Western New York Fishing Hotline
December 6 to December 13, 2013
Colorful male brown trout caught in the lower
Niagara River at Whirlpool State Park.
Lake Ontario Tributaries, Harbors & Piers
Good water conditions on many Lake Ontario tributaries and low angling pressure make this a good weekend to go trout fishing. Oak Orchard and Eighteenmile Creeks both have medium flow with a slight stain. Anglers have seen some decent catches of brown trout and steelhead, with some off days mixed in. Trout catches have been better for some anglers fishing the smaller streams. Johnson, Sandy and Marsh Creeks have moderate, murky flows and are good options for the weekend.
Egg sacs, single eggs, trout beads, bugger patterns, streamer patterns and grub-tipped marabou jigs are good bets for brown trout and steelhead. When fishing clear conditions, downsize your tippet, hooks and baits for finicky steelhead. For those new to steelhead fishing, see the Steelhead Fishing in Lake Ontario Tributaries page for information on equipment, baits and fishing techniques.
Yellow perch have shown this week at Wilson and Olcott Harbors. Anglers are also seeing fair perch catches over at Oak Orchard, from the harbor to the bridges. Minnows are top bait for perch.
Lower Niagara River
Trout action has been very good for boaters in the lower river this week. The Artpark drift has produced excellent catches of steelhead, with some lake trout and brown trout mixed in (Keep in mind that lake trout season is closed until January 1st, so all caught lakers should be promptly released). Boaters have seen good action in the Devils Hole drift and on Niagara Bar as well. Drifting egg sacs, Kwikfish lures or minnows off a 3-way bottom bouncing rig works well. Clear water conditions have resulted in lighter catches for shore anglers. Shore anglers target trout from Whirlpool, Devils Hole and Artpark State Parks. Fishing egg sacs, egg pattern flies and minnows under a float or casting medium-sized spoons and spinners are good bets for shore anglers. Exercise extreme caution when shore fishing in the lower river, as icy access stairs, slippery rocks, strong currents and water level changes make these areas hazardous. For fishing access maps and lower river fishing information see the Fishing the Lower Niagara River page.
Construction projects are causing some access issues for shore anglers. Roadwork continues along the NYPA access road and the stairway to the Devils Hole shoreline remains closed. For project updates call NYPA at 716-796-0135, Ext. 45. Anglers can still access the shoreline by the longer set of stairs at Devils Hole State Park. A project to replace the stairway at Artpark State Park (near lower parking lot) is currently underway. That access point is closed, and will likely not be re-opened until May 2014. The upper trails that lead down to the shoreline are still open, however Portage Rd. and the upper parking lots are closed. Anglers can park in Lot C (near 4th Street entrance) and walk from there.
Skim ice coverings on some local waters have ice anglers anxious for the start of the season. However, there is currently no safe ice to report in western New York. Ice may come early this year, so now is the time to get the ice fishing gear primed and ready to go. Before you head out on the ice this winter, remember that a minimum of 3 to 4 inches of solid ice (blue or black, not white) is the general rule for safety. Drilling holes or tapping with a spud bar to check ice thickness is recommended on your way out. Safety ice picks, boot cleats, a throw rope and a floatation devise are recommended safety supplies. Use good judgment and fish with a friend when possible. Those new to ice fishing can check the Ice Fishing Basics page for more information.
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; email@example.com). Good Luck Fishing!
The fishing hotline can also be heard at (716) 855-FISH.