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The Fishing Beat

It sure feels like the weather has broken. Ice fishing action appears  a thing of the past and stream fishing has been taking off. There was only 50 percent ice cover left on Lake Erie at last report and the high winds on Sunday did a good job of busting things up. With the WNY Sport and Travel Expo only a week away – time to spring ahead and get on with a new season.

Lake Erie tributaries

Good tributary action was being reported up and down the Lake Erie shoreline. According to Ken Jackson of Sanborn, he found some of the smaller streams offering near perfect conditions. Small egg sacs fished under a float worked well on Monday as he enjoyed one of his best days ever in one of the creeks. Don’t be afraid to move around and try some different areas. Zak Doldan and Cameron Huntley of Buffalo were also hitting the streams and the angling duo found good conditions in some, high and muddy conditions in others. Pick your spot. Egg sacs and beads worked well for them on Monday. Rain is in the forecast again mid-week and hopefully it doesn’t negatively impact the streams too badly. Or the snow this weekend ...

Niagara River

Trout have been cooperating from both boat and shore in the lower river. Conditions were good on Monday with the best lures for trout being MagLips and Kwikfish fished off three-way rigs. Fish are spread out throughout the system and steelhead, brown trout and lake trout are all being caught. Egg sacs and minnows will also produce fish. If you want to target walleye, they are still available, too, with two weeks left in the season. Walleye season closes on March 15 in New York. However, on the Canadian side of the river the season closes Feb. 28. Shore fishermen have been picking up some trout in the Devil’s Hole area. Yellow jigs have been working for Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls. Anthony Henley of Buffalo has been hitting the Artpark area for a few hours after work and he’s been picking up trout using a jig tipped with a meal worm. His slip float was set as deep as 14 feet to deal with the clear conditions. That same set-up was working in stained water in some of the Lake Ontario tributaries.

Above Niagara Falls, some trout are being caught off Unity Island and along Bird Island Pier. Casting spoons and spinners should work, as will egg sacs or egg imitations. The upper rapids area is usually a good spot, just before the whitewater starts.

Lake Ontario tributaries

If the stream has water in it, there’s a good chance there’s fish, too. Taven Lukehart of Reynoldsville, Pa., was drifting Lick-Em-Lure eggs and egg sacs to take his first steelhead ever over the weekend. He was fishing with Capt. Roy Letcher of Newfane. A few browns were also caught. There were some trout in the smaller streams like 4 Mile and Keg creeks. Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls hit a northern pike and two steelhead casting a spinner in 4

Mile. With the lake temperature being 36 degrees, look for some shoreline trolling to start picking up. In fact, there has been some brown trout action by at least one boat pulling Bay Rat plugs behind in-line boards. Things appear to be starting earlier in the lake. To find out what’s going on with stocking, the creel census and other status reports, make sure you attend the State of Lake Ontario meeting scheduled for March 14. It will be held at the 4-H Building of Cornell Cooperative Extension Niagara, 4487 Lake Ave., Lockport (Route 78) starting at 6:30 p.m. There will also be meetings in Rochester and Pulaski.

Chautauqua Lake

The ice is destroyed, dissipating quickly. With a little luck much of it could be gone soon which will mean crappie action could be just around the corner. Remember that walleye season is still open until March 15 if you can hit some open water this weekend.

Finger Lakes diary cooperators needed

The state’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is looking for some warm water angler diary cooperators in Seneca, Keuka, Canandaigua, Hemlock and Canadice lakes. If you are interested, give DEC a call at 518-226-5343 or email Region 8 fisheries at


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