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The Fishing Beat

It looks like the fishing in the area will be put on hold for at least a few days as unseasonably warm temperatures and large amounts of rain will be combining with melting snow and ice to impact everything from tributary action to ice fishing to, quite possibly, Niagara River action due to water clarity. We really won’t know the damage until things settle back down again.

Lake Erie and tributaries

Good to very good Lake Erie ice action continued until the heavy rains and warm temperatures showed up. Bob Rustowicz of Cheektowaga was still hitting walleyes on a regular basis off Hamburg but he also reported that there was some pretty good yellow perch action off Crystal Beach in Canadian waters. Make sure you have a Canadian license. They run the regular calendar year for annual licenses. Meanwhile, the tributary fishing was offering a good mix of fresh spring steelhead according to Danny Colville at Colville Outfitters in Hamburg. Some “springers” (the immature 1 1/2-year-olds) were in chasing emerald shiners, as well as some spawning fish and drop backs. The creeks stayed high and had a foot or so of visibility. According to Colville, stream fishing was better Sunday than it was Monday. Most streams are fully open at this point and, with the rain and run off, will be difficult to figure out until things start to come down - whenever that will be. Cameron Huntley of Buffalo caught some fish using a bead and a brown trout egg sac combo to take some nice steelhead. His girlfriend, Ashley Czechowski, caught her first trout over the weekend, too. Congrats! Check out the photos in Catch of the Week this week.

Niagara River

Lower river action continues to be good and the recent snow melt and rain has added some stain to the water that has improving the catching a bit. Capt. Arnie Jonathan of AJ’s Guide Service reports that fishing was good on Monday for steelhead, with a mix of other fish like browns, lakers, walleye and even suckers. Golden shiners were the best bait by the end of the day after catching a few on egg sacs and Kwikfish. Capt. Ryan O’Neill of Orchard Park caught some walleye up to 9 pounds, releasing the bigger ones and keeping a few of the smaller ones for the frying pan during some trips this week. Buffalo Harbor ice was being hit hard with the rain and the word on Tuesday afternoon was that it was not safe.

Lake Ontario bays and tributaries

Ice action in many of the bays was still producing good catches of perch, such as Sodus Bay in the east side of Rochester. However, the combination of rain, tributary flow and warm temperatures will probably destroy the ice at this point in time. Don’t take any unnecessary chances. In the tributaries, places like 18 Mile Creek and the Oak Orchard River were high and stained but still producing fish. That was before the heavy rains though. A hot lure for Capt. Roy Letcher of Newfane was a Lick-em-lure string of eggs.

Chautauqua Lake

Walleye fishing was good on the hard water over the weekend with essentially the same pattern that was previously reported – using No. 5, 7 and 9 Jigging Rapalas in 14 to 35 feet of water according to Mike Sperry at Chautauqua Reel Outdoors.

Bluegills have been hitting off Mayville and crappie action has been sporadic. With the streams flowing hard and the spring-like temperatures bringing a warm rain, it’s questionable if the ice will survive by the end of the week.

NYS Winter Classic

It’s the final week of action in the NYS Winter Classic, ending on Feb. 28. Check out the leaderboard at to see who the current leaders are. One change in the top slots. A new perch leader came to the scales on Tuesday, a 2.23 pounder that was reeled in by Dan White. He nipped Tom Allen's 2.22 pound perch. Close action.

Capt. Bob’s Outdoors

Except for the large walleye reeled in by Bob Rustowicz of Cheektowaga last week, tipping the scales at 14.67 pounds and stretching 33 inches, no new leaders in the Capt. Bob’s Outdoors contest. That competition will continue through March 15. There is still not a rudd entered.





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