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Weather brings some fishing, hunting concerns

Posted on March 19, 2012

Bill Hiltz Jr.It’s not even spring on the calendar and I’m wearing shorts and a T-shirt. I was fishing on the Niagara River a few days ago and I wasn’t even wearing a survival suit – a hooded sweatshirt and jacket was all I needed as we drifted for trout. Who would have thought the area was setting itself up for a week of recording-breaking temperatures in the 70s! Boaters are trolling the shoreline in Lake Ontario picking up brown trout; pier casters are having a heyday on trout, too. It’s more like mid-April fishing.

In the hunting arena, the late goose season for the South zone appeared to be offering up some flight birds coming back from their southern migration patterns. Some wild turkeys are already strutting their stuff in local fields. Trees are starting to bud and other vegetation is well on its way to begin its greening up process, which poses another concern for turkey hunters – visibility of the bearded birds. The youth hunt is April 21-22 this year, which means that timing could be good for them, but a bit more difficult when the state season opens on May 1. Then again, who could have forecast such a weather anomaly?

My big concern involves the promotion of our Empire State resources. Three years ago, the Niagara Tourism and Convention Corporation bid on hosting the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers (AGLOW) Cast and Blast event in mid-May of 2012. We were granted the bid based on our outstanding angling resources for that time of year, offering up spring salmon and trout fishing in Lake O; lower Niagara River trout action; and Lake Erie bass fishing. With water nearing the 40-degree mark already, what transpires between now and then is totally up to Mother Nature. My bet is that local fishing will be more like a June or July timeframe.

If things are four weeks ahead of schedule, Lake Ontario could be going through its normal transition of scattering fish – making the action that much more difficult. The trout will be gone out of the river and the moss could be arriving early, a one-month process that creates headaches for anglers. The only sure bet could be the bass fishing, but even that is suspect between now and then. If it’s a post-spawn scenario, it could be much tougher than normal. All we can do is keep our fingers crossed between now and then. As the saying goes, if we get tossed a lemon, we’ll have to try and make lemonade for 25 of the top media people around the Great Lakes. Let’s hope they’re thirsty. Wish us luck!