Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — CARLTON — The salmon making their way through the Oak Orchard River had a tall task if they didn’t want to end up as a trophy catch or a dinner entree Monday, as dozens of fisherman flocked to the shallow and slow-moving river to take advantage of the holiday and a great opportunity to land the big one.
Outside of the St. Mary’s Archery Club, it was clear that the popularity of Orleans and Niagara waterways as fishing destinations does extend far beyond our counties. Cars bearing licenses plates from states across the northeast filled the road to a shallow water fishing spot where anglers positioned themselves on both sides of the river every ten feet or so.
The same is true on the lower Niagara River, inside the Olcott and Wilson harbors and at Sandy Creek and nearby lakes, where the spawning season for king and coho salmon, steelheads and rainbow trout has drawn an overload of attention — and for good reason.
“There’s so much variety in the fish and fishing opportunities,” Orleans County Tourism Sportfishing Coordinator Mike Waterhouse said. “From the boat you have trawling from shore, some guys on the point are throwing spoons and stick baits, guys on bridges doing rattle traps, guys on the rivers are fly fishing, center pin or spin casting ... there’s people that come up just for chinooks for a few weeks. People that want brown trout and steelheads ... a broad variety of fish all in the same waters.”
The popularity of the not-so-secret fishing spots might be a bit of a nuisance for anglers who want the water all to themselves, but officials in both counties are hoping to pull in more people to their shores.
“We have a world-class fishing resource,” Bill Hilts Jr., the Niagara Tourism and Convention Corporation’s outdoor sports specialist said. “We have to promote it — this is a big economic driver.”