Greater Niagara Region
After the storm of a generation over the holidays and with heavy rains last week, fishing is finally turning back on again in the Lake Ontario tributaries for trout. Eggs, egg imitations, flies and small jigs fished under a float are working to catch some nice fish off both lakes. Jigs and egg imitations were working for Matt Vogt of Newfane this week. He was picking up some fresh Coho salmon that had run up 18 Mile Creek into Burt Dam area. According to Vogt, conditions have been alright, and the tributaries are not frozen over. He has had some luck in the mud, but water right now has cleared to a more greenish color. There was a report of some fish in 4 Mile Creek, but beaver dams have impacted how and where you can fish. More rain is in the forecast for Friday so we will have to wait and see what that will bring us.
Lower Niagara River action was slowly starting to improve as waters were clearing earlier this week. Water conditions are still an issue, reports Lisa Drabczyk with Creek Road Bait and Tackle in Lewiston, but a few fishermen have caught some steelhead and lake trout. When drifting Artpark, use Kwikfish, live bait like minnows or shiners, bright beads, or MagLips. Water is still very low. Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls reported 2 feet of visibility late Monday. Shore casters will be the first to start catching, followed by the boat guys. Use spinners, jigs, eggs, or egg imitations. Capt. Bob’s Outdoors fishing derby has posted some early leaders like Brad Shaver of Lancaster with a 25-inch walleye he caught at the foot of Ferry Street on the upper river with a minnow.
If you are looking for something to do on Jan. 14 (Saturday night), you might want to check out the Ridgewood Bible Church’s Sportsman’s Night at 7073 Ridge Road in Lockport. Doors open at 5 p.m. and there will be a chili dinner with big game hunter Larry Moyer as guest speaker — all for $10. Tickets are available at the door, but please call in advance if you can at 434-5774. Kids under 10 are free and there are special rates for families.
Wayne County Fishing Update
Not much happening at Maxwell Creek. The flow is slow and because the lake is low the trout can’t get through the small channel. More rain might be the answer for Maxwell, but still Lake Ontario needs to rise.
There has been some action at Salmon Creek in Pultneyville. Try the open water across from the post office and the restaurant. Some steelhead were caught over the weekend.
Lake Ontario tributary regulations:
Three fish in combination and not to include more than one Rainbow Trout (or Steelhead) and One Brown Trout.
All the bays have open water and with warm weather predicted we might not get any ice fishing for three weeks. Of course, that could change with some Canadian air. “Come on Canada”
A few boats were fishing the north end of Port Bay and also some areas of Sodus. They are catching perch using small white rubber bait tipped with spikes.
More anglers will be fishing open water, however, use caution when catching perch from your boat. Water temperatures are close to freezing and with heavy foul-weather gear as your outfit you cannot survive long if you fall overboard.
From November 1st until May 1st New York’s law requires you to wear your PFD. That means it cannot be laying around your boat. It must be worn.
When we get solid ice bait is available on the south end of Sodus at Davenports and Bay Bridge Sport Shop.
On Port Bay Jarvis Bait shop is open on Brown Road. The signs are on East Port Bay Road at the junction of Brown Road. In Ontario, Grantley’s Bait at 1864 Route 104 Ontario, NY.
The canal waters are not frozen, however many areas have been drained and have no fish. If you launch use the Widewaters Park.
Put Safety First When on the Ice
A Minimum of Four Inches of Clear Ice is Safe for Anglers on Foot. The NYS DEC is reminding ice anglers to use caution and common sense as ice fishing gets into high gear across much of New Yor State.
Four inches or more of solid ice is safe for anglers accessing ice on foot. Ice anglers should note that ice thickness can vary on everybody of water and even on the same body of water.
Anglers should be particularly wary of areas of moving water and around boat docks and houses where bubblers may be installed to reduce ice buildup.
The presence of snowmobile tracks or footprints on the ice should not be considered as evidence of safe ice conditions. Individuals are strongly encouraged to check ice conditions and avoid situations that appear to present even a remote risk. Testing the thickness of ice can be done easily with an auger or ice spud at various spots.
“Ice fishing is a popular sport in New York and interest in it increases every year,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “Safety is the first thing to consider when taking part in the sport, and we remind people to use good judgement when venturing onto the ice. Ice fishing is great for families looking to try something new, and parents can mix in skating, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, or other activities during ice fishing trips to keep everyone interested and happy.”
Feb. 19 and 120 have been designated as a free fishing weekend. The requirement for a fishing license is waived during this period. The free fishing weekend is a great opportunity to try ice fishing for the first time and for experienced anglers to introduce their friends to the sport.
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.
Orleans County Sportfishing Coordinator Ron Bierstine:
Flows in the Oak are high and stained with about one foot of visibility. Depending on your perspective some might call it only slightly high. Either way there’s still a good head of turbine flow that’s full bore or close to full bore and the water color is slowly getting better. Drifts now will definitely be more productive then a few days ago. Overflow levels are diminished. On recon today I saw only a few guys parked at the dam. No icing anywhere and the downstream slow water is wide open. Other area smaller tribs have med flows and slightly stained water color something like 1 – 2 feet of visibility. Looks like a nice fishing window right now in those smaller tribs that normally might be frozen up this time of the season. Chance of fresh steelhead on the backside of the last higher flows or at least the past fall’s browns and steelhead should be redistributed. No major chill down seen in the near term forecast and there is some rain or showers going over to snow showers forecast for Thursday and Friday. Any significant precipitation could raise all the trib flows back high and dirty. Without any persistent cold or snow or ice hanging in, these precipitation events are going to keep water color on the stained side.
- We have seen great fishing since the beginning of the year, even during the high water we had a week ago.
- We have also seen some really large fish lately.
- Rain, expected Thurs. + Fri., could lead to changes on the Salmon River.
- Consider booking a guide. Click Here for our full list..
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The water on the Salmon River has already increased. This comes ahead of the rain we are expecting Thursday through Friday this week. Depending on how high the water goes, it could lead to changes.
With the river temps hovering at freezing, the increase in flow will have the steelhead moving to the edges. So, concentrate on the slow seams and inside edges. If levels stay where they’re at, fish the pools.
Egg sacs have been the primary bait of choice. White, pink, purple and blue, being the most consistent colors. Other good baits are pink worms, jigs and the occasional bead. Fished under a float, these baits have been producing plenty of action.
Fly anglers have been finding success running stoneflies in a variety of colors, such as copper, blue, and chartreuse. An egg sucking leech or woolly bugger, in black or olive, has also proved productive.
The Oswego River can be a temperamental beast this time of year with the rains, snow, warm, and cold. The river goes up, then comes down. It gets dirty, then clears up. At the present time we are seeing the flows go up along with the water getting dirtier. But there’s still fish to be caught.
Anglers putting it their time are hooking steelhead with a few browns mixed in the upper River. Down below, anglers fishing off the bank have been finding consistent action with brown trout and walleye. Mostly rolling swim baits and blade baits from the east side.
Tight lines everyone!
Steelhead Fishing on the Legendary Salmon River
Let this be your year to experience the legendary waters of the Salmon River, long regarded as one of North America’s premier steelhead destinations!
It only takes one light tackle hook-up for you to understand why they are called Steelhead. Anglers from around the world will tell you that these underwater lightning bolts do more than steal your bait. By the time they have had their way with you, they’ll have stolen your heart and soul. Whether heading upstream for a fall feeding frenzy or dropping back to Lake Ontario in the spring, these 5-10 lb. “chromers” will give you the freshwater fight that brings you back for more.
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.