Winter Fish on the Line for New Years Party: Walleye, Brown Trout, Steelhead…and Lake Trout

  • Niagara Falls USA Fishing Report
  • Thursday, Dec. 27, 2019 – From Destination Niagara USA
Tim Finney of Wheatfield with a steelhead he caught last week in the lower Niagara River fishing with Capt. John DeLorenzo.

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas!

No white Christmas here in Western New York as temperatures hit the 50-degree mark with no white stuff in sight. If you scored on some new fishing gear under the Christmas tree, get out and take advantage of some decent fishing action.

On Monday, the lower Niagara River fishing slowed up a bit, but sometimes you must adapt to whatever conditions Mother Nature gives you. Southwest winds pushed boats along as water clarity conditions became a bit more stained. Switching over to MagLip and Kwikfish plugs helped turn the fish on, while fishing them off 3-way rigs according to Lisa Drabczyk of Creek Road Bait and Tackle.

Victor Radcliffe of Rochester was fishing the lower Niagara with Capt. John Oravec of Troutman and managed to catch this big brown trout.

Capt. John Oravec of the Troutman sends word that he enjoyed a banner day last weekend when everything came together with weather, water clarity, and fish cooperation in the lower Niagara River and Niagara Bar. Water conditions were good, finally recovering from the wind earlier in the week. Fishing went from good to excellent for Oravec, using live shiners in 10 to 20 feet of water down-river, as well as on the Niagara Bar. He had a trio of anglers onboard – Dan Robinson of LeRoy, Wade Rowcliffe and Victor Rowcliffe of Rochester. It was non-stop action for brown trout, steelhead, walleye, and lake trout. He also witnessed a few boats fighting king salmon, enjoying the mild weather.

Wade Radcliffe of Rochester with a lower Niagara River walleye he reeled in while fishing with Capt. John Oravec of Troutman.

Speaking of lake trout and walleye, 2 regulations will be going into effect on Jan. 1, 2020. First, lake trout season will open in New York waters for the lower Niagara River and Lake Ontario.  Jan. 1 is also the trigger date that reduces the daily limit for walleye from 3 fish to 1 fish to help protect the spawning females.

Lake Ontario tributaries offered up mixed reports. Mild and clear weather is forecast through mid-week with temps in the 40’s.  The next chance for precipitation is the end of the week.  Any area snowpack has melted for the most part.

Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls caught 4 nice steelhead this week, the day before Christmas, in the lower Niagara River.

Temperatures will continue to be warm early next week so look for fresh steelhead moving in and some holdover browns still hanging around. Don’t be afraid to seek out smaller creeks if there is good flow. One creek that won’t is Keg Creek. The mouth of the creek is closed off.

Egg sacs or egg imitations are working well, but don’t rule out streamers or white zonkers to entice trout to hit.

Happy New Year!

Bill Hilts, Jr. – Outdoor Promotions Director

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Orleans County Lake Ontario Fishing Report

  • Posted Wednesday – May 22, 2019
LOC Derby winner 2019, Robert Mueller with his 25# King Salmon. Photo Courtesy Narby’s Superette

By Capt. John Oravec, Tight Lines Charters

LOC Derby winner 2019, Robert Mueller with his 25# King Salmon. Courtesy Narby’s Superette.

Wow! All week long strollers found hungry king salmon from “Chrome Dome” to “the Nose” in 45 to 65 feet of water. Lots of salmon! The consensus at the Orleans County Marine Park free fish cleaning unit was the spoon program attracted most hits.

Yours truly found teenager sharks as shallow as 15 feet. Most had fun in 35 to 60 ft, 30 to 50 feet down. With lighter winds on the forecast models, clearing shallows will uncover hungry browns.  Remember to try downsizing lures inside the 20 ft. contour where the browns lurk!

The Spring LOC Derby winning king salmon – a 25# monster – weighed in at Narby’s Superette and also took the Grand Prize this past weekend. Yeah baby! A Hamburg, NY angler on-board the Musky Joe boat made the big catch.

Yours truly actually crossed paths with Musky Joe coming off the Niagara Bar. Hearing that they were not finding big fish, I told them “there are plenty of king salmon off Point Breeze in Orleans County.” The rest is now history!

A couple updates:

#1:  Remember that you can still enter the Oak Orchard Open tournament til May 31st. Register at

#2: All Point Breeze boat ramps are good to go despite the high water levels. Plenty of dry parking. Our marinas, restaurants, tackle and lodging operations welcome you to the Home of the King!

See you on the Salmon Grounds!

Troutman (Capt. Johnny Oravec)