Niagara River/Lake Ontario Fish are NOT SOCIAL Distancing, THEY”RE ON THE BITE!

NIAGARA USA King Salmon bite BEGINS!

  • Shore fishing is VERY GOOD…spoons and spinners…bring a camera!
  • Niagara Falls USA Fishing Forecast for April 8, 2020, from Destination Niagara USA
  • Boat fishing is good for Kings, Lakers, Steelhead, the Big Bass are just starting up
Stephanie Pierleoni of Newfane went fishing with her husband, Capt. Vince Pierleoni, out of Olcott this week and reeled in this king salmon.

Social distancing is critical when it comes to fishing, both onshore and in a boat.

COVID-19 continues to expand across the state and slowing that curve is important and we are moving forward. We are fortunate in that our boat launch ramps are still open, and we have plenty of shore fishing options available to us. Please stay safe out there and use your head to limit the spread.

With hatchery fish stocking taking place both in the Great Lakes waters and inland waters, please take note that there are special distinctions between both areas. The Great Lakes waters include lakes Erie and Ontario and the tributaries up to the first impassible barrier (such as a dam). Trout and salmon that are stocked as fingerlings and yearlings follow a certain protocol – put, grow and take. They are not meant to be taken immediately after they are stocked in places like the Wilson or Olcott harbors.

Nancy Colavecchia of Niagara Falls caught her biggest bass ever in the upper Niagara River this week.

For the Lake Ontario basin, the minimum size for browns, rainbows, and Pacific salmon is 15 inches in length. Some people have been catching and keeping trout well under that size close to shore. There are certainly more regulations than just these (such as new rules in the tributaries for brown trout (1 per person) and rainbow/steelhead (1 per person with a minimum size of 25 inches) and it’s important to know them before you head out.

The big news is that there have finally been reports of smelt being taken in the lower Niagara River. While Lewiston Landing (the sand docks) didn’t produce anything, they did get some at Artpark, to the south, and from docks to the north. The best time was after 11 p.m.

Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls with a dandy lower river brown trout he caught from shore using a No. 4 spinner.

Fishing in the lower river for trout continues to be good to very good depending on who you talk to. Steelhead, brown trout and lake trout are all being caught by anglers fishing from boat and shore. Water visibility is about 5-6 feet.  Spinners from shore are still producing trout in the gorge. Boaters are drifting minnows, egg sacs or running plugs like Kwikies or MagLips off three-way rigs. Bass are starting to turn on as the waters warm up both in the lower and upper rivers. It was around 45 degrees this week.  

Matt Tall of Wilson caught this 23-pound king salmon fishing with Capt. Tyler Morrison out of Wilson this week.

Some more exciting news is that the king salmon fishing has started to turn on in Lake Ontario.

Matt Tall of Wilson and Capt. Taz Morrison out of Wilson worked their lures in 30 to 80 feet of water to take some nice kings and lake trout. They caught kings to 25 pounds. Conditions change almost daily, says Tall, with things warming up so fast. They were running stickbaits and spoons mostly, working in 46 degrees surface temperature. The temperature doesn’t change much until you get out to 90 feet of water.

Mike Ziehm of Niagara Falls caught this big steelhead in the lower Niagara River this week from shore in the gorge area.

Lake trout are eating everything in sight. James DeGirolamo of Derby reports that they were fishing anywhere from 180 to 220 feet of water straight out from Olcott. They had meat rigs and spoons working, with trout and salmon hitting most everything, but spoons are the way to go.

Capt. Tyler Morrison of West End Charters shows off a 25-pound king salmon he caught this week out of Wilson.

Terry Swann of Wilson reports that bullheads are biting at the Wilson-Tuscarora Park boat launch and in the West Branch of 12-mile Creek. Worms and shrimp seem to be the bait of choice.

A few nice perch are showing up too. Pier action has been good for trout in both Wilson and Olcott. Spoons and spinners or live bait under a float work best.

Tributary action has slowed a bit and with the rains from last night and more is forecasted through Friday. It will probably muddy things up and create higher flows.

Stay safe out there.

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

Derby’s Abound with King-Kong Salmon and Big Walleye

When that first kiss means so much!

  • Niagara Falls USA Fishing Forecast for August 21, 2019 from Destination Niagara USA

What a week!

It’s been a flurry of activity, starting with three derbies at the same time last weekend.

The Reel Alewives of WNY won the Reelin’ for a Cure ladies tournament last Friday with this fine catch of salmon. They were fishing with Capt. Bob Cinelli of Cinelli Sportfishing, aboard the “White Mule” out of Olcott.

The Orleans Rotary Fishing Derby ended last Sunday, leaving two derbies left going into this weekend – the Fall LOC Derby that ends on Labor Day and the Greater Niagara Fish Odyssey that ends on Sunday, August 25 at 1 p.m. It’s still not too late to enter either.

First to the fishing.

Hats off to the Reel Alewives of WNY, these ladies won the Reelin’ for a Cure Tournament out of Olcott and Wilson last Friday. The team, fishing aboard the White Mule with Capt. Bob Cinelli of Newfane weighed in a 6-fish limit of 114 pounds with a big fish of over 25 pounds. A total of 36 boats competed in this year’s event, all lady teams from 4 states.

Stephanie Pierleoni (second from the right) was the organizer of the Reelin’ for a Cure ladies event and they placed 4th overall among the 36 teams who competed.

Out of Olcott, Capt. Vince Pierleoni of Thrillseeker reports that mature salmon are highly scattered with all of the wind changes. Salmon can be caught from 50 to 500 feet of water. Good steelhead can also be found in deeper water where conditions are more stable. Fishing should only get better. With winds out of the south or southwest, look for mature kings to begin staging.

Ann Swanson with her 25.33-pound king salmon to earn the top catch for the Reel Alewives of WNY team.  You could say it was love at first bite!

Out of Wilson, Capt. Alan Sauerland of Instigator Charters had the pressuring task of producing some fish for governor’s Andrew Cuomo of New York and Ned LaMont of Connecticut on Tuesday morning. They managed to catch a few steelhead and the crew lost a 20-pound salmon at the back of the boat when the fish jumped out of the net. At least, that was the way Sauerland told it. They were fishing 8-10 miles out.

NY Governor Andrew Cuomo (L) and CT Governor Ned LaMont show off their Wilson steelhead from Tuesday. They were fishing with Capt. Alan Sauerland of Instigator Charters.

In the Niagara River, Blake Kowalski of Tonawanda was bottom bouncing with a worm harness near Strawberry Island, managing to catch 3 walleyes and a few smallmouth bass. Then he hooked into something big. He wasn’t quite sure what it was until it was near the end of his 2-hour battle – a big sturgeon. It broke his line just a short distance from his boat. What a battle.

In the lower Niagara River, walleye action continues to be good, both in the river and on the Niagara Bar. The leading catch for the Walleye Division of the Fish Odyssey is a 10-pound, 10-ounce fish reeled in by Vincent Gebczyk of Niagara Falls using a harness. Leader for the special Southtowns Walleye prize for largest walleye caught by a member is Bob Patterson of Niagara Falls with a 9-pound, 10 ounce lower river fish. Lots of room for improvement for the adults and the kids in the Fish Odyssey. Check out for details or to register. It ends Sunday at 1 p.m. You just have to register prior to fishing.

Everyone had fun in the tournament!

The Fall LOC Derby runs thru Labor Day with a $25,000 Grand Prize. The early Grand Prize leader is Codey Allen of West Seneca with a 33-pound, 8-ounce king salmon caught out of Olcott. Top steelhead is a 15-pound, 6-ounce Olcott fish reeled in by Nick Dougherty of Lockport. Leading brown trout right now is 15 pounds, 13 ounces caught by Bruce Raggi of Farmington while out of Wayne County. Remember, no fishing license is needed if you fish in Lake Ontario or the lower Niagara River thru Labor Day.

The winner of the $4,000 Grand Prize in the Orleans County contest was Julie Schaeffer of Sligo, Pennsylvania with a 29-pound, 6-ounce king salmon caught out of Point Breeze in Orleans County. Top brown trout was a 13-pound, 3-ounce Point Breeze fish caught by Georgia Barkdoll of McConnellsburg, Pa. Keith Tessier of Hilton took first place in the lake trout category with an 18-pound, 4-ounce fish. Top steelhead was a 17-pound, 15-ounce fish caught out of Olcott by Laurie Jankowski of Sloan.

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