A January thaw is already underway in Western NY and it could spell good news all the way around for anglers. For starters, the lower Niagara River is back in business for boaters and shoreline casters. The gorge area has been producing lake trout, steelhead and walleye for casters using jigs in green and white. Lake trout to 13 pounds and steelhead to 12 have been reported. Wear ice creepers when walking the shoreline. Boaters started catching fish on Monday and today was pretty good for many of the captains plying the waters in search of trout and walleye. Kwikfish and MagLip lures fished off three-way rigs have been the most effective. Beads and egg sacs will catch fish, too. Be careful of any chunk ice floating down. Fish can be found from Devil’s Hole to the Niagara Bar.
The streams are slowly starting to open back up again and while the openings are limited, you can do well. Shawn West of Lockport caught his personal best brown trout this week, an 18 pound bomber that hit a bead. Jigs will also work, tipped with wax worms and fished under a float.
There is still good ice in Wilson and Olcott. Biggest fish was a 44-inch Northern pike hauled in by Jarame McClelland of Newfane, his biggest pike ever out of Wilson. It hit a pike chub off his tip-up. Keep your fingers crossed we don’t lose too much ice. And Olcott was producing some nice trout through the ice on Voodoo jigs for Roy Letcher.
The fifth annual Greater Niagara Fishing and Outdoor Expo is just around the corner, set for Jan. 19th through the 21st at the Conference and Event Center Niagara Falls. We’ve been talking about this for a month – and with good reason. If you want to learn anything about fishing, this is the show for you. As far as education is concerned, it’s one of the best on the Great Lakes. With over 70 speakers and over 120 different seminars, you can’t go wrong finding something that you are interested in. Salmon, trout, bass, walleye, perch, musky, electronics, rigging a boat, getting started with fishing … check out the website at www.niagarafishingexpo.com for a complete rundown of seminars. The speakers are top notch, too. Bassmaster elite pros Shaw Grigsby and Mark Menendez, salmon fishing greats Jake Romanack and Dan Keating, walleye pros Mark Romanack and Lance Valentine – the list is a long one. Go to www.niagarafishingexpo.com.
The Niagara River Anglers Association will hold its annual Roger Tobey Memorial Steelhead Contest on Saturday, February 3 from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. out of Lewiston Landing (at the launch ramp). Eligible waters are all waters of Lake Ontario and the tributaries, as well as the Lower Niagara River; awards and dinner to follow at the Lewiston #1 Fire Hall on 6th Street, Lewiston. Sign-ups will be taken at Creek Road Bait and Tackle in Lewiston, The Slippery Sinker in Olcott or at the dock on that Saturday morning. For more information call Paul at 998-8910.