Make sure you mark Nov. 11 on your calendar. That’s now a “free fishing day” in New York State. No license is required and it’s a great opportunity to reach out and take a vet fishing. Remember you do have to abide by the fishing regulations wherever you are going to wet a line.
Winds are continuing on the local front today which created a mess of the water conditions in the lower Niagara River. If the shore casters can locate a little clean water along the shoreline, you might have a chance at catching a trout. For sure the land-bound fishermen will be fishing before the boaters in the lower Niagara River. Just prior to the winds, action in the lower river was good for trout. Steelhead were hitting MagLips and beads for boaters and shoreline anglers were tossing spoons, spinners, jigs, eggs or egg imitations to take fish. Along Artpark, steelhead are available, but the lake trout have been very aggressive. Remember that lake trout season is closed and fish should be released quickly and unharmed. Downriver, bass are still hitting swimbaits on a consistent basis.
In the upper Niagara River, the muskellunge fishing action the past week improved for Capt. Chris Cinelli of Grand Island as he saw fish up to 51 inches come to his boat the last several days. The big one was caught by Ray Dietz of Youngstown. He also caught a 48-inch fish the same day. In the Tim Wittek Memorial Catch and Release Musky Tournament run by the Niagara Musky Association last Sunday, first place when to Anthony Scime of Tonawanda with a 46-inch fish that was caught on a Red October Baits tube. Second place went to John Miller of Lackawanna with a 42-inch fish, also caught on a Red October Baits tube. Third place went to Hans Mann of Alden with a 35.5-inch musky and caught on a Red October Baits tube for a sweep of the winners. A total of 19 anglers competed in the “iron man” contest. Musky fishing will stop for now until the water can clear.
In Lake Ontario, water was high and stained in many of the streams but that didn’t stop people from trying to catch both salmon and trout according to Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctors in Olcott. There were plenty of fish around. A fresh batch of silver kings came into Olcott and headed up to the dam and many of the smaller streams to the east and to the west are also holding fish because of the recent rains. We heard 12 Mile Creek had some fresh salmon in it. Egg sacs, beads, jigs tipped with wax worms or spikes were all catching salmon and trout. Bait or lure colors keep changing from day to day because of the unpredictable water conditions. Green and orange egg pattern flies have been taking some fish, too. Pier action has been spotty. If you see any illegal fishing activity going on, call the toll-free hotline at (844) DEC ECOS and report it with as much information as possible. You can remain anonymous.
The regular big game season opens in the Southern Zone next Saturday, Nov. 17. It might not be a bad idea to wear an orange hat when you go fishing. Pressure on the streams will probably be less due to the opener. Good luck out there and stay safe.