At the time of this report, it was starting to rain. After a very windy day yesterday, the wind and/or rain combo could negatively affect water clarity in places like the Niagara River or some of the smaller streams off Lake Ontario. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t catch fish. The lower Niagara River was stained yesterday but a few captains decided to give it a go since their customers were already in town. Capt. Vince Pierleoni of Newfane managed to hit double digit trout – half steelhead and half lake trout – using egg sacs off three-way rigs. Use bright colored baits when the water is stained. MagLips and Kwikfish in silver and chartreuse will also work when drifting from a boat. When the water is stained, though, there is no guarantee you can catch fish from a boat. Shore fishermen can actually do a little better than the boaters in that some cleaner water can sometimes be found closer to the shoreline. Egg sacs or egg imitations work well, as do spoons and spinners. You need something to get the attention of the fish. Today is the final day of the musky season in most of the state. However, the lower Niagara River and Lake Ontario are both open until Dec. 15. To take advantage of the extra couple of weeks of action, the Niagara Musky Association will be holding the John Henning Memorial Lower River Musky Tournament on Dec. 3 from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. We’ll have to see if Mother Nature – and the fish – cooperate for the anglers. Dec. 1 is the opening of lake trout season in the lower river and Lake Ontario for the Province of Ontario. New York’s laker season opens on Jan. 1, 2018. If you do catch a lake trout, be sure to release it quickly and unharmed. The NYPA Fishing Platform, as well as the other NYPA fishing access points like the reservoir and water intakes, will be closing down for the season after Dec. 3. They will not re-open until the spring. Speaking of the platform, Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls caught a 16 pound salmon on 8 pound test line earlier this week and it took him an hour and 20 minutes to reel in!
Burt Dam and 18 Mile Creek has been muddy and flow has been slow with around 80 to 100 cfs coming through Burt dam. Some fresh kings and cohos are still being reported, but the run is essentially over. Those are being replaced by steelhead and browns but not in huge numbers according to Wes Walker at The Slippery Sinker. Some big perch have been coming out of Wilson and Olcott harbors, as well as from the creeks in those locations. The piers have been productive when you can stand on them.
The Lake Ontario Counties Trout and Salmon Derbies are offing a Christmas deal right now. Check out www.loc.org. And make sure you mark Jan. 19-21, 2018 on your calendar for the 5th Annual Greater Niagara Fishing and Outdoor Expo at the Conference and Event Center Niagara Falls. It’s going to be a good one. Check out www.niagarafishingexpo.com. If you want to find out what else is happening around the Western New York area, be sure to check out www.buffalonews.com/section/sports/outdoors/ and follow the outdoor section every Wednesday or Thursday. Another good stocking stuffer is the NYS Winter Classic, set for Jan. 1 to Feb. 28. Sign up at www.nyswinterclassic.com.