The signs of spring are all around us. The New York Power Authority started pulling the ice boom at the head of the Niagara River where it meets up with Lake Erie and remaining ice is minimal due to the extreme wind event last week. There is still a pile of ice hanging around the base of Niagara Falls, but the warmer temperatures and rain should break that up in the coming week.
Lower Niagara River trout action took back off when the waters cleared this week and Capt. Frank Campbell of Niagara Falls had a banner day earlier this week with double digit trout with a mix of steelhead, browns and lake trout. Minnows fished off three-way rigs were the bait of choice. No reports on the shore fishing action and the NYPA fishing platform is still closed due to the high water and potential for ice coming down the river still. No word on smelt other than the Lewiston Smelt Festival is set for May 4 this year. This will NOT coincide with the Spring LOC Derby as dates have been pushed back to May 11-20 this year. Check out www.loc.org for details.
Over in Wilson and Olcott, ice that was flowing north out of the Niagara River after last week’s wind storm encountered some strong northwesterly winds in the lake that ended up pushing ice into Wilson and Olcott. It was a mess for boaters and pier casters. With some warmer temperatures on the way, and rain in the forecast again, things could be back to normal by the weekend. According to Wes Walker at The Slippery Sinker in Olcott, the LOTSA pen rearing project received fish from DEC on Monday and that operation is underway. Shoreline trolling with stickbaits should resume in 10 to 20 feet of water along any mud line or creek mouth. Seek out warmer water temperatures for best success. Pier casters should do well with spoons or spinners.
Last weekend, the Wilson Conservation Club held its 5th Annual Wilson Bullhead Contest and some 43 adults and 5 youth participated in the spring kick-off event. In the Adult Division, the best two fish bullhead weight and overall winner was Francis Holly IV of Wilson with a 4.23-pound total. He was using cider worms at dusk to catch his bigger fish in 12 Mile Creek. Second place was Tyler Morrison of Appleton with 3.70 pounds of bullhead. He was fishing during the day in the west branch of 12 Mile Creek using shrimp. Third place went to John Pittsley of Lockport with 3.46 pounds using shrimp both day and night. In the Youth Division, it was Trever Wilson winning with a weight of .95 pounds.