We have a smelt report! One was caught this week in the lower Niagara River according to Mike Fox of Lewiston. He checks nearly every night and one night this week there was one that was netted, the first he’s seen. One fish. If smelt runs are based on water temperatures, it will still be a little while because ice is still coming down the river from Lake Erie. In the meantime, stop by the Lewiston Smelt Festival Friday night (May 3rd) at 5 p.m. in Academy Park. Fishing in the river continues to be good for trout – steelhead, brown and lake trout – if you want to brave the ice floes. Shiners, minnows, egg sacs, Kwikfish and MagLips will all catch fish. There could be some walleye hanging around, too, for the opener on Saturday. While the big numbers aren’t there like Lake Erie, it’s a sleeper spot for big fish. Last year in the spring LOC Derby, the winning walleye came from these waters, caught by an angler trolling for salmon and trout on the Niagara Bar near the river mouth. And speaking of the LOC Derby, remember that the Lake Ontario Counties Trout and Salmon Derby is set for May 10-19 with a Grand Prize of $15,000 for the biggest salmon and a total prize structure of $45,000. Check out www.loc.org. Finally, it looks like the lower Niagara River will be receiving its 75,000 salmon meant for the pen project in Youngstown on May 6. Due to cold water in the river due to extended ice in the system and the removal of the ice boom, DEC stocking trucks have been unable to bring salmon in from the Salmon River Fish Hatchery. The temperature difference between the trucks and the water that would be receiving the fish cannot be in excess of 10 degrees. If everything goes as planned, that will be on Monday. According to Capt. Frank Campbell of Lewiston, they need volunteers to help feed the fish for the next 3 weeks. If you would like to be part of the effort, contact Campbell directly at 523-0013. Thanks to these pens, anglers received the benefit of double the survival rate for stocked kings.
For Lake Ontario and tributaries, salmon fishing has been good to very good for trollers working the waters from Olcott to the Niagara Bar. Capt. Matt Yablonsky of Youngstown has had some banner days on big kings, fishing spoons and flasher-fly 50 to 75 feet down over 75 to 85 feet of water. Lake trout are also being caught. Trolling the shoreline will still produce some brown trout using stickbaits according to Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctors in Olcott. Wes Walker at The Slippery Sinker in Olcott reported that a couple nice Atlantic salmon were caught off the piers in Olcott recently, casting stickbaits. Many of the tributaries are high and stained right now according to Scott Feltrinelli of Ontario Fly Outfitters. He caught some nice trout and smallmouth bass this week using yellow wooly buggers. Don’t forget about the Lake Ontario Pro-Am Salmon Team Tournament May 31 and June 1. Check out www.lakeontarioproam.net for details.