Fish Finder

1. Lake Ontario and Tributaries

Fishing action was put on hold for most of the week because of the extremely cold weather that blew in last weekend, followed by another storm of snow, ice or rain depending on where you were in Western New York.

If you were in an area that received some of that rain, streams will probably be high and muddy. Snow areas received as much as 18 inches of the white stuff.

Best bet is 18 Mile Creek and Burt Dam at this end of the lake. Fish a small jig under a float. Tip the jig with a wax worm and you should be able to catch some fish. It will be dependent upon water conditions. There will be some melting going on as we head into the weekend after we received almost a foot of snow on Tuesday. That should draw some more fish in – steelhead and brown trout. No other reports were available.

Dates for the Lake Ontario Pro-Am Tournament have been set for May 20-22. Early information and entry form has been posted on Save the dates!

Don’t forget to mark March 3 on your calendar for the State of Lake Ontario meeting at Cornell Cooperative Extension in Lockport. While the starting time has not been finalized, the inside word is that it will be 6:30 pm.

2. Lower Niagara River

The Niagara River continues to be very susceptible to high winds on Lake Erie and conditions can change overnight. If that water is too muddy, look for the shoreline to clear first.

However, the river had 18 inches of visibility and a nice green color on Monday and if the winds aren’t too bad with the incoming storm at mid-week, you should be able to catch fish when things warm up this weekend…and the launch ramps aren’t a problem.

There were some issues in Lewiston earlier in the week. The only other unknown will be the run-off from melting snow that could create some clarity problems. Shore casters can do well with spinners or spoons. Eggs or egg imitations like beads will also work for you. If the water is stained, use brightly-colored baits. From boats, minnows or Kwikfish/mag lips will work off three-way rigs.

It’s still not too late to catch a big fish in the New York State Winter Classic contest which runs through Feb. 28. Check out

Leading trout is from the Niagara River, but first place is easily attainable sitting in at 16.67 pounds – a laker from the Niagara Bar reeled in by Tyler Morrison of Barker.

Bigger fish are caught there all of the time. Weigh in stations include The Slippery Sinker in Olcott and Creek Road Bait and Tackle in Lewiston.

3. Upper Niagara River

Slush and ice was hampering casting consistency. Nothing new to report.

4. Lake Erie and Tributaries

With over a foot of snow getting dumped on the tributaries, fishing options are very limited. Try the fishing platform in Dunkirk for trout with minnows under a float. You can also cast hardware.

With warmer temperatures in the forecast, snow will be melting and filling those tribs up. Fishing should be good when things settle down.

5. Chautauqua Lake

Not too much changed from last week according to Craig Robbins. The southern basin of the lake seems to be your best bet, especially around Rock and Grass islands.

Also off the Mayville launch to the north around the flats in 8 to 10 feet of water.

For walleye, try off Long Point in 20-32 feet of water with a small black jig tipped off with a salted minnow.

6. Finger Lakes-Inland Waters

• Oneida Lake – The NYS Ice Pro Am Series held a team event last week here and officials have moved the Sodus Bay event, set originally for this coming weekend, to Oneida Lake again to take advantage of the safe ice and current conditions. Devin and Neil Fleetwood of Team Fish Raper won the tournament event out of Cleveland with nine perch in that super cold weather.

They will try for a repeat performance this weekend. No tips from last weekend because of the prizes on the line. We’ll try and have a report for you next week. The big news is that they are ice fishing out of Apps in Cleveland.

Check out for details on the Saturday-Sunday contest this weekend.

Bill Hilts Jr. is an award-winning outdoors writer with the Niagara Tourism and Convention Corporation. Contact him at