Western New York Fishing Report – February 7th, 2013
Lake Ontario and tributaries
Heavy winds ruled out any kind of pier fishing lately. Those piers in Wilson and Olcott were ice covered at last check. Wes Walker at The Slippery Sinker reported Eighteen Mile Creek was flowing sufficiently and there was about a foot visibility late last month. If you do try to venture out, be careful of the shoreline ice. Use brightly colored baits if the water is showing poor clarity. And speaking of ice, the back bay in Wilson was finally covered over but that was before the warmup. Wait for at least three to four inches before drilling any holes. If you want to learn about lake fishing, the Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Association has its next salmon school on Feb. 23. The group’s fishing expo is Feb. 24. Go to www.LOTSA.org for more info.
Lake Erie and tributaries
The lake was starting to get some ice cover on it, but a warmup may have set things back again. Many of the small to medium sized tributaries had shelf ice and slush issues with lots of snow to deal with at last look. Cattaraugus Creek may have some open holes, but caution is advised. Very little warm water was being discharged from the power plant in Dunkirk, meaning that ice has been an issue there. Overall, the fishing is in a state of flux.
Upper Niagara River
Could not find a single person who braved the cold and wind. Muddy conditions will certainly hamper success rates if you do make it out. If the water does start to clear, look for trout at the head of the river. Casting the shoreline of the upper rapids with spoons, spinners or egg sacs could produce a few trout. Before the muddy conditions, word was that a few perch were being caught around the Holiday Inn on Grand Island.
Lower Niagara River
Not hearing much lately with muddy conditions. If you fish from shore, use caution. Remember that the Niagara River Anglers will be holding its annual steelhead contest on Feb. 16. Go to www.niagarariveranglers.com for details.
Cold temperatures returned, but briefly, so ice conditions were spotty at best as of late last month. Make sure that you have at least 3-4 inches of ice before venturing out and check the thickness as you move around. Some anglers were out on Burtis Bay around the buoys at mid-month, catching some perch on black hair jigs, but ice thickness was questionable.
The south end reportedly had 3-4 inches of solid ice, but a late month warmup likely set conditions back greatly. The bluegill bite was generally good to very good at the south end in 6-10 feet of water. Small jigs with a wax worm or spike is the ticket. Anglers also catch the occasional northern pike on tip-ups with minnows. Use caution if things do lock up and you can venture out.
The roller-coaster weather pattern blew out the tributaries last week and also wreaked havoc on ice conditions. The tribs may be fishable now, and keep an eye on the ice and use caution if you give it a try. On the bright side, the fast-flowing waters likely brought fresh fish into the tributaries.