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Western New York Fishing Hotline

August 22 to August 29, 2014

Lake Ontario

Angler holding large chinook salmon caught from Lake Ontario, near Hamlin.
Lake Ontario offers some of the best King Salmon
(Chinook) fishing in all of the Great Lakes.

Water temperatures are variable at the west end of Lake Ontario, and trout and salmon are scattered. Most anglers are catching fish, and catches are coming from various depths. However, concentrations of mature king salmon (chinook) have been tough to find. Most anglers out of Niagara and Orleans Counties are heading for deep water of 300-500 feet. Spoons and flasher-fly combos run 60-100 feet down have produced a mix of steelhead, coho salmon and "teenage" king salmon. Inside trollers are also catching a mixed bag in 30-60 feet of water. A few mature king salmon have shown at first light, but daytime catches are mostly a mix of brown trout, lake trout and rainbow trout.

Over the next couple weeks, increasing numbers of staging king salmon should show in shallower water of 40-100 feet. Look for kings at the shallower end of that zone at first light and work progressively deeper water as the sun climbs in the sky. J-plugs, flasher-fly combos, cut bait rigs and large spoons are good offerings for staging king salmon.

Previously, anglers were starting to catch some mature king salmon at the Niagara Bar drop-off or "ledge", in 100-200 feet of water. Magnum spoons and flasher-fly combos were producing a mix of kings, brown trout, lake trout and steelhead. Over the next couple of weeks, look for king salmon to stack up along the ledge in preparation for their spawning run up the Niagara River. Anglers are picking up some walleye and smallmouth bass on the Niagara Bar in the vicinity of the green buoy. Trolling or bottom bouncing with worm harnesses is a good bet for walleye, and smallmouth bass anglers do well with a 3-way rig with shiners or tubes.

Lake Ontario Tributaries, Harbors and Piers

Olcott Pier anglers have reported large fish jumping in the waters off the pier near dawn and dusk, but so far there have been no confirmed king salmon landed. Right now, casting spoons is a better bet for brown trout.

Olcott Harbor has seen an influx of bait schools, which have northern pike and smallmouth bass holding in the area. Harbor/pier anglers can target smallmouth bass with crayfish or shiners. Larger goldens or chubs are a better bet for pike.

Lower Niagara River

The walleye bite has been good a times, and catches have been reported from many drifts. Charter boats have also picked up some nice walleye catches in Devils Hole. Drifting with a 3-way rig and worm harness or yellow sally rig (with worm) are traditional river walleye tactics. Smallmouth bass fishing has been hit or miss lately. Anglers primarily catch smallmouth bass by drifting with bottom bouncing rigs with shiners, crayfish or tubes, or by casting stickbaits towards shore. For fishing access maps and lower river fishing information see the Fishing the Lower Niagara River page.

The NYPA Fishing Platform remains closed due to a construction project that has lasted all summer. For updates on the fishing platform status, call NYPA at 716-796-0135, extension 45.

Inland Trout Fishing

All of the area's trout streams are in good fishing shape. Tricos are hatching well in the morning hours and are the go-to pattern at that time. Terrestrial insects are on the trout menu as well. When fishing streams surrounded by moderate to heavy vegetation, terrestrial imitations can be very effective. Ant dry flies and foam beetles are favorites among fly anglers who fish terrestrials often. Grasshopper, cricket and spider patterns can also take fish. Productive offerings for spinning anglers include worms, salted minnows and small inline spinners. If you are a catch-and-release angler and use spinners, it is a good practice to outfit your spinners with a single hook rather than a treble hook.

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.

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; mailto:fwfish9@gw.dec.state.ny.us). Good Luck Fishing!

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