Western New York

Lake Erie and tributaries: Small to medium sized streams like
Chautauqua, Canadaway, Silver, Walnut, Eighteen Mile, Buffalo,
Cayuga and Cazenovia creeks should all be fishable and holding good
numbers of fish. Egg sacs, streamers, woolly buggers, egg sucking
leeches, sucker spawn, Glo Bugs and the like should all catch fish.
You’ll likely encounter varied conditions from stream to stream –
from low and clear to stained to iced up along the shoreline.
Cattaraugus Creek was high and muddy but starting to come down at
last look. Some fish were being reported around Gowanda. Your best
bet would be some of the feeder creeks like the South Branch of the
Catt or Clear Creek. Dunkirk Harbor is still holding good numbers
of trout that are chasing gizzard shad around. Cast stick baits or
still-fish minnows.

Lake Ontario and tributaries: At the end of the year, Eighteen
Mile Creek below Burt Dam was limited with only a few fish. Ray
Mahtook of Youngstown was one of the lucky ones, managing to catch
a brown and a steelhead on an olive drab marabou jig fished under a
float and tipped with a wax worm. Then some pretty adverse weather
hit, including a bunch of rain, and as of the end of last month
more fish had entered the creek, according to Wes Walker at The
Slippery Sinker. Water levels were up and stained as water was
falling over the dam and they were generating power. Steelhead and
browns were hitting marabou or minifoo jigs in bright colors like
white and chartreuse, fished under a float. If you do plan on
fishing the creek, remember that the minimum size for steelhead is
21 inches and the daily limit is one. Olcott Harbor was still open
but muddy as of this report. To the east, Braddock Bay was late
last month reporting thick enough ice to allow for some early
hard-water action, with grubs and minnows leading to some nice
catches of perch. But ice conditions could have changed by now.

Lower Niagara River: Action was good going into the new year,
especially on the Niagara Bar, where boaters were hauling in a few
brown trout. Lake trout were hitting minnows and Kwikfish as
anglers chased the browns. Lake trout season opened in New York on
Jan. 1, which is also the start of the new license year for the
Province of Ontario, as well as a change in walleye regulations for
the lower Niagara. As of the first of the year, the walleye limit
will be reduced to one fish per person with a minimum size of 18
inches in length to protect the spawning females. The bad news was
that water turbidity was bad through at last look. River fishing
should be good for steelhead from Devil’s Hole to Fort Niagara. Use
minnows, Kwikfish (if the winds are right from the south or
southwest), egg sacs or egg imitations like yarn balls. Shore
fishermen can do well when the water is stained as trout seek out
clearer waters along the shoreline. Cast spoons, spinners or drift
egg sacs or egg imitations to take your trout.

Upper Niagara River: Waters were stained at last look, but Big
Catch was reporting some decent perch action at the foot of Ontario
Street and around the lighthouse on small golden shiners and
fathead minnows. They were also picking some fish up at the Locks.
Action should improve as the waters clear.

Chautauqua Lake: Not too much to report as ice has started to
fill in the canals around the lake. No safe ice was being reported
and the lake was starting to set up slowly for hard-water action,
according to Craig Robbins

Bill Hilts, Jr.

(www.outdoorsniagara.com)

(716) 679-ERIE.

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