It looks like the weather is finally breaking. Lower river drifters were doing well again according to Capt. Frank Campbell of Niagara Falls. He has hit steelhead and lake trout all week using minnows, egg sacs, MagLips and Kwikfish throughout the river, all fished off three-way rigs. Water conditions have been good. The smelt could be running any day in the lower Niagara River if temperatures are the main trigger point. However, the Lewiston Smelt Festival is still on the calendar for May 4 at Lewiston Landing starting at 5 p.m. There will be over 400 pounds of smelt cooked up by the Niagara River Anglers Association. Speaking of the lower river, the NYPA fishing platform has re-opened. Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls was 5 for 8 on steelhead using jigs on Wednesday.
For Lake Ontario and tributaries, flows were back to normal at 18 Mile Creek and Burt Dam according to Wes Walker of The Slippery Sinker in Olcott. However, the water was still a bit stained and temperatures were in the mid-40’s in the creek. Those temperatures will start to rise and trout will drop back and leave the creek soon. Fish are still available for now. Egg sacs, egg imitations and jigs are all good baits to try. Out in the lake, it’s been a tougher go with the winds. A mud line extended to 120 feet off Olcott earlier in the week but things should start to settle a bit more by the weekend. Winds have kept people off the piers and smaller boats from chasing salmon and trout. Remember that some of the bigger fishing contests have been pushed back by a week or two. The Lake Ontario Counties Trout and Salmon Derby (www.loc.org) for the spring will be held this year from May 11-20. The Wilson Harbor Invitational Tournament is May 19 (www.wilsonharborinvitational.com) and the Lake Ontario Pro-Am Salmon Team Tournament is June 1-2 out of Wilson and Olcott. Check out www.lakeontarioproam.net. The Don Johannes/Pete DeAngelo one fish-three fishing contest is May 31. Stop in at the Gas Shack in Wilson or the Slippery Sinker in Olcott for details. If you can make it on the lake, the shoreline trolling for browns, the occasional Coho and steelhead can be caught on stickbaits like Bay Rats, Challengers and Live Targets. For those of you looking for kings, they’ve been picking up a few, but exact details are sparse with the first tournament of the year kicking off this weekend in St. Catharines.
Pen rearing projects are in full swing right now with pens in place in Olcott, Wilson and the Niagara River out of Youngstown.
The Niagara County Federation of Conservation Clubs has rescheduled its awards banquet, set for May 19 at Terry’s Corners Fire Hall. Call Dave Whitt at 754-2133 for more information or to reserve your ticket.
Good luck out there and enjoy yourself.