Kings are starting to hit more readily in Lake Ontario; trout are still in the river below Niagara Falls and picking up; and Lake Erie perch have been cooperating nicely as a few more launch ramps have added docks or opened for business to make things easier for Great Lakes access. High water levels on Lake Ontario continue to be a concern for shoreline home owners and marina operators but boaters have been able to fish in the 500 foot no wake zone along the shoreline. A bigger concern is the amount of debris that has washed out from the shoreline. If there is fog on the water near the harbors, caution is advised because the piers could be difficult to see because of said high water. Be careful out there.
Lake Ontario and tributaries
The trolling trio of John Van Hoff and Wade Winch of North Tonawanda and Adam Gierch of Lewiston worked the waters just west of the Niagara River in 60 foot depths for an incredible spring day on the lake. All told they boated 21 Chinook salmon up to 20 pounds, a Coho and an Atlantic, as well as six lake trout. Stickbaits and spoons were the preferred baits, using primarily 5 or 7 colors of lead core line or dipsy divers to get the baits into the fish zone. They caught a few on downriggers, too. The key water was were the green water met the clear water. This is great news for anglers that fish the Lake Ontario Counties Trout and Salmon Derby (www.loc.org) set for May 5-14. There has been decent fishing off Wilson and Olcott, too. Lots of Coho salmon and lake trout have been hanging around out in the 50-plus foot range. Browns can be found in tighter on the mud line. Spoons, sticks and flasher-fly are all working. Capt. Bob Songin’s Facebook post “At the Oak” reported good fishing from Shadigee to Golden Hill. Best lure off the riggers were Dreamweaver Super Slims and best lures off the boards were Bay Rat sticks – Candy Corn and Black/Gold. The Wilson-Tuscarora State Park launch has been tough to use with the high water. Bring hip waders.
Trout action has picked up a little over last week according to Capt. Mark Vilardo of Kingfisher Charters. Minnows and egg sacs both worked for customers this week, catching fish up to 12 pounds. Wind direction can have an effect on success rates and when a northwest wind was blowing over the weekend, Jeff Tedesco and his son Justin, both from Lewiston, did well by power-trolling gold and silver scale Kwikfish fished off three-way rigs until they got the action they were looking for. The bomber of the day was a 17 pound -steelhead reeled in by the kid – showing dad up a little. Both Fort Niagara launches should be running by the derby. The Lewiston Smelt Festival is May 5, starting at 5 p.m.
Lake Erie and tributaries
Yellow perch action can still be very good, but you do have to seek out the fish and stay with them to be successful. Best areas are from Cattaraugus Creek to Sturgeon Point. Capt. Tom Marks with Gr8 Lakes Fishing Adventures did well on Tuesday. His customers used emerald shiners; he used a Stingnose jig to take his fish, tipped with nothing. His best area was 52 to 54 feet of water off Sturgeon Point. There were numerous small schools of perch. He likened it to a game of cat and mouse. Find a pod and the action is quick. The perch move and you have to find them again. They are picking up quite a few bass, too, while fishing for perch. Bruce Cavage of Marilla reports they found a pod of fish and were immediately swarmed by boats. You don’t have to move in on boats catching fish! Find your own school. The females are on the spawn right now so very few males are being caught. According to Dr. Jason Robinson with the Lake Erie Unit for DEC, this is typical for this time of year. As the spawn progresses, you will see the number of males increase. Cavage was fishing off Cattaraugus Creek and off Evangola State Park, finding fish as shallow as 40 feet and as deep as 75 feet. Best depth was 55 to 57 feet of water off Evangola. The spawn is on and it could have an effect on catch rates. He caught some bass, too. Capt. Vince Tobia of Cattaraugus Creek Outfitters reports that trout are still around in the tributaries and some big smallmouth bass have moved into the lower stretches of the creeks. Fish the small to medium-sized streams.
Crappies have been sporadic the last few days according to Mike Sperry at Chautauqua Reel Outdoors. Anglers are still getting them in the canals and on the lake, however it's been a slow bite. There are reports of lots of perch on the lake, too. Use minnows with a 1/64- to 1/16-ounce jig. White is the best color. Smallmouth bass fishing has been good. Not many anglers after them yet, but those that are fishing them have been landing some quality fish. Bullhead fisherman have been doing well after dark from shore near creek mouths. Night crawlers are the ticket.
Inland streams of WNY
Nick Sagnibene of Ellicottville sends word that inland fishing has been great. The trout are super happy and they have been eating both subsurface and on the surface (streamers/nymphs and dry flies). “The upper ends of the inland streams have been fishing great. Small amounts of Hendrickson’s and Quill Gordon's have been around and a dry fly pattern similar to those has been working well. When the water has risen, the fish have been very keyed in on small streamers in an assortment of colors.” Expect the inland fishing to continue to pick up through May.
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