Western New York Fishing Hotline
March 7 to March 14, 2014
The New York State DEC Region 9 Fisheries Office will be running an angler diary program on the Genesee River in Allegany and Wyoming Counties. The program will run from March 1st through October 31st, 2014. This program will cover the portion of the river from the PA line, downstream through Letchworth State Park, and will record data for both trout and bass fishing trips.
If you fish the Genesee River (even once) and would like to keep a diary for DEC please call the Region 9 Fisheries Office at (716) 372-0645 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. This diary program will be used to evaluate the quality of the fishery and determine future management actions.
Lake Ontario Tributaries, Harbors & Piers
Western New York offers many ice fishing
opportunities for northern pike.
Eighteenmile and Oak Orchard Creeks remain the top steelhead options for stream anglers in western New York. Both creeks have medium, clear flows with good amounts of open water in the sections below the dams. Greg Stanley of All in the Same Boat Bait and Tackle in Newfane, caught many steelhead this week at Fisherman's Park (Eighteenmile). White marabou or hot pink jigs tipped with a single cured salmon egg was the ticket. Good numbers of steelhead, including some fresh fish were caught during higher flows earlier in the week at Oak Orchard Creek. The other smaller streams have significant ice. Johnson Creek has some open water near the dam in Lyndonville. Egg sacs, egg pattern flies and hair jigs tipped with a waxworm work well for winter steelhead. The key is to drift the bait slowly and keep it near the bottom.
For those new to steelhead fishing, see the Steelhead Fishing in Lake Ontario Tributaries page for information on equipment, baits and fishing techniques.
Lower Niagara River
Boaters continue to see good steelhead action from Devils Hole down to the mouth of the river. Three-way rigs with minnows, egg sacs or Kwikfish lures produced mostly steelhead, with some brown trout and lake trout mixed in. Shore anglers are catching steelhead as well. Drifted egg sacs or minnows (under a float) and casted spoons or spinners are good offerings for trout. One avid lower river angler said he has done consistently well for steelhead this winter by casting and slowly drifting a Vibrax spinner. Exercise extreme caution when shore fishing in the lower river, as icy access stairs, slippery rocks, strong currents and water level changes make these areas hazardous. For fishing access maps and lower river fishing information see the Fishing the Lower Niagara River page.
Construction projects are causing some access issues for shore anglers. Roadwork continues along the NYPA access road and the stairway to the Devils Hole shoreline remains closed. For project updates call NYPA at 716-796-0135, Ext. 45. Anglers can still access the shoreline by the longer set of stairs at Devils Hole State Park. A project to replace the stairway at Artpark State Park (near lower parking lot) is currently underway. That access point is closed, and will likely not be re-opened until May 2014. The upper trails that lead down to the shoreline are still open, however Portage Rd. and the upper parking lots are closed. Anglers can park in Lot C (near 4th Street entrance) and walk from there.
Anglers should keep in mind that ice thickness can vary greatly on the same body of water, especially near springs and stream inlets. 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. Drilling holes or tapping with a spud bar to check ice thickness is recommended on your way out. Safety ice picks, boot cleats, a throw rope and a floatation device 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 more information. See the Lake Contour Maps page for maps organized by county.
Bluegill remain the staple at the south end of the lake. Jigs with grubs produce decent catches of keeper gills with the occasional keeper yellow perch mixed in. At the south end, there has also been an uptick in crappie catches during low light periods and tip-ups with shiners or frozen herring produce the occasional northern pike. The deeper flats of 30 plus feet are a better bet for yellow perch. Jigs with waxworms fished just off the bottom have produced fair numbers of keeper perch (8-9 inches) with more smaller throwbacks.
There are plenty of bluegill available off Vitale Park at the north end. Anglers weed through many smaller fish for decent numbers of keeper gills. Crappie still have not shown in the shallows of the north end. Anglers fishing around the lake in shallower zones of 8-12 feet of water have seen an uptick in northern pike catches. Ted Decker of Ted's Tackle sends word that frozen herring on tip-ups have been the ticket for pike lately.
The south end of the lake is a good bet for big bluegill and pumpkinseed, though the bite has been hit or miss. The yellow perch bite has improved in the deeper section of the north end. Jigs with grubs and slender spoons with grubs or small minnows are good offerings. A few walleye have also been caught near the north end lately. Tip-ups set with shiners in shallower zones, produce a mix of chain pickerel and largemouth bass.
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; email@example.com). Good Luck Fishing!
The fishing hotline can also be heard at (716) 855-FISH.