Greater Niagara Region
As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, many anglers are thankful that we didn’t experience the record snowfall in Buffalo and Erie County to the south of us. We will feel some of the effects of the storm here for some time in the Niagara River.
High winds on Lake Erie contributed to muddy conditions in the river. Monday’s gale force winds had something to do with that and the runoff of up to 80 inches of snow in some areas around Buffalo and south will continue to add color to the water, especially with rain and slightly warmer temperatures in the forecast for later this week.
With stained water conditions in the river, look for shore fishermen to shine as waters start to improve. Mike Ziehm of Niagara Falls continues to do well casting spinners and jigs in the gorge area below Niagara Falls from the Whirlpool to Artpark. Prior to the storm, he was catching brown trout and steelhead, as well as smallmouth bass and the occasional lake trout. His best color combination was a white body with green translucent 8 mm beads. White and silver bucktail jigs are also working for bass. He is surprised how many brown trout he has been catching. Visibility is very limited right now, but Ziehm thinks we should start to see some improvement by Wednesday. Lake trout have been an incidental catch, but the laker season does open on Dec. 1 for the lower river and Lake Ontario if anyone was interested in keeping one. Most practice catch and release when the season opens.
In the upper Niagara River, just prior to the storm, Gary Laidman of South Wales was back at it catching muskellunge with Capt. Chris Cinelli of Grand Island. This past week it was a clean 46-inch fish that was caught and released by Laidman. As water temperatures continue to plummet, Cinelli believes it will get the big fish eating as we head into winter. Get out there and fish them the way you like. While Cinelli likes to use live bait and a quick strike rig, casting large tubes, trolling plugs, or casting jerk baits will all produce if you can get the lure or bait in front of them when they are ready to eat. Conditions seem to be changing daily and Cinelli believes that there is a good number of fish in the river this year.
Speaking of muskies, the Niagara Musky Association will hold its annual John Henning Memorial Musky Tournament on the lower Niagara River Dec. 4 from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. You must be a NMA member. Cost is $25. For more info call John Pensyl at 628-9563.
Lake Ontario tributaries are wide open with very little snow being reported. Salmon action is all but gone, but brown trout fishing continues to improve and steelhead are starting to make their way into the streams in great numbers.
- Steelhead are pouring into the Salmon River, we’re had stellar reports from the DSR all the way to the fly zones.
- Check out our free 8-page guide on “Salmon River Steelhead Fishing,”
- Order a free fishing guide
Steelhead have been entering the river in big numbers this past week. We‘ve been hearing big reports from the DSR this week. With other good reports all the way to the fly zones.
You can find most fish on the edges as water temps have started to cool down.
The best baits have been egg imitations in a variety of colors, with naturals beings best. But don’t overlook an out of the box color like chartreuse. Trick’em, trout beads and soft beads are good choices as well.
When fly fishing, target the faster riffle water with egg patterns or beads. Don’t be afraid to mix it up with a pink squirmy Popular flies include: glo bugs, comets and Eztaz. Cheese, orange, magenta and chartreuse are all top performers.
Fishing on the Oswego has been very good to those who put in their time. The trout are here in good numbers. Anglers fishing the flats have been having the most success. Find the deeper pockets and you will find fish.
The wall anglers have continued to struggle this week. With the high flows fishing from the wall has been rough. The good news is that flows are at a medium level, which allows anglers to access all of the river.
Anglers who are seeing the most success are throwing beads and single egg pattern flies.
Popular baits include egg imitations in a variety of colors, with naturals beings best. But don’t overlook an out of the box color like chartreuse. Trick’em, trout beads and soft beads are good choices as well.
Free Oswego Fishing Guide
The 68-page guide includes a detailed overview of fishing opportunities on eastern Lake Ontario, Oneida Lake, the Oswego and Salmon rivers and a variety of other tributaries, as well as the more than 40,000 acres of public lands available for hunting.
Wayne County Fishing Update
Stream fishing has slowed after last weekend’s bonanza. The 15-to-18-foot waves in Lake Ontario closed the outlet to Maxwell Creek.
The flow has diminished, and some browns have been caught with egg sacs and small jigs under torpedo bobbers. Fish Maxwell during the week so you won’t have the crowds.
Salmon Creek in Pultneyville also has browns. Fish across from the restaurant. The outlet to the lake is open and browns and some steelhead are in the creek.
The Port Bay channel was closed after the gale force winds, we experienced a few days ago. Pier fishing at the Sodus Channel is still a viable option for stream anglers. The pier is safe with the warmer temperatures eliminating a coating of ice.
Cast out heavy spoons like Kastmasters, Cleo’s and Suttons.
Lake Ontario tributary regulations:
Three fish in combination and not to include more than one Rainbow Trout (or Steelhead) and One Brown Trout.
Perch fishing in Sodus and Port Bays has been excellent. Search for the larger schools in 20 to 25 fow. Use 2-inch white rubber bait tipped with fresh spikes.
Look for rocky bottoms or drop-offs. The south end Port Bay had a skim of ice yesterday, however that will disappear today with 45-degree temps.
Use the north end DEC ramp for Port Bay. The road is bumpy so take it slow.
On Sodus Bay, Bay Bridge Sport Shop located at the south end, has a good launch. The Margaretta Road launch is closed.
Widewaters near Port Gibson is always the hot spot for bass, perch, and crappies. Fish from a boat or along the canal trails. The regular season for bass ends November 30th.
More Info: canals.ny.gov/boating/hours.html
• Keep informed from the NYS Canal web for changes and restrictions with canal waters.
• Keep informed about 2022 canal hours.
• There are no tolls or fees for recreational use of the Canal system this year.
Notable Freshwater Fishing Regulation Changes
The following list offers a summary of the most notable fishing regulation changes resulting from the adopted rulemakings described above.
- New statewide regulation for rainbow trout, brown trout, and splake in lakes and ponds. The season will now be open year-round, with a five-fish daily limit, any size, with a “no more than two longer than 12 inches” harvest rule.
- Statewide Atlantic salmon regulations will now allow for a year-round open season.
- Ice fishing is permitted on all waters in New York unless specifically prohibited with the exception of Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, Herkimer, Lewis, St. Lawrence, Warren, and Washington counties where previous rules remain.
- New specific dates replaced floating dates for statewide season openers to include:
- May 1 – Walleye, Northern Pike, Pickerel, and Tiger Muskellunge.
- June 1 – Muskellunge. (Note that in 2022, DEC will allow for the fishing of muskellunge beginning the last Saturday in May to accommodate previously planned fishing trips);and
- June 15 – Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass.
- A five-fish daily walleye limit in Oneida Lake.
- A new regulation to limit the growth of the walleye population in Skaneateles Lake. No daily possession limit; 12-inch minimum size limit, open year-round.
- The statewide sunfish daily harvest limit has been reduced from 50 to 25 fish: and
- The statewide minimum size limit for crappie has been increased from nine inches to ten inches.
Thanksgiving Message from Orleans County Tourism
The staff at Orleans County Tourism wishes to thank all our anglers, near and far for getting hooked on Orleans County fishing! We are especially grateful to the contributors that support our efforts: our Charter Captains, Fishing Guides, and contributors that provide our weekly reports as well as those who have provided us with photos over the past year. And, a shout out to our media partners to help distribute our reports.
Have a Safe and Happy Thanksgiving!
Ron Bierstine from Oak Orchard Tackle & Lodge brings us this Stream Fishing report:
Here’s the Cliff Notes version… Last weekend Snow-maggedan forecast? Not so much for Oak Orchard area. The couple inches we had will be melted by end of today. Four inches + a little south of here. Fishing pressure light, a few more guys likely coming out now on nicely warming temps. The usual suspects of Johnson, Oak, Sandy have good conditions thanks to the continuing Canal feed. If its your thing you could still find a greenish or possibly fresher yet King to tussle with on the Oak, but now guys are more into browns and a few steelhead. If you’re thinking there’s only been smaller fish caught this season, check out the big brown pic below. Enjoy your family for Turkey Day time and hopefully you can squeeze some fishing in too!
Warm temps with highs in the 40’s forecast thru this week. Chance of showers beginning part of this upcoming weekend and chance of rain end of weekend. Flows all around pretty good and on the clear from a little bit of stain of a few days ago before last weekend’s colder temps. Flows in the Oak somewhere near slightly high. Plenty of water cover to hide fish except for when flows are reduced thanks to hydropwer operations. Those water level fluctuations hopefully becoming less frequent now that most leaves are down and winds are calmer. Some of the melt off from southern snow likely will keep flows in the Oak up slightly. These flows have the potential to draw steelhead in at any time. Any significant precipitation could raise flows up more and off color. Johnson Creek might show a similar response thanks to its westerly location. Sandy looks to be dropping a tad probably as a result of last weekend’s colder temps. There should not be much snow in that watershed to raise flows with this week’s warmer forecast. No serious icing conditions that we know of or expected in the near term. Canal feed probably slightly artificially elevating water temps. Angler reports are thin thanks to not a lot of guys out there this past weekend. Some guys reporting tougher action possibly as a result of the backside of the colder weather or the slightly high flows like on the Oak. Most persistent guys who move around some trying different drifts getting at least a few hookups on browns or a steelhead or two. Fish will be well spread out especially in the the other area smaller waterways.
Turkey day time and big game seasons competing for angler hours so no matter how agreeable the weather may be, it’s not expected that fishing pressure will be all that heavy.