Brown Trout, Walleye, Steelhead Dominate the Niagara Region Winter Fishing Action

Buffy Frank of Lockport with her 34-inch, 15-plus pound brown trout caught on a jig.

The Niagara Falls USA Fishing Forecast for Dec. 13, 2018 from Destination Niagara USA beckons to all anglers.

Richard Pisa of Tonawanda caught this 16-pound upper Niagara River lake trout on a jig.

Brown trout and steelhead are dominating the Niagara Region fishing report this week, with walleye not far behind. Buffy Frank of Lockport caught a monster brown trout yesterday while fishing a favorite Niagara County Lake Ontario tributary. Using a black marabou jig tipped with wax worms, she hauled in a 34-inch brownie that tipped the scales at better than 15 pounds. She didn’t get an actual weight because she wanted to get it back into the water and release it as quickly as possible. She did get a quick photo though. Nice fish!

Buffy Frank of Lockport with her 34-inch, 15-plus pound brown trout caught on a jig.

Tributaries seem to be offering moderate to medium flows. Egg sacs, single eggs, egg imitations and a variety of flies are all working to take fish. Surprisingly, there hasn’t been a lot of fishing pressure the past week. We could see a little bit of rain and temperatures into the 40’s over the weekend.

In the lower Niagara River, fishing was good from both boat and shore. Brown trout, steelhead and walleye have all been caught with consistency.

Nick Calandrelli of Lewiston used a jig to take this nice Devil’s Hole steelhead.  

Boaters are using three-way rigs to entice fish to hit with MagLips, Kwikfish, beads, egg sacs and minnows. A minnow is what worked for Matt Gerhart of Spring Mills, Pa. when he was fishing with Capt. Chris Cinelli of Grand Island. He reeled in an 11-pound walleye fishing the lower river.

Matt Gerhart of Spring Mills, Pa. caught this 11-pound walleye in the lower river on a minnow.

Some nice browns and steelies into the double-digits have also been caught by drifters. Shoreline casters in the gorge are using spinners, jigs and egg sacs to take trout and the occasional walleye, too. Even a few late salmon are hanging around.

Musky season ends on Saturday, Dec. 15.

Above Niagara Falls in the upper river, Rich Pisa of Kenmore grabbed his boat and hit some favorite spots with his dad, Richard of Tonawanda. Using jigs, they managed to catch 3 lake trout up to 16 pounds, 10 walleye and some silver bass. Water conditions were near-perfect.

Rich Pisa of Kenmore hit the lower river gorge around the Whirlpool to take some nice steelhead like this one, using a pink egg sac.

We’re only a month away from the Greater Niagara Fishing and Outdoor Expo, set for Jan. 18-20, 2019 at the Conference and Event Center in Niagara Falls. Check the website out at and see what all the buzz is about.


Nick Calandrelli of Lewiston used a jig to take this nice Devil’s Hole steelhead.


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

Niagara Falls USA Fishing Forecast: Aug. 9, 2018

Scott Rohe of Cheektowaga caught this 23.4 pound salmon while trolling off Olcott with a flasher-fly combo.

  • King Salmon are Staging in Lake Ontario off Niagara River
  • Bass and Walleye Hitting in River
  • Contests in Progress and in the Future, Sign-Up

Scott Rohe of Cheektowaga, NY, caught this 23.4 pound salmon while trolling off Olcott Harbor with a flasher-fly combo.

Salmon fishing in the lake is moving along at a steady clip and the Niagara River action is improving.

In the Niagara River, it won’t be long before the first salmon will be making their way through the system. In the meantime, bass and walleye suffice. Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls hit the Artpark shoreline for action and he managed to catch 5 bass using 2-inch tubes in 2 hours of fishing. Then he hit the New York Power Authority fishing platform and caught some huge Rudd by tossing those same 2-inch tubes. In the 13th Annual Bass Derby run by Independent Living of Niagara County at Lewiston, George Rohr, fishing with Capt. Arnie Jonathan of Lockport, reeled in the first place bass with 15 minutes to spare – a 3.72 pound smallmouth that hit a crayfish.

Mike Erdt of Williamsville, NY, with an King he caught off Olcott Harbor last weekend.

In Lake Ontario, Salmon have started to show the early signs of staging with mature kings available in 80 to 150 feet of water during the morning; maybe even closer than that with J-plugs, meat and flasher-fly before the sun comes up. Out deep, it’s been easy picking for a mix of salmon and trout.

Scott Rohe of Cheektowaga hit the water Sunday with Mike Erdt of Williamsville and they went 8 for 11 on kings with the biggest being a 23.4 pound salmon that hit a flasher-fly combo. There was no specific pattern as they hit fish on the riggers at 45-55-65 feet and off the divers 120 and 220 feet back. Spoons, flasher-flies and cut bait all caught fish.

In the Orleans County Rotary Derby, in which Niagara County waters are eligible and Olcott is a weigh station at The Slippery Sinker, the current Grand Prize leader is a 26 pound, 14 ounce king salmon weighed in by Mike Schaeffer of Sligo, Pa.  Top Rainbow trout is a 12 pounder reeled in by Dan Heglin of Gardner, Mass. First place lake trout is 17 pounds, 12 ounces caught by Brian Gambell of Hilton. There’s plenty of room for improvement though and still lots of fishing left through August 19.

The next LOC Derby is August 17 through Labor Day. Grand Prize for the biggest salmon is $25,000. Find out more info at

The Greater Niagara Fish Odyssey is set for August 18 to 26 and people are already starting to sign up. Kids 15 and under can fish for free. Check out

Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls with a big Rudd caught off the NYPA fishing platform.
Greg Pratt caught his first walleye ever while fishing the lower Niagara River.

The Reelin’ for a Cure ladies tournament to benefit a cancer-related charity is August 17 out of Wilson and Olcott. Put together a ladies team and compete for just $250. If you need a boat, tournament organizers may be able to find one for you. Entry fee is $250. Contact Stephanie Pierleoni at 481-6388 for more information or go on the Reelin’ for a Cure facebook page or website.

The 5th Annual End of Summer Free Kids Fishing Derby will take place on August 25 at Widewaters Marina in Lockport. Registration starts at 8 a.m. and fishing will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Lots of prizes! See you there!

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!

Niagara Falls USA Fishing Forecast for Nov. 30, 2017 – Brought to you by Destination Niagara USA

At the time of this report, it was starting to rain.

Using a home-made spinner, Mike Rzucidlo landed this beautiful 15-pound rainbow trout from Devils Hole, just upstream of the NY Power Authority Fishing Platform.

After a very windy day yesterday, the wind and/or rain combo could negatively affect water clarity in places like the Niagara River or some of the smaller streams off Lake Ontario. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t catch fish.

The lower Niagara River was stained yesterday, but a few captains decided to give it a go since their customers were already in town.  Capt. Vince Pierleoni of Newfane managed to hit double digit trout – half steelhead and half lake trout – using egg sacs off three-way rigs.  Use bright colored baits when the water is stained.  MagLips and Kwikfish in silver and chartreuse will also work when drifting from a boat. When the water is stained, though, there is no guarantee you can catch fish from a boat.

Shore fishermen can actually do a little better than the boaters in that some cleaner water can sometimes be found closer to the shoreline. Egg sacs or egg imitations work well, as do spoons and spinners. You need something to get the attention of the fish.

There are still a few King Salmon remaining in the Lower Niagara River, as Mike Rzucidlo landed this one from the NYPA Fishing Platform, open to the public for fishing access (FREE).

Today is the final day of the musky season in most of the state.  However, the lower Niagara River and Lake Ontario are both open until Dec. 15.  To take advantage of the extra couple of weeks of action, the Niagara Musky Association will be holding the John Henning Memorial Lower River Musky Tournament on Dec. 3 from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.  We’ll have to see if Mother Nature – and the fish – cooperate for the anglers. 

Dec. 1 is the opening of lake trout season in the lower river and Lake Ontario for the Province of Ontario.  New York’s laker season opens on Jan. 1, 2018. If you do catch a lake trout, be sure to release it quickly and unharmed.

The NYPA Fishing Platform, as well as the other NYPA fishing access points like the reservoir and water intakes, will be closing down for the season after Dec. 3. They will not re-open until the spring. Speaking of the platform, Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls caught a 16 pound salmon on 8 pound test line earlier this week and it took him and hour and 20 minutes to reel in!

Burt Dam and 18 Mile Creek has been muddy and flow has been slow with around 80 to 100 cfs coming through Burt dam. Some fresh kings and cohos are still being reported, but the run is essentially over.  Those are being replaced by steelhead and browns but not in huge numbers according to Wes Walker at The Slippery Sinker.

Some big perch have been coming out of Wilson and Olcott harbors, as well as from the creeks in those locations. The piers have been productive when you can stand on them.

The Lake Ontario Counties Trout and Salmon Derbies are offering a Christmas deal right now.  Check out and make sure you mark Jan. 19-21, 2018 on your calendar for the 5th Annual Greater Niagara Fishing and Outdoor Expo at the Conference and Event Center Niagara Falls. It’s going to be a good one.  Check out 

If you want to find out what else is happening around the Western New York area, be sure to check out and follow the outdoor section every Wednesday or Thursday. 

Another good stocking stuffer is the NYS Winter Classic, set for Jan. 1 to Feb. 28. Sign up at 

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

Niagara Falls USA Fishing Report & Forecast for Nov. 22, 2017 – Destination Niagara USA

  • New York Power Authority fishing platform FISHING IS STILL HOT
  • Jigs, ¼ ounce, Working to Fool Walleye and Brown Trout
  • Trib’s have Fish TOO

The water in the Niagara River is still in bad shape according to many of the local charter captains looking to target musky in the upper river or trout in the lower river. It could be fishable by the weekend.

Shore fishermen have a bit of an advantage over the boaters when the water turns muddy. Find some clean water and you should catch fish. One spot that is still available is the New York Power Authority fishing platform. The announcement just came through today that (weather permitting) the final day for fishing will be Dec. 3. Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls has been casting his homemade ¼ ounce jigs to take some more walleye and even a nice brown trout the past week off the platform.

Downriver along Artpark, chartreuse trout beads and egg sacs fished under a float was the ticket for trout. While the water was off color a bit earlier in the week, the scent emitted by the sac helped the trout to locate the bait. Spoons and spinners still work as well.

Remember that lake trout season is closed in New York until the end of the year but the season opens Dec. 1 in the Province of Ontario waters. If you do catch a lake trout incidentally, release it quickly and unharmed. If you take a photo, make sure it’s a quick one.

In the Lake Ontario tributaries, there have been good numbers of fish and not too many fishermen at Burt Dam and the Fisherman’s Park area of 18 Mile Creek. The final day of charging (fees) at the park will be today. Good numbers of fresh Coho salmon are still working their way up to the dam with eggs, egg imitations (like trout beads), and jigs tipped with wax worms all working under a float. Live bait could catch some fish, too. Move around to find the active fish.

Four mile and 12 Mile were both high and muddy on Tuesday. No report out of Keg Creek but that had fish last week.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

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

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Niagara Falls USA Fishing Forecast for October 19, 2017

  • Olcott Pier and Burt Dam turn on!
  • Watch wind for Pier Action hot bite.
  • Lower River Shore Fishing has been HOT

There are plenty of fish around to be caught!

Scott Scheffler, Marina Director for the Town of Newfane and heading up Fisherman’s Park at Burt Dam/18 Mile Creek, reports that some dandy brown trout are starting to show up in the creek a bit more readily. It’s a nice complement to the salmon and steelhead that are already on the scene. Fresh fish can be found in all of the deeper holes further down towards the harbor and fish are still being caught off the piers and in the lake.

When there’s a northeast wind, you can’t fish the piers at all because of the waves. However, when those winds subside, get out there and start casting spoons, spinners, rattlebaits, stickbaits or whatever. The fishing usually turns on! Another popular method is to use treated egg skein under a float. You can anchor or drift from a boat, too.

Over in Wilson, they are still picking up some yellow perch off the piers, as well as some nice trout. Use spinners and spoons for trout.  Use minnows for the perch. Don’t rule out lake fishing either. If the weather cooperates – and it will be this weekend – don’t be afraid to try trolling for salmon and trout off the creek mouths or even out deep. There are plenty of fish to be caught!

The lower Niagara River salmon action is starting to wind down a little, but they are catching some silver fish that are fresh in the system. Casting glow-in-the-dark spinners and Little Gem spoons under low light conditions work best.  Rat-L-Traps can also produce salmon.

Rich Pisa of Kenmore caught six kings from shore on Monday and four on Tuesday, so they are still getting them just fine. Even his father Richard picked up a few nice kings, fishing the Whirlpool area with treated egg skein. Boaters are still catching kings and coho’s as well, with an occasional trout. It won’t be long before lake trout start showing up to spawn. Remember that the lake trout season is closed now until the end of the year.

In the upper Niagara River, bass action has been good in the east river (east side of Grand Island) on shiners. A few musky are starting to show up, too.

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 website | facebook | twitter | blog

Sportfishing has a $30 million annual economic impact in Niagara USA!

Lake Ontario King Salmon: FISHING FROM SHORE “IS-ON”

  • Niagara Falls USA Fishing Forecast for Sept. 7, 2017
  • 39-3 King Salmon WINS LOC!
  • King Salmon Fishing IS ON for SHORE ANGLERS
  • Reports for Lake Ontario, Lower Niagara River, Upper Niagara River, Lake Erie
Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls, NY, with Lower Niagara River King Salmon caught from shore.

Daniel Clinger from Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania, won the Fall Lake Ontario Counties Trout and Salmon Derby with a huge king salmon that weighed in at 39 pounds, 3 ounces. Wow! It was the biggest salmon he’s ever caught and they won the $25,000 Grand Prize hands-down by nearly 5 pounds. He caught it on a DW flasher and an A-Tom-Mik meat rig while fishing out of Sodus Point. First place in the salmon division was a 34 pound, 11 ounce king reeled in by Robert Reynolds of Auburn while fishing out of Fair Haven. He narrowly beat out Joe Oakes of Lockport who weighed in a 34 pound 8 ounce king off Wilson. In the steelhead division, Steve Gardinsky of Ohio set the pace with a 16 pound, 9 ounce fish out of Point Breeze. Second place was Rebecca Frye of Ashville while fishing out of Olcott. In the Brown Trout Division, Anthony DiGiovanni of Rochester took the top prize with a 16 pound, 15 ounce fish caught off Webster. Second place was a 15 pound, 5 ounce brown hauled in by John Nardone of Wayland. Go to for a complete leaderboard.
Good news in the shore fishing department. First, the east pier at Olcott will be open this weekend, starting Friday afternoon around 4 p.m. In the lower Niagara River, the NYPA fishing platform has re-opened, just in time for some salmon action. Fish are being caught in the lower river and many salmon are seen porpoising. If you are casting the piers or the shoreline, use glow Cleo spoons, rattle baits, stickbaits and crankbaits. Skein under a float will also work. Try some different things. If you want to learn more about fishing the lower Niagara River from shore, check out this week’s edition of the Outdoor Beat on Spectrum Cable at in the “On Demand” section of the website. Local fishing guru, Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls, is the featured guest. Capt. Frank Campbell of Niagara Falls did catch his first salmon of the river season from his boat in Devil’s Hole using a K-11 Kwikfish. Bass fishing continues to be good in the river. According to Capt. Arnie Jonathan of Lockport, leeches and shiners have been working the best for him, fished off three-way rigs.

The Olcott pier action has started, the east pier will open at 4 p.m. on Friday (Sep. 8).

In the Upper Niagara River and around Buffalo there are still plenty of walleyes around. Capt. Chris Cinelli of Grand Island reports that he had 8 fish by 10 a.m. on Tuesday, dragging a spinner and worm rig. That same general area was also working for Capt. Jim Rores on smallmouth bass.
Out in Lake Ontario, Capt. Bob Cinelli of Olcott reports that there is a good offshore bite from the 24 line to the 28 line offering up a mix of steelhead and salmon. Spoons and flasher-flies are working there. The inside bite for mature kings is also going on, too, out to 140 feet of water. Spoons, plugs and flasher-fly or flasher- meat rigs are the baits of choice. Stay away from the other boats to limit pressure on the fish. A few trout are being caught inside, too, according to Cinelli.
There will be a DEC meeting next week, on Sept. 13, in Lockport, to discuss the spring forage base trawl results. Also part of the discussion will be the stocking target for 2018. The public is invited to attend starting at 6:30 p.m. at the 4-H Building of Cornell Cooperative Extension Niagara, 4487 Lake Avenue, Lockport. Also coming up is the monthly meeting of the Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Association, set for Sept. 14 at the same 4-H Building of Cooperative Extension in Lockport starting at 7 p.m. There will be a round table discussion on the past fishing season.
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