Lake Ontario and tributaries: Fishing continued to be very good out in Lake Ontario off the shores of Niagara County for both salmon and trout. According to Capt. Dan Evans of Wilson, fish can be found in the 60- to 140-foot range from 30 Mile Point to the Niagara Bar. While spoons are the primary lure being used; a fair number of fish are also being taken on flasher-fly rigs. Find the river current and locate baitfish to find active fish. Some trout are still available in Eighteen Mile Creek below Burt Dam, but warmwater fish like pike, bass and perch were starting to turn on, too.
Lake Erie and tributaries: Perch action has been good to very good from Sturgeon Point to Cattaraugus Creek. When you launch your boat just look out onto the lake and you can see where everyone is fishing. The 50-foot mark has been a good starting point, with limit catches of yellow perch being reported by anglers. A few walleye were starting to show up on some of the reefs and shoals. Nighttime trolling off Hamburg Beach has been a bit spotty. Work harnesses or stick baits.
Upper Niagara River: Waters in the upper river were finally starting to heat up enough to turn on some warmwater fishing like perch and crappies. Small tubes, minnows or plastic shadpoles will catch fish for you in any of the bays that offer a bit warmer temperatures from the main river. Excitement is running high with the new muskellunge season in New York. Inland water muskie will open up on the last Saturday in May (May 30 this year), with a minimum size of 40 inches and a limit of one fish if you wanted to keep one. However, this new season does not include the Niagara River (upper or lower), Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. Great Lakes regulations will continue to have an opening day of the third Saturday in June (June 20 this year). In addition, the minimum muskie size for all Great Lakes waters will be 54 inches in length, with a daily limit of one. Scott McKee, president of the Niagara Musky Association, was worried over the possible confusion and asked that we emphasize this a few times in our reports so that anglers better understand the changes. The DEC press release was not clear on the Niagara River. For a greater understanding about muskie fishing in general, check out the excellent article in the new Freshwater Fishing Regulations Guide for 2015-16 written by McKee and Tony Scime.
Lower Niagara River: Steelhead were still available throughout the system, but the best spot has been in Devil’s Hole, according to Capt. John DeLorenzo of Niagara Falls. Fishing three-way rigs with a small minnow or small egg sac has been the most productive method. A small yellow float in the sac was working, like an Oregon cheese color. That same color has been working with small pieces of yarn. There were loads of bass around Fort Niagara.
Chautauqua Lake: Crappies were being caught in the southern basin of the lake, just off Lakewood Bar in 10 feet of water. Trollers were picking up some walleye from the bell tower to the Prendergast launch with worm harnesses and jointed Rapalas, according to Craig Robbins of Jamestown. Try surface trolling just below the surface. Evening bite is the best.
Orleans County: Cooler temperatures and prevailing winds out of the west should help to set up Lake Ontario waters for some great fishing. Right now the sweet spot on the lake seems to be the 75- to 150-foot range. Chinook salmon and steelhead are making up the majority of the catch. On Oak Orchard River it's a great time to target northern pike, rock bass and catch-and-release bass. On Lake Alice good catches of both crappie and bluegill were being reported, especially around the Kenyonville Bridge area.