The Niagara River Anglers Association held its annual Roger Tobey Memorial Steelhead contest Feb. 3 out of Lewiston Landing along the banks of the Niagara River, a celebration that’s been going for a quarter of a century. Despite frigid temperatures that saw wind chills dip to below zero, some 32 brave fishermen fought high winds and heavy ice floats to compete for the biggest trout – with a focus on steelhead and browns.
When the scales closed at 2 p.m., Dan Spangler of Ohio was the top dog with a 10.26-pound steelhead. He caught the fish on a silver and pink MagLip lure, fishing with Capt. Mark McGranahan of Sparky’s Charters (See Catches of the Week).
Second place was 9.74 pounds, reeled in by Justin Graham of Washington State and fishing with Capt. Chris Cinelli of Grand Island. Third place was Jack Taylor of Batavia with an 8.34-pound steelie. He was fishing with Capt. Frank Campbell of Niagara Region Charters. Taylor also reeled in the big brown trout, a 3.74-pound fish – one of only two browns caught in the contest.
Conditions were tough and hats off to the victors, as well as all of the hardy folks who competed. While most of the fishing took place in the lower Niagara River, there was some derby action at Burt Dam and 18 Mile Creek for steelhead and browns. Greg Schloerb of Amherst, who was not in the contest, reeled in at least one steelhead that tipped the scales at better than 12 pounds. You must be in it to win it!