Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

March 21, 2014

FISH FORECAST: More water opening up as spring arrives

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — 1. Lake Ontario and tributaries

There’s still plenty of good fishing to be had in the tributaries off of Lake Ontario like 18 Mile Creek in Burt-Olcott. With the mild weather this past week, the streams are flowing and they should be prime for some good trout action. Because steelhead are starting to drop their eggs as part of the spawning ritual, egg sacs or egg imitations are always good baits to try and target trout. 

According to Greg Stanley at All in the Same Boat Tackle Shop in Newfane, in addition to eggs, small jigs fished under a float is another good approach. Tip the jig with a wax worm. The water is a bit stained right now and if we don’t see too much rain, it should get better by the weekend. The important thing is that they are catching fish. 

Johnson Creek at the Waterport Dam was also a good spot for some bigger steelies. Keg Creek has some open areas, too. If you can get out on the piers in Wilson or Olcott, cast spoons or spinners to pick up trout. 

Just around the corner is one of the first contests of the year – the Wilson Conservation Club’s bullhead contest, set for April 11-13. Jean’s Bar in Wilson is also going to sponsoring a bullhead event later in the month, the last weekend in April. More to come.

2. Lower Niagara River

The water was a little stained on Wednesday morning, but fish were consistently being caught by boat drifters working Kwikfish lures off three-way rigs. Captains Ernie and Nick Calandrelli were both working their magic for customers on Wednesday morning and managed to hook 10 steelies by 10 a.m., all on Kwikies. Egg sacs and minnows will also work for you. 

Brown trout and lake trout are both available, as well. The same will work in the lower river in places like Devil’s Hole or the Whirlpool. Spoons and spinners are popular hardware for rod-tossing. Be careful when walking the shoreline along the river – that water is 32 degrees!

3. Upper Niagara River

Safe ice is still being reported at the Buffalo Boat Harbor. No reports of late at Grand Island. Caution is advised with the recent warm ups. Casting the shoreline for trout at the head of the river or just above the upper rapids with spoons or spinners are good bets this time of year. 

Sunday, March 23 is the Niagara River Anglers Association’s big fundraiser – the John Long, Sr. Memorial Raffle and Feast at St. Vincent DePaul Hall on Military Road in Niagara Falls starting at 2 p.m. Be there!

4. Lake Erie and tributaries

The big lake is still offering some ice fishing options, with some good reports still coming off Sturgeon Point in the 50 to 60 foot range on shiners. However, some big cracks are starting to develop and some open water was reported in some of the deeper areas so caution is advised. 

In Dunkirk harbor, the open water at the warm water discharge is still producing trout on live minnows fished under a float and for casters using spoons. 

In the tributaries, open water is producing some trout thanks to the recent warm up. In addition, casting the mouth of tributaries with spoons or spinners off places like Cattaraugus Creek can produce trout getting ready to make their way into the tribs.

5. Chautauqua Lake

Walleye season is closed but perch have been keeping ice fishermen busy on the lake, both in the shallows and some of the deeper holes. The difficulty is catching keeper fish. Use jigs or spoons tipped with a minnow.

Bill Hilts Jr. is an outdoor writer with the Niagara Tourism and Convention Corporation. Contact him at billhiltsjr@gmail.com.