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Western New York Fishing Hotline

October 1 to October 9, 2015

Attention anglers: Lake trout season is closed as of October 1st, on the lower Niagara River and Lake Ontario. Lake trout season will reopen on those waters on January 1st.

Lake Ontario

Angler holding smallmouth bass, caught on Niagara Bar.
Smallmouth bass taken with a shiner on the
Niagara Bar, off Fort Niagara.

Stiff northeast winds and rough waters have kept anglers off the big lake most of the past week. Previously, anglers were catching some staging king salmon (Chinook) and trout off major tributary mouths. Boaters can target mature kings near dawn and dusk by trolling inside 50 feet of water off major tributary mouths with J-Plugs, J-13 Rapalas, flasher-fly combos or cut bait rigs. Another option after nightfall is to anchor in 15-30 feet of water (off tributary mouths) and cast glow spoons or stickbaits. Be sure you are outside casting range of pier anglers. For those new to fishing Lake Ontario, visit the Trolling for Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon page for more information.

Lake Ontario Tributaries, Harbors and Piers

Western New York's Lake Ontario counties received about an inch of rain on Tuesday, which only provided a slight bump in stream flows. Cooling temperatures and hard northeast winds are helping to push some salmon into the creeks. Prior to Wednesday, there had been very few salmon and trout in Eighteenmile and Oak Orchard Creeks. On Wednesday, a small pod of king salmon reportedly pushed up to the dam on Eighteenmile Creek. Look for an increasing influx of king salmon over the next couple weeks. The headwaters of the Genesee River received a few inches of rain, and the river is currently running high and muddy. King salmon should be up to the lower falls when waters drop back to fishable levels. Egg sacs, salmon skein, egg pattern flies and streamers are good offerings for migrating salmon. For those new to stream salmon fishing, see the Pacific Salmon Fishing in Lake Ontario Tributaries page for information on salmon fishing equipment, tackle, techniques and links to salmon stream maps.

The harbors and lower, slow moving sections of Eighteenmile Creek, Oak Orchard Creek, Sandy Creek and Genesee River are good options for trout and salmon. The majority of these sections are only accessible by boat. Trolling with large stickbaits (where possible) or casting stickbaits are good bets. When conditions permit, pier anglers are catching some king salmon at night. Casting heavy (3/4 oz. plus) Little Cleo, K.O. Wobbler and Moonshine glow spoons is a top tactic for pier kings, but egg sacs or skein fished under a float can be productive under calm conditions. Catches are generally best from piers at the mouths of major salmon tributaries like Eighteenmile Creek, Oak Orchard Creek and the Genesee River. However, salmon and trout are available from any pier that extends into Lake Ontario.

Anglers have been catching decent numbers of northern pike and bass in Olcott and Wilson Harbors. Catches of yellow perch at harbor sites has also been good at times. However, perch fishing quality dips when pike and salmon are around.

Lower Niagara River

The lower river king salmon run is sputtering along. This is usually a peak week of the run, but charters are working the Devils Hole drift hard for between 0 and 3 salmon per outing. Controlled drifting with a three-way rig with cured salmon skein is the top technique. Keep in mind that conditions are hazardous in the Devils Hole drift, and only the most experienced boaters should attempt to fish there.

Salmon action has been hit or miss at the NYPA fishing platform. A popular salmon fishing technique for platform anglers is to use a Carolina style rig with a one ounce egg sinker, one foot leader to hook with plastic chartreuse Mister Twister. Platform anglers have also recently caught some white bass, smallmouth bass, a rare walleye and some hefty brown trout. Anglers can also target kings from shore at Whirlpool and Devils Hole State Parks. Large casting spoons, Vibrax spinners, egg sacs and cured salmon skein are good offerings. Another spot where anglers can now fish within the gorge is at the base of the Niagara Gorge Discovery Center. An elevator, running between 7:30 AM and 5:00 PM (through 10/31), can take anglers (and other pedestrians) to the base of the old Schoellkopf Power Plant site. There is no formal fishing access, however there are a few spots where anglers can get to the shoreline. Fishing here is at your own risk. For fishing access maps and lower river fishing information see the Fishing the Lower Niagara River page.

Surplus Broodstock Trout Stocking

DEC Randolph Fish Hatchery has started their annual fall stocking of brookstock trout. On 9/25, Case Lake was stocked with 150 18-inch brook trout, 150 14-inch brook trout and 300 14-inch brown trout. Additional waters in Allegany and Cattaraugus Counties will be stocked with broodstock trout over the next couple weeks. All breeder trout stocked are over 2 years old and are stocked in waters where trout fishing is permitted year-round. Call the Randolph Hatchery Stocking Hotline at (716) 358-4950 for updates.

Inland Trout Fishing

Fall can be a good time for fish the inland trout streams, as trout are on the feed and many other anglers have shifted their focus to the Great Lakes tributaries. Most of the inland trout streams are currently high and off color.

Western New York anglers have a variety of Wild Trout Streams and Stocked Trout Streams to choose from. In addition, Public Fishing Rights Maps are available for many of the area's best trout streams. Check out the Fishing For Stream Trout page for introductory information on trout baits, lures, fishing equipment and techniques.

If you need more fishing information or would like to contribute to the fishing report, please call or e-mail Mike Todd (716-851-7010; fwfish9@dec.ny.gov). Good Luck Fishing!

The fishing hotline can also be heard at (716) 855-FISH.