Trout tactics are on the menu.
Ice fishing is iffy in most spots and feeder stream forays require some steelie hoofing to get to the best sites for steelhead trout. Several trout fishing classes and presentations can help anglers upgrade their skills at fly tying, casting and techniques for catching trout in area waters.
Oak Orchard Fly Shop has an ongoing Saturday guest tyer program at the shop in the Walker Center, 5110 Main St. in Williamsville. All sessions, free and open to the public, go from 3-5 p.m. This Saturday, Nick Pionessa will discuss and illustrate "The Art of Spinning Hair." On March 3, Rob McCormick presents "Effective Lake Flies for Trout and Landlocked Salmon"; Lee Stelrich will deal with ""Streamers and Nymphs for Trophy Trout"" March 10. For more details on these sessions, call 626-1323.
George Besch offers his popular fly fishing course as part of the Clarence Community Education program. The five-session class begins at 7 p.m. March 10. Besch covers all aspects of trout fishing, from tying to tactics best suited for area streams. Class fee is $29 and registration can be made by phone Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. To register or learn more about the course, call 759-8331.
WNY Outdoor Sport & Travel Expo, held March 8-11 at the Erie County Fairgrounds, will offer fly tying demonstrations and fishing tips. Southtowns Walleye Association will have a trout-fishing pond open for kids of all ages. Trout fishing will be part of Youth Day program beginning at noon March 11.
Western New York Chapter of Trout Unlimited will offer a Fly Casting School May 5 at Erie County Conservation Society on Miller Avenue in Protection. Instruction includes both classroom presentations and hands-on help in developing better casting skills. The school begins at 9 a.m. and continues until all points have been covered. Lunch is included in the $35 fee. For complete details, call Calvin Arthur (627-5682).
Small feeder streams along Lake Ontario and Lake Erie have been choked up with ice, but hungry steelhead/rainbow trout find openings in current and larger pools on river-sized creeks flowing into the Great Lakes.
Oak Orchard Creek, regularly open near the mouth, forms some skim ice below the Waterport Dam, but steelies and smaller brown trout continue to take flies and egg offerings consistently. Some go with spikes or mousy grubs on a small jig or plain hook to entice trout.
Live baits work best in moving waters below Burt Dam in Eighteen Mile Creek upstream from Olcott Harbor. The early worm - or egg sack or fly - gets the fish at Burt. Fishing pressure can be high and waders often have to work angles around anglers to get to the trout.
Lake Erie feeders had all frozen solid early this week, except for Cattaraugus Creek, which freezes and opens with each warming day. Both Dave Watts and Rick Miller see solid trout movement in every creek flowing into Lake Erie. ""It's just a matter of finding open water in any of them,"" Watts said.
Miller has good reports from shore casters near the mouth and waders finding open current and some open pools above the rail and Route 5 bridges. When casters can get a fly or egg-like bait into open stream waters, rainbows can be colorful. "All we need is a week or so of 50-degree weather and that creek (Cattaraugus) will be fishable from the mouth up to the dam at Springville."
Brothers John, Jim and Tom Balcarczyk of Lackawanna went to Acapulco recently to fish for marlin with brother Frank, owner of Hotel Acapulco Sunscape. The marlin run was not on, but sailfishing was spectacular, according to Jim.
"We fished tree days and caught 12 sails in the 7- to 9-foot range, releasing all but three that were badly hooked," he said.
"I'm usually the one that gets there the day after the run is done, but this time we hit them (sailfish) just right"
That run continues for a few more weeks. For details about Acapulco fishing and trip bookings, check the Web site: www.acavio.com/sunscape.html or call 826-8963.