Some ice chunks continue to come down through the Niagara River system, serving as obstacles in the upper and lower river sections. This stems from the fact that the ice boom is still in place at the head of the river between Buffalo and Fort Erie. Winds from the southwest will push ice pieces over the flexible boom. As of Tuesday morning, there was 372 square miles of ice left. There needs to be 250 square miles of ice or less before the boom is pulled. Ice thickness varies right now from 6 inches to 28 inches. We will keep you posted. In the upper river, Jeff Pippard at Niagara Outdoors in North Tonawanda reports that perch have been hitting around Beaver Island State Park at the marina and in many of the bays around the Island. Just look for the Emerald shiners. A few rainbows and lake trout have been taken off Gratwick Park in NT on spinners, too.
There has been good trout action in the lower Niagara River around Devil’s Hole and Artpark from boat and shore anglers according to Lisa Drabczyk at Creek Road Bait and Tackle in Lewiston. Boat drifters are using minnows, shiners and egg sacs. Shore casters are using spinners, spoons, jigs and egg sacs or egg imitations. Some captains insist that there are some smelt in the river, marking large pods of bait away from the shoreline. However, none have been dipped yet at night. Some local smelt dippers insist that this could be the week. Remember the Lewiston Smelt Festival will be in Academy Park in Lewiston on May 3 starting at 5 p.m. New this year is a smelt eating contest. If you want to sign up, call the Niagara River Region Chamber at 754-9500.
For Lake Ontario and the tributaries, steelhead were hitting flies on the surface in some of the creeks. Browns have been hitting eggs, so sacs and beads will do the trick. Pier action has been good in Wilson and Olcott according to Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctors in Olcott. Spoons, spinners and eggs. Out in the lake, trolling stickbaits in shallow water is working in front of 4 Mile and Wilson to take browns. Capt. Matt Yablonsky of Youngstown reports good action on a mixed bag, including a number of Coho salmon on Dreamweaver Super Slim “Get ‘er Done” spoons and Jr. Challenger Lady Bug lures off the boards, the downriggers and flatlining off the back of the boat in relatively shallow water. Capt. Alan Sauerland of Newfane was fishing spoons and stickbaits to take lake trout, brown trout and bass. The lakers were coming from 65 to 70-feet of water in front of Wilson. A few Chinook salmon are also being caught. Just a reminder that if you are fishing the lake and catch any Coho salmon, the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is still conducting a study to help them determine the success of stocking spring yearlings versus fall fingerling plants. DEC biologists are asking anglers to donate any Coho salmon heads and the information of your catch, whether the fish has a tag or not. The process is straight forward. Catch a Coho and check for an adipose fin clip. Mark all the information at a freezer site such as Fort Niagara State Park, Wilson Harbor (Bootleggers Cove and the Wilson Boat Yard) and Olcott at the Town of Newfane Marina to name a few. Bags and labels are available in the freezer. Make sure you provide the information of where you caught the fish, whether it had a clip and total length of the fish. For more information contact MiKe Connerton with DEC at 315-654-2147.