbell.
Ricardo Davila with a King Salmon caught from shore.

Get ready for another slug of fish to arrive in the lower Niagara River and area tributaries off Lake Ontario! Both wind and rain are in the forecast and that could be the trigger to bring some more fish into area waters.
In the lower Niagara River, Capt. Frank Campbell of Niagara Region Charters called me at 9:30 a.m. to say he had limited out for his two customers. That’s six salmon in just a couple hours. Not every day is like that, but if the rains in the afternoon trigger a run, there are a bunch of fish – kings and Coho salmon – hanging out on the Niagara Bar waiting for a push from Mother Nature.
We haven’t seen good numbers of Coho salmon in the fall in a number of years. This is great news! For boaters, the Devil’s Hole area is the place to be. Pautzke-treated egg skein is the ticket for taking Pacific salmon, fished off three-way rigs.
Shore fishermen have been doing pretty well too. Ricardo Davila of Wheatfield has been tossing glow-in-the-dark spoons and spinners to take salmon early in the morning. When that sun comes up though, fishing gets a bit tougher in that Devil’s Hole area.
From shore, Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls has been using the same kind of hardware. He’ll also toss a Rat-L-Trap. Today he started catching some brown trout mixed in with his salmon in the Whirlpool area. He also reported some good bass fishing along the shoreline at Artpark.
If you enjoy fishing around the Schoellkopf Site near the Discovery Center (yes, there’s an elevator there), this new access point will be closed Oct. 11-12, next week, as they use a crane to complete some work.
Over at Olcott and 18 Mile Creek, Burt Dam has seen more fishermen than fish. Hopefully that will change soon. Some fish are being caught from boats anchored around the harbor, as well as around the piers.
Pier casters are only picking a few fish up now, but hopefully that will change, too. Spoons and spinners will work, but harbor boats are using treated egg skein and fished under a float.
Boat trollers are still pounding the mature salmon with flasher and fly or meat until they hit. Sometimes it’s tough getting them mad enough to strike, but when they do you have your hands full. If the weather cooperates, you can always run out deep off Wilson and Olcott to take a mix of salmon and trout.

Captain Chris Cinelli with another nice walleye rom the Upper Niagara River / Lake Erie.

Capt. Alan Sauerland of Instigators Charters out of Wilson found some salmon and trout in 450-plus feet of water, but he had to go deep to find the right temperatures. His riggers were from 75 to 110 feet deep, the divers were 280 and 300 feet back and he needed 500 feet of copper line to hit the fish zone with spoons and flasher-fly presentations.
In the Upper Niagara River, bass and walleye are still the primary focus. Capt. Chris Cinelli has been hitting some nice fish at the head of the river with shiners and spinner-worm combos.
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
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Sportfishing has a $30 million annual economic impact in Niagara USA!