Fishing opportunities are extremely limited right now due to some crazy weather that included excessive rains, high winds, snow, ice, sleet and unseasonably cold temperatures. Despite all these problematic conditions, we still received a note from Ron Kryszak of Alden, who fished Chautauqua Lake in a snow storm and did quite well in the crappie department. I guess if there’s a will, there’s a way.
Lake Erie and tributaries
Lake Erie tributaries are all blown out right now due to the excessive rains from Silver Creek to Buffalo according to Danny Jankowiak of Buffalo. Just prior to the wash-out, he was tossing his homemade Janky Jigs to take double-digit steelheads with a fish favorite being olive and white. Check out the online Catch of the Week gallery to see what the lure looks like. He said that some anglers tossing spoons were also catching fish. Things should start to settle down by the weekend. Target the smaller streams first. From Silver Creek to the State Line, Gerry Begier of Bill’s Hooks in Dunkirk is reporting high and muddy conditions in the streams there, as well. Just prior to this last storm, up to 200 fishermen were on the pier in Dunkirk catching steelhead and brown trout. Baits didn’t seem to matter – wax worms, jigs, cleos, egg sacs – and that should continue when things settle back down again. Don’t forget that there will be a Lake Erie Fishing and Outdoor Show from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Clarion Hotel in Dunkirk on April 21. If things don’t settle down you might want to consider attending the Bison City Rod and Gun Club’s annual Outdoor Gear and Flea Market on Saturday, April 21, from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The club is located at 511 Ohio St. in Buffalo.
Just prior to this last round of severe weather, some decent trout fishing was reported in the lower Niagara River for boat drifters and shoreline casters. Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls was tossing some No. 3 spinners to take some steelhead in the Devil’s Hole area and boaters were drifting minnows on three-way rigs to take a mix of steelhead, brown trout and lake trout. There was a report of some smelt taken along Artpark earlier this week, but most of the reports are showing very limited numbers if any at all. Some of the boat captains have reported seeing large pods of baitfish showing up on their fish finders and they suspect smelt. Water temps were around 37-38 degrees as of Monday. The big smelt celebration is May 4 at Lewiston Landing for the annual Lewiston Smelt Festival. Come on out at 5 p.m. and join in on some of the festivities. The NYPA fishing platform is still closed.
Lake Ontario and tributaries
No one has been able to get on the lake to work the shoreline for browns, steelhead and Coho salmon. The piers have been empty because of all of the northerly winds and every tributary is high and muddy. It should bring in any remaining steelhead attempting to spawn this spring and open up any creek
mouths that have been closed because of earlier northerly winds. Bullheads should still be available around Wilson in both branches of 12 Mile Creek and when the waters start to clear, perch should be available again, too, in both Wilson and Olcott harbors and off the piers. Everything is in a holding pattern right now. Pen projects in Wilson and Olcott are underway and hopefully this weather event will not impact those numbers. The Lake Ontario Counties Trout and Salmon Derby has pushed its dates to May 11-20 this year and the Wilson Harbor Invitational tournament is May 19. The Lake Ontario Pro-Am Salmon Team Tournament is June 1-2 and the Don Johannes and Pete DeAngelo 3 fish-1 fish contest is May 31. Get those contests on your fishing calendar. The weather looks clear and 50 this weekend and if things don’t change too much and the waters settle down, it could be good enough for some fishing.
Inland waters of WNY
Stream guide Scott Feltrinelli of Ontario Fly Outfitters reports that conditions this past week remained a challenge with rain and cold temps most of the time. Stocking of fish for opening day have all the creeks boosting good numbers. With the high-water events in WNY, the fish have had a chance to move. Try walking away from stocking points for your best chance at big fish. Bigger flies have been moving and catching fish in high water. Olive, brown and white are best bets when using streamers. Some dark BWO's and Hendrickson hatches have been documented as well, according to Feltrinelli. The water temps have been too cold for any dry fly action but nymphing with tandem rigs or float setups seems to be effective as well. Feltrinelli has hit several creeks in both Rochester and Buffalo areas with very good results. He encourages catch and release with these fish. The flooded conditions in many waters should help spread fish away from traditional stocking points. If you want to learn more about fly fishing, check out the Orvis Shop this weekend for the Spring Orvis Days Saturday and Sunday. Go to www.orvis.com/buffalo and see a list of seminars.
Crappie action has been good for some, not so good for others. One person who did well over the weekend was 11-year-old Robert Frost of Alden. He was using a 1/8-ounce Marmooska orange jig head tipped with a minnow. It helped that he used 4-pound test Trilene line. He was out fishing his dad, Bobby Joe, by nine fish to one. Check out some of his fish in the Catch of the Week gallery. Ron Kryszak was using an emerald shiner under a float to do well on crappies … in a snow storm on Tuesday. He did some fishing out of a boat, some from the shoreline and along the docks. See his catch in next week’s gallery. Fish early morning or later in the day into the evening, according to Mike Sperry with Chautauqua Reel Outdoors. Ashville Bay Marina was one hotspot but don't go there this Saturday if you're an adult. There will be a kids fishing derby.