Lake Ontario and tributaries: The gradual warming trend has served many local anglers well. Many of the creeks were flowing freely and when they start settling down they should have trout in them. At the top of the list is Eighteenmile Creek, offering steelhead trout and the occasional brown from the dam to the beyond the stairs. The snowmelt has given the water a decent stain, giving an added advantage for anglers looking to score on some fresh fish entering the system. Steelhead were caught late last month and the action should continue. Best baits were jigs tipped with a wax worm or eggs, according to Wes Walker at The Slippery Sinker in Olcott. Fish the jigs or eggs under a float and use the color that works best for the conditions. Brighter colors like pink or chartreuse work in the stained waters; white or black as the waters clear. Keg Creek was high and muddy earlier at last look but should start to settle down soon. There should be trout available. No word on any other tributaries. The ice is out of Olcott Harbor and a few casters have hit the piers already seeking out trout or an early Coho. Some pike were still hitting lures, but remember that the season is now closed until the first Saturday in May. No word on Wilson Harbor for ice fishing. Conditions must be deteriorating quickly.
Lake Erie and tributaries: Tributaries, especially the smaller tol medium-sized streams, should be fishable soon, if not now. One spot with open water was at the dam in Springville on Cattaraugus Creek. Further down the creek, waters were high and muddy at last report. Open water at Dunkirk Harbor near the fishing platform is a good spot for some casting. Some trout were being caught on spoons and spinners.
Upper Niagara River: Not too much changed from last report, other than there’s a bit more open water around. Ice was starting to dissipate. Remember that walleye and pike seasons are closed.
Lower Niagara River: Trout action continued to be on fire for anglers taking advantage of the mild weather and relatively ice-free conditions in the main river. Minnows topped the list of favorite baits that also included Kwikfish, MagLips and egg sacs or single egg presentations, and the water had a little more color to allow for more hook-ups. Brown trout were more likely downriver and on The Bar, proven by Capt. Matt Yablonsky in some recent trips; steelhead upriver and down, as shown by Capt. Frank Campbell with some if his trips. A few lake trout were also being caught. Three-way rigs are the way to go to maintain contact with the bottom. Shore anglers have been picking up some trout, but once again caution is advised with the melting shoreline ice. Spinners or spoons will work, as will eggs or egg imitations and fished under a float. Walleye season closed in New York waters on March 15. It is illegal to target them when the season is closed.
Chautauqua Lake: Walleye season is closed until May 2 so ice anglers were taking their last shots at perch if conditions allow. Good reports of 8- to 10-inch fish off Prendergast Point in 30-40 feet of water, but you may not be able to get on now. Caution is advised as the ice deteriorates; stay away from creek mouths.
Orleans County: Most of the tributaries within Orleans County are open. With water flows on the tributaries mostly high with stained water and fishing pressure very low, this is a great time for some very good steelhead fishing. Steelhead are dispersed throughout the tributaries as they move toward the gravel spawning beds. The full menu of baits, both live and artificial, are in play with the stained water conditions.
Lake Alice and Glenwood Lake still had ice on them but not safe ice. It won’t be long before the sucker and bullhead season will come to life on area tributaries, as well as some walleye at the mouths of those tribs.
On Saturday, April 4, at 9 a.m., pens will be assembled again for the pen rearing project. This project helps insure the continued fantastic fishing for both chinooks and steelhead. Volunteers are welcome to assist.