Lower Niagara River salmon fishing is still going on and some trout are starting to move in. There are salmon and trout at Burt Dam, too, but things have been hot and cold, depending on whom you talk to. Karen Evarts at the Boat Doctors in Olcott reports only fair action off the piers, usually early morning or at dusk for spoon and spinner casters. There has been quite a few salmon and trout being reported off the Route 425 pier and don’t rule out the Wilson piers off the main harbor for browns and steelhead with an outside shot at an occasional salmon. Egg imitations will also work at any of these spots. A pink bead worked for one angler on 18 Mile Creek for a beautiful Atlantic salmon. At the dam in Burt, brown trout top the list of preferred targets, followed by steelhead and salmon. Practice catch and release when you can. Small boaters have been fishing some of the deeper holes with egg skein and picking a few salmon up, too. Trolling with J13 Rapalas is another option in the creeks at Olcott and Wilson. In the lake, there aren’t too many people heading out but fishing can be good out deep (over 300 foot depths) for a mix of salmon and trout. Staging fish off the creek mouth has been limited so far at Wilson and Olcott.
In the Niagara River, it’s been more of a mixed bag with salmon still leading the way. Boaters are bouncing bottom with three-way rigs and a chunk of treated egg skein to take kings, cohos, steelhead and a variety of other fish. Casting from shore, Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls scored on 4 different species of fish one day while tossing No. 4 spinners off the NYPA Fishing Platform. The gorge is still producing salmon up to the Whirlpool and the steelhead are starting to show up, too. Using a float to drift eggs or egg imitations is starting to work. This is also a good time to target big smallmouth bass downriver toward Fort Niagara and on the Niagara Bar if the winds cooperate. Upper river bass action can also be good. And as waters finally start to cool down, muskellunge fishing should start to improve as fish start to move in and winter over. There should still be some walleye around, too.
Pheasant hunting season opens up for all hunters on Saturday, Oct. 20th and your best bet is to head to areas that have been stocked by the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation. Take note that three state parks in Niagara County – Joe Davis, Wilson-Tuscarora and Golden Hill – are permit-only for the first three Saturdays. However, there are other stocked locations in Somerset, Newfane and at the Tonawanda State Wildlife Management Areas. Next Saturday, Oct. 27, is the start of duck and goose seasons in the Western part of the state, too. If you want to go for a blind at Joe Davis, Fort Niagara, Wilson-Tuscarora or Golden Hill state parks, drawings will take place on Thursdays starting Oct. 25 at the Fort Niagara Maintenance Building starting at 6:30 p.m. Sharp! There may be some issues at Wilson-Tuscarora due to launch ramp renovations. Those are being worked out right now. If your preference is the upper river at Beaver Island, the West River Parkway, Motor or Strawberry islands, the lottery drawings will take place every Monday, Wednesday and Friday starting Oct. 26 at the Beaver Island Clubhouse starting at 6:30 p.m. When attending these lottery drawings, make sure you have your license, a signed duck stamp, your HIP number and your waterfowl identification certification card.