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Western New York Fishing Hotline

February 20 to February 27, 2015

Lake Ontario Tributaries, Harbors & Piers

Angler holding two black crappie caught at the north end of Conesus Lake
Black crappie iced at the north end of
Conesus Lake.

Steelhead fishing is on hold as almost all waters are frozen. Even the areas below the dams on Eighteenmile and Oak Orchard Creeks are mostly iced over. For those new to steelhead fishing, see the Steelhead Fishing in Lake Ontario Tributaries page for information on equipment, baits and fishing techniques.

Lower Niagara River

There has been practically no fishing activity on the lower river this week, due to the arctic blast and lots of floating ice. Steelhead, lake trout and brown trout are available for the hearty, or just wait until temperatures moderate. For fishing access maps and lower river fishing information see the Fishing the Lower Niagara River page.

Ice Fishing

Western New York's ice fishing waters have good, thick ice. Much of the slush that had made it tough to get around has stiffened up. However, there is still drifting snow to contend with on many waters. Anglers should still keep in mind that ice thickness can vary greatly on the same body of water, especially if there are springs, stream inlets or heavy snow cover. 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, for individuals on foot. Five inches of solid ice is more suitable for small groups fishing together. Drilling holes or tapping with a spud bar to check ice thickness is recommended on your way out, or when moving around. Safety ice picks, boot cleats, throw rope and a floatation device 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. See the Lake Contour Maps page for maps organized by county.

Lake Ontario Harbors

Olcott and Wilson Harbors have thick ice. Both harbors offer fair fishing for a mix of sunfish and yellow perch, as well as the occasional steelhead, brown trout or northern pike.

Silver Lake

Silver Lake has thick ice of a foot or more. The most consistent action has been over deeper waters of 25-35 feet for yellow perch. Small jigs with grubs will catch mostly small perch of 4-5 inches, with the occasional keeper mixed in. For better numbers of keeper perch, try larger jigging spoons and lures tipped with grubs, a piece of minnow or perch eye. Tip-ups or a dead stick with emerald shiners or small golden shiners is also better for bigger perch. The bluegill bite at the south end is still slow, but improving. Ice anglers can access the south end at Silver Lake State Park on the west side or by Mack's Restaurant on the east side. There is also public access on the northeast side at Village of Perry Public Beach.

Honeoye Lake

Not much news from the deeper areas of Honeoye Lake, since heavy snow/slush has made it tough to get there. Previously, anglers were getting frustrated by tight-lipped perch in deeper areas of 20 feet plus. Plenty of perch are showing on sonar and cameras, but getting them to hit has been a chore. The shallower areas in 6 to 15 feet are a better bet for cooperative sunfish, largemouth bass and chain pickerel. The southwest side has been a good spot for keeper bluegill and crappie lately. Jigs and grubs work well for sunfish, and tip-ups with shiners are a good bet for bass and pickerel. Anglers can find public access at the southeast corner of the lake at Honeoye Lake Public Boat Launch and at the north end at Sandy Bottom Beach.

Conesus Lake

Conesus has good ice of over a foot thick. The bluegill bite has been good in the north end shallows, but expect to catch many runts for every keeper. There has not been much reported pike or tiger musky action on tip-ups as of late. There is still no sign of crappie schooling in the north end shallows, but a stray crappie is caught occasionally. Anglers can find access at the north end at Vitale Park, at the Conesus Lake Public Boat Launch off East Lake Road near McPherson Point and at the south end DEC car top boat launch off West Lake Road.

Hemlock Lake

Hemlock has good ice at the north and south ends. At the shallower ends, anglers can catch sunfish, bass and chain pickerel. Lake trout are available in deeper areas. After dark, anglers equipped with a lantern often catch smelt just under the ice. Access is available at both ends of the lake at boat launches off Route 15A.

Canadice Lake

Canadice has ice around 10 inches thick. Anglers are catching some lake trout over deeper water. Jigging with spoons or tip-ups with large shiners are good bets for lakers. Anglers are also catching some smelt, with better catches after dark. A lantern draws smelt towards the surface where they can be caught with small glow jigs with a spike. Smelt can be caught during the day as well. A flasher helps locate smelt within the water column.

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.