Back-to-back storms in Western New York had an impact on some of the fishing opportunities last week and weather continues to influence where and when you can fish. As this report is being written, it is 15 degrees out with a wind chill in the single digits. It is cold! The high winds last week led to terrible conditions in the Niagara River. As of mid-week, though, shore casters were using egg sacs to take some nice steelhead in the gorge area with three feet of visibility. Other baits worthy of consideration are spinners, trout beads and even wobble baits like Kwikfish or MagLips. Boaters should be able to get out this weekend if the weather cooperates. Egg sacs, those same wobbling baits and beads will all work from a three-way rig as you drift from Devil’s Hole down to the Niagara Bar – not one big drift but a series of smaller drifts. Before the water muddied up, they were doing pretty good on brown trout around the Coast Guard drift and out on the Niagara Bar. Lake trout season is open on the Canadian side of the river. It opens in New York on Jan. 1, 2018. Musky season in the lower river and Lake Ontario closes Dec. 15 so essentially that is over for the year until the season reopens the third Saturday in June.
In the Lake Ontario tributaries, a late run of Coho salmon have been surprising anglers with black marabou jigs tipped with a wax worm working well. Egg sacs or egg imitations have been working on steelhead and browns in places like 18 Mile Creek at Burt Dam, as well as some of the streams to the east. At Burt, the flow has been low and slow with stained conditions. It’s more of a waiting game, but you can do well if you put your time in. Jigs fished under a float is being more of a staple. If you want to learn more about fishing, join a local club like the Niagara River Anglers Assn. or the Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Assn. It would make a great stocking stuffer, too. The Lake Ontario Counties Trout and Salmon Derby has a Christmas special going on – $20 off a season’s pass. The Greater Niagara Fishing and Outdoor Expo has a weekend pass for $20 at www.niagarafishingexpo.com. There are also pay-to-play clinics and special schools like the LOTSA Salmon School set for Jan. 20 at the Conference and Event Center Niagara Falls. Sign up at www.lotsa1.org. This is also a good time to pick up a book or two like the Ultimate Guide to Kayak Fishing by Joel Spring, a local author. Other authors to consider include Rick Kustich, J. Michael Kelly, Spider Rybaak and Jim Lorentz – all fishing books that offer some great insight into fish and fishing.