Western New York Fishing Report – February 22nd, 2013
Lake Ontario and tributaries
The only action we’ve heard about since the weather turned cold again was in the tributaries such as Eighteen Mile Creek below Burt Dam. While the water was still a bit stained, Wes Walker of Burt reported that the levels have dropped and anglers were catching steelhead and a few browns. Small jigs fished under a float and tipped with a wax worm has been the hot bait. Use colors that are brighter like orange or chartreuse when the water is stained. Both Keg and Hopkins creeks had water flow to them and were holding some fish at last report, but if the cold weather continues those streams could be iced up. The Oak had open water to the Archers Club, and a few holes were reported in Johnson Creek. The piers were ice-covered at Wilson and Olcott. Ice fishing in Wilson was on hold at last check. but that could have changed by now.
The Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Association (www.lotsa.org) will be holding its Lake Ontario Expo and Flea Market on Sunday, Feb. 24 at Cornell Cooperative Extension Niagara, 4487 Lake Avenue (Route 78), Lockport from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Lake Erie and tributaries
You will have to pick and choose where you are going to attempt some tributary action along Lake Erie. Water levels have come down in all the tribs, but shelf ice and slush were posing problems in the small to medium-sized streams for trout anglers. The ice was starting to re-form as the lake was cleared out from the winds. Don’t take any chances out there.
Upper Niagara River
Muddy water and ice continued to hamper the fishing action above Niagara Falls. Ice was starting to set up in traditional spots like the marinas around Grand Island and in the Buffalo Boat Harbor, but wind had restricted ice formation and safety was a huge issue. As the waters clear, look for trout at the head of the river or along the head of the rapids. Use spoons, spinners or egg sacs.
Lower Niagara River
Not much fishing has taken place since the storms and cold weather that blew in. High winds broke up the ice in Lake Erie and much of that ice came through the system, meaning that until ice cover returns on the lake, the lower river waters will be susceptible to high winds and turbid conditions. Steelhead, brown trout and lake trout were all available in the lower river, with minnows or banana-shaped lures your best bet from boat; minnows, egg sacs and hardware like spoons or spinners a good bet for shore casters.
Some ice fishing action was reported in Burtis Bay and around the islands – Rock and Grass. Target 6-8 feet of water for perch. Maple Bay was also producing some hard-water action, but caution is advised wherever you go, according to Craig Robbins.
Cattaraugus County lakes
Case, Harwood, New Albion and Quaker lakes in Cattaraugus County provide a variety of ice angling opportunities. Anglers catch mostly smaller panfish on these lakes, but there is good opportunity to catch large trout, as well. In October, the lakes were stocked with surplus breeder trout from DEC’s Randolph fish hatchery. There is good northern pike fishing in Quaker Lake. The lakes reportedly had some ice, but don't expect thickness to be uniform. Check ice thickness often when moving around.
With the warmer temperatures, flow in the tributaries should be on the rise and should have 1-2 feet of visibility. With this comes the warning of being mindful of your surroundings, for with the melting of the snowpack comes the dangers of debris entering the tributaries. On both Oak Orchard River and Johnson Creek fair to good catches of both brown trout and steelhead/rainbow trout were reported, with more steelheads than browns being taken. Perch fishing was marginal at best where you can find open water.