Lower Niagara River Winter Fishing, Rod-Bending FUN!

  • Niagara Falls USA Fishing Forecast for Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020 – Provided from Destination Niagara USA
Aaron Scholl of Cleveland, NY with a Niagara River steelhead he caught fishing with Capt. Vince Pierleoni of Newfane.

The fishing action in the Niagara River is finally turning back around again with the favorable weather conditions this week. Capt. Frank Campbell of Lewiston caught 4 trout in 2 hours of fishing on Tuesday, despite marginal conditions due to the stained water.  When it switches over, action should be good from both boat and shore.

Capt. Frank Campbell of Lewiston with a lower Niagara River steelhead.
Capt. John Oravec of Troutman with a nice lower river brown trout.

Capt. John Oravec with Troutman reported that he had action all day last Thursday and Friday.  His Thursday the action was on 29-inch to 34-inch lake trout.  Oravec did well on the Niagara Bar in 27-feet with live bait fished off three-way rigs.  Friday it was brown trout and steelhead in the river.  He also caught a big 12-1/2-pound brown on Friday with an emerald shiner.

The weekend winds messed things up again.

Jon Forder of Albion with a lower river steelhead he caught while fishing with Capt. Vince Pierleoni with Thrillseeker.

From the shore in the gorge area, Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls was hitting some nice steelhead using No. 4 spinners.  Joel Juhasz of Lancaster is the leader in the Capt. Bob’s Outdoors Winter Contest for the Steelhead Division with a 31.5-inch lower river fish caught on a pink egg sac.  In the upper Niagara River, lake trout and walleye were cooperating for anglers using jigs or live bait.

Greg Schloerb of Amherst caught this brown trout from a favorite Lake Ontario tributary over the weekend. He was using a jig tipped with a wax worm.

California Joe Pavalonis of Buffalo is once again atop the leaderboard in the Capt. Bob’s Outdoors Winter Contest with a 17-3/4 inch upper river rudd taken on a crappie jig.  He also caught a northern pike that is the leader in that fish species category while fishing for rudd, a 31-.5-inch fish from the upper river on a crappie jig.

Denis Kreze of Fort Erie, Ontario has been catching some walleye in the upper Niagara River.

In the Lake Ontario tributaries, conditions have been a bit rough according to Greg Schloerb of Amherst. Water was high and stained this past weekend. Fishing has been slow but there are fish available. He did manage to catch both browns and steelhead using jigs tipped with wax worms, catching all his fish this past weekend.

Meanwhile, Scott Feltrinelli of Ontario Fly Outfitters found a few steelhead in small tributaries on Monday. Conditions were good in the smaller streams. High water has been dropping and clearing after this most recent melt off. Feltrinelli’s fish took a large brown and orange streamer fly. Many medium creeks were also fishing well. Bigger creeks should be clearing and fishing decent should be available over the next few days.  For your calendar, mark the Birds on the Niagara Festival for Feb. 14-15. Check out the schedule at www.birdsontheniagara.org.

Also, the Niagara River Anglers will hold their steelhead contest on Feb. 22.  Sign up at the Lewiston launch ramp the morning of the event (sunrise to 2 p.m.) or at Creek Road Bait & Tackle in Lewiston.

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

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 www.loc.org. 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 www.niagarafishingexpo.com. 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

Bass, Walleye, Salmon, Northern Pike on the Bite Up North in NIagara USA Fish

  • Niagara Falls USA Fishing Forecast for Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019, from Destination Niagara USA
  • Lack of Rain, Warm Weather, Slows Lower River King Salmon Run
  • Big Bass in the Lower Niagara are ON-THE-BITE
  • Walleye, Northern Pike and many other species beginning to feed for winter now
Andy Full of Tonawanda and Jeff Hippert of Hamburg placed second in the Safe Harbor Open in the lower river with 5 bass weighing 21.76 pounds.

In the Niagara River, Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls reports that it’s been a slow run on kings so far with the lack of rain and warm water temperatures. To make up for it he’s taken a few good-sized browns on artificial eggs. The water was clear and warm. Tuesday, he tried for walleyes in the gorge and stuck 4 nice ones on plugs. Bass fishing has been good to help make up for the lack of salmon.

Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls switched from salmon to walleye and hit four nice ‘eyes this week using plugs.

Mike McGrath and Brendan Walsh, both of Niagara Falls, won the Safe Harbor Open Bass Tournament recently with a 5-fish bag that totaled 25.31 pounds. It also included at 5.75 lunker for the contest. The amazing thing was that Lake Ontario was off-limits and all the contestants were required to fish in the river due to high winds. When the winds cooperate, the Niagara Bar can be decent around the green buoy marker according to Capt. Ned Librock of Pendleton. He was fishing with Roy Larson of Wheatfield and Anthony Karam of West Seneca to take smallmouth bass to 5 pounds for a morning last Friday.

Winners of the Safe Harbor Open Bass Tournament on the lower river were Niagara Falls anglers Mike McGrath and Brendan Walsh with a 5-fish total of 25.31 pounds and a lunker of 5.75 pounds – all caught in the river due to high winds on the lake.

Salmon fishing has been tough from boats in the river, too. Capt. Nick Calandrelli of Lewiston said it’s been a tough go in Devil’s Hole. A few fish have been caught. Local captains are starting to theorize that the high water of 2017 in the lake and terrible pen project production that year could be playing a negative role this year.

In the upper Niagara River, Capt. Mike Capizzi of Niagara Falls used crayfish to take some big smallmouth (and some sheepshead) around Strawberry Island in 15 to 20 feet of water with Robbie Burgio of Pendleton.

Allyson Balcom of Williamsville caught this Devil’s Hole salmon while fishing with Capt. Nick Calandrelli of Lewiston.

For Lake Ontario, action on the lake for salmon and trout has been spotty. Capt. Alan Sauerland of Newfane ran straight out of Wilson to deep water (he turned around at the Canadian border) and caught a mix of fish on spoons. There are some fish staging off Olcott, but numbers seem to be down. Salmon are jumping near the piers but not coming into the creek. If you can find a pocket of fish in the lake and stay on them, you can do well. Capt. Vince Pierleoni of Newfane found them in 100 feet of water one day and then they were gone the next.

Capt. Nick Calandrelli of Lewiston with a big Devil’s Hole salmon.

Pike fishing off the piers and in the harbors at Wilson and Olcott has been decent. A few browns and salmon are being caught. Try casting large J13 Rapalas or spinnerbaits, spoons or spinners.

A couple salmon and steelhead have been reported at Burt Dam, but nothing of any significance. Perch and bass in the creeks according to Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctors in Olcott.

Patrick Schlosser of Buffalo with a third-place catch in the lower Niagara – 5 fish weighing 19.68 pounds – for the Safe Harbor Open Bass Tournament.

If you are making plans for the winter, the Greater Niagara Fishing and Outdoor Expo is set for Jan. 17-19, 2020 at the Conference and Event Center Niagara Falls. In conjunction with that show, the Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Association’s Salmon School set for Jan. 18 is now open for registrations at www.lotsa1.org. Last year it sold out just after Thanksgiving. Keynote speakers include Capt. Pete Alex, Capt. Matt Yablonsky and Capt. Andy Bliss with special talks from Capt. Lance Valentine and Canadian rec angler Karl Chmilnitzky. Another great one! Register early.

Remember that there are a few big events coming up this weekend on Sept. 28 and 29. On Sept. 28, NY will be offering another free fishing day around the state. It’s also National Hunting and Fishing Day and the NYPA Wildlife Festival will be held both Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 28 and 29 at the visitors center located at 5777 Lewiston Road, Lewiston next to Niagara University from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. Lots to see and do for the whole family, and it’s free!

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

Salmon and MORE SALMON…Bill Hilts reports from Niagara USA

  • Niagara Falls USA Fishing is great right now
Doug Parker of Lockport holds up the 29 pound, 9-ounce king salmon caught on the Niagara Bar Monday to take over the lead in the Summer LOC Derby $10,000 Grand Prize.
6-year-old Ed Mort of Wilson shows off his prizes after catching the biggest bass in the Erie Canal Fishing Derby, a 5.66-pound largemouth!

The moss in the Niagara River is starting to subside according to reports from Creek Road Bait and Tackle in Lewiston. As a result, the walleye fishing is starting to pick up, especially on the Niagara Bar at the outlet (mouth) of the river. Worm harnesses have been the bait of choice using hammered copper blades with red beads. Bass action is also starting to pick up. Tube jigs are the lure that seems to be working best with what moss is left in the river, both above and below Niagara Falls. In the upper river, bass, walleye, and musky have been cooperating for some anglers. Add NED rigs, worm harnesses, and crayfish to the list of preferred baits and lures.

The Erie Canal Fishing Derby is officially over. Lots of winners.

One of the hot spots on Lake Ontario this week has been the Niagara Bar off the mouth of the river. Fishing 50 to 80 feet down over 90 to 200 feet of water was producing plenty of mature king salmon. John Van Hoff hit a 29-pound king on Sunday with flasher-fly on the Bar, one of many mature kings he caught the day after the LOTSA contests.

Bill Hilts, Jr. holds up the winning fish in the LOTSA King Salmon Tournament on July 20, a 27 lb. 7 oz. king salmon for the Salmonella team.

On Monday, it was Doug Parker of Lockport that caught a 29-pound, 9-ounce king on Niagara Bar to take over the lead for the Grand Prize in the Summer Lake Ontario Counties Trout and Salmon Derby, also with a flasher and fly.

Capt. Joe Gallo of Two Bulls Charters reports that he teamed up with Capt. Alan Sauerland for the LOTSA contests and they produced over 50 bites over two days of fishing. They fished in over 300 feet of water, a few miles west of their home port using flasher-fly and meat programs.

Jason and Mike Johannes of On The Rocks Charters out of Wilson show off the 31-1/2 pound king salmon they caught over the weekend. No, their customers were not registered in the derby

On Sunday they moved into shallower water in front of their home port and it paid off with a 17 for 24 king salmon day with a dozen salmon up to 25 pounds. Capt. Mike Johannes of On the Rocks had the catch of the week with a 31-1/2-pound salmon caught out of Wilson, but the customers didn’t get into the derby.

The LOC event ends on Sunday. Out of Olcott, Capt. Tim Sylvester of Tough Duty ran out to 300-plus feet of water to hit an early spoon bite on Tuesday. Magnum spoons off the riggers were the way to go, 50 to 80 feet beneath the surface. His best depth was 75 feet down.

In the Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Association’s Curt Meddaugh Contest on Friday, Hooked-Up led by Dustin Petersen of Indiana, Pennsylvania, took top honors when they weighed in 3 king salmon totaling nearly 68 pounds. For the Saturday big fish contest, Joe Yaeger of Amherst and his savvy Salmonella team weighed the big fish for the day, a 27 ½ pound Niagara Bar king salmon. Marty Polovick of Lockport and his 4 Poles Team won the 3-2-3 contest, the best 3 fish over 2 days, with over 80 pounds of salmon. He beat the runnerup, Kyle Hovak and the Mean Machine team by just .01 of a pound.

Joe Yaeger always catches giant King Salmon in Lake Ontario!

Next derby up on Lake Ontario is the Orleans County Rotary Derby set for August 3-18.

James Nix, Jr. of Amherst was the lucky angler as the 29th Annual Steve Harrington Memorial Erie Canal Fishing Derby comes to an official close. Nix, who was in the final drawing by virtue of his first-place win in the pike division, was selected at the awards ceremony last Sunday to receive the Grand Prize of a boat, motor, and trailer from Brobeil Marine in Buffalo.

James Nix, Jr. of Amherst won the Grand Prize in the Erie Canal Fishing Derby – a boat, motor, and trailer from Brobeil Marine in Buffalo. He caught an 11.81-pound northern pike and was selected through a random drawing at the awards ceremony last Sunday in Gasport. Lynn and Brandon Harrington were also in the photo below.

What made it even more exciting for him is that this was his first derby ever, encouraged to join by a previous grand prize winner, Keegan Walczak. Keegan was in that same drawing for the boat package this time around, too. However, it was Nix who came out on top. Rebecca Thering of Appleton won the Kids Division Grand Prize, a new kayak. Check out www.eriecanalderby.com for final results.

John Van Hoff of North Tonawanda caught this 29-pound king on the Niagara Bar last Sunday using a flasher and fly rig.

Bill Hilts, Jr.– Outdoor Promotions Director

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

Spotty Fishing in Niagara Region is Downright Exciting!

Joel Spring of Ransomville, NY, poses with a prehistoric-looking long nose gar, he caught on a rope fly while fishing a favorite Lake Ontario tributary.

The 29th Steve Harrington Memorial Erie Canal Fishing Derby is over. We won’t know who will win the boat, motor, and trailer, though, until the Awards Ceremony on Sunday, July 21 at the Gasport Fire Hall starting at 3 p.m. There will be a random drawing of first-place winners to see who the lucky winner will be.

Chris Walczak of Amherst, NY, caught this walleye in the Erie Canal on a spinnerbait this week.

In the bass division, Ed Mort of Lockport was in first-place with a 5.66-pound fish. Sam Hillman from Lockport was the top walleye catcher at 7.04 pounds, and James Nix, Jr. of Tonawanda topped the pike division with an 11.81-pound fish. The biggest bullhead was a 1.58-pound fish reeled in by Michael Boncore of Buffalo. Biggest catfish is an 8.75-pound fish reeled in by Keegan Walczak of Amherst and Matthew Clark of North Tonawanda was the leading carp with a 26.11-pound fish. Carleen Beback of Buffalo won the sheepshead category with a 12.21-pound fish. Check out www.eriecanalderby.com for final results.

In Niagara Falls, USA, Lake Ontario salmon and trout action has been a little spotty of late and some of it can be blamed on the weather.

With Tropical Depression Barry showing up this week, the hottest weather of the season is on our doorstep through the weekend. One sleeper area could be the Niagara Bar, as mature kings have been reported this week.

Capt. Frank Campbell of Lewiston had some customers looking for some salmon slammin’ and they were rewarded with some mature kings in 100 to 200 feet of water, pulling magnum spoons in greens and white-glow spin doctors, with green flies, behind dipsy divers 30 to 50 feet down.

Off Wilson, fishing has actually been pretty good, but the information was tough to come by with the Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Association events taking place on Friday and Saturday this week. Some bigger fish are available. Robyn Wolf of Wilson came close to the top prize with a 27 pound, 15-ounce King that is currently in second place in the Salmon Division. She was fishing out of her home port with Capt. Mike Johannes of “On the Rocks” charter service and caught the fish on a magnum spoon. Darker colors have been working.

Blake Kenney from Grand Island, NY, with a walleye from the upper Niagara River. He was fishing with Capt. Connor Cinelli of Grand Island.

Capt. Tim Sylvester of Tough Duty was fishing out of Olcott on Monday and hit a 28-plus pound King on a 400-foot copper line with meat. However, the person that caught the fish was not in the LOC Derby currently going on.  He was fishing in 300-plus feet of water. Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctors in Olcott says, “Try fishing a little east of Olcott in 400 to 450 feet of water or a little west off the red barn in 315-375 feet of water.”  The new Grand Prize leader is 29 pounds, 6 ounces.  The derby ends on July 28.

In the Niagara River, bass fishing in the lower river has picked up according to Lisa Drabczyk of Creek Road Bait & Tackle. The moss is still an issue, but it does seem to be getting a little better. Worms, crabs, and tube jigs have been the bait of choice. A few walleye have been reported, too.

Max Gavigan from Buffalo with a nice bass he caught on a crab in upper Niagara River over the weekend fishing with Capt. Chris Cinelli of Grand Island.

Upper river action has been great for bass, as well. According to Capt. Ryan Shea of Brookdog Fishing, his best bass bait has been a NED rig. That same rig has been producing an amazing number of muskellunge, too. So far this year he has connected with 16 muskies, all caught and released with care. Some decent walleye fishing in the river too, especially in the Emerald Channel.

Bill Hilts, Jr. – Outdoor Promotions Director

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

GIANT Salmon and Carp….Lake Ontario High Water is NO PROBLEM

  • Bill Hilts Fishing Report & Forecast for Niagara USA…June 20, 2019

Capt. Hank Condes of Wilson (Blade Runner Charters), said it best as he spoke to a group of front line tourism folks this week in Wilson Harbor: “June isn’t the transition month that it used to be!” The push is on to let everyone know that Lake Ontario is open for business and that the fishing is great, even in June!

Lou Rivera of Kenmore, NY, with a 20-pound class King Salmon caught off Wilson Harbor in Lake Ontario this week while fishing with Capt. Alan Sauerland of Newfane.

Capt. Alan Sauerland (Instigator Charters) has been fishing 55 to 75 feet down over 160 feet of water straight out from his home port of Wilson Harbor.  Magnum spoons are the ticket with the best ones being Moonshine Geezer and Warrior pink-spoiler or green-spoiler patterns. They caught 25 salmon during this catch/release trip.

Jeremy Smith of Rochester (R) and his buddy Paul show off a couple of King Salmon they caught off Wilson Monday, fishing with Capt. Alan Sauerland (Instigator Charters).

Capt. Vince Pierleoni (Thrillseeker Charters) reports similar success out of Olcott Harbor, 60 to 80 feet down over 60 to 250 feet of water, also with Dreamweaver magnum and super slim spoons at the top of his list.

Joe Oakes of Wilson was fishing out of Olcott this week and wanted to try and get his 300 and 400-foot copper lines a bit deeper, so he put on a J-plug for the heck of it.  Yes, that plug took some hits too.

Next derby is the Lake Ontario Counties Trout and Salmon Derby (LOTSA) that runs from June 29 to July 28. Check out www.LOC.org for details.  Grand prize is $10,000 for the biggest salmon and $32,000 in cash prizes overall.

The NYS Summer Classic Tournament is July 1-August 31 with a $10,000 Grand Prize.  Check out www.nyssummerclassic.com for details.  It should be mentioned that nearly every launch ramp in Niagara County is open.  At Fort Niagara, Wilson-Tuscarora, and Golden Hill State Parks, respectively, you should have at least two people launching the boat due to some higher water around the launch.  Bring along boots, too.  If you don’t want to get your feet wet, the Town of Newfane Marina in Olcott Harbor has been able to adjust to keep the feet of boaters dry. The Town of Wilson launch is also a good one in the West Branch of 12-Mile Creek. Boat size there should be 20-feet or less.

Don’t forget that the 5 mph speed limit in Lake Ontario is within 1,000 feet of the shoreline.

In the Niagara River, the dreaded moss is slowly starting to arrive on the scene as the river hit the 60-degree mark this week. In the lower Niagara River, there was still some steelhead around. Bass and walleye were cooperating, giving a nice mixed bag to anglers.

Rich Pisa of Kenmore caught this 30-pound class grass carp from the Upper Niagara River.

Live bait, like minnows fished off three-way rigs, is a popular approach – but bouncing bottom with a Strike King Zero (cut down) has been working for bass up to 5-1/2 pounds this past week.

Justin Transky of East Aurora with a respectable upper Niagara River walleye he caught while fishing with Capt. Chris Cinelli of Grand Island.
Parker Cinelli of Grand Island caught this tagged bass from the Beaver Island lagoon this week.

Swim baits and tubes will still work if the moss isn’t too bad. High water levels are making fishing tricky in the Devil’s Hole area and the NYPA fishing platform is underwater. The speed limit is still in effect along the NY shoreline so run the middle of the river and take it easy.

Upper river action for bass and walleye has also been decent, especially at the head of Strawberry Island. Worm harnesses, minnows, swimbaits, and tubes, all are good baits to use.

Make sure you mark your calendar for the Erie Canal Fishing Derby set for July 3-14.

Check out www.eriecanalderby.com for details.

Ethan Bronschidle of Newfane with a big carp he caught this week.

Also, next Saturday and Sunday, June 29-30, NYS will be offering up its free fishing weekend again.

The Olcott Kids Fishing Derby normally held June 29 has been canceled due to the high water around the docks.

Bill Hilts, Jr. – Outdoor Promotions Director

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

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Bill Hilts Niagara Falls USA Fishing Forecast for June 13, 2019

Joel Spring caught this Gar Pike...with no hook!

Joel Spring of Ransomville caught this gar pike on Tuesday using a rope fly … with no hook!

The statewide bass season opens on Saturday, June 15, as well as the Great Lakes muskellunge season on that same day, as anglers get ready to rumble.

Scott Banes of Pennsburg, Pa. caught this huge king salmon fishing with Capt. Roger Young of Papa Smurf Charters, Olcott.
Sydney Rhoda of Mercer, Pa. caught this 20-pound king salmon while fishing out of Olcott over the weekend.

First off, we need to emphasize the point that Lake Ontario is open for business! Despite the high water levels and State of Emergency along the shoreline with a 5 mph no wake zone within 1,000 feet of shore, the fishing is great!

In the Orleans County Open Tournament last weekend, it was a Niagara County team fishing the eastern fringe waters of Niagara County to win the contest. The winner was the Dublin Up team from Wilson led by Capt. Carl Martin of Pendleton. The Dublin Up team started fishing 10 miles west of the Oak, starting in 60 to 80 feet of water. By the time they hit the 100-foot mark they had 5 salmon in the box and started to fish for lake trout. After dropping the speed to 1.5 mph, they had a good grip on the rod and it turned out to be the biggest fish of the tournament – a 22.30-pound king salmon. They managed to catch some lake trout and steelhead for a 124-pound box, good for second place behind Capt. Rob Wescott and the Legacy Team from Hilton.

Day 2 they did it again with a 121-pound box to win the event. They were targeting salmon and lake trout first thing in the morning by going 2.0 to 2.2 mph. They put 4 kings and 1 laker in the box. When they slowed the speed to 1.5 mph, they hit an 18-pound laker right away. Throw in some steelhead to round out the box after the team’s third laker and the result was their first win. Meanwhile, Wilson and Olcott action continues to be good to very good.

Jim Willworth of St. Catharines, Ontario (left) caught this 27-pound king salmon while fishing with Capt. Joe Gallo (right) of Two Bulls Sportfishing out of Wilson.

Capt. Joe Gallo of Two Bulls Sportfishing reports he did well last weekend working the 110 foot water depth line from Wilson to Olcott. He had good salmon bites on a combo of high spoons and deep meat dragging the bottom. The meat produced the year’s best biggest king so far for his boat, a 27 pounder. Green flashers out 150 feet took many fish all weekend

The 2019 Orleans Open winners, Team Dublin-Up!

Saturday’s northeast blow dropped the water temperature 9 degrees so Sunday morning they headed north and found a warm pocket of water in 350 feet of water. They worked 21 bites off the same spoon, flasher, and meat program from the first two days with mostly mid-teen kings with 2 fish right around the 20-pound mark.

The next big derby is the Summer LOC Derby set for June 29 to July 28. Check out www.loc.org.

Lower Niagara River action has been good from boats, but finding a place to fish from shore had been difficult at best. The NYPA platform is underwater and the gorge shoreline offers little relief from the water. Boaters are doing well on a wide variety of fish species. Steelhead and lake trout are still available according to Lisa Drabczyk with Creek Road Bait and Tackle. Walleye and bass are hitting with regularity, too. MagLips, Kwikfish and live bait like shiners will catch you fish. For bass, tubes and swim baits work well. You can start using live bait to target bass on Saturday.

Bobby Joe Frost of Alden and his 12-year-old son, Robert, trolled Buffalo Harbor at night to take a dozen nice walleyes.

Remember that musky season opens June 15 in the Great Lakes, too. The Upper Niagara River and Buffalo Harbor is the best place to be for consistent musky action. Bass fishing has been very good there as well. The foot of West Ferry Street is a good place to target.

Don’t forget the kids fishing contests coming up this weekend:

  • The 24th Annual City of Tonawanda Kids Free Fishing Derby will be taking place on June 15 in Niawanda Park from 9 a.m. to noon. Registration starts at 8 a.m. at the Bandshell in the park. Grab bags will be handed out to the first 200 kids registered. Awards will follow at 11:30 a.m. For more info call John White at 692-6306.
  • 33rd Annual Niagara County Youth Fishing Derby is June 15 being hosted by the Wilson Conservation Club, 2934 Wilson-Cambria Road (Route 425), Wilson from 8 a.m. to noon. This contest, for kids ages 3 to 14, is based on length. No trout and salmon will be judged. Youngsters may fish any Niagara County waters. All kids will receive a consolation prize. Awards presentation is at 1 p.m. For more information call Mike at 585-205-1353.
  • There will be a Catch and Release Kids Fishing Derby at Wide Waters Marina, Lockport on June 16 from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. for fishing; lunch and awards will be 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. It is being hosted by Moose Lodge 617, 204 Monroe Street, Lockport.

Bill Hilts, Jr. – Outdoor Promotions Director

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

King’s, Eye’s, Trout and Bass – Bill Hilts Memorial Day Niagara Falls USA Fishing Report

  • Niagara Falls USA Fishing Forecast for May 23, 2019 from Destination Niagara USA
The Hideout team led by Capt. Rob Taddeo of Hilton took top honors in the Wilson Harbor Invitational last weekend with this catch of fish.

Salmon and trout fishing in Lake Ontario off the shores of Niagara County continues to be good to very good, despite the announcement that the lake is once again in a state of emergency as far as high-water levels. Lake Ontario is open for business!

The Town of Newfane Marina is in the best shape for boat launchers – you don’t even have to get your feet wet!

Wilson-Tuscarora and Fort Niagara state parks have their launch ramps open but bring a pair of boots and have at least 2 people for a safe launch.

As far as the fishing, Capt. Pete Alex of Vision Quest reports that lake trout abound in 55 to 90-foot depths from the Niagara Bar to 30 Mile Point.

For the Wilson Harbor Invitational last weekend, many of the Top 10 teams fished from Olcott to Point Breeze. Last Sunday, they fished between Wilson and Olcott in 220 to 260 feet of water and did well on all year classes of kings. Fish were scattered from 40 to 140 feet down. They ran spoons in the top 60 feet, flasher-fly combos and cut bait below that. The 25-pound, 14-ounce king salmon held up in the LOC Derby last week.

Robert Mueller of Hamburg was in the right place at the right time when his 25-pound, 14-ounce king salmon won a check for $15,500 in the spring Lake Ontario Counties Trout and Salmon Derby May 10-19. He was fishing west of Point Breeze when the salmon hit a Bomber stickbait, fishing with Capt. Joe Netti of Cortland and his Musky Joe boat.

Robert Mueller of Hamburg caught this 25 pound, 14 ounce king salmon to win the Spring LOC Derby.

First place in the Salmon Division was Brian Marketich of Beaver Falls, PA with a 22-pound, 13-ounce king caught west of the Niagara Bar – good for $2,500. First place lake trout was a 23-pound, 4-ounce Niagara Bar fish reeled in by Jerry Unites of Pittsburgh, PA and a check for $1,200.

Brian Marketich of Beaver Falls, Pa. reeled in the first place salmon just west of the Niagara Bar.

First place brown trout was a 17-pound, 6-ounce fish caught by Chuck Mazzola of Hamlin fishing out of Rochester – his first derby ever and his first year with a boat, good for $1,200.

Jim Hubbard of Dexter caught the top walleye, a 12-pound, 6-ounce fish, on the final day of the derby to win that category and a check for $1,000. Check out www.loc.org for details on the leaderboard.

Todd Ceisner of Depew, NY caught this 6 pound lower Niagara River smallmouth bass during a recent media event while fishing with Capt. Ernie Calandrelli of Lewiston.

In the Wilson Harbor Invitational tournament last Saturday, the Hideout team led by Capt. Rob Taddeo earned the $13,000 check with a score of 155.05 points. They were fishing between Olcott and Point Breeze. Don’t forget that the Don Johannes/Pete DeAngelo Memorial 3-Fish/Big Fish contest is set for May 30 this year out of Wilson and Olcott. You don’t have to be in the Pro-Am tournament. It’s only $100 per boat and it’s 100 percent cash payback for your best 3 fish. Contact Mike Johannes at 523-1727 for more info.

The 35th Annual Skip Hartman Memorial Lake Ontario Salmon Team Tournament is set for May 31 and June 1 out of the ports of Wilson and Olcott so things will be busy in the coming week. We’ll have a full report on all next week.

Parker Cinelli of Grand Island reeled in this Upper Niagara River walleye using a jig.

Jeff Pippard at Niagara Outdoors in North Tonawanda reports that fishing along the upper Niagara River has been good at Gratwick Park, as well as at the foot of Sheridan. Catch and release smallmouth bass fishing has been working best on tube jigs, Mepps and Vibrax spinners. Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls has been doing well on bass from his canoe. In Cayuga Creek he managed to haul in a 30-inch carp on a worm. Some good walleye action at night at the foot of Ferry Street.

In the Lower Niagara River, it’s been a mixed bag of fish as the waters slowly start to warm. Wade Rowcliffe of Rochester hit the lower river from shore in the gorge and managed to catch some smallmouth bass and trout in the past week. Stickbaits like the Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow in black and silver was working great. Boaters are still picking up steelhead trout, the occasional lake trout and numerous smallmouth bass. Live bait like shiners or egg sacs work well for trout, while bass prefer tube jigs, Rage Swimmers or other type of swim baits.

Have a great Memorial Day weekend and stay safe!

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

Bill Hilts Niagara Falls USA Fishing Report for May 15, 2019

  • Kings, Walleye, Browns, Bass, Lakers…!
  • High water in Lake Ontario and Lower Niagara persists, fish don’t care
FLW Tour Pro Billy McDonald of Indiana caught this 6-pound smallmouth bass last week during a Niagara Outdoor Media event. He was fishing the Niagara Bar near Fort Niagara with a swim bait from Strike King.

The LOC Derby is more than half over, ending on May 19 at 1 p.m. The current leader is a 25-pound, 14-ounce king salmon reeled in by Robert Mueller from Hamburg. He was fishing out of Point Breeze with Capt. Joe Netti when the salmon hit a Bomber stickbait. He’s the front runner for the $15,000 Grand Prize. Other leaders include Brian Marketich of Beaver Falls, PA with a 22-pound, 13-ounce Olcott salmon for the Salmon Division. Top lake trout is a 23-pound, 4-ounce fish caught Jerry Unites of Pittsburgh while fishing out of Wilson. Top walleye is a 10-pound, 6-ounce fish from Henderson Harbor, and top brown trout is 17 pounds, 6 ounces from the Rochester area. Check out www.loc.org for details on the leaderboard.

According to Mark Vilardo of Kingfisher Charters in Olcott, fishing has been good, with a mix of King’s and laker’s. Start in 70 to 80 feet of water, his best depth, fishing near bottom.  Last weekend was a good king bite according to Vilardo.  One productive set-up was a glow fly with a white e-chip flasher. Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctor’s reports decent salmon and trout action at the 28-line, too. Black and glow spoons and meat behind a flasher are both working. Some kings were reported in shallower on Tuesday. However, specific details are limited due to the LOC Derby going on and the Wilson Harbor Invitational Tournament on Saturday. Water levels are continuing to rise.

Thomas Gagnon of Lavant, Maine caught this 22 pound salmon in front of Olcott to take over 3rd place in the Salmon Division of the LOC Derby on Tuesday. It was weighed in at The Boat Doctor’s in Olcott.

In the Niagara River, water levels continue to pose a problem for shoreline anglers. Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls was 6 for 8 on trout – steelhead and lake trout – using No. 4 spinners and jigs on Monday. His biggest fish was a 13-pound lake trout that he caught and released. On Tuesday, jigs were the hot ticket as he went  5 for 12.

The NYPA fishing platform was closed on Monday due to the fluctuating water levels. Call 796-0135 Ext. 45 to find out if it’s open.

Walleye have been hitting around the Lewiston sand docks area at night according to Lisa Drabczyk of Creek Road Bait and Tackle. Boaters can still do well on trout. The steelhead fishing is good up in Devil’s Hole if you got the patience and good boat control with the high water according to local charter captain Jim Rores of Grand Island. Fish are eating egg sacs and minnows up there.

There are silver bass around Artpark, eating emerald shiners.

The smallmouth on the river are really starting to show up. Minnow imitation tubes are best. Rage swim baits also do well. Try around Fort Niagara.

The Wilson Harbor Invitational Tournament is May 18 and the Lake Ontario Pro-Am Salmon Team Tournament is May 31 and June 1. Check out www.lakeontarioproam.net for details.

Justin Muhek shows off an 11 pound, 1 ounce brown trout caught off Olcott by his father, Wes, from Medina, Ohio. He took over 2nd place in the LOC Derby in the Brown Trout Division. It was weighed in at The Boat Doctors in Olcott.

The Don Johannes/Pete DeAngelo 3-fish, big fish contest is May 30. Call Capt. Mike Johannes at 523-1727 for details.

Joseph Wynne of Grand Island caught this dandy steelhead in the lower Niagara River fishing with Capt. Jim Rores of Grand Island. He was using a pink egg sac.

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