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Western New York Fishing Hotline

April 21 to April 28, 2017

Lake Ontario

The first of the season's king salmon have been caught off Niagara County by trout trollers. If the fishing follows the normal spring progression, look for king salmon action to ramp up in early May. Anglers continue to see a good brown trout bite inside 25 feet of water on stickbaits run behind planer boards. Some coho salmon, steelhead and now a king or two have been mixed with the brown trout catches. Lake trout are biting well in 40 to 100 feet of water. Spoons, stickbaits and flasher-fly combos work well for lakers that are tight to the bottom.

Federal, state and local leaders announced a State of Emergency in Niagara County Thursday afternoon due to rising lake levels along the Lake Ontario shoreline. Boaters are asked to observe a 500-foot 'no wake zone' off the Lake Ontario shore. Boaters should be on the lookout for floating debris that has been carried into the lake by runoff.

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.

Heavy rains has all of the freestone creeks running very high and muddy. Eighteenmile and Oak Orchard Creeks are up and still on the rise. It will be a while before the dammed streams come back down. Prior to the water surge, trout numbers were on the decline.

Muddy harbor conditions will put the yellow perch fishing on hold. However, bullhead should still cooperate despite turbid conditions. West Branch Twelvemile Creek at Wilson-Tuscarora State Park is a top spot, but bullhead should be available at many other Lake Ontario shoreline sites such as harbors, stream inlets, low-slow moving sections of tributaries and the connected ponds near Rochester. Nightcrawlers, chicken livers, leeches and raw shrimp fished on the bottom work well for bullhead, with better catches often after dark.

Lower Niagara River

Smelt dippers at Artpark State Park saw a good run of smelt last weekend, and there were some quick limits to be had with the right timing. Fair numbers of smelt have shown each night since. In the lower Niagara River, anglers can take smelt with any size dip net and can keep a daily limit of 8 quarts (2 gallons). Long handled wire mesh dip nets work very well. Smelt dippers should never wade past knee-deep water, because of strong currents and steep drops close to shore. With smelt and plenty of other bait moving into the lower river, it has been tougher to entice trout bites. For fishing access maps and lower river fishing information see the Fishing the Lower Niagara River page.

Inland Trout Streams

Inland trout fishing is on hold due to high water conditions, with many creeks over their banks. When creeks drop back to fishable levels, look for hatches of blue-winged olives, stoneflies and hendricksons on the streams that have them. Productive offerings for spinning angers include worms, salted minnows and small inline spinners. Western New York anglers have a variety of Wild Trout Streams and Stocked Trout Streams to choose from. In addition, Public Fishing Rights Maps are available for many of the region's best trout streams. Check out the Fishing For Stream Trout page for introductory information on trout baits, lures, equipment and fishing techniques.

Spring Trout Stocking

All of Region 9's trout stocking waters have been stocked with at least one stocking increment. For County lists of stocked waters check the Spring Trout Stocking 2017 page. Hatchery staff are now delivering additional stocking increments for the larger or more popular waters. The following waters are scheduled an additional stocking between 4/24 and 4/28.

Cattaraugus County: Bone Run (South Valley), Harwood Lake (Farmersville).

Genesee River Angler Diary Program

DEC Region 9 Fisheries Unit will be running an angler diary program for the Genesee River during 2017, and is currently looking for anglers to keep diaries. The diarist program aims to record data for trout and bass fishing trips on the Genesee River from the Pennsylvania line downstream through Letchworth State Park from March 1st through October 31st, 2017. If you fish the Genesee River (even once) and would like to contribute your observations by keeping a diary, please call DEC Fisheries at (716) 379-6372 or email

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; Good Luck Fishing!

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