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Western New York Fishing Hotline

February 24 to March 3, 2017

Personal Flotation Device (PFD) law: As a reminder, between November 1 and May 1, anyone underway in a boat (less than 21 feet) must wear a securely fastened PFD. This includes canoes, kayaks, rowboats and motorboats.

State of Lake Ontario Public Meeting

The public State-of-Lake-Ontario meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 7th, 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM at Cornell Cooperative Extension Building, 4487 Lake Avenue, Lockport, Niagara County. Staff from DEC, U.S. Geological Survey and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will make a number of presentations, including updates on status of trout and salmon fisheries, forage fish and stocking programs. The meeting will provide the opportunity for individuals interested in the lake to interact with the biologists who study its fisheries.

Lake Ontario

Spring seems to have arrived early and boaters have started working the Lake Ontario shoreline for decent catches of smaller brown trout. Trolling with smaller stickbaits run behind planer boards is the top tactic in 6-20 feet of water. Key on areas near tributary and harbor outflows that have slightly warmer water. Watch out for floating debris.

Lake Ontario Tributaries, Harbors & Piers

Youth angler holding large steelhead caught on Eighteenmile Creek
David, age 9, caught this large steelhead at
Eighteenmile Creek on a black jig with pink head.

The Lake Ontario tributaries were in great shape this past week. Niagara County received about a half inch of rain overnight, which will benefit the smallest streams like Keg and Twelvemile Creeks that were getting a little low, but may stain other streams. Eighteenmile Creek anglers have seen decent action for steelhead and the occasional brown trout. Anglers have also commented on catches of "nuisance" perch clear up to Burt Dam. Flows at Oak Orchard Creek have been a little high, but clarity is good. Oak anglers have had to work for their trout catches. Johnson and Sandy Creeks have had medium flows and have produced good catches of steelhead and brown trout. Egg sacs, egg flies, trout beads and grub-tipped marabou jigs are good trout offerings. 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.

Pier sites are ice free and offer access to a variety of fish species that congregate at the slightly warmer outflows of the harbors. Anglers could potentially hook-up with steelhead, brown trout, northern pike, yellow perch, crappie and more.

Lower Niagara River

Lower river water conditions have been ideal over the past few days and boaters have seen good trout action, including some steelhead and lake trout over 30 inches. Controlled drifting with three-way rigs with egg sacs, Kwikfish lures or shiners is the standard approach. Trout action has been picking up for shore anglers and ice is no longer a problem. Shore anglers can target trout at Artpark, Devils Hole and Whirlpool State Parks. Drifting egg sacs, egg flies, minnows and jigs with grubs or casting spoons and spinners are common shore tactics. The New York Power Authority fishing platform is closed for the winter season. For fishing access maps and lower river fishing information see the Fishing the Lower Niagara River page..

Silver Lake

Silver Lake's ice cover is quickly melting away today, and should be ready for boats this weekend. Crappie action was recently good near the north end for ice anglers, and is a good starting point for boaters.

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.