Fall was in the air last weekend as cooler temperatures and rain triggers some early movement into the Niagara River and closer to the mouths of area streams. Staging kings off Wilson and Olcott were finicky the past few days, forcing boats to head out for more stable conditions starting in 300 feet of water off Wilson and Olcott. It was a spoon program for Capt. Mike Johannes of On the Rocks to take a mix of salmon and trout out deep. His last trip he was 7 for 13 on salmon and trout – not as good as it’s been but it kept his customers happy. Staging kings should be cooperating again soon. Use J-plugs, flashers with cut bait, flasher-fly or magnum spoons for the kings and some trout are also available in the same waters. The piers at Olcott were hot on Monday and Tuesday according to Karen Evarts of The Boat Doctors in Olcott. J13 Rapalas in perch and firetiger were working for Mark Vogt of Newfane Tuesday, but Booker glow spoons and spinners have been catching fish, too, according to Evarts. Nothing to speak of in 18 Mile creek yet.
In the Niagara River below Niagara Falls, small schools of mature salmon were seen moving up into the gorge area. Lisa Drabczyk of Creek Road Bait and Tackle was reporting salmon action off the NYPA fishing platform in the gorge over the weekend and early this week. Nothing from boats in Devil’s Hole. Bass and walleye are still hitting from shore along Artpark and further down river, too, for boaters dragging crabs, shiners and worm harnesses along the bottom on 3-way rigs. The river water temperatures dropped 5 degrees from last week but so far that has not made a huge difference. If cooler temps prevail, it could trigger more of a river run of kings.
In the meantime, make sure you mark Sept. 22-23 on your calendar for activities. Sept. 22 is a kids fishing derby at Hyde Park Lake in Niagara Falls from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Young anglers from 6 to 16 are eligible. Register at the Oasis Pavilion off Robbins Drive in the park. Sept. 22 and 23 is the NYPA’s Wildlife Festival, co-sponsored by the Niagara County Federation of Conservation Clubs in honor of National Hunting and Fishing Day. The event is held on the visitor center grounds adjacent to Niagara University both days from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. And just so you know, Saturday, Sept. 22 is a free fishing day being declared by the state in honor of National Hunting and Fishing Day. Everyone 16 years of age and older do not need a license, but you must abide by the regulations. Good luck and good fishing!