Western New York Fishing Report – February 7th, 2014
Lake Ontario and tributaries: The frigid temperatures have hampered action in the streams, but ice fishing options have been good this year. In Niagara County the best ice action has been at Wilson Harbor, where a mix of perch, panfish and the occasional trout has been reported. Use ice jigs tipped with live bait for the best success. There was some open water fishing around Burt Dam and Eighteen Mile Creek but you might have to move some ice around, like Greg Stanley of All in the Same Boat did late last month. Once they opened up some water they managed to catch a few trout – steelhead and browns – on egg sacs.
Lake Erie and tributaries: The extreme cold has hampered fishing activity in a number of ways. Streams were icing over, leaving very little open water to focus on. In addition, it’s kept many anglers in the house. One option may be the warmwater discharge in Dunkirk Harbor. A few trout have started to show up. Use minnows, egg sacs or cast spoons and spinners for best success.
Small Boat Harbor: There was thick ice of 9 inches or more in the inner harbor as of last week. Anglers were still catching plenty of bluegill and yellow perch on jigs with grubs, but need to weed through many small fish to take home a modest meal. Anglers also see the occasional keeper crappie or northern pike as well. Some smelt were starting to show in the harbor. Tiny jigs with a single spike works well for smelt.
Upper Niagara River: Not too much to report.
Lower Niagara River: Despite the cold temperatures, a few brave souls were venturing out into the lower river for trout before ice became a real problem. Capt. Frank Campbell reported decent success late last month, with three customers reeling in a total of 14 steelhead. The biggest fish were about 9 pounds. Kwikfish lures fished off three-way rigs was the way to go, taking advantage of some wind that was available. Silver-green, silver-chartreuse and silver were the best colors. Some trout were being caught on minnows or egg sacs.
Chautauqua Lake: Chautauqua now had good ice of 8 inches or more lake-wide. Yellow perch are generally found from the shallows to the deeper holes, but action has been better in shallow zones of 8-15 feet of water lately. Mayville has been most mentioned, but don't overlook other areas of the lake. Anglers were catching decent numbers of keeper perch (with many more small throwbacks) on jigs with grubs and slender or small spoons with small minnows or a gob of spikes. Bluegill catches have also been good in the shallow zones off Mayville and around the south basin. Crappie have shown well at times during low-light periods. Anglers take crappie in shallow zones on jigs with grubs, small jigheads with a minnow or by dead-sticking a minnow. When fishing for crappie it’s wise to jig at various depths since crappie are often suspended. Walleye reports were few, but anglers previously picked up a few along deeper drop-offs in 30-40 feet of water. Anglers generally target walleye during low-light periods with jigging Rapalas, spoons or shiners on a tip-up.
Silver Lake: Safe ice at last check. The bluegill bite has been decent in the shallows of the south end, with an uptick in keeper-sized fish. Some anglers have also picked up nice crappie catches after dusk. Tip-ups with shiners produce the occasional northern pike. The north end is worth a shot for bluegill, crappie and pike as well. Yellow perch have been tight-lipped along the deeper drops and flats.
Conesus Lake: Most of Conesus had between 7-8 inches of ice late last month. Anglers at both ends of the lake were catching plenty of bluegills on jigs with grubs, with only modest numbers of keeper-sized fish. Tip-ups with shiners are a good bet for northern pike or the occasional tiger muskie.
Honeoye Lake: Honeoye has between 7-9 inches of solid ice, maybe more by now. The bite has been relatively slow, but tends to picks up in mid-afternoon until dark. During that period, anglers catch a mix of bluegill, pumpkinseed and largemouth bass in shallower areas of 8-15 feet. Tip-ups with shiners catch decent numbers of chain pickerel and largemouth bass in shallow zones. Deeper water of 18 feet plus is a better bet for yellow perch. There have been no reports of walleye lately.
Cuba Lake: Good ice, and fair fishing for walleye, crappie, yellow perch and sunfish.
Loon Lake: Ice was good lakewide as of last week. Anglers primarily catch modest numbers of bluegill and yellow perch. Chain pickerel offer good action on tip-ups with minnows.
Orleans County: The continued frigid weather has iced over all but a small portion of the tributaries within Orleans County. On Oak Orchard River the area from the dam to down past the Archer’s Club and also the area around the Lyndonville dam had open water as of last weekend. For those brave souls who are willing to be on the tributaries, some action is taking place on The Oak, with steelhead/rainbow trout and an occasional brown trout being taken.
The options, however, are much better for hard-water anglers. On Lake Alice, the prominent fish being taken through the ice are bluegills, mainly on Otter Creek and then around the Kenyonville Bridge. Ice fishing on Oak Orchard River was producing perch, northern pike and the occasional trout. Various live baits and small jigs are proving to be the ticket to success.