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The Fishing Beat (March 15)

It’s happening again, like a broken record. A severe storm warning went into place, just in time for this week’s fishing report. Heavy snow and high winds are in the forecast. We thought spring was going to arrive early? Last week’s wind storm was horrendous. Let’s hope this one isn’t as bad, but when it comes with a name (Stella), that’s usually not a good sign.

Lake Erie tributaries

Most of the tributaries off Lake Erie are slushy, but there are some fish in the upper reaches according to Danny Colville of Colville Outfitters. The Buffalo River tribs have been fishing better. If you can find open water in the lower ends of the streams, you can expect to find steelhead chasing minnows according to Colville. Of course, they will readily grab an egg sac, too. A little further to the south, some of the mid-sized creeks are seeing decent numbers of trout toward Dunkirk. He reports some nice brook trout are mixed in with the steelhead and, if you are lucky, you may just catch a lake-run brookie mixed in with the steelies. One tip he gives for cold-water action is to slow your presentations down. One of the best ways to do that is to use a centerpin outfit, Colville’s specialty. Stop in to his shop in Hamburg and ask Colville how he does it. He has a lot of knowledge regarding the art of this style of fishing. His specialty reels are made right in Buffalo. We also had some good reports of trout in Chautauqua Creek on egg sacs and flies.

Niagara River

The stretch of river below Niagara Falls finally cleared up again after last week’s hard blow turned the green water to a brown mud color. Monday, the water changed to a nice green again with about 2 feet of visibility according to Capt. Ted Kessler of Grand Island. With north wind in the forecast, he’s hoping it will maintain a viable color for fishing. According to Kessler, there is plenty of fresh steelhead in the river with a decent amount of lake trout mixed in. Best drifts have been Artpark and Devil’s Hole; best baits have been pink egg sacs and large emerald shiners. Ricardo Davila of Wheatfield actually took some cautious steps into the gorge early Tuesday morning and he was rewarded with five nice lake trout casting soft plastics. He reported that the water was still a good green color. No reports in the upper river.

Lake Ontario Tributaries

Eighteen Mile Creek at Burt Dam was a little high and stained over the weekend according to Scott Rohe of Cheektowaga. Despite the less-tha- ideal conditions, he was still two for four on trout using egg skein. His biggest catch was a 30-inch brown trout that tipped the scales at just under 12 pounds. What happens in the next few days with Storm Stella remains to be seen. The Lake Ontario shoreline is supposed to be hit pretty hard. As of Tuesday, Wes Walker at The Slippery Sinker reported that everything else is frozen up, including the piers. The harbor is full of chunk ice. We’ll try and have an update next week of the State of Lake Ontario meeting held last week in Lockport.

Chautauqua Lake

Mike Sperry at Chautauqua Reel Outdoors sends word that some crappie and perch were hitting in the canals, but things froze up on Sunday. Minnows and tube jigs were working. That’s all on hold right now.

Finger Lakes Rainbow Trout Sampling 

DEC has announced the dates for its annual sampling of rainbow trout in the Finger Lakes tributaries. The first will be on March 23 starting at 9 a.m. at Naples Creek, just north of the Village of Naples in Ontario County along the Route 245 bridge. The second will be March 24 at 10 a.m. at Cold Brook (Keuka Outlet)in the hamlet of Pleasant Valley, Steuben County. The sampling will allow fisheries biologists to make opening day predictions for the April 1 kick-off. Feel free to stop down and witness the sampling.

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