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Western New York Fishing Hotline

September 4 to September 11, 2015

Lake Ontario

Angler holding smallmouth bass, caught on Niagara Bar.
Smallmouth bass taken with a shiner on the
Niagara Bar, off Fort Niagara.

Not much has changed in the past week. Niagara County trollers are still catching some staging mature king salmon (Chinook) in the nearshore area at depths of 60-120 feet of water, with some brown trout and lake trout mixed in. Look for kings at the shallower end of that zone at first light. By 8 AM, the deeper end of that zone is a better bet. J-plugs, flasher-fly combos, cut bait rigs and large spoons run in the bottom 10 feet, are good offerings for staging king salmon. Anglers have seen a decent deep water bite over depths of 300-500 feet. Large spoons, flasher-fly combos and especially cutbait rigs have worked well for steelhead and king salmon of mixed ages, run 60-90 feet down. For those new to fishing Lake Ontario, visit the Trolling for Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon page for more information.

Anglers have started to catch some king salmon along the Niagara Bar ledge on select days. Anglers are picking up some walleye and smallmouth bass in the vicinity of the green buoy. Trolling or bottom bouncing with worm harnesses is a good bet for walleye, and smallmouth bass anglers connect with a 3-way rig with shiners or tubes.

Lake Ontario Tributaries, Harbors and Piers

The first king salmon were caught from the Olcott Pier this past week. That action should build over the next couple of weeks. Casting heavy (3/4 oz plus) Little Cleo, K.O. Wobbler and Moonshine glow spoons at night is a top technique for pier kings. Daytime casters see a few brown trout hook-ups on medium-sized spoons. Anglers can also target trout and salmon from the piers at Wilson, Oak Orchard and Genesee River.

Warmwater species are plentiful in the harbors and slow moving sections of the tributary streams. Anglers have been catching largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, northern pike, bowfin, yellow perch, rock bass and other sunfish. You never know what you'll catch next.

Lower Niagara River

On good days, anglers at the NYPA fishing platform are collectively landing 3 to 6 king salmon per day, but the better action is yet to come. A popular salmon fishing technique for platform anglers is to use a Carolina style rig with a one ounce egg sinker, one foot leader to hook with plastic chartreuse Mister Twister. Platform anglers are also catching smallmouth bass and white bass on bottom rigs with nightcrawlers or minnows. Another spot where anglers can now fish within the gorge is at the base of the Niagara Gorge Discovery Center. An elevator, running between 7:30 AM and 5:00 PM (through 10/31), can take anglers (and other pedestrians) to the base of the old Schoellkopf Power Plant site. There is no formal fishing access, however there are a few spots where anglers can get to the shoreline. Fishing here is at your own risk.

There have been no reports of lower river anglers catching salmon from boats or the State Parks shorelines yet. Boaters are catching some walleye in the lower drifts and out on the Niagara Bar, including some over 10 pounds. Controlled drifting with a bottom bouncing rig with worm harness is a good bet. Smallmouth bass continues to be spotty. Bass fishing has been best when upwelling events mix colder waters and drive bass up into the warmer mouth of the river. For fishing access maps and lower river fishing information see the Fishing the Lower Niagara River page. Anglers should keep in mind that some swifter flowing areas of the river within the gorge are very dangerous. Shore anglers should only fish in areas with good footing. Avoid slippery algae covered rocks and shoreline, and never wade into the river. Only experienced boaters with adequately sized vessels should attempt to fish above Artpark (Devils Hole drift).

Inland Trout Fishing

Most of the area streams have lower, clear flows. Air and stream temperatures are elevated in the afternoon. It is best to limit trout fishing outings to the morning hours, as to not overplay trout in warm waters. There are some smatterings of trico and caddisfly hatches on some streams.Using terrestrial patterns like ants, beetles and grasshoppers are good options, especially in areas with moderate to heavy overhanging vegetation. Productive offerings for spinning anglers include worms, salted minnows and small inline spinners. If you are a catch-and-release angler and use spinners, it is a good practice to outfit your spinners with a single hook rather than a treble hook.

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 area's best trout streams. Check out the Fishing For Stream Trout page for introductory information on trout baits, lures, fishing equipment and techniques.

Wiscoy Creek Angler Diary Program

DEC Region 9 Fisheries Unit will be running an angler diary program for Wiscoy Creek in Allegany and Wyoming Counties during 2015, and is currently looking for anglers to keep diaries. If you fish Wiscoy Creek (even once) and would like to keep a diary, please call DEC Fisheries at (716) 372-0645 or email at fwfish9@dec.ny.gov. The program will run March 1st through October 31st. This program duplicates one run in 2012 (2012 survey summary) and will be used in conjunction with a late-summer electrofishing survey to evaluate the fishery's overall quality.

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.