Monday of this week saw the NYPA start the process of removing the ice boom at the head of the river. As of Thursday, there was still 3 or 4 percent of the lake ice to push through the system. Lower Niagara River trout action continues to be decent. Artpark is still a good spot to be from boat and shore. Steelhead are the top target using large emerald shiners according to Lisa Drabczyk at Creek Road Bait and Tackle in Lewiston. Boaters are averaging 8 to 10 fish per trip that also includes the occasional brown trout and lake trout. Egg sacs will also work for trout. If you get the right wind direction, Kwikfish or MagLips off three-way rigs can work well. Shoreline casters will use No. 4 spinners, spoons or jigs. If you prefer using a float, use an egg sac or an egg imitation. Jigs will work, too.
No smelt yet, but boats are continuing to mark pods of bait on the bottom in the middle of the river. Cooler temperatures due to ice chunks coming down the river could be affecting the nightly runs. The Lewiston Smelt Festival will be on May 3 if you want to check out the smelt fry provided by the Niagara River Anglers Association, Tops Lewiston and the Niagara River Region Chamber. The action kicks off at 5 p.m. with live music, a smelt eating contest and more, all at Academy Park this year across from Tops.
In the Upper Niagara River, DEC’s Environmental Conservation Officers (ECOs) ran a sting out of Beaver Island State Park when several calls came through the violation hotline (1-844-DEC-ECOS) claiming illegal activity going on. ECO’s from Erie County hit the upper Niagara River at Beaver Island and managed to nab an illegal catch that resulted in numerous violations. Three guys were dipping emerald shiners with nets when they started catching perch, which is illegal to do. They ended up with 3,537 yellow perch, way over the limit of 50 per person. They also netted carp (187), rock bass (14), and sunfish (2). If you see illegal activity going on, make the call. It works. Many of the fish were still alive due to the quick action of the officers and a large number were successfully released.
Out in Lake Ontario, Capt. Joe Gallo of E. Amherst fished in 65 to 70 foot of water Easter morning in front of Wilson to fish lake trout. The Two Bulls crew went 20 for 29 on lakers using glow flashers and blue/purple spoons. Jim DeGirolamo of Derby hit 7 to 10 feet of water between Wilson and Olcott to catch browns and lake trout using 3-inch firetiger Renosky stickbaits. Matt Tall of Wilson was using a stickbait off Wilson in 48 feet of water to take a beautiful 13-pound Atlantic salmon that was caught and released this week. There are still some steelhead and brown trout in the tributaries, but bass are slowly replacing them. Pier action has been spotty off Wilson and Olcott. Remember the Lake Ontario Counties Spring Trout and Salmon Derby will be May 10-19 this year. Check out details at www.loc.org.
To branch out on the club’s “teaching fishing” philosophy, the Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Association (LOTSA) will be moving from the classroom to the lake to provide some hands-on experience for interested anglers who are members of the club. (Become a member at www.lotsa1.org for $10). On June 9 out of Wilson, Capt. Joe Gallo of Two Bulls Sportfishing will take out six anglers (at a cost of $75 each) from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., showing off the daily routine of a charter captain from start to finish. The proceeds will benefit the club’s pen rearing project in Olcott. Call Gallo at 998-2296 to reserve your spot. Space is limited.