Keep Social Distancing a Rule…but the fish are biting if you can get out

  • Niagara Falls USA Fishing Forecast for March 25, 2020 – from Destination Niagara USA
Sidney Syracuse of Newfane with a big creek steelhead caught east of Olcott on Sunday.

Life is far from normal as we continue to move forward in this changing world. Adding a little bit of normalcy back into our lives is important … like fishing and being outdoors. With some mild weather moving into the region, angling action has been good on a variety of fronts.

Lisa Cicciarelli of Lockport holds up a lower river steelhead with Capt. Arnie Jonathan of Lockport.

Out on Lake Ontario, boats were making it out onto the lake this week to start chasing fish on the big water. State parks have their launch ramps open, as well as the Town of Newfane marina. Trolling the shoreline with stickbaits in 8 to 20 feet of water seems to be the best approach. If there’s a mud line, work the edge by long lining off the back of the boat or use in-line planers. Brown trout are the primary target, but you may also catch a steelhead or Coho salmon.

On the Niagara Bar, a few Chinook salmon have also shown up for a nice bonus while drifters have targeted lakers and browns.

The piers were also producing some brown trout for casters using spoons and spinners off Wilson and Olcott. It’s getting near the tail end of the steelhead run into the tributaries, but some steelhead and brown trout are still available. A few suckers are starting to show up and the first smallmouth bass should also become available in the tributaries.

There are still some bullheads available in Wilson and Olcott, too, if you are looking for a tasty spring meal. Remember that the Niagara County Bullhead Contest has been cancelled for this year.

Speaking of contests, no word on the Lake Ontario Counties (LOC) derbies or tournaments like the Wilson Harbor Invitational or the Niagara County Pro-Am events. They are waiting to see how COVID-19 progresses into April.

Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls with a lower river brown trout he caught this week using a jig.

The strong winds last Friday put a tinge of stain into the river system, but it didn’t shut it down entirely. It has improved every day since then. Conditions were near perfect on Tuesday according to Capt. Chris Cinelli of Grand Island. Pink egg sacs, beads and Kwikfish were all working for him as they targeted steelhead. Lake trout and brown trout are all being caught from both boat and shore, too. Lake trout like big minnows and the Niagara Bar has been a good place to start … if you can get out there.

John Anthone was fishing with Capt. Chris Cinelli of Grand Island when he caught this steelhead on a pink egg sac while drifting the lower Niagara River.
Capt. Connor Cinelli of Grand Island with a lower Niagara River steelhead he caught this week.

Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls reported 5 feet of visibility this week in the river and was catching trout on both spinners and jigs.

Others have drifted egg sacs or beads to hit some steelhead.

April 1 is still the inland trout opener around the state and that doesn’t impact Niagara Falls USA very much because our Great Lakes waters are open year-round.

Where it does impact us is at some of the county’s urban stocking sites like Niagara Falls and Wheatfield. Oppenheim Park Pond is the first on the list at 10 a.m. on April 8, followed by Hyde Park Lake and Gill Creek in Niagara Falls the same day.  Make sure you maintain social distancing from anyone else fishing.

It’s good fishing etiquette anyway, whether you are in the lower Niagara River, a stream off Lake Ontario, on the piers or at a pond or lake in the city. Stay safe out there!

Scott Feltrinelli with a nice bass.
Bill Hilts, Jr. - Outdoor Promotions Director
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