A good old-fashioned snow storm hit Western New York this week. In fact, it’s still going on south of Buffalo. So far, it hasn’t touched Niagara Falls USA with snow … but it did impact water conditions in the Niagara River. Rain and high winds hit first, creating a muddy mess in the Niagara River that was quite severe. Just prior to the change, though, the Niagara River was on fire with a focus on steelhead but offering anglers a mixed bag of fish all the way around – from Devil’s Hole to the Niagara Bar. Capt. Frank Campbell of Niagara Region Charter Service was using MagLip plugs in 3.0 size to take steelhead, brown trout, lake trout, Atlantic salmon, walleye and Coho salmon just prior to the storm. The plugs were fished off three-way rigs. Along Artpark and in Devil’s Hole, boat drifters were also using egg sacs and beads to take trout. Shore fishermen have been picking up trout, too, but it had slowed a bit. With the storm still going on, we don’t know if anyone will be able to fish by the weekend. We may see some of the white stuff by then, too. Water temperatures were still in the low 40’s. In the John Henning Memorial Musky Tournament, Frank Alcorn of Pennsylvania won the Niagara Musky event last Sunday with a fat 47-inch muskellunge trolling with a Legend perchbait. Also just prior to the storm, Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls used egg sacs and spinners to take some small trout in the smooth water before the upper rapids area just before the water plummets over the falls. Remember that lake trout season is closed in the lower river and bass season is now catch and release only all around the state (except Lake Erie).
In the tributaries off Lake Ontario, water continues to be stained but fishable. Some nice steelhead and browns have been caught on egg sacs or egg imitations, jigs tipped with wax worms and fished under a float, beads fished under a float and a variety of flies and streamers. Burt Dam and Fisherman’s Park has fish in it and is probably the most consistent producer. With this being the end of the year, there are a few Christmas parties going on you should be aware of. The Niagara River Anglers Association will be holding its Christmas meeting on Monday, Dec. 11 at the Sanborn Farm Museum on Route 31 starting at 6:30 p.m. and the Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Assn. has their Christmas meeting Dec. 14 at Cornell Cooperative Extension in Lockport starting at 7 p.m. with the Niagara County Fisheries Board. Also, the Niagara County Federation of Conservation Clubs will have its year-end holiday gathering at the Hartland Conservationists Club located on Orangeport Road in Gasport starting at 7 p.m.