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Lake Erie Fishing Hotline

January 13 to January 20, 2017

Lake Erie Tributaries


Near-record crappie caught through ice at
Chautauqua Lake on jig with 1" plastic minnow.

Rain and snowmelt have again blown out the Lake Erie tributaries for the third consecutive week. Creek levels peaked overnight, flushing out all ice. All creeks are high and muddy today. The smallest streams are your best bet for tomorrow, and by Sunday there should be plenty of options. Steelhead fishing has generally been slow, with some "bright" spots here and there. Anglers who are covering more ground are catching more fish. Productive wintertime steelhead baits include egg sacs, egg flies, trout beads and small jigs tipped with a waxworm (fished under a float). For those new to steelhead fishing, see the Steelhead Fishing in Lake Erie Tributaries page for information on steelhead fishing equipment, locations and links to stream maps.

Upper Niagara River

There is chunky floating ice packed along the shoreline in slack areas, limiting shore fishing opportunities. Currently, upper river waters are turbid with about 1 foot of visibility.

Ice Fishing

The region's waters have been losing ice thickness due to rain and mild temperatures. Some waters have held their main ice sheets, but have soft shore ice, some open areas and thin patches. Anyone going ice fishing this weekend needs to be extremely cautions. Remember a minimum of 4 inches of solid black or clear ice (not white) is the general rule for safety. Five inches of solid ice is better for groups fishing together. Be aware that ice thickness can vary greatly on the same body of water. Stay far away from stream inlets. Drilling holes or tapping with a spud bar to check ice thickness is recommended on your way out, or when moving around. Safety ice picks, boot cleats, throw rope and a floatation devise 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 introductory information.

Chautauqua Lake

There had been plenty of fishing activity around Long Point, however ice is now unsafe. North basin ice is shot. The south basin previously had the thickest ice, but due to no fishing activity, current ice thickness is unknown.

Buffalo Small Boat Harbor

Ice has deteriorated and is no longer safe.

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; michael.todd@dec.ny.gov). Good Luck Fishing!

The fishing hotline can also be heard at (716) 679-ERIE or (716) 855-FISH.