Western New York Fishing Report – March 18th, 2016
Lake Ontario and tributaries: Conditions were improving at last check. Fresh steelhead should be in the tribs. Tyler Morrison of Barker reeled in a 13-pound steelhead he weighed in for the New York State Winter Classic. He caught it in a tributary but he already had a 16.79-pound lake trout on the board so he didn’t win the special prize in the contest for biggest steelhead. That went to Tyler’s uncle, David Morrison, with a 9.79-pound fish. Small jigs fished under a float and tipped with a wax worm are a good approach – use bright colors. Conditions were fairly clear at Keg Creek and there were reports of a few trout being caught in other streams like Four Mile Creek. Piers had been hampered by winds so no reports there. The lake was slowly warming so we may see some shoreline trolling taking place.
Lake Erie and tributaries: Trout will be your primary focus and using egg sacs, egg imitations, a variety of fly patterns and even live bait like wax worms or minnows should catch you fish.
Upper Niagara River: With the stained water and the chunks of ice along the shoreline, angling opportunities have been limited. There will be an electronics seminar for boaters at Anchor Marine on Grand Island with expert Lance Valentine on Saturday, April 2. You must pre-register at 716-773-7063.
Lower Niagara River: Improved conditions were triggering some fishing action and decent success. Water clarity improved enough to produce a nice mix of fish for Capt. Frank Campbell. His customer, Michael Xu from the New York City area, managed to catch some nice trout, a muskie and a walleye – hitting double digits in the fish department. The secret, according to Campbell, was using the Pautzke’s Fire Brine on his minnows to give the bait a UV glow with a green coloration.
Chautauqua Lake: Conditions were still unsettled and not much going on there as the lake goes into a transition.
Orleans County: Most of the tributaries were at medium to slightly high flows with almost clear water. On Oak Orchard Creek, water flows have been reduced slightly on the turbine channel and the overflow side was at a maintenance level. Water temperatures were quickly approaching the 40 degree mark and steelhead were on the move throughout the tributary system. When wind conditions are right some were braving the waters of Lake Ontario, catching some fresh brown trout. Bullhead, perch and bluegills were starting to be taken on Lake Alice and in some of the tributaries. With rain always a possibility in the spring, conditions could quickly change as far as water clarity and levels, but time will tell.
The warmer weather should also spur some action in the marinas as those who primarily lake fish rush to get their vessels ready for what could very well be an early start to the lake season.
Speaking of Lake Ontario, water levels for the start of the season appear to be above normal and warmer than the past several years.