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The Fishing Beat

After dealing with another week of warm weather (including wind and rain), ice fishermen will need to be extremely cautious out there and make sure the ice is still safe. Stream fishermen will probably be looking at high, muddy conditions following the rains and snow melt. The Niagara River will be impacted, as well, from turbid flows entering the system. If you look around, though, you should be able to find some place to fish.

Oneida Lake

Bob Rustowicz of Cheektowaga went to Oneida Lake with a crew of angling buds and they did well over the weekend chasing perch and walleye. They concentrated their efforts off Lewis Point in 35 feet of water with gold Swedish pimples and spoons. They found 18 inches of ice and 8 inches of snow on the surface. They came out with a limit of ‘eyes. Check out the online Catch of the Week gallery. For the most part, walleye fishing has been good this year. Perch have been a bit more difficult. You must look around to find them.

Keuka Lake

Ethan Sleeman hit the open water on Keuka on Monday and was rewarded with some good perch catches. The Branchport launch is open for business.

Lake Ontario and tributaries

Greg Schloerb of Amherst reports that there was decent action over the weekend in 18 Mile Creek but there was limited open water and quite a few fishermen. All the fish he caught were on his hand-tied white or black jigs tipped with waxies. Water was stained but fishable. With the recent rains and snow melt, it should bring in some fresh fish. Schloerb noted that it seemed like the fish he caught had been in the creek for a while. Mike Rzucidlo hit the dam area on Tuesday and there was much more open water. He was 7 for 11 on trout including one brown. According to Wes Walker at The Slippery Sinker in Olcott, the dam flow was over 400 cfs with decent color. Still getting reports of good ice at Wilson with 6 inches reported. There are trout, pike, perch and panfish being caught.

At the Oak Orchard River, flows are on the rise, but some fishing is available, especially around the dam.

The Genesee River is currently closed to the Lower Falls from Brewer Street Hydro Station. The area from Middle Falls to Veterans Memorial Bridge is also closed.

Cranberry and Long ponds were still producing some nice catches of yellow perch on minnows or jigs tipped with a minnow. Be careful around any flowing water. Braddock Bay is producing pike and perch. Yellow perch are still hitting around Bayside Restaurant at the north end, as well as along the southwest side near the Fish and Game Club according to Capt. Sam Zucco with Dreamcatcher Charters.

Sodus Bay continues to be very good for hard water action as well. Dave Muir of North Tonawanda found over 10 inches of ice on Sunday and his crew limited out on perch using emerald shiners. Size of the perch were 8 to 12 inches in length. Some northern pike were also caught.

Niagara River

What the winds do to the river water, combined with rain and run off, remains to be seen. Up to an including Tuesday, action has been good for both walleye and steelhead for boat drifters. Capt. Jeff Draper of Grand Island did well using egg sacs on Monday, catching all steelhead in the process. There have also been good reports of walleye. Remember that the limit on walleye is one fish per person and it must be at least 18 inches long in the lower river. Try using minnows. Shore fishermen can still do well, but caution is advised. Patrick Vinh Truong of Buffalo was using hand-tied white jigs fished under a float with his center pin outfit to take both steelhead and walleye in the Devil’s Hole area. Be careful of the shelf ice and wear ice creepers.

Lake Erie

With flood warnings in place for many of the tributaries, not too much stream fishing will be taking place. The ice of the main lake is questionable. Don’t take any chances. Buffalo Harbor was also questionable. Keith Pease with Safe Harbor Marina said that there was no one out Tuesday and the surface had water on it. Ice thickness ranged from 2 to 6 inches. Give it a day or two if the cold weather persists. It looks like a rollercoaster for the next 10 days or so.

Chautauqua Lake

Mike Sperry with Chautauqua Reel Outdoors reports that several nice walleyes have been iced along with a bunch of short ones. A majority of the fisherman are on the north basin. They’re catching a lot of perch as well, but you really must sort through them to get a good-sized keeper. Crappies are also hitting in some areas. Use Nos. 5, 7 and 9 Jigging Rapalas in an assortment of colors. Emerald Shiners will work for both walleye and perch. There was 10 to 12 inches of ice before the warm spell.

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