Western New York Fishing Report – April 1st, 2016
Lake Ontario and tributaries: The spring fishing action should be picking upby now. Water temperatures were starting to heat up in the lake as stream outflows were nearing the 40-degree mark, according to Wes Walker at The Slippery Sinker. In Eighteen Mile Creek at Burt Dam, the water turned muddy again after the recent rains. That said, anglers were catching some steelhead there by using egg sacs in bright colors or jigs tipped with a wax worm and fished under a float. Keg Creek was clear at last look and holding a few steelheads as well. When the water was starting to clear over in Wilson Harbor, they were starting to pick up a few perch. If water temps continue to rise, it won’t be long before they are catching a few bullheads over in Wilson, too.
Lake Erie and tributaries: Tributary action should be improving if we don’t see too much rain – or snow. Stream conditions should be favorable for trout. With the lake free of ice, you might see some boats heading out for early perch. A boat launch dock is now available at Sturgeon Point. Dunkirk and Barcelona harbors are ice-free, as is Buffalo Harbor, so you might see some boats out when the weather starts to improve a bit.
Upper Niagara River: With the ice boom removal complete, the waters should start to improve as far as water temperatures and fish catching. Trout should be available off the Bird Island Pier or Broderick Park/Unity Island. Casting spoons, spinners or egg sacs could produce a rainbow or two.
Lower Niagara River: Water conditions were near perfect, but fishing has been a bit tough for drifters working the river from Devil’s Hole to the Niagara Bar. Minnows that have been dyed to different colors will sometimes tip the action to the fisherman’s favor. Capt. Steve Drabczyk of Lewiston was using pink minnows to take trout on the Niagara Bar; Capt. Frank Campbell was using a UV green color – both made by Pautzke. Kwikfish and egg sacs will also work to take fish. Steelhead and lake trout were the primary targets, but a few browns were also showing up. Remember that walleye and pike seasons are now closed. Shore anglers were tossing spinners or drifting egg sacs or egg pattern baits like trout beads or flies to take some fish. The 11th Annual John Long Memorial Raffle and Feast, sponsored by the Niagara River Anglers Assn., will be held April 3 at Niagara Active Hose, 6010 Lockport Road, Niagara Falls starting at 2 p.m. For tickets call 716-628-1460.
Chautauqua Lake: Crappie fishing was in full swing, according to local guide Craig Robbins. The best places to be include the canals off Ashville and Burtis bays. Use a 1/32-ounce jig head tipped off with a grub or minnow and fished under a float. Anglers in boats were doing well on crappie around Rock and Grass islands in 6 to 8 feet of water. Eight feet of water was also good in Ashville Bay from a boat. Walleye season is closed.
Orleans County: Orleans County: When wind conditions are good, those in smaller boats are doing well catching both brown trout and steelhead right along the shoreline of Lake Ontario. The best conditions are presented near the discharges of the tributaries feeding the lake, where warmer water temperatures and stained water conditions exist. Chartreuse or orange color patterns on either flutterspoons or stick baits seem to be the high producers. On the tributaries, long drifts over varying water conditions are creating a good number of hookups on mostly steelhead but also the occasional brown trout. The tributaries are producing good catches of both suckers and bullhead. Lake Alice is slowly coming alive with some great fishing for crappie, bluegill, bass, perch and other species as conditions continue to improve.