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Western New York Fishing Hotline

December 19 to December 26, 2014

Lake Ontario Tributaries, Harbors & Piers

Angler holding Atlantic salmon caught from Eighteenmile Creek in Niagara County.
Atlantic salmon caught and
released on Eighteenmile Creek,
Niagara County.

Fishing has generally been slow, with the persistent low and clear conditions on the western Lake Ontario tributaries. However, snowmelt and mid-week rains have added some much needed stream flow. The dammed streams, Eighteenmile and Oak Orchard Creeks now have moderate flows with a slight stain. Previously, anglers were picking up a few steelhead, brown trout and coho salmon. Now that the smaller streams have opened back up and have good flows, there are more trout fishing opportunities for the weekend. The bump in flow may also draw more trout into the creeks.

Egg sacs, single eggs, trout beads, egg patterns, bugger patterns and grub-tipped marabou jigs are good bets for brown trout and steelhead. For those new to steelhead fishing, see the Steelhead Fishing in Lake Ontario Tributaries page for information on equipment, baits and fishing techniques.

Irondequoit Bay leads the way in yellow perch catches. Bay boaters saw good action last week, with some limit catches. Key on depths of 25-40 feet with fathead minnows or emerald shiners fished near the bottom. Irondequoit perch anglers have also had some white perch, white bass and crappie mixed in their catches. Oak Orchard anglers are still picking up some perch in the bridges area. Perch have also shown in Wilson Harbor at times.

Lower Niagara River

Lower river conditions and catches have been good on most days. Keep an eye on the wind forecasts, as windy days on Lake Erie equal murky river waters for the next day or two. The Devils Hole and Artpark drifts have produced the better steelhead catches for boaters, with some action reported in the Stella drifts as well. Live minnows, egg sacs or Kwikfish lures fished off a 3-way bottom bouncing rig works well. Shore anglers can target steelhead at Whirlpool, Devils Hole and Artpark State Parks. Fishing egg sacs, egg patterns, trout beads or shiners under a float, or casting medium sized spoons and spinners are good bets for shore anglers. Keep in mind that lake trout season is closed until January 1st, so all caught lakers should be promptly released.

The NYPA fishing platform has closed for the winter season. For fishing access maps and lower river fishing information see the Fishing the Lower Niagara River page.

Ice Fishing

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. In the meantime, 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. 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; fwfish9@dec.ny.gov). Good Luck Fishing!

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