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Western New York Fishing Hotline

January 13 to January 20, 2017

Lake Ontario Tributaries, Harbors & Piers

Yellow perch and sunfish caught while ice fishing at Honeoye Lake, February 2016.
Ice fishing is a great way to shake the cabin
fever and catch a tasty meal!

Lake Ontario stream levels are up, but not blown out like the Lake Erie streams. Currently, Eighteenmile and Oak Orchard Creeks have slightly high, stained flows with about 1 foot of visibility. Anglers previously reported some catches of fresh steelhead, and its possible the current slightly higher flows could draw in more fish. Some brown trout, coho and Atlantics have shown as well. Flows came up a bit in the smaller streams and opened up some patches. However, ice is still a problem in spots. Egg sacs, egg flies, trout beads and grub-tipped marabou jigs are good trout offerings. Use bright colors when fishing turbid conditions. For those new to stream fishing for steelhead, see the Steelhead Fishing in Lake Ontario Tributaries page for information on steelhead fishing equipment, tackle, techniques and links to stream maps.

Lower Niagara River

Tough fishing conditions on the lower river at present due to floating chunk ice and murky conditions. The amount of floating ice should dissipate with each passing day. Boaters in the upper drifts have recently been catching a mix of steelhead and lake trout with the occasional walleye or smallmouth bass. Controlled drifting with a three-way rig and egg sac or flatfish style lure is the top technique. Shore anglers can target trout along Artpark, Devils Hole and Whirlpool State Parks. Egg sacs, egg pattern flies, shiners and jigs with plastics fished under a float, or casting medium-sized spoons and Vibrax spinners are good trout offerings. The New York Power Authority fishing platform closed for the winter season on December 8th. For fishing access maps and lower river fishing information see the Fishing the Lower Niagara River page.

Regulation notes: Lake trout season is open on the lower river as of January 1st. Also starting on January 1st, walleye daily limit decreased to 1, with minimum length of 18 inches.

Ice Fishing

The region's waters have been losing ice thickness due to rain and mild temperatures. Some waters have held their main ice sheets, but have soft shore ice, some open areas and thin patches. Anyone going ice fishing this weekend needs to be extremely cautions. Remember a minimum of 4 inches of solid black or clear ice (not white) is the general rule for safety. Five inches of solid ice is better for groups fishing together. Be aware that ice thickness can vary greatly on the same body of water. Stay far away from stream inlets. 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 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 introductory information.

Honeoye Lake

There are some anglers fishing the extreme south end the lake today, despite ice that is reportedly down to about 3 inches thick, thinner than the recommended 4 inches. Ice over the remainder of the lake is likely unsafe. Catches have been mostly bluegill and yellow perch with some largemouth bass and chain pickerel mixed in. Bass fishing on Honeoye Lake is open through March 15, and anglers are permitted a daily limit of 5, with a 12 inch minimum length.

Silver Lake

Ice held up at the south end of Silver Lake, which is reportedly about 5 inches thick. Thickness over the remainder of the lake is unknown by me. Anglers have been catching decent numbers of northern pike on tip-ups with large shiners. Jigging has produced lots of dink perch and some smaller bluegill.

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.