The 6th Annual Greater Niagara Fishing Expo is almost here, set for Jan. 18-20 at the Conference and Event Center Niagara Falls. The website is www.niagarafishingexpo.com. There is a winter storm advisory but it appears to be more of a southern track right now with 6-7 inches expected Saturday night. Don’t let that scare you off! The show will go on!! Here are a few small tidbits worthy of consideration in making your way to the Cataract City with over 200 seminars, 96 speakers and over 170 vendor booths:
- Antique Fishing Tackle – Mark Schmitkons of Wilson will be showing off some of his antique fishing tackle. More importantly, he will be happy to appraise your own old/antique fishing equipment to see if it’s of any value. He will even store your old gear, so you don’t have to walk around the show with it.
- Capt. Lance Valentine of Walleye 101 is a Pro Staff representative for Lowrance Electronics and Sonar/GPS whiz. If you have a Lowrance unit on your boat that is Gen 2 or newer, his booth will be offering free updates and set up on Lowrance Sonar/GPS units.
- DEC Bureau of Fisheries Chief Steve Hurst will be mingling with anglers at the show. He will be sitting in on Capt. Bob Songin’s Lake Ontario Niagara Bar salmon seminar at 5 p.m. and answer some questions then. He will also have his own Q and A on Saturday at noon, fielding questions from the audience. Lake Erie Unit biologists Dr. Jason Robinson and James Markham will be around on Friday to give talks on walleye movement and steelhead study updates.
- Make sure you check the website out at www.niagarafishingexpo.com and print out the $5 parking voucher. Pay just $5 for the day. Park in the city ramp. The Expo will go on no matter what the weather or conditions.
- Four different Bass pros will be hanging out in the Rapid Fishing Solutions booth, at the Hawg Trough and in the seminar rooms. They are Billy McDonald, John Murray, Brad Knight and Mark Menendez. There are also many other local bass experts sharing their insights on fishing local waters.
- Need a fishing license? Stop in at The Boat Doctors booth at the show and pick one up.
And on to the local fishing. They are still catching some nice trout and walleye in the lower Niagara River, but conditions have been brutal. Capt. Chris Cinelli of Grand Island took his son Connor out to catch some steelhead on pink egg sacs. The following day it was steelhead and walleye, including a 12 pounder reeled in by Gary Laidman of Eden. What a fish! Ricardo Davila of Wheatfield reports that the bite was slower than expected from shore recently while casting the gorge area of the lower Niagara River. Water had good visibility, but he couldn’t get the reaction strikes he wanted with spoons and spinners so he switched over to a gulp minnow on a jig head. With the move, he managed 3 steelies by bouncing the jig off the bottom very slowly. Learning how to read the water and fish your baits accordingly is part of Davila’s seminars this weekend at the Fishing Expo in Niagara Falls. Be sure to check them out at 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday to learn how to fish from shore there. With some snow, cold and wind scheduled for the weekend, it’s a perfect time to attend the fishing Expo! Don’t forget that the Niagara River Anglers has their steelhead contest Feb. 2. Mark your calendars! Call 731-8710 for more information. Sign up at Creek Road Bait and Tackle or The Slippery Sinker.
For the Lake Ontario tributaries, most creeks are frozen partially or fully according to Scott Feltrinelli of Ontario Fly Outfitters. Finding open spaces to place your bait or fly is going to be a challenge right now. Fish the faster water at the top of big pools where things don’t freeze as much. Feltrinelli managed to find some open water in some Lake Ontario tributaries, and he needed to fish it low-and-slow to take brown trout and steelhead due to the cold water temperatures. Check his seminar out at the Expo. Ice fishing in Wilson and Olcott harbors are a more likely scenario, but we’ve not had any reports.