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Western New York Fishing Report – March 6th, 2015

Lake Ontario and tributaries: The open water below Burt Dam on Eighteen Mile Creek is shrinking and you may have to chop some ice to get a line wet there. Your better bet is to hit the hard water with an ice auger and try some ice fishing in Wilson or Olcott harbors. The ice is still a bit thick, however. Panfish, perch, northern pike and the occasional trout are all being reported by ice anglers. Record-breaking cold temperatures outside have kept many sportsmen and women inside. 

Lake Erie and tributaries: The ice is really thick on the lake and many hard-water fanatics are already using extensions for their augers. It also limits how much moving around you can do. The most consistent action has been off Sturgeon Point in 50 to 60 feet of water for perch and the occasional walleye. Also off Pinehurst in 40-plus feet of water. 

Upper Niagara River: The Buffalo Boat Harbor is what is being talked about most for ice action. Good action on perch, panfish and pike was being reported. Grand Island marinas were also seeing some action, but reports have been limited. 

Lower Niagara River: While open water always exists, when temperatures are this cold it just seems like it’s too much trouble try and get a line wet. Ice chunks around the launch ramp in Lewiston have been a constant hassle and currently pose a serious threat to launching; surface ice is troublesome as you attempt to maintain a consistent drift; rod guides ice up frequently; and sometimes it’s just too cold to feel a bite with gloves on. Toss in the problems with ice chunks floating down through the river system and you get the drift … or not. Steelhead, brown trout and lake trout are all available on egg sacs, minnows or wobbling baits like Kwikfish or MagLips. Shore casters can use white marabou jigs, spoons, spinners or beads. As always, caution is advised. With Lake Erie frozen over, the water is getting mighty clear, too. Time to lighten up on your line choice, use smaller hooks and baits, as well as going with longer leads when running a three-way rig. 

Chautauqua Lake: Walleyes were being caught off the Mayville flats, according to local guide Craig Robbins. Target 8 to 12 feet of water. Another good spot is off Long Point in 25-foot depths and greater. Bounce Swedish pimples off the bottom. Yellow perch were being caught between the bridge and the ferry, but focus more toward the Bemus Point side. 

Orleans County: With no real break in sight and more snowfall in the near future, ice fishing enthusiasts will be in their glory for quite some time yet. With the cold temperatures and low water flow on all of the tributaries within Orleans County, the only open water appears to be right at the discharge channel at the Waterport Power Station. It’s not easy fishing but a few steelhead and brown trout are being taken for those with a great deal of patience. At the bridges area on Oak Orchard River a mixed bag of perch, northern pike and a rare steelhead trout are being taken thru the ice.

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