It may be difficult to find a fishing spot the next few days, thanks to some untimely weather events that brought us heavy rain and plenty of wind. To make matters worse, a cold front will be supplying us with some arctic air that will cover us with the coldest temperatures of the season. Nov. 12 is a free fishing day in honor of veterans.
The water turned muddy on Monday after the wind and rain, but a few shore casters are still catching some fish in the lower river around Artpark, the NYPA fishing platform and up further into the gorge. Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls was tossing No. 4 spinners to take some end-of-the-run salmon and a few steelhead off the platform. Fish it while you can because it usually shuts down around Dec. 1, if not sooner. It’s based on weather conditions. If you want to check whether or not the platform is open, call 796-0135 Ext. 45. This also goes for the NYPA Reservoir as far as shutting things down for the season. Getting back to the gorge area, state parks announced that the lower trail (trail 3) that connects the Schoellkopf site to the Great Gorge Railway Trail has been re-opened. Anglers will be able to use improved access to the water via a new set of stairs. Take the elevator adjacent to the Discovery Center for easy access. For a copy of the Niagara Gorge Trail Map, check out http://www.nysparks.com/parks/attachments/WhirlpoolNiagaraGorgeTrailMap.pdf.
Boaters were enjoying decent success along Artpark and in Devil’s Hole using a variety of baits include MagLips, Kwikfish and chartreuse trout beads, all fished off three-way rigs. While an occasional salmon is still being caught, most of the fish have been steelhead and lake trout. Lake trout are out of season right now but you can’t help but catch them as you target other species. A proposal has been submitted to open a catch-and-release season for lakers for the three months that the season is currently closed. The water was too stained to fish earlier this week but it should slowly start to improve as we approach the weekend. Last weekend some nice catches were reported by boaters in the lower river. Make sure you read the piece on the WNY Heroes trip with Capt. John DeLorenzo of Niagara Falls.
In the upper Niagara River, musky action should improve as waters clear. Last Sunday’s annual Tim Wittek Memorial Musky Tournament hosted by the Niagara Musky Association was cancelled due to weather. It has been rescheduled on Nov. 12 from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Cost is $25 to enter this catch-and-release event. Call Scott McKee at 225-3816 for more information.
Lake Ontario and tributaries
While many of the tributaries were impacted negatively by the recent round of thunderstorms and rain, it wasn’t as severe as the Lake Erie tributaries. Burt Dam and 18 Mile Creek had stained water but anglers there were still catching salmon, steelhead and browns according to Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctors. Hot colors earlier in the week were orange and blue – eggs, poppers and wooly buggers. There wasn’t much water flow there and Keg Creek was too low. Twelvemile Creek at Wilson was too muddy to fish. Johnson Creek was high and muddy, but the Oak Orchard River was fishing pretty good (although a bit high and stained) according to reports. Mike Waterhouse with Orleans County Sportfishing says the brown trout action has been good in the upper reaches of the Oak, with many fish weighing in the teens. The final results of the St. Mary’s Archers Club catch and release tournament are out. In the Adult Division, Mia Stone had a 26.55-pound salmon, Nat Smith had a 11.11-pound brown trout and Paul Davidson had a 6.12-pound steelhead. In the Youth Division, Ben Smith led with a 16.63-pound salmon. Next year's Archers Club Catch and Release Fly Fishing Derby will be held on October 17-19,2018.
Lake Erie and tributaries
You should have been here last week before the storms. Streams are blown out now with some at flood stage. Prior to that, trout action was good to very good. When waters settle back down, that should return. Don’t rule out casting the mouths of streams with spoons and spinners or trolling the mouth with spoons or stickbaits when waters clear. Last Saturday, Capt. Jim Hanley of Angola had some good lake action with three fishermen from Pittsburgh. Bass and walleye were both cooperating nicely in 32 to 36 feet of water near Sturgeon Point. Golden shiners were the bait of choice. It’s a bit tougher to launch a boat now with no docks in place at many of the launch ramps. A few people went out looking for perch. Nobody home. At least, no one took any home. Hopefully we will have something better to report next week.
Mud lines are extended out into the lake from the creeks, making fishing tough. Mike Sperry with Chautauqua Reel Outdoors headed out Tuesday to do some musky casting, but no one home. The lake has come up 18 inches and the result is some floating debris on the surface. Be careful. Just prior to the storms the musky action turned on. Anglers were 8 to 10-inch black or perch colored jerk baits close to healthy weeds in 5 to 10 feet of water. Walleye jigging was also good in the north basin with Gotchas and Jigging Rapalas.