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Western New York Fishing Hotline

October 17 to October 24, 2014

Attention anglers: Your 2013-2014 Freshwater Fishing Licenses (purchased before February 1st, 2014) expired on September 30th. Fishing licenses purchased after February 1st, 2014, are valid for 365 days from date of purchase.

New Freshwater Fishing Licenses can be purchased at DEC regional offices and license issuing agents including many town clerk offices, sporting good stores and bait & tackle shops. For lists of license issuing agent locations or to purchase a fishing license online, visit DEC Internet Sporting License Sales. Licenses can also be purchased by phone at 1-866-933-2257.

Lake Ontario Tributaries, Harbors & Piers

Angler holding large king salmon caught in lower Niagara River gorge.
Large king salmon (chinook) caught in lower
Niagara River gorge on 3/4 oz silver/blue spoon.

Despite lower water conditions, king salmon (chinook) numbers are on the rise in the popular Niagara and Orleans County tributaries. Oak Orchard and Eighteenmile Creeks lead the way in numbers and catches, so expect plenty of company. At Fisherman's Park on Eighteenmile, anglers are catching good numbers of king salmon and brown trout, with some steelhead mixed in. Salmon numbers are heavier at Oak Orchard Creek, with decent catches of browns and steelhead as well. The Genesee River has moderate flow and very good numbers of king salmon showing below the falls. Smaller streams like Johnson, Marsh and Sandy Creeks have low and clear flows. However, kings are pushing their way up through. Expect fish to be scattered in those streams. Egg sacs, salmon skein, egg pattern flies and streamers work well 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 lower, slow moving sections of Eighteenmile Creek, Oak Orchard Creek, Sandy Creek and the Genesee River are also good options for trout and salmon. These sections are only accessible by boat. Trolling with stickbaits (where possible) or casting and retrieving stickbaits are good methods. In the sections of these waters between the bridge closest to the stream mouth, upstream to the first impassible barrier, any lure that has more than one hook point must float while at rest. For more information see the Great Lakes Tributary Regulations.

Fishing has been hit or miss for king salmon, brown trout and steelhead from the Olcott piers and from boats just off the pier heads. Periods around dawn and dusk have been better. Casting heavy (3/4 oz) glow spoons and rattle traps has worked well for salmon from the piers and from anchored boats. Under calm conditions, egg sacs or skein fished under a float can also be productive for pier anglers. Salmon catches are generally best from the piers at the mouths of the major tributaries like Eighteenmile Creek, Oak Orchard Creek and the Genesee River. However, trout and salmon are available from any pier that extends into Lake Ontario. Daytime casters see a few hook-ups with brown trout and steelhead.

Olcott and Wilson Harbors have yielded catches of warmwater species lately. Wilson Harbor anglers report catches of northern pike. Yellow perch have shown in both harbors. Boaters are catching perch in the Oak Orchard River around the bridges and the Yacht Club. Live minnows are a good bet for perch.

Lower Niagara River

The king salmon run is holding up on the lower river. Decreasing numbers of charters are working the Devils Hole drift, but those who remain are still doing well. Drifting with a three-way rig and cured salmon skein (quarter size) is a good bet for king salmon. Keep in mind that conditions are hazardous in the Devils Hole drift, and only the most experienced boaters should attempt to fish there. Increasing numbers of steelhead are showing up in lower river catches, making the Artpark drift another option for boaters.

Salmon action has been good for shore anglers at Whirlpool and Devils Hole State Parks. Up through last weekend, anglers reported a handful of hook-ups with 1 or 2 kings landed per day. Steelhead have also shown up in shore anglers catches, with the rare brown trout mixed in. Target salmon by casting large spoons, Vibrax spinners, rattle-traps and jigs with twister tails, or by drifting egg sacs or cured salmon skein under a float. Anglers fishing from shore at the state parks generally do better near dawn and dusk. Shore anglers are catching some king salmon from the NYPA fishing platform, with a few brown trout, steelhead and smallmouth bass mixed in (see user info for NYPA platform below). Spoons, spinners and jigs with mister twisters have been good offerings for platform anglers. For fishing access maps and lower river fishing information see the Fishing the Lower Niagara River page.

The New York Power Authority (NYPA) has announced the re-opening of the fishing pier at the base of the Niagara Power Project. Because the construction project on the access road is still ongoing, NYPA has enacted some restrictions on use of the pier. The pier will only be accessible via a free shuttle service that will run to and from parking lot C at the Power Vista every half hour between 7am and 5pm. Familiarize yourself with all rules that are in place by listening to the recording at 716-796-0135, extension 45.

Surplus Broodstock Trout Stocking

DEC Randolph Fish Hatchery has been conducting their annual fall stocking of broodstock trout in Allegany and Cattaraugus Counties. All breeder trout stocked are over 2 years old and are stocked in waters where trout fishing is permitted year-round. The following waters have been stocked as of 10/10: Quaker Lake received 100 brown trout (24 inch); Red House Lake received 190 brown trout (18-24 inch); Birch Run Ponds received 25 brook trout (18 inch); Case Lake received 150 brook trout (14 inch) and 75 rainbow trout (22 inch). Call the Randolph Hatchery Stocking Hotline at (716) 358-4950 for updates.

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.