As this is being written, it’s February 1 and the temperature is near 40 degrees. The sun is shining. However, before the day is over the temperatures will plummet into the teens and it is supposed to be cold all weekend. That will continue into next week. In the meantime, fishing action has been very good in the lower Niagara River for boaters drifting egg sacs or minnows off three-way rigs. If the winds are out of the southwest (like they are today), throw on a 2.5 or 3.0 MagLip or a K8 or K9 Kwikfish to get a trout to hit. Steelhead, browns and lake trout are all being caught with regularity. And if you are using minnows, add in walleyes. There has been good walleye fishing all week but you have to pick your spots for them. Actually you can catch trout and walleye from Devil’s Hole to the Niagara Bar. If you do catch some walleye, remember that the minimum size is 18 inches and from Jan. 1 to March 15 the daily creel is one fish per person per day. The intent there is to protect the females that are getting ready to spawn soon. While shore fishing is still an option in the gorge, caution is advised due to the shelf ice. Be careful out there. That water is 32 degrees flowing down through the river.
Things are looking promising for the Niagara River Anglers Association’s Roger Tobey Memorial Steelhead Contest on Saturday, Feb. 3. Sign up at the launch ramp in Lewiston early Saturday or stop in to Creek Road Bait and Tackle or The Slippery Sinker. If you are interested in musky, the Niagara Musky Association will be holding their monthly meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 6 at the Eldredge Club, 17 Broad Street in Tonawanda starting at 7 p.m.
Stream fishermen are still picking up some trout at Burt Dam and 18 Mile Creek. Jigs tipped with a wax worm, egg sacs by themselves or egg imitations are still working to trick a steelhead or brown. A variety of flies and nymph patterns will also produce a trout or two, as will some streamer patterns. How long the water will remain open depends on how long the cold will grab hold. It looks like the lower temps will be hanging around for at least a week. While there is no ice left in Olcott Harbor (a few people were seen casting in the harbor earlier this week), there was a little in the Back Bay at Wilson. Be careful if you give it a try. Take no unnecessary chances!
If you are already looking to nice weather in the spring, the LOC Derby newspaper is now out and being distributed at weigh stations and registration outlets. Check out www.loc.org for more information.
Larry Broad of West Seneca with a Lower River Steelhead