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

Are Coho Salmon the “NEW SALMON” for LAKE HURON?

  • Kings, Cohos, Atlantic Salmon, Steelhead, Lake Trout…and their forage base
  • Atlantic Salmon and Steelhead have more extended lives and thrive on different forage
  • The Michigan DNR has an essential decision to make, in 2020: is the King dead?
Will cohos put the bend in the fishing rods of Lake Huron anglers in 2020?

By Mike Schoonveld

After the results of the coho salmon stocking experiment in Lake Michigan a few years back, the test was a success. Control of the overabundant alewife population had been established in Lake Michigan, so cohos were stocked in Lake Huron next. There, the experiment was also a success, but two things worked to keep the Lake Huron success in the background.

First, they were second. Who placed second at the Daytona 500 last year? Who earned a silver medal in Olympic ski jumping? Few people remember runners-up.

More importantly, after the resounding success of coho stocking in the Great Lakes, next came the stocking of chinook salmon. There’s a cute maxim about Great Lakes salmon: “A coho is a silver, a chinook is the king!” Coho and chinook are the names given these species by the indigenous people, explorers, and settlers to the Pacific Northwest who called them silvers and kings.

The emphasis in this aphorism is on kings, since king salmon are usually two or three times larger than cohos and two or three times harder to bring to net, even at equivalent sizes. Once kings entered the picture, few anglers put much effort into trying to catch cohos.

In Lake Michigan, cohos gained a loyal following – especially in the southern end of the lake – near Benton Harbor and New Buffalo in Michigan, and again in Platte Bay in October, when Michigan’s cohos show up for their spawning run. Lake Huron coho fans were much smaller in number, and far fewer cohos were fished for and caught. Add to this the expense of stocking cohos is roughly triple the cost per fish of stocking king salmon. It was an easy decision, 30 years ago, for the Michigan DNR to discontinue the coho program in Lake Huron.

The Michigan DNR reintroduced coho salmon in Lake Huron and they will be ready to catch this season, in 2020.

Things changed in 30 years, most notable was the collapse of the alewife/chinook salmon dominated ecosystem in Lake Huron. Sure there were lake trout, steelhead, walleye, bass, perch, even pike, muskies and smallmouth in certain areas, but the primary forage fish was alewife, and the central predator feeding on the alewives was king salmon.

The demise of the alewife/chinook ecosystem in Lake Huron is well documented. There were many moving parts in the collapse, but basically, king salmon numbers went up due to natural reproduction, and the resulting kings ate all the alewives.

Chinook catches crashed to near zero despite continued MDNR stocking in select locations. Biologists learned that most of the stocked fish that would hopefully provide a minimal background chinook fishery for Huron anglers had migrated to Lake Michigan, where alewives were available by the time they were big enough to catch.

The chinook/alewife connection proved to be unbreakable. When alewives were eliminated, native forage species (which had been suppressed by the abundant ales) flourished. Sticklebacks, sculpin, herring, and others increased, as did non-native smelt and invasive round gobies. Kings turned their nose up at eating these alternatives.

Not so with Lake Huron’s other predator fish. Walleyes, lakers, and others quickly responded by foraging on these alternate, often more nutritious prey fish.

Fishermen, by and large, weren’t as interested in fishing for lake trout, walleyes, and other species. It was king salmon that attracted the crowds and provided customers for charter captains, restaurants, hotels, and other businesses. Fishing license sales attributed to Lake Huron anglers dropped dramatically.

Can anything be done? That’s the new question the MDNR hopes to answer.

One potential answer is to stock more steelhead.

Steelhead are more opportunistic feeders, seemingly as content to slurp beetles and moths off the lake surface as they are chasing shiners or other small prey fish.

Another potential answer is to stock Atlantic salmon. The Atlantic salmon program run by Lake Superior State at Sault Saint Marie in the St. Marys River, which flows into Lake Huron, seems to be vibrant. Perhaps the Atlantics could fill the void left by the shortage of Huron kings.

Perhaps an idea based on the concept “everything old is new again” could entice anglers back to Lake Huron. The MDNR recently stocked almost 50,000 coho salmon at Port Sanilac and another 50,000 at Alpena.

Food studies have shown cohos aren’t nearly as picky eaters as king salmon. They spend their first year of life, or longer, in the hatchery. When stocked at only seven or eight inches in length, they feed more on bugs than prey fish for much of their second year of life, and even in their third and final year (they spawn and die at age three), they will eat insects as well as smelt, gobies or most any other fish they can find.

The angling results of this experiment will be known this year. By spring, these cohos should be two or three times as large (16 to 22 inches), and many will be four to six pounds by mid-summer.

When it comes to Lake Huron salmon, a take-off on another familiar dictum may be appropriate, “The king is dead…long live the coho!”




Big Fish, Big Money, More to Come! August is FISHING CONTEST Month!

  • Bill Hilts Niagara Falls USA Fishing Forecast (August 1, 2019)
  • Hot Fishing getting HOTTER
Jake Romanack with Fishing 411 shows off the bait and the salmon he used while catching a big king on the Niagara Bar.

August is a celebration of fishing contests as we head into the final full month of Summer.

The Greater Niagara Fish Odyssey Derby ( set for August 17-25 has registrations available online starting August 1 and in the shops by August 2. Kids 15 and under can fish for free.

The Orleans County Rotary Fishing Derby kicks off on Saturday and runs through August 18. Niagara County waters are eligible and The Boat Doctors in Olcott is now the official weigh station. Check out

The Reelin’ for a Cure ladies tournament to help benefit cancer-related causes will be held out of Wilson and Olcott on August 16. Call Stephanie at 481-6388 for more info.

That same day, the Fall Lake Ontario Counties Trout and Salmon Derby begins and runs through Labor Day, Sept. 2. Grand prize for the biggest salmon is $25,000. More info at

Charlotte Shea, Lucy Carlisi, and Carmella Carlisi from Tonawanda, NY and Flagler Beach, Florida caught this Smallmouth bass in the Upper Niagara River using a Ned Rig while fishing with Capt. Ryan Shea of Brookdog Fishing.

On August 4, the 14th Annual Bass Fishing Derby with Independent Living of Niagara County will be going on. Call 836-0822 Ext. 146 for more info or to register.

Speaking of derbies, Doug Parker’s 29-pound, 9 ounce Niagara Bar King Salmon didn’t win the Grand Prize. He ended up 1st place in the Salmon Division. He lost by just one ounce. Ed and Steve Klejdys of North Tonawanda won 1st and 2nd place in the lake trout division with their Niagara Bar fish and Newfane’s Tanner Niezgoda ended up in second place in the Steelhead Division with a 13-pound, 13-ounce Olcott fish.

Zack Blain of Honeoye won the Summer LOC Derby grand prize with a 29-pound, 10-ounce king salmon he caught west of Point Breeze in Orleans County. He caught it on the last weekend of the derby, winning $11,000 for his fish.

On to the fishing. Lake Ontario action has been good to very good in 100 to 200 feet of water, 70 to 90 feet down west of Wilson according to current reports from Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctors. The hot set-up has been white with green dot Pro Troll flashers with N&D cut bait. Purple Kingfisher with meat took some nice kings this week, too. Sea fleas were not as bad inside, but you needed to clean your lines regularly. Some browns were starting to show up, too, but it’s been spotty. The offshore bite is still pretty strong, too, with a mix of steelhead and king salmon being reported. The inside kings are starting to change color. Best spoon colors were caramel, monkey puke, and greasy chicken colors. East of Olcott to the power plant has been great for an evening bite. The Niagara Bar area still has fish stacked up on it, a good option for trollers. If kings aren’t on the bar drop off, slide out a little bit deeper.

Mark Romanack of Fishing 411 TV Show caught king salmon up to 24 pounds in filming a show last week on the Niagara Bar.

Mark and Jake Romanack’s Fishing 411 TV show last week, they caught most of their fish on Wolverine Tackle Mag spoons. Green skirt and Green Chilly Willy color patterns we’re best. They also caught a couple of studs on the Yakima Spin Fish plug stuffed with Pro-Cure gizzard Shad Super Gel. They use 300-foot lead cores and 300-foot weighted stainless steel lines and they took the most fish. Riggers were 45-55 feet down, and they were also productive.

The moss is almost gone in the Niagara River and fishing has really picked up in the lower Niagara River according to Lisa Drabczyk of Creek Road Bait and Tackle. Bass and walleye action has improved dramatically. For bass, focus around Lewiston and Youngstown using leeches and crabs. Walleye action has been decent around the Stella Drift on worm harnesses.

Ed and Steve Klejdys of North Tonawanda with their winning 1st and 2nd place Niagara Bar lake trout.

Some of the Canadian drifts have also been producing fish. Make sure you have a Canadian license if you venture across the international line. In the upper river, the action is improving for bass and walleye as the moss dissipates. The head of Strawberry Island is always a favorite location, as is the head of the river. Best baits have been crabs, tubes and ned rigs. Worm harnesses are best for walleye.

Good luck and good fishing!

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

Oak Orchard River – Lake Ontario, FISHING REPORT (Orleans County, NY)

Rochester Amerk Nathan Paetsch and his Brown caught at the Oak (Courtesy M. Walsh)

This week’s STREAM fishing report is from Ron Bierstine from Oak Orchard Tackle and Lodge, November 6, 2018.

Rochester Amerk’s hockey player,  Nathan Paetsch, with a nice Brown he caught on Oak Orchard River (Courtesy M. Walsh).

We had a bit more rain last night and this morning that should maintain flows. Forecast is for any serious precipitation to have moved out of the area this morning and then followed by a wind advisory through tomorrow. Next chance at precipitation and colder temps is this weekend. Flows in the Oak are slightly high with slightly stained water color of about 2 ft of visibility. Flows consist of turbine water and fluctuating overflow levels thanks to hydro-power operations. During this leaf fall period, and especially with wind and rain, look for at least daily water level fluctuations.

Some anglers remark that when flows temporarily go down, the numbers of fish revealed in the Oak is a little humbling! There are a lot of browns and some steelhead, and of course still Kings. Plenty of greener Kings are still around, look for still some non-zombie Kings through November.

Smaller tributaries, especially, will have Kings later in the fall since that salmon run really didn’t crank up for upstream gravel action until just last week. Fishing pressure is definitely intense at times, seems less now through this mid-week period. Most all anglers report good action for mixed bag chances on browns and steelhead and Atlantics and Kings and Coho’s.

Rochester Amerk’s Adam Wilcox & Nathan Paetsch at the Oak (Courtesy M. Walsh)

The Oak’s higher stained flows can at least help tolerate a bit more fishing pressure. Other area smaller tributaries perhaps stalled some now from dropping back down (thanks to that precipitation last night and today) for this mid-week period. Look for medium, slightly-high and stained flows in the tributaries to the west and quicker retreating medium flows in the tributaries to the east. Green Kings, browns and steelhead are now spreading out upstream in those smaller waterways.

Provided by Ron Bierstine, Oak Orchard Tackle & Lodge


Visit our Fishing Report on, including weather forecasts and our “At the Oak, Orleans County” Facebook feed.
From Point Breeze on Lake Ontario, the World Fishing Network’s Ultimate Fishing Town USA and the rest of Orleans County, let’s make everyday a great fishing day right here in Orleans County!
Sincerely, The Team at Orleans County Tourism
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Niagara Falls USA Fishing Forecast for Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018 – Destination Niagara USA

The Niagara River salmon action is still going strong according to reports from shoreline casters and boat drifters. From shore, Ricardo Davila of Wheatfield was doing well tossing Booker glow in the dark spinners. Rich Pisa of Kenmore was drifting egg skein under a float along the shoreline around the Whirlpool. Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls was tossing No. 3 spinners to take his first lake trout of the year off of Artpark. At the Sanddocks in Lewiston, Gianni Etopio of Youngtown was using a soft splittail plastic on a jig to take some walleye and even a salmon the last week. Charter guys like Capt. Frank Campbell of Niagara Region Charters are still reporting success in Devil’s Hole drifting treated egg skein on a three-way rig. Mike Cardamone of Lewiston was 5 for 8 on Salmon on Tuesday. A few steelhead are starting to show up, too. With air temperatures plummeting into the 50s this weekend, look for fishing to turn on again.

Olcott fishing action has not been consistent, but when it’s on it’s great according to Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctors. Pier action is a bit spotty for hardware chuckers tossing spoons and spinners. Egg skein will also work, off the piers and up the creek from a boat. Burt Dam is seeing some salmon and a few brown trout being caught. Over in Wilson, Joel Spring of Ransomville caught a big salmon off this kayak, dragging him around the harbor for a while. Pier casters are picking up some trout and an occasional salmon there, too. Out in the lake, head out deep for a mix of salmon and trout if the weather cooperates.

This weekend is the youth hunters for waterfowl and pheasant. Early archery season is still going on and other small game opportunities are also available such as for woodcock, rabbit and squirrel.

If you are into fly fishing or you are looking for a way to start up the activity, look no further than the Orvis Shop in Williamsville. This coming Saturday are two sessions on steelhead fishing – Steelhead fly fishing 101 and steel-heading Cattaraugus Creek. Sunday has a steelhead tube fly seminar and a fly tying session focusing on steelhead favorites. Call 276-7200 to see if openings are still available.

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

facebook | twitter | Instagram

Niagara River Salmon-Snagger Lawbreakers are Caught

Observant anglers spotted a shore angler snagging salmon and breaking the law. Time to blow the whistle.

  • Weighted snag hooks drop below the fish and when an angler lifts sharply, the hook points snag the fish in the body, often injuring many fish never caught. The snagging method is illegal in New York. NYSDEC Photo

    Salmon Snagging is Illegal in New York State

On Sep. 19, Environmental Conservation Officers George Scheer and Shea Mathis were on boat patrol in the Lower Niagara River when they were approached by a group of fishermen in another boat.

The anglers reported an individual in a red shirt blatantly snagging fish from shore about a mile upriver along the Gorge Trail in Niagara Falls. From their patrol vessel, the ECOs could not navigate that far upriver due to strong currents and underwater obstructions.

The ECOs piloted their vessel back to its mooring in Youngstown and drove to Niagara Falls, hoping to catch the subject before he left the scene.

In Niagara Falls, the ECOs walked the trail and spotted the subject in the red shirt making repeated and exaggerated jerking motions of his fishing rod. Three other individuals were with him.

The four were ticketed for attempting to take fish by snagging, possession of snatch hooks, and fishing without valid licenses.

Good job gentlemen!

KING SALMON on the Bite! Niagara Falls USA Fishing Forecast, Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2018: from Destination Niagara USA

Fall is in the air.  Oct. 1 is the opening of a long list of different hunting seasons, including the Southern Zone opening of the early archery season for deer and bear.

With so many things going on, it’s the perfect time to go fishing! The rains that fell Tuesday night into Wednesday morning were a welcome sight. Early season salmon action in the lower Niagara River finally turned on the past week. Devil’s Hole is the place to be, fishing from a boat. Drift treated egg skein from a three-way rig.

Capt. Tony LaRosa of Lewiston with a Devil’s Hole salmon caught this week.

Shore anglers are picking up a few fish by casting spoons and spinners or drifting egg skein under floats. That action has already improved since the rains. Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls was three for five on salmon last night with salmon egg skein. Bass and walleye are still available downriver toward Stella Niagara and the Fort.

Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls caught this 20 pound salmon from shore in the gorge using salmon egg skein.

In the upper Niagara River, some bomber bass have been caught the past week on live bait and tubes.

Over in Wilson and Olcott, good salmon and trout action is still being reported out in deep water, 300 to 400 foot depths. Pierhead trolling is still working for king salmon from boat. Spoons, J-plugs and meat are all working according to Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctor’s in Olcott.

Pier action had been a little sporadic, but things have turned on for salmon and the occasional trout off the piers casting spoons or spinners. Yesterday there were reports of large numbers of salmon hanging off the ends of the piers in Olcott. Cast orange or firetiger color Cleos or Gems.

Vince Cerrone and Gordie LaPorte, former local captains, hold up king salmon caught while fishing with Capt. Ernie Calandrelli of Lewiston.

A few salmon and trout are being reported at Burt Dam and 18 Mile Creek, but the big run hasn’t really started there. We’ll see what happens as a result of the rain. It could be happening right now.

A few notes, like lake trout season closes on Sep. 30 in Lake Ontario.

There are a few youth hunts coming up like the Youth Deer Hunt Oct. 6-8, the youth waterfowl hunt Oct. 13-14 and the youth pheasant hunt Oct. 13-14.  Oct. 1 is the deadline for applying for Deer Management Permits.

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


Orleans County, NY – King Salmon Lake and Trib Fishing Report for Sep. 25, 2018

This week’s FINAL LAKE fishing report is from Capt. John Oravec of Tightline’s Charters, September 25, 2018. 

Get Ready! The coming weeks are an exciting time for big fish, kings and browns and are now available to the small boat angler fishing in close, out to 20 ft. of water, as well as the shoreline/pier and creek boat anglers.

I finished my tremendous 1000+ fish season with a brace of 22 pound kings for a local couple who recently walked on Troutman 2 for a late day troll. Be sure to come rigged with J-Plugs, jointed Rapala’s and assorted, diving, rattle style crankbaits in bright glo and florescent colors.

Make sure hooks are in top condition, extra sharp too, as river run salmonids grow teeth and their jaws get leather tough! There has been a lot of rough stormy weather limiting boats, so the catch report right now is light. But this same weather sets up favorable conditions for anglers who frequently fish the estuary piers and river mouth flats with stained river outflow plumes that hold river bound monsters!

I want to thank all Great Lakes Anglers who have come to Orleans County this open water season on Lake Ontario. Everyone who did, shared exciting fishing action that was consistently terrific from May to mid-September. Wow, 2018! Yeah Baby!

“Troutman,” Captain John Oravec, Email:  

Tight Lines Charters
1857 Countyline Rd * Lyndonville, NY 14098
boat/mobile 585-590-2045 

Capt. Johnny Oravec is a 43 year veteran of Orleans County charter captain of the 33 foot Trojan the “Troutman 2”. Capt Johnny has been helping Great Lakes anglers learn and develop fishing techniques by writing for the In Fisherman Magazine TV and Radio.

Myself, I must move onto the St. Lawrence/1000 Islands and the Niagara River so this fisherman is deferring the fresh Orleans County Fishing Report to Orleans County expert  Ron “the Licorice Man” Bierstine of Oak Orchard Tackle and Lodge for the Fall action from the Oak’s mouth upstream as well as other area streams. 

I am available at and 585-590-2045 (boat/mobile)  for questions or info. Thanks and Fish On!  Troutman -Out!

THANK YOU, Troutman, for your weekly reports!

Orleans County Stream Fishing Report for Sep. 24, 2018, is from Ron Bierstine, Oak Orchard Tackle & Lodge

So far, kind of a mixed bag of salmon catching opportunities.  We have now finally strung together a few nights of cool weather helping to lower water temps some.  Still no big precipitation events – next chance of rain thru tonight and tomorrow. 

Lakeshore winds remain mostly non-prevailing between East or South.  It would be interesting to see what a few days of westerly winds would do for on shore movements of fish. 

Anglers are catching some salmon from the Oak river mouth to the lower river to the last of the slow water to the fast water gravel and to the dam.  No big slug of fish reported in any one particular spot.  Fishing pressure remains moderate and spread out thru all those spots. There are now reports of a few fish in fast water areas downstream of the dam and in the typical staging spots in the last of the slow water areas.  Those fish are likely moving to those spots stealthily some at least because there is not a lot of Lower Oak boiling around staging. 

So in other words, fish for now don’t seem to be hanging around the lower river area much in traditional spots like say at the Bridges.  Flows in the Oak (supplemented with Erie Canal feed 24/7) remain good if not up some and certainly higher and more productive then the natural runoff. So far, low flows of the other area smaller tributaries.  

Provided by Ron Bierstine, Oak Orchard Tackle & Lodge

Visit our Fishing Report on, including weather forecasts and our “At the Oak, Orleans County” Facebook feed.

From Point Breeze on Lake Ontario, the World Fishing Network’s Ultimate Fishing Town USA and the rest of Orleans County, let’s make everyday a great fishing day right here in Orleans County!


The Team at Orleans County Tourism

Niagara Falls USA Fishing Forecast for Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2018

The King Salmon are on the big bite in the Lower Niagara River and Lake the details!

Ashley Dobbs of Ocala, Fla. was in town attending Travel Media Showcase in Niagara Falls USA and took a side trip fishing. She caught her first fish every – a 20 pound salmon…on a worm harness while she was fishing for walleye. What a story!

National Hunting and Fishing Day is Saturday, September 22, a tradition since 1972. As you look around Niagara Falls USA, there are a number of exciting events going on this weekend, including the two-day Wildlife Festival sponsored by the New York Power Authority and the Niagara Co. Federation of Conservation Clubs. The event is held at the NYPA Visitors Center in Lewiston next to NU and it runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days with a huge emphasis on getting the kids in tune with nature and the outdoors. In honor of NHF Day, New York State has announced that Sept. 22 will be a free fishing day in the state.

The Niagara River Anglers Association’s fishing pond is a popular attraction at the Wildlife Festival every year at the Power Vista in Lewiston, the area’s National Hunting and Fishing Day celebration Sept. 22-23. Photographer: Anne Dykstra.

No one needs a fishing license, but you do have to abide by the fishing regulations in the state and on the body of water you intend to fish. This is a great opportunity to share your expertise with someone who you’ve always wanted to take on the water. It could be a neighbor or friend, a co-worker or a family member. Make the effort and it could make a huge difference in a person’s life. There is a kids fishing derby on Saturday morning at Hyde Park Lake in Niagara Falls from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., followed by canoeing and kayaking starting at 12:30 p.m. The fishing derby is for kids ages 6 to 16 years old. Get down there and get the next generation fishing.

Gianni Etopio of Youngstown, NY, caught this king salmon from shore off the NYPA fishing platform in the Lower Niagara Rive this week.

Lake Ontario salmon and trout fishing continues to be very good, especially out deep from 300 to 400 feet of water off Wilson and Olcott. Quality steelhead in the double digit range have been reported consistently on a spoon bite along with a mix of mature and immature salmon. If you are looking for some big boys, try trolling the pier heads at Wilson and Olcott at first light with J-plugs, cut bait behind a flasher, flasher-fly or a magnum spoon.

Shawn West of Sanborn caught this salmon off the Olcott pier this past week on a KO Wobbler.

Pier casters are picking up some fish tossing spoons with anything blue in the color pattern according to Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctors. Wilson harbor has been producing some nice pike according to Joel Spring of Ransomville. Fishing with a jointed X-Rap, he managed 3 nice pike fishing off his kayak on Tuesday of this week. Bowfin were hitting in the west branch of 12 Mile Creek.

Mike Cardamone of Lewiston caught this king salmon in Devil’s Hole fishing with Capt. Frank Campbell of Niagara Region Charters

Lower Niagara River fishing is continuing to improve for salmon in the Devil’s Hole area and boat captains have switched from plugs to treated salmon egg skein fished off three-way rigs. While it’s far from the peak, they are picking up some fish consistently. The fishing platform at the power project is producing some kings on spoons, jigs and eggs. During the Travel Media Showcase event hosted by Destination Niagara USA in Niagara Falls at the Doubletree, four of the attendees were participating in a “Hooked on Adventure” fishing tour. Ashley Dobbs of Ocala, Fla. was fishing with a worm harness along the Stella drift in the lower river when she hooked into a 20 pound salmon. On a worm! That’s one of the best things fishing the lower river – you never know what you are going to catch. She was one happy camper for sure and hooked for life. It was her first fish ever!

Joel Spring of Ransomville is still using his kayak to take some pike from Wilson harbor. This one hit a jointed X-Rap plug.

Bill Hilts, Jr. –Outdoor Promotions Director

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

Orleans County, NY – Fishing Report from Capt. John Oravec of Tight Lines Charters, Sep. 4, 2018.

Orleans County King Salmon in Lake Ontario are on the BIG BITE!

From a tired Captain, the day after Labor Day…

Fish on and Happy Labor Day from everyone at Orleans County Tourism, the Fishing Fleet and the supporting area merchants that make coming to the “Oak” the top Great Lakes Fishing Package again this year!

Whether you are a local fisher-person going out for a couple of hours of great fishing with our famous sunsets or one of the out-of-state rigs I see every day slipping out the harbor at sunrise – go get ’em!

Weather systems typical for Labor Day week have repositioned the thermocline from 25 to 40 down early in the week to 70 feet down over the weekend.

More boats had good luck in the mid-water (150-250 feet). Another hotspot developed in 50 to 70 FOW west from Johnson’s Creek to Chrome Dome. Remember, mature river-bound kings, browns and coho sniff out duckweed lines and Johnson Creek can be a strong drawing force.


While some may think that with derbies now over, that’s it! Don’t believe it! With the high percent of mature fish in the daily catch, plus good soaking rains pushing rich water out of the tributaries, ledge-staging big mature Kings will become the target in the coming weeks. Then followed by pierhead, shallow water J-plug trolling and pier casting. River runs can start early in a year like this.
There is plenty of big fish action ahead.

There is less overall boat traffic, good availability with area charters and lodging operators and plenty of fish. Fish on! Oil the reels, get fresh, strong line, tie new knots.

Shark wars are coming!

See you on the Orleans County Ledges no deeper that 120 ft.

“Troutman” – Captain John Oravec; Tight Lines Charters
1857 Countyline Rd * Lyndonville, NY 14098
Boat/Mobile: 585-590-2045; Email:

Capt Johnny Oravec is a 43 year veteran of Orleans County charter captain of the 33 foot Trojan the “Troutman 2”. Capt Johnny has been helping Great Lakes anglers learn and develop fishing techniques by writing for the In Fisherman Magazine TV and Radio.
Visit our Fishing Report on, including weather forecasts and our “At the Oak, Orleans County” Facebook feed.

Niagara Falls USA Fishing Forecast for Wednesday, August 22, 2018 – Destination Niagara USA

Scott Rohe of Cheektowaga with his leading Odyssey salmon at 22 lb. 14 oz.

  • Lots of fish near Lower Niagara River and Lake Ontario
  • Tournaments offering large prizes for many age groups
  • King Salmon on the big bite with right winds
Taven Lukehart, 14, caught a 21.5 pound king salmon out of Olcott Harbor to take over the early lead in the Junior Salmon Division of the Greater Niagara Fish Odyssey.  He weighed it in at the Boat Doctor’s in Olcott.

We’re at the half-way point of the Greater Niagara Fish Odyssey Derby, ending on Sunday, August 26 at 1 p.m. It’s still not too late to enter, especially for the kids who can fish for free in a special Junior Division. There is over $1,000 in kids prizes up for grabs. Check out for details.

Some nice fish have already come to the scales, like the 10 pound, 6 ounce walleyes weighed in by Charles Hoy of Niagara Falls in the adult division AND by

Gabby Hovak of North Tonawanda caught this 13 pound, 7 ounce steelhead east of Olcott to take over the trout division of the kids in the Fish Odyssey AND the Steelhead Division for the Fall LOC Derby! She caught it on a Finn Tackle spoon.

Ethan Brolinski of Lewiston in the Junior Division! Both were caught on the Niagara Bar at the mouth of the Niagara River. Biggest salmon so far is a 22 pound, 14 ounce king hauled in by Scott Rohe of Cheektowaga, caught out in front of Olcott on a spin doctor and cut bait. Steve Olay of Ransomville has first place rainbow/brown so far with a 11 pound, 1 ounce steelie. Richard Barber of Niagara Falls is the top laker taker with a 19 pound, 2 ounce Niagara Bar fish. Dave Stahura, Jr. of Lackawanna has the big bass so far, a 5 pound, 7 ounce smallmouth from Lake Erie. Michael Boncore of Buffalo is leading the carp division with an 18 pound, 6 ounce Lake Ontario fish. For the kids, Gabby Hovak of North Tonawanda is leading the trout division in the Odyssey. She is also leading the entire field in the Fall LOC Derby with her 13 pound, 7 ounce steelhead caught east of Olcott on a Finn Tackle spoon over 400 feet of water. Taven Lukehart of Reynoldsville, Pa. has the top salmon at 21 pounds, 5 ounces out of Olcott on a spoon. Gabriella Geiger of Lackawanna is current leader in the bass division with a 4 pound 8 ounce Lake Erie smallmouth caught on a tube. Jacob Velesko of Middleport is leading carp catcher with an 18 pound, 15 ounce fish from the Oak and Abigail McGrath of Niagara Falls is leading the panfish division with a 10 ounce perch. Get out there and catch some fish!

Congratulations are in order for the “Reelin’ for a Cure” tournament held last Friday out of Wilson and Olcott. Top ladies team in the 3rd annual event was the Legacy Ladies captained by Rob Wescott of Hamlin. They scored 166.30 points for their best 6 fish based on 10 points per fish and a point per pound to best 20 other boats in the fun contest. They also raised funds for “Look Good, Feel Better” as a support for ladies suffering from cancer.

Niagara River walleye action has been good the past week with worm harnesses or yellow sally-spinner-worm rigs catching fish. Bass action has been good in the river, too, with crabs and shiners at the top of the list for getting fish to hit according to Lisa Drabczyk at Creek Road Bait and Tackle.

In the lake, the salmon and trout fishing has been hampered a bit the last few days from an east wind that has brought in cold waters. Head out deep to 350 to 450 foot depths in the top 100 feet to target a mix of salmon and trout. There were some trollers working the waters from 180 to 220 feet picking up some matures on Tuesday, but it’s a blow day today again so we don’t know what’s happening inside right now.

Scott Rohe of Cheektowaga with his leading Odyssey salmon at 22 lb. 14 oz.

Best baits for mature kings have been spin doctors and flies, flashers with cut bait (Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctors in Olcott says the N & D Cut Bait has been flying out the doors) and J-plugs first thing in the morning. Spoons are also catching fish. Hot colors have been white, black and green.  The LOC Derby runs through Labor Day and the leading fish right now is a 28 pound, 6 ounce fish for the $25,000 Grand Prize. It ends on Labor Day. Check out the leaderboard at

Don’t forget the kids fishing derby at Widewaters Marina on the Erie Canal in Lockport August 25 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Registration starts at 8 a.m.

Bill Hilts, Jr. – Outdoor Promotions Director

Inline image 2
Destination Niagara USA, 10 Rainbow Blvd., Niagara Falls, NY 14303

Orleans County, NY – Fishing Report from Capt. John Oravec of Tight Lines Charters, August 14, 2018.

Lake Ontario King Salmon are on the bite near Orleans County, Lake Ontario, NY.

It is the “high season” off the Oak for Lake Ontario salmonid sportfishing and the fleet is crushing quality silver fish in many areas!

Fishermen, Fisherwomen and especially Fisherkids are seeing ACTION from 200-550 ft of water, running spoon programs 45 to 75 ft down.

The big northeast winds early Thursday rolled cold water onto the ledges raising the thermocline to 30 ft inside of the 100 ft hump. Capt. Mike Grager and son Jason made a great read, hitting a 14#+ football brown which is leading the Albion Rotary Derby in the Brown Trout division!  

A couple tips from CJO: upcoming #1 strategy this week is to try and fan out setting up off Johnson Creek or Shadigee westbound or the “Little Flats” to Bald Eagle Harbor to the east. There is a river of good fishing water flowing past Orleans County.  The fleet is here because yes, fish concentrations are wonderful, but also, Orleans County merchants offer services like lodging, tackle, dining, marina support and boat ramps for the complete fishing trip package, not to mention a savvy fleet of charter boats.

See you out there!

Captain John Oravec   

Tight Lines Charters
1857 Countyline Rd * Lyndonville, NY 14098
boat/mobile 585-590-2045 

Capt Johnny Oravec is a 43 year veteran of Orleans County charter captain of the 33 foot Trojan the “Troutman 2”. Capt Johnny has been helping Great Lakes anglers learn and develop fishing techniques by writing for the In Fisherman Magazine TV and Radio.

Visit our Fishing Report on, including weather forecasts and our “At the Oak, Orleans County” Facebook feed.

Fishing Report from Capt. John Oravec of Tightlines Charters: Aug. 7, 2018 – Lake Ontario, Orleans County, NY

Lake Ontario King Salmon are on the bite near Orleans County, Lake Ontario, NY.

There is a lot of great fishing going on this week off the “Oak” in Orleans County. One group of fishermen, charter and “Rec” boats are coming back to port happy by trolling 55 to 135 ft of water, mainly east of the harbor from the west end of the “Flats” to the “Devil’s Nose”. Actually, I think that if anglers launched at Bald Eagle, they will find a pile of big fish right out front and save a lot of fuel in the process.

FYI, if you have a hankering for pudgy brown trout try smaller stingers, slims and the like. Downrigged and slow-trolled weaving from 50 to 60. If a hot morning bite is your cup of tea, set up at daybreak then set up at 120 ft overall, get your speed right and watch the rods fly! One special tip: these king salmon are on the feed, low light activity is crazy. Try not to waste this prime time running gobs of lines early. Put down two or three riggers, vary your leader, drop back lengths, mark fish, vary your speed and direction and get in on the action!

Update! A little bird told me yesterday that several boats had crazy fishing fun out on the “30 line” on a big mixed bag of Chinook and whopper Steels 55 to 75 down with a 12 pound weight. This location corresponds to roughly 450 feet to 550 feet of water for any newcomers. I believe this area will become very consistent, next week as well.

Remember to go over your rig for all safety equipment which includes fresh flares, working VHF marine radio, and a fully charged cell phone. There are certain basics for a solid offshore fishing trip plan including an AM start, staying with the fleet, weather updates, plenty of fuel and an adequate crew to handle the action. This zone is shared by both up bound and down bound freighter lanes so always be aware of shipping traffic. Go to for updated vessel locations and vessel names.

Orleans County waters are now a double banded red hot fishing area. Have fun, be safe and please cull your catch, keeping larger adult fish and just the fish you wish to enjoy on the table.

Captain John Oravec,
Tight Lines Charters
1857 Countyline Rd.,  Lyndonville, NY 14098
Boat/Mobile: 585-590-2045

Capt. Johnny Oravec is a 43 year veteran of Orleans County charter captain of the 33 foot Trojan the “Troutman 2”. Capt Johnny has been helping Great Lakes anglers learn and develop fishing techniques by writing for the In Fisherman Magazine TV and Radio.Visit our Fishing Report on, including weather forecasts and our “At the Oak, Orleans County” Facebook feed.

Orleans County, NY – HOME OF THE KING!!! – Lake Ontario Fishing Report, July 30, 2018 –

Ready at the Ready! King Salmon are everywhere when you fish Lake Ontario in the right place off Orleans County, NY!

This week’s fishing report is from Capt. John Oravec of Tightlines Charters.

Ready at the Ready! King Salmon are everywhere when you fish Lake Ontario in the right place…Orleans County, NY.

As Sonny and Cher once sang: “And the Beat Goes On!” There is a steady traffic of fishing boats. I counted over 50 on the weekend rigged for Salmon action and getting it! Boats from Vermont, Ohio, New Jersey, Michigan, Indiana, Connecticut, Maine and Pennsylvania.

The stable wind pattern has created a broad pattern of fishing depths which will let you catch fish anywhere from 160 to 350 feet of water – AKA the mid “28 line”.  The salmon and now “bonus steelhead” are lying 60 to 80 feet down.  Remember that when to trolling in deep water currents, wily trollers add extra cable footage to consistently reach feeding fish.  Please remember to release the steelhead and smaller salmon! Those immature fish are the future fish population!

Watch the changing weather systems mid-week and bring rain gear to be sure.  Also, be ready, pull your lines and boogie to home port at any sign of thunderstorm activity. Be safe.

I saw many charters heading in early Sunday, limited out, their boats full of happy “salmon whooped” anglers.  My boys from Columbus are already set on coming back in 2019.

If you are still considering a fishing visit this year, go to for all your trip planning info.  See you on the water in Orleans County – Home of the King!!!

Capt. John Oravec,, Tight Lines Charters, 1857 Countyline Rd. Lyndonville, NY,  14098; Phone (boat/mobile): 585-590-2045.

Capt. Johnny Oravec is a 43 year veteran of Orleans County charter captain of the 33 foot Trojan, the “Troutman 2.” Capt. Johnny has been helping Great Lakes anglers learn and develop fishing techniques by writing for the In-Fisherman Magazine TV and Radio.

Visit our Fishing Report on, including weather forecasts and our “At the Oak, Orleans County” Facebook feed.

From Point Breeze on Lake Ontario, the World Fishing Network’s Ultimate Fishing Town USA and the rest of Orleans County, let’s make everyday a great fishing day right here in Orleans County!

Sincerely, The Team at Orleans County Tourism;, 14016 Route 31 West, Albion, NY 14411; 1-800-724-0314


King Salmon Move Near Shore RIGHT NOW! Lake Ontario, Orleans County, NY – July 24, 2018

It's Spoon Time!

Lake Ontario Fishing News from Tightline’s Charters – July 24, 2018.

By Capt. John Oravec

It’s Spoon Time! See more photos – 

The Lake Ontario waters off Point Breeze – simply put – are teaming with big king salmon after a big nor’easter storm caused the inside water to roll over.  A classic upwelling, the salmon are feeding closer to the shoreline and near the surface!

I heard from a duo hailing from New Jersey and West Virginia that they had super action in close, plus one of the biggest salmon yet for 2018 – a 40″ 27 plus pounder!

Another group of trollers plowed thru fog only to find lots of schoolie kings and scrappy steelhead 30 to 40 feet down over 400 feet depths. Hot lure wise the consensus is spoons! Spoons! Spoons!  Try to simplify a lure spread with a couple downriggers and a trailing 10 color leadcore or 250 ft. copper Flatline. The water is very clear, less can catch more.

Your local tackle shops have the prime baits and accessories to repair all the breakage during salmon wars like this! Be careful when running offshore. Have plenty of fuel, safety gear and stay in sight of the boat fleet.

Go get ’em!

Capt. John Oravec,, Tight Lines Charters, 1857 Countyline Rd., Lyndonville, NY, 14098; Phone: boat/mobile 585-590-2045

Capt. Johnny Oravec is a 43 year veteran of Orleans County charter captain of the 33 foot Trojan the “Troutman 2.” Captain Johnny has been helping Great Lakes anglers learn and develop fishing techniques by writing for the In-Fisherman Magazine TV and Radio.

Visit our Fishing Report on, including weather forecasts and our “At the Oak, Orleans County” Facebook feed.

From Point Breeze on Lake Ontario, the World Fishing Network’s Ultimate Fishing Town USA and the rest of Orleans County, let’s make everyday a great fishing day right here in Orleans County!

Sincerely, The Team at Orleans County Tourism

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

Orleans County/Lake Ontario Fishing Report – Oct. 17, 2017

  • Trout/Salmon in the Trib’s Now, but Spotty
  • Lake Alice Bass Action Still Good in Upper Stretch
  • St. Mary’s Archers Club Tourney ON – Oct. 18-20th

Today is Tuesday October 17, 2017.

The cool down of last night brought frost to some areas, but not the nearby shoreline of Lake Ontario.  Temperatures will be back up into the 60s and 70s for the rest of the week with no rain in sight.

There are salmon all through the “Oak”, Johnson Creek, Marsh Creek and Sandy Creek, but they are spotty due to the fact that they are spread out so much.

Water conditions on all of the tributaries within Orleans County are slowing slightly and clearing, but still are very fishable.

Fishing has slowed on Lake Alice, except for bass fishing on the upper reaches of the lake.

Tomorrow is the start of the Archer’s Club Catch and Release Derby and it runs through Friday October 20th this year.

The weather should be perfect, the water flow is the best in years, the food is always tremendous, the prizes are great and the size of the winning fish is up to you so enter now for a great time.

From Point Breeze on Lake Ontario, the World Fishing Network’s Ultimate Fishing Town USA and the rest of Orleans County.  We try to make everyday a great fishing day in Orleans County.


King’s, Coho’s and Brown Trout Wacking Baits from Boat & Shore in Lower Niagara River

  • King’s, Coho Salmon on Niagara Bar ON-THE-MOVE to Devil’s Hole
  • Browns Biting at Night from Shore
  • Rainy Weather May Cause Big Run
  • Bass & Walleye Biting in Upper Niagara/Lake Erie
Mike Rzucidlo with an October brown trout casting from shore in the Lower Niagara River.
Jon Gwara with a nice King Salmon fishing with Captain Frank Campbell.
Ricardo Davila with a King Salmon caught from shore.

Get ready for another slug of fish to arrive in the lower Niagara River and area tributaries off Lake Ontario! Both wind and rain are in the forecast and that could be the trigger to bring some more fish into area waters.
In the lower Niagara River, Capt. Frank Campbell of Niagara Region Charters called me at 9:30 a.m. to say he had limited out for his two customers. That’s six salmon in just a couple hours. Not every day is like that, but if the rains in the afternoon trigger a run, there are a bunch of fish – kings and Coho salmon – hanging out on the Niagara Bar waiting for a push from Mother Nature.
We haven’t seen good numbers of Coho salmon in the fall in a number of years. This is great news! For boaters, the Devil’s Hole area is the place to be. Pautzke-treated egg skein is the ticket for taking Pacific salmon, fished off three-way rigs.
Shore fishermen have been doing pretty well too. Ricardo Davila of Wheatfield has been tossing glow-in-the-dark spoons and spinners to take salmon early in the morning. When that sun comes up though, fishing gets a bit tougher in that Devil’s Hole area.
From shore, Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls has been using the same kind of hardware. He’ll also toss a Rat-L-Trap. Today he started catching some brown trout mixed in with his salmon in the Whirlpool area. He also reported some good bass fishing along the shoreline at Artpark.
If you enjoy fishing around the Schoellkopf Site near the Discovery Center (yes, there’s an elevator there), this new access point will be closed Oct. 11-12, next week, as they use a crane to complete some work.
Over at Olcott and 18 Mile Creek, Burt Dam has seen more fishermen than fish. Hopefully that will change soon. Some fish are being caught from boats anchored around the harbor, as well as around the piers.
Pier casters are only picking a few fish up now, but hopefully that will change, too. Spoons and spinners will work, but harbor boats are using treated egg skein and fished under a float.
Boat trollers are still pounding the mature salmon with flasher and fly or meat until they hit. Sometimes it’s tough getting them mad enough to strike, but when they do you have your hands full. If the weather cooperates, you can always run out deep off Wilson and Olcott to take a mix of salmon and trout.

Captain Chris Cinelli with another nice walleye rom the Upper Niagara River / Lake Erie.

Capt. Alan Sauerland of Instigators Charters out of Wilson found some salmon and trout in 450-plus feet of water, but he had to go deep to find the right temperatures. His riggers were from 75 to 110 feet deep, the divers were 280 and 300 feet back and he needed 500 feet of copper line to hit the fish zone with spoons and flasher-fly presentations.
In the Upper Niagara River, bass and walleye are still the primary focus. Capt. Chris Cinelli has been hitting some nice fish at the head of the river with shiners and spinner-worm combos.
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!


King Salmon, Coho’s Walleye, Steelhead – Lower Niagara River & Lake Ontario IS HOT

  • Niagara Falls USA Fishing Forecast for September 21, 2017
  • Egg Skein from Boats is #1
  • Glow-In Dark Spoons are Hot from Shore
  • Increasing Near-Record Temp’s Could Slow Run
Jim Rores King Salmon in the Lower Niagara River.

The salmon run is happening in the Niagara River right now from both boat and shore.  From boat, treated egg skein is the ticket.  From shore, try tossing glow in the dark spoons or spinners under low conditions.

The amazing weather we’ve been experiencing does have a down side. Water temperatures in the river have risen by 4 degrees already and it could impact the salmon run.

Joe Czyrny with a nice King.

If the Chinook and Coho’s make it up into the warm water, they probably won’t last long…or they could head over to the tailrace of the power plant and the fishing platform guys and gals will do better.  Things have slowed down a little there.  Some bass and walleye are still available in the river, too.  One area is just north of the Lewiston Landing area, where they have also been taking some perch.  Directly relating to the run of salmon in the river is the Niagara Bar fishing.

Capt. Matt Yablonsky of Wet Net Charters reports that the Chinook (kings) are staging again at the drop-off in 70 to 80 feet of water with E-Chip flashers and A-Tom-Mik flies or meat.  Glow in the dark spoons work early morning and at dusk.

In Olcott and Wilson, there has been some pier action for salmon and trout. Again, spoons and spinners work best. There was actually a hot bite for steelhead the past 24 hours for some reason up a Burt Dam, but with the warm temperatures near record-breaking the next 4 or 5 days, those fish will probably head back out into the lake.

Young Keegan Walczak with a nice Steelhead.

Speaking about out in the lake, trollers are using spoons, flasher-fly, flasher-cut bait or J-plugs to take salmon and the occasional trout inside of 100 feet of water.  Fish are also available out deep.

Wilson harbor was also producing some nice northern pike on spinnerbaits.

Check out some of the catches featured this week in the Buffalo News website to see what’s really happening here fishing-wise (

Upper Niagara River action has been good for bass and walleye the past week. Try fishing around the head of Strawberry Island, at the head of the river and around the walls off Buffalo.

National Hunting and Fishing Day is Sept. 23. Niagara County’s version of this celebration is tied directly to the Wildlife Festival sponsored each year by the New York Power Authority and the Niagara County Federation of Conservation Clubs.  The Festival is held both Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the NYPA Visitor’s Center located at 5777 Lewiston Road, Lewiston.  Call 716-286-6661 for more information.

All of the old stand-by presenters and vendors will be in attendance like the Primate Sanctuary, the Buffalo Zoo-mobile, Hawk Creek and Nickel City Reptiles.

Ricardo Davila with a nighttime walleye from Artpark.

The Niagara River Anglers has their fishing pond set up and the Niagara Federation’s shooting trailer will be up for some plinking.  Did we mention that this is ALL FREE?  It’s great fun for the whole family.  This event will be held, rain or shine.

If you are a goose hunter, this is the final weekend for the nuisance goose season, ending on September 25.

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!


Vincent DeLoraenzo with a giant King rom the Lower River.

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

Fish-Catching Fun in Comfort on Lake Ontario

  • Lower Niagara River, Wilson Harbor and Olcott Harbor ALL Provide Easy Access to Big Ocean-sized Fish
  • Boat Trollers and Pier Casters both SCORE on Fall King Salmon
  • Charter Fishing from a Boat is FUN, Affordable and Comfortable

By Forrest Fisher

Whopper steelhead are among usual late summer catches when your lure and feeding time for the fish are in-sync, as they were for Rick Updegrove the last week of August. Forrest Fisher Photo

With water levels slowly returning to normal, late summer on Lake Ontario means fishing fun at nearly every port of angler access, from shore and boat. 

The end of August is the start of peak fishing for King Salmon, but steelhead, lake trout and other cold water species also add to the reel-sizzling, fish-catching fun.

Fishing out of Wilson Harbor with Charter Captain Bob Cinelli aboard his aptly named “White Mule,” a 36-foot Tiara – ask him how that name came to be, was a simple day of fishing pleasure.  The boat is big, bold and beautiful.  Rest room below decks, sleeping compartments…nice.

The fishing rigs aboard “White Mule” are brand new models of time-tested rods, reels, lines and lures.  Cinelli only uses the best and he should know after more than 30 years of fishing experience on the “Big-O.”  Daiwa 4011 hi-speed reels, Heartland rods, Big Jon downriggers, 20-pound test Ande monofilament lines on the downriggers – tipped with Seaguar fluorocarbon leaders, copper line for use with the giant “Otter” planer boards, and the sharpest hooks on his select set of favored spoons. 

Fishing with friends Mike Norris, Rick Updegrove and John Syracuse, we all took turns landing King salmon and steelhead.  Our trip started early at sunrise and we were back to port at noon or so, with plenty of fillets for the smoker. 

The big question for many anglers is how to fish and with what. What color? What spoon? How Deep? Charter captains often have ALL THOSE ANSWERS.  Forrest Fisher Photo

North winds over the previous few days had started a small turnover offshore, but that did not hold up the fishing action with Captain Bob, as he revised the fishing program to find the winning combination to find King Salmon and steelhead.

We started out running lines at 30, 40 and 50 feet down using downriggers with 8-foot sliders, diving planes off copper out 100 feet, all with some variation of green-colored spoons in 125 feet of water.  To find the hot fish, we slowly trolled out to 300 feet and then back shallower, looking for active fish on the feed.  Back and forth Captain Bob moved us around, then we found active steelhead off the planer boards and riggers.

Just like fishing for marlin in the ocean, steelhead in Lake Ontario fly out of the water.  Up, up and away. The fish not only soar above the water, they swim fast to the left, to the right, and then right at you.  When that happens, you need to test your shoulder and arms for durability, and turn the reel handle very fast.

I had a nice steelhead on, it was my turn when the port side Otter board with the copper line jerked free with a jolting, rod-throbbing pulse as it exited the line release.  We all thought it was a King as John hollered, “Forrest, you’re up!”  I vaulted from my seat to take the rod from first mate, Nick, and moved to the padded rear railing on the boat.  A very safe and adequate spot to lean on as the fish was battled back to the boat.

“How much line is out Nick?” I asked. “About 400 feet, just keep reeling, you’re doing just fine.”  Rick joined in the verbal fun, “Feel that burn Forrest?!”  How did he know?  Indeed, my shoulders were on fire.  How could this be? I was being worn out by a less-than-monster fish.  Mike shared, “Hang on to him, it looks like the biggest one so far.”  Easy for him to say.  Then John added, “If you’re tired, I can take the rod.”  I didn’t say anything, but was thinking, “No way John,”…I’m not sure I even heard that. 

Maybe I was just hearing voices in my subconscious state of fish-fighting mindset? 

Nope, on the other hand, these are what fishing friends are for.  Heckling.  Bantering.  Funning.  A few minutes later, my arms really were actually getting numb – 400 feet of copper is a LONG WAY, but we landed the fish just fine.  I turned to grin at “my friends” not saying a word about my frozen arm joints.  It was 65 degrees out and I was forming sweat on my brow.  

Love this fishing!

John added, “Imagine how that guy felt yesterday that caught that 51-inch King, 39 pounds – 3 ounces, to take the lead in the LOC Derby?” He was not making me feel any better.  “Honestly,” I returned, “I cannot imagine that.  I think you might need to share the rod with your friends in that case.”  John grinned and said, “Hey, that’s what fishing friends are for.”  

We were having a great day.


Success is a double header with some high-flying steelhead.  L-R: Mike Norris, John Syracuse, Rick Updegrove.  Forrest Fisher Photo

Over the course of the morning trip, we had 12 releases and this was a “SLOW DAY” according to Captain Bob.  My sore shoulders did not agree.  I gotta start working out harder.   We caught lots of “shakers,” the term for young-of-the-year King Salmon that weigh 2-3 pounds.  The future fishery. All were released unharmed.

This fishing trip was fun.  Maybe the best part of such a trip is that when four guys head out to fish this way in total comfort with the latest gear, hottest lures, a captain that can navigate and a first mate that coaches you along the way, and it’s affordable.  

“Leave the dock at sunrise and back by about 12-12:30 with four guys,” Captain Bob said, “Our usual pricing is not expensive at $150 apiece.  $25 more each and you can fish the whole day.”  Unreal.  Affordable fun.  We all chipped in to tip the first mate.

A lot of us spend that much on just one good fishing reel (I do). 

My new view, I’m getting older – save time, save money, fish with a charter.  Not only do you get to fish with the best gear and fish with friends, you go the hottest fishing places at the best times and someone else cleans your catch! Then you  just head home for the freezer with all of your healthy dinner meals for the next few months.  

Need the right sensor gear to catch fish? Sonar, radar, surface water temp, water temp at the ball, boat speed, and a radiotelephone to phone home are all part of the half-day fish trip.  Forrest Fisher Photo

If you’re looking to do this, you can contact Captain Bob Cinelli Sportfishing directly by calling 716-860-5774.  You might also learn a lot about the lake, the fishery, the forage, the predator fish, invasive species, why the fish are able to be caught on certain lures and bait, the Lake Ontario water level, issues and more. 

Captain Cinelli is the chairman of the Niagara County Fishery Advisory Board.  He has the inside line on what’s happening on Lake Ontario and the Lower Niagara River.  And with the hottest fishing.

Fish on! Who’s up?!

Orleans County Fishing Report – Aug. 2, 2017

  • LOC Summer Derby Results are in
  • 31 pound, 10 ounce Orleans County Salmon is WINNER
  • Summer Fish are on the Big Bite

Today is Wednesday Aug. 2, 2017.

First, I’d like to congratulate the winners of the Summer LOC Derby, especially those that were caught out of Orleans County.  Out of Orleans County, we had First Place in the salmon division with a 31.1-pound salmon caught by Kristin Wilson.  Victor Rowcliffe had the 4th place salmon weighing 29.05 pounds

In the Lake Trout Division, the 4th place fish weighed 21.1 pounds and was caught by James Irene and the 7th place fish was 20.04 pounds caught by Michael Wichtowski.

In the Rainbow/Steelhead Division, Darwin Snow caught the 6th place fish which weighed 12.15 pounds, 10th place was Tiffany Keicher’s 11.15-pound fish, 13th place went to Laura Brown with a 11.11-pound fish and the 17th place fish weighed 11.08 pounds and was caught by Patrick Pullinzi.

All in all, not a bad showing for the great fishing waters we enjoy in Lake Ontario off Orleans County.

Fishing on Lake Ontario seems to have moved off shore and for right and now seems to be taking place around the 30 line and beyond.

Good catches of both salmon and steelhead are being reported using a mixture of both spoons and flasher/fly combinations in a multitude of color patterns.

On the Erie Canal, around the wide water area, some great catfish catches are being taken along with many other species.

Lake Alice still has some great bass fishing in the upper stretches where the boat traffic is much lighter.  The lower stretches of the “Oak” are still producing northern pike and bass.

The weather for the rest of this week and into next week contains the possibility of some pop-up showers and thunderstorms so keep a lookout for them.

From Point Breeze on Lake Ontario, the World Fishing Network’s Ultimate Fishing Town USA and the rest of Orleans County.  We try to make everyday a great fishing day in Orleans County.


Destination Niagara USA Fishing Forecast for July 27, 2017

Sandra Brown of Pa. with her husband, Ed (L), Joe Yaeger and her 32 pound-4 oz. King Salmon.

The Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Association held its annual club tournament(s) last weekend and some impressive fish were caught.  At the top of the list is the current leader in the Lake Ontario Counties trout and salmon derby, a 32 pound – 4 ounce king caught by Sandra Brown of Clearfield, Pennsylvania.  She was fishing on the Niagara Bar with her husband Ed and Joe Yaeger of Amherst.  The fish came on a Dreamweaver Spin Doctor and Mirage A-Tom-Mik fly, 60 feet down over 160 feet of water a mile east of the red can.

Matt and Marc Dunn of Newfane with some of their LOTSA catch.

For the LOTSA Curt Meddaugh Memorial Tournament, it was the best three fish for Friday.  The Streaker team, consisting of Matt Dunn of Newfane with his dad Marc (also of Newfane), Doug Parker of Lockport and Doug Parker II of Wilson (another father-son duo), won the event. Their three fish total for the day was 66.48-pounds, narrowly defeating 4 Poles led by Marty Polovick of Lockport. Yaeger’s Salmonella team finished in fourth despite having the 32-pound kicker. However, there was another aspect to the two day LOTSA contests. A 3-2-3 contest (best 3 fish over 2 days with 3 winners) was in place, and Yaeger’s Salmonella crew won the top prize with a total of 72.46-pounds.  Second place was Matt Dunn’s Streaker team with 70.99-pounds.  The Saturday club contest was for big fish and Capt. Adam Gearich and the Diversion II team led the way when Tim Bromund of Colden reeled in a 26-pound – 4 ounce king in 100 feet of water between Wilson and Olcott. LOTSA details can be found at

Check out the LOC Derby leaderboard at The Summer Derby ends on Sunday at 1 p.m. The awards ceremony is a Capt. Jack’s in Sodus Point at 4 p.m.

Lower Niagara River fishing action has been consistent.  A few more walleye are starting to show up and smallmouth bass fishing continues to be good.  Live bait like crayfish and shiners are working for bass; worm harnesses for walleye. Yesterday it was a rowdy crew from Texas fishing with Capt. Joe Marra of Lewiston and the highlight of the trip was a 6 pound smallmouth reeled in by Evan Scanlon – a personal best, caught along the Coast Guard Station.

Upper Niagara River action has leveled off but some bass and walleye are still showing up consistently.  The big news this past week was Capt. Chris Cinelli of Grand Island guiding Sawyer Dolce of Orchard Park.  Fishing the humps around Strawberry Island, Dolce was drifting a crayfish when a nice bass hit. Affixed to the back of the fish was another tag from the Canadian Tire bass tournament from two years ago. Cinelli had caught two previously in the lower Niagara River.  This is his first in the upper river, where the tagged fish were released.

Evan Scanlon of Texas with 6-pound smallmouth.

Erie Canal – It was a packed house at the Gasport Fire Hall last Sunday for the final grand prize drawing in the 27th annual Erie Canal Fishing Derby.  All the first place winners were put into a hat in one of the final orders of business.  Lynn Harrington reached into the hat and pulled out an Ace of Clubs – and that corresponded with a card being held by 13 year old Keegan Walczak of Amherst.  He won a new boat, motor and trailer from Brobeil Marine in Buffalo, a new Polar Kraft.  He ended up giving a high-five immediately to his dad Chris, who was also standing up front as one of the divisional winners.  In the youth division, James Benzinger won the new fishing kayak in the grand prize drawing for the kids.  He is from North Carolina and comes up every year to fish with his grandparents in the derby.  For a complete list of all of the winners go to

Keegan Walczak with his dad, Chris in front of Keegan’s new boat!

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;  facebook | twitter | instagram

Destination Niagara USA Fishing Forecast

  • For Wed. July 12, 2017
  • Salmon, Trout, Bass, Walleye, Musky…WOW!
Kristy Cox from New Vienna, Ohio, with her very nice King Salmon caught near Wilson Harbor, Niagara County, New York.

Water levels are continuing to come down in Lake Ontario to the delight of boaters and landowners. However, even the high water levels have not had any negative effects on fishing in the lake.
Salmon fishing continues to be very good out on the Niagara Bar, as well as out of Wilson and Olcott. Salmon action just outside the drop-off on the Bar continues to be excellent. Spin doctors and flies are near the top of the list for preferred baits; a flasher and meat rig with cut bait is another. Some fish are being caught on spoons, too, but they seem to be third on the list. The new A-Tom-Mik stud fly has been mentioned quite a bit by trollers in the lake. Niagara Falls USA waters are still at the top of the Lake Ontario stage for the Summer LOC Derby that is going on through July 30. Leading grand prize salmon is still a 27 pound fish caught by Lee Beaton of Clifton Springs, he caught that one out of Wilson, The first place salmon is another Wilson

Mike Rzucidlo with a nice Steelhead that he caught in the Lower Niagara River on July 5.

fish, a 26 pound, 10 ounce king weighed in by Charles Jaenecke of North Tonawanda. Steve Klejdys of North Tonawanda is back at the top of the lake trout leaderboard with a 23 pound – 13 ounce Niagara Bar fish, and Darryl Raate of Fulton is in first place in the steelhead division with a 13 pound trout he caught while fishing out of Wilson. Top brown trout is a 16 pound, 2 ounce fish weighed in by Joey Guernsey of McGraw while fishing out of Fair Haven.

Jerry Howe of Grand Island, New York, caught this 30 lb musky in the Niagara River.

Lower Niagara River action has been good and the moss has not been as much of a factor as in previous years for some reason. Shoreline casting with 2-inch pearl tubes was working for Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls this week, catching double digit bass and even a 9 pound steelhead. Boaters are still doing well on bass by casting the shoreline with spinnerbaits or working shiners or crayfish off three-way rigs. On July 17, the Devil’s Hole State Park stairs and trail will be shut down until the spring of 2018 for reconstruction and repairs. There are still plenty of other access points to get you into the gorge, but this trail is one of the more popular ones. Alternative access can be gained through the New York Power Authority’s South Access Road where a fishing platform and a stairs to the shoreline is available from Apr. 1 to Dec. 1. Other access points include the stairs at Whirlpool State Park; the Suspension Bridge Stairs (under the Whirlpool Bridge); the Great Gorge Railway Trail (that begins at the Niagara Gorge Discovery Center); and the elevator at the Schoellkopf Site (adjacent to the Discovery Center). A copy of the Niagara Gorge Trail Map is available at:
There are lots of fishing contests going on. The 27th Annual Erie Canal Derby is going on through Sunday, July 16th. Some pretty impressive catches have already come to the scales that will be tough to beat. For example, Michael Boncore of Buffalo is leading the carp category with a 28.02 pound fish; Todd Wells of Medina leads the sheepshead category with an 11.39 pounder; and Charles Rizzo of North Tonawanda has the leading catfish with a 14 pounder. The new walleye leader is Albert Whaley of Tonawanda with a 5.19 pound fish.
Upper Niagara River action continues to be good for bass, walleye and the occasional musky. A spinner and a worm produced all three this week for Capt. Chris Cinelli. The musky was about 46 inches long, probably in the mid-30 pound range as far as weight. It was caught by Jerry Howe of Grand Island and released.
Bill Hilts, Jr., Outdoor Promotions Director
Destination Niagara USA, 10 Rainbow Blvd., Niagara Falls, NY USA, 14303
p: 1.877 FALLS US | 716.282.8992 x.303 | f:716.285.0809
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Destination Niagara USA Fishing Report – July 6, 2017

  • FISH: King Salmon Action is HOT
  • WHERE: Wilson Harbor, Niagara County, NY
  • LURES: A-Tom-Mik Twinkie set-ups & Dreamweaver UV Frog Spin Doctor

Lake Ontario salmon action is continuing on a consistent clip to the delight of trollers at Wilson, Olcott and the Niagara Bar.

Big King Salmon are becoming the norm off Wilson Harbor, Niagara County, NY, these last few days.

Don’t take my word for it, though, just ask Capt. Casey Prisco of Matamoras, Pennsylvania.  He was fishing in the Monroe County Offshore Classic last weekend out of Rochester and ran his boat 153 miles round trip in the one-day contest, settling in to fish off Niagara County in Wilson.  The fish zone was 71 to 111 feet down over 130 to 180 feet of water, using a Dreamweaver UV Frog spin doctor and an A-Tom-Mik Twinkie set-up.  With the A-Tom-Mik meat set out 205 feet on a diver.  Another productive rod was a 10-inch white green dot Dreamweaver spin doctor with A-Tom-Mik meat set down 91 feet.  He went 21 for 22 on fish for the morning before running back – catching nearly 84 pounds for five fish.

For local captains, the new A-Tom-Mik stud fly has also been a hot ticket for kings, too.  Earlier this week, we had some fishing writers from Germany show up in town for an “I Love NY” familiarization tour.  They did spend a few hours in the morning, catching salmon and steelhead with Capt. Mike Johannes and On-The-Rocks charters out of Wilson before travelling to their next stop.

The day before, they fished the Lower Niagara River for smallmouth bass with Capt. Frank Campbell of Niagara Region Charters, catching roughly 25 fish on spinnerbaits. The biggest was 6 pounds. 

Fishing with Captain Frank Campbell, visitors to the Lower Niagara River in Niagara County, NY, are cashing in on GIANT smallmouth bass, like this 6-pound bronzeback.

There are quite a few fishing contests in the month of July and two are going on right now.  They include the Lake Ontario Counties Summer Trout and Salmon Derby and the 27th Annual Erie Canal Fishing Derby.

If you are going fishing on Lake Ontario, if even for a day, make sure you sign up.  Day passes are available.  Leading fish for the $10,000 Grand Prize is Lee Beaton of Clifton Springs, NY, with a 27 pound King caught out of Wilson.  Darryl Raate of Fulton is leading the steelhead division with another Wilson fish – this one weighing 13 pounds.  Top brown is 16 pounds, 2 ounces and the first place lake trout is 22 pounds, 10 ounces. The derby continues through July 30. Go to for details. 

Meanwhile on the Erie Canal, the derby kicked off on Wednesday, July 5, and will continue through July 16.  There is a family pass for just $25 if you want to take advantage of a group entry fee.  The leader board is wide open.  Get out there and catch some fish.  Find out information at

The Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Association is ready to have a party – a fishing party for its members.  You can join for just $10 and become part of the festivities, set for July 21-22 out of Olcott.  The first event on the fishing calendar is the Curt Meddaugh Memorial Tournament on Friday, a big fish contest that is free for club members.  All you have to do is register! Big fish for the day must be weighed in by 3 p.m. at the Town of Newfane Marina in Olcott.  On Saturday, the LOTSA Club Tournament will be going on all day.  This is a big fish contest, as well, and entry fee is $60.  Weigh in at Krull Park by 3 p.m. to be included for the cash prizes.  The final piece to the LOTSA fishing puzzle is the club’s 3-2-3 contest over the two days. Best 3 fish over 2 days of fishing, paying out the top 3 weights.  Entry fee is $50 for this portion of the contest.  The club picnic will be immediately following on Saturday and the awards will be handed out.  You can find out more information and also register for these contests at And speaking of LOTSA, the next meeting is July 13 at Cornell Cooperative Extension Niagara in Lockport, guest speaker will be Capt. Matt Yablonsky:  “Talking Small Boat King’s” at 7 p.m.

As we mentioned, bass fishing in the lower Niagara River has been decent and the moss really hasn’t been that bad.  In the upper Niagara River, bass and walleye are still cooperating at the head of the river and around Strawberry Island.  The best bait has been with a spinner and a worm.  Remember that you can now venture into Canadian waters without calling in.  Make sure you understand the live bait regulations and you are carrying a Canadian fishing license if you do cross the border. 

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;


  • Free Fishing this Weekend in New York State (June 24-25, 2017)
  • New USA-CANADA Border Fishing Rules Eased
  • Lake Ontario Counties Tourney Series Starting
  • Detailed Fishing Report for June 22, 2017
Scott Rohe with a nice Lake Ontario King Salmon.

Lots of good news in this week’s report. It’s a Free Fishing Weekend in New York State. However, you do have to abide by the fishing regulations. Check out to find out what the rules are in the waters you intend to fish.

This is also the weekend for the Hooked on Fishing Tournament presented by the Boys and Girls Club of the Northtowns both Saturday and Sunday. Everything is run out of Gateway Harbor, North Tonawanda. Register June 23 from noon to 6 p.m. or any time after 7 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. For more info visit or call 873-9842 Ext. 211.

Lake Ontario salmon fishing continues to be very good all along the Niagara County shoreline. Good reports are coming from the Niagara Bar to Olcott and beyond. Salmon in the upper 20 pound range were caught all last week and Capt. Dan Evans out of Wilson, fishing in a tournament on the north shore, managed to reel in a 32 pound chunk pre-fishing and releases the fish to fight another day. Top lures include a variety of Dreamweaver metal, Silver Streaks and Michigan Stingers.

However, the bigger fish seem to prefer the spin doctor and fly combos. The new A-Tom-Mik Stud Fly is really working well, producing that 32 pounder we just mentioned. White crush-glow pattern.  Meat rigs are also tricking fish to hit. Yes, Lake Ontario is open for business!  Start in 100 feet of water and head north out to 300 foot depths. Salmon seem to be in the top 80 feet of water. And some steelhead have started to move in to accompany the salmon so make sure you put a few baits out for them, too. In other good news, the lake levels have started to come down.

Captain Danny Evans with another nice Lake Ontario King Salmon, sliding to get out of the picture!

According to lake level reports, the waterline has dropped over 4 inches already and the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Water Board has announced that after the three-day experiment last week to increase outflows, they are going to continue with it to provide additional relief in the lake. The Town of Newfane Marina launch area and the Lewiston Landing launch are your two best bets for easy boat launch access.

More good news is that the Canadian Government finally passed a law that no longer required Americans to call into Canada Border Services when crossing the international boundary. You still need a fishing license and need to abide by the country’s regulations, but the hassle of calling in is no longer required. Remember no live bait other than worms in approved bedding or in water. Nothing in dirt. No minnows or crabs. Still, it’s just gotten a whole bunch better.

With the Lake Ontario Counties, trout and salmon summer derby just around the corner, set for June 30 to July 30, anglers are excited to take advantage of the summer action. Check out for details. In addition, the New York State Summer Classic Fishing Tournament is on and running through August 31. There are a total of 10 different fish species categories and 55 weigh stations throughout the state. To find out more information, check out

In the Lower Niagara River, water temperature are still slowly creeping up there.  Lake Erie hit 72 degrees this week, so the trout are history. The bad news is that the moss has become more of a problem.  Mostly bass were caught this week on jigs, Kwikfish and MagLips. Shore casters in the gorge have been using tubes, swim baits and marabou jigs. Inline spinners will work, too.  They can be caught but you will be cleaning your lures frequently.

Upper Niagara River bass fishing also continues to be good, but the moss is putting a kink in that action.  Some walleye are being caught at the head of the river and at the head of Strawberry Island on worm harnesses and jigs. The Great Lakes musky season opener was slow, probably due to the warmer water already flowing through the system.  For an outdoors update this week, check out to find out what’s happening.

Bill Hilts, Jr., Outdoor Promotions Director

Destination Niagara USA, 10 Rainbow Blvd., Niagara Falls, NY USA, 14303 p: 1.877 FALLS US | 716.282.8992 x.303 | f:716.285.0809 website | facebook | twitter | blog

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