With more rain and mild temperatures in the forecast, this weekend is the perfect time to stay indoors by attending the Fourth Annual Greater Niagara Fishing and Outdoor Expo at the Conference and Event Center Niagara Falls, 101 Old Falls St., Niagara Falls, Jan. 20-22. Over 125 seminars and over 125 different exhibitors; over 70 speakers with the likes of Bass Pro Mark Menendez and Walleye Pro Mark Romanack with the Fishing 411 TV show; electronics expert Lance Valentine with Walleye 101; and an army of local experts that will boggle the mind. Check out the list at www.niagarafishingexpo. While you might not be able to get on the ice right now, you can still talk ice fishing with legendary Dave Genz and a host of other hard-water mavens through Clam Outdoors and the Ice Team. There isn’t a better fishing expo on the Great Lakes.
Lake Ontario and tributaries
Some fresh fish were sucked into 18 Mile Creek with the increased flow last week, making it up to Burt Dam at Newfane. One of those fish was a 21-pound, 2-ounce brown trout caught on a jig by Charles Young of North Tonawanda. Steelhead are also available and visibility was about 2 feet. That could
change with the rain. Ice was still hanging on in Wilson in certain areas and it was 4 inches on Monday, but the water underneath was muddy. Caution is advised. Thanks to Greg Schloerb of Amherst who started up a little contest on the Fishing Nerds Facebook Page challenging other anglers to pick up trash in the streams when you are on the water. Check out his catch – very commendable. Wes Walker at The Slippery Sinker reports some perch action going on in the harbor, too, with the warm-up.
The waters finally cleared earlier this week and come local charter guys hit the lower river to chase trout. Several customers ended up with a few surprises. With the light wind, skippers like captains John Oravec with Troutman and Vince Pierleoni with Thrillseeker headed to the Niagara Bar . VP gave his guys a tour – from Devil’s Hole to the Green Can and they caught fish (steelhead and lake trout) wherever they stopped. Three-way rigs with either Kwikfish or MagLips lures doing their wobble dance were effective. Oravec, on the other hand, stayed around the green buoy off Fort Niagara the entire trip. Lake trout and brown trout were both cooperating by chomping down on golden shiners hooked on attractor rigs. They even hit a chrome teenage king salmon, a walleye and a catfish! Up in the gorge, shoreline casters are starting to see some action by casting spoons, spinners and jigs again. If you want a four-hour educational lesson on the water, the Greater Niagara Fishing Expo has some morning trips at discounted prices. Check it out at www.niagarafishingexpo.com.
Lake Erie and tributaries
The rain event on Tuesday will undoubtedly cause all of the tributaries blow out. Monday, Ken Jackson of Sanborn managed to catch a few trout by drifting egg sacs working some favorite holes in 18 Mile Creek near Hamburg. The Upper Cattaraugus has been high and dirty since last week according to Nick
Sagnibene. However, feeder tribs like Elton and Lime Lake Outlet were clearing nicely … until the rain hit again. This will leave only the high headwaters fishable. For Sagnibene, who operates out of the Adventure Bound on the Fly in Ellicottville, nymphs have been working when the water is clear. High, stained waters are more productive with buggers and streamers, especially with warm rains increasing temperatures a notch or two.
Water levels are up around the lake according to Rich Davenport of Tonawanda, but surprisingly there was still some ice fishing going on … prior to Tuesday’s rains. As of Wednesday morning there was no safe ice being reported and the Chautauqua County Sheriff had issued an unsafe ice warning after a few people fell through.
NYS Winter Classic Updates
Lynn Thompson, Jr. of Camillus had a productive week fishing, taking over the lead in two Winter Classic categories – first with a 21.85-pound lake trout and then with a 12.05-pound walleye – both through the ice at Chaumont Bay! Thompson took both fish on a spoon. A new pickerel leader showed up, a 5.70-pound fish hitting a shiner and weighed in at the Thousand Islands Bait Store. A new perch leader came to the scales from Seneca Lake once again. Steve LaBarr weighed in a 2.09-pound perch at Catharine Valley Outfitters. A new crappie leader also surfaced this week. Parker Umbra of Afton weighed in a 2.30-pound crappie, caught on a spike. He beat the previous leader by .05 pounds in a battle taking place in the southeast corner of the state. Check out www.nyswinterclassic.com to keep posted.
Capt. Bob’s Derby Report
A few changes to Capt. Bob’s Derby leaderboard were made the past week. Vince Gulino of Pendleton took over first place with a 12-5/8-inch perch that weighed 1.03 pounds. He caught it at Lake Simcoe. Corey Swimline of Darien Center used a shiner to catch (and release) a 34-1/4-inch northern pike reeled in from a private pond to take over the top spot. Tyler Hillman of Lockport caught a 14-inch, 1.34 pound crappie from Honeoye on a Jiggin’ Rap to take over the lead there. First-place steelhead was a 22-inch fish from 18 Mile Creek in Newfane. Charlie Stahl of Williamsville was the lucky angler, using a jig and wax worm. He did catch one bigger but couldn’t find his tape measure!