A cold front finally came through the Western New York area, bringing some much-needed relief from the heat. With some 15 days of 80-plus degree temperatures during the month of September, water temperatures in area waters shot back up. Combined with the lack of precipitation, some of the fishing has been put on hold. Lake action for mature kings at the Niagara Bar, Wilson and Olcott is still holding on but you do have to work for them. Some mature king and Coho salmon are being taken regularly by pier head trollers pounding the waters with flasher-fly, flasher-meat, J-plugs or magnum spoons. Niagara Bar anglers are still reporting good numbers of salmon on the drop off in 70 to 80 feet of water using the same hardware that the pier head guys are using. Right now, there have been an equal number of Coho salmon and Kings being caught. This means that they are staging, hopefully to run up the Niagara River. Another option in the lake is to head out deep to 400-plus feet of water for a mix of salmon and steelhead. Target the top 80 feet of water with spoons or flasher-fly offerings. Make sure you throw on a free-floating slider spoon on your downrigger lines to pick up steelhead up high. If you want to learn more about salmon fishing in the lake, consider taking the LOTSA Salmon School set for Jan. 20 at the Conference and Event Center Niagara Falls. Sign up at www.lotsa1.org. Pier head casters are picking up a few salmon and trout off Wilson and Olcott, but a solid rain should trigger a run of fish. There could be some decent rain on Friday, just what the fish doctor ordered. Burt Dam and 18 Mile Creek has a few fish showing up, but the best is yet to come. The dam area is ready for fishermen after some extensive work by the Town of Newfane to repair paths and the shoreline.
Meanwhile, in the Lower Niagara River, salmon fishing in Devil’s Hole has slowed a bit because water temperatures have come up some 5 degrees in the last couple of weeks. While some salmon are being caught, many anglers are reporting a mixed bag of fish that have included bass, walleye, silver bass, catfish and even the occasional sturgeon. Shoreline casters are still picking up some salmon and walleye by tossing spoons or spinners. Glow in the dark Little Gem spoons are working at dawn or just before. Glow in the dark spinners will also work under low light conditions. Walleye and bass are still being caught in the river from Lewiston on down. Tubes and shiners work for bass; spinner and a worm for walleye if you want to try and target them. Of course you will catch other warm water species of fish. Remember lake trout season closes on Oct. 1 for three months. While they have not arrived in any big numbers yet, remember that they must be released unharmed.
Upper Niagara River action has been decent for a mix of bass and walleye. Spinner and a worm for walleye at the head of the river and around Strawberry Island; bass will frequent those same spots with tubes, shiners or crabs being the best enticements.