Greater Niagara Region
Bill Hilts, Jr.
In the lower Niagara River, the salmon fishing remains about the same from shore. Salmon are being caught off the NYPA fishing platform and water levels have not come up in a while to close that popular fishing area. If you want to check it out, call 286-6662 for updates. From shore, from Devil’s Hole up to the Whirlpool, some salmon are being caught. Mike Ziehm of Niagara Falls caught a couple steelhead using a No. 5 spinner recently, what he believes to be the first ones of the year. Boat action in Devil’s Hole for salmon has picked up. Use treated egg skein fished off three-way rigs and bounce bottom. Lisa Drabczyk of Creek Road Bait and Tackle reports that bass and walleye are being caught up and down the river. Some perch are also showing up off Lewiston and Youngstown. No one has been able to get on the Niagara Bar in a few days due to the north winds, but those are supposed to switch out of the south and west soon when temperatures switch back into the 70’s this week. Lake trout season will close on Sept. 30. In the upper river, smallmouth bass and sheepshead have been dominating catches. Fall musky action should improve once water temperatures start to come down.
Lake Ontario action has been spotty due to winds and the finicky disposition of the mature salmon looking to stage and run up the creeks and rivers when their time has come. Out in the lake you can try to target mature kings in shallower depths with cut bait, flasher fly, J-plugs, spoons – anything to make the salmon mad. You can also head offshore for a mix of steelhead and salmon in 350 to 450 feet of water off Wilson and over 500 feet of water off Olcott, fishing in the top 100 feet. Look for pods of bait with hooks around it. Capt. Alan Sauerland of Newfane hit double digits this week with a mix of salmon and trout. His riggers were as deep as 101 feet and his diver was 240 feet back. Everything was spoons except for one king that hit cut bait behind a flasher. Off Olcott, fish the top 20 feet for steelies and 70 feet down for kings with spoons. Some salmon and trout are being caught off the piers in Wilson and Olcott. Salmon were stocked in Wilson starting in 2017 so there should be some fish around. Casting spoons, spinners, Rat-L-Traps or stickbaits will all catch fish according to Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctors. You will probably see some pike caught, too. Justin Wekenmann of Farnham launched at Olcott and he took his boat to 20 feet of water north of the piers and started casting glow in the dark spoons at dusk. They picked up a couple kings doing that. A good rain is needed to trigger any kind of a run up the streams like at 18 Mile Creek and Burt Dam. Evarts also reports good yellow perch action in Olcott harbor and the west branch of 12 Mile Creek.
National Hunting and Fishing Day is traditionally a time to celebrate hunting, fishing and the shooting sports through special events that take place around the country. However, due to COVID-19, most events have been canceled in an effort to keep people safe. For example, the Wildlife Festival, normally held the fourth weekend in September, has been canceled this year – an event sponsored by the NY Power Authority and the Niagara County Federation of Conservation Clubs. Sept. 26 is a free fishing day in NY to help honor NHF Day. You do not need a license to fish, but you do have to abide by the regulations for the body of water you intend to fish.