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The Fishing Beat

The WNY Sport and Travel Expo is here, set for March 8-11. Doors open at noon on Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Don’t forget that the first 100 kids through the doors on March 10 will receive a rigged cane pole. For more details on speakers, attractions and vendors, check out

Lake Erie and tributaries

John Jarosz of Lakeview has been hitting a few of the Southtowns tributaries this past week. The water was at a good level and had excellent color. However, that can all change overnight if we receive any rain. The mouth of Eighteen Mile Creek in Hamburg was having a good run of fresh steelies and some of the smaller tribs in the Southtowns were also having a good run of jacks. Haven't heard of too many females or drop backs being caught though. White marabou jigs and olive jigs under a float worked the best.

A few large suckers (16 to 20-inch fish) are also being caught right on the bottom (on jigs) according to Jarosz. Danny Colville with Colville Outfitters says that there are many immature trout hanging around the lakeshore waiting for the emerald shiner migration to take place. How many fish was evident the past week at Dunkirk where pier action has been crazy in the harbor. In some of the streams, the lower sections were iced over a bit. Look for open water. At the creek mouths, try tossing spoons or spinners. You can also float fish. In the lake, last report was less than 20 percent ice cover remaining.

Niagara River

Fishing has been a little tough with clear water conditions posing the biggest problem. Shore fishermen casting in the gorge area have found it difficult to connect. Boat fishermen have done a bit better, but learning to adapt to the conditions that Mother Nature throws you is the key for consistent success. Lighter fluorocarbon lines, longer leads and smaller hooks may be needed to trick a trout into hitting. Remember that the walleye season will be closing on March 15 on the New York side of the river. It is already closed on the Canadian side of the river. If you want to try your luck above Niagara Falls, the area near the head of the river around Broderick Park and Bird Island Pier is usually a spot for an occasional trout.

Lake Ontario and tributaries

It’s not too early to start trolling the shoreline in Lake Ontario for salmon and trout. Capt. Vince Pierleoni of Newfane hit the shallows using in-line board and stickbaits – Live Target and Bay Rat plugs – to take some nice brown trout just prior to the storm last week. He also managed to catch his first salmon of the year, a small jack king. Don’t forget that the State of Lake Ontario meeting will be held at Lockport’s Cornell Cooperative Extension Niagara 4-H Building on March 14 at 6:30 p.m. It is open to the public. Tributary action has been fair the past week. Water was low and clear in the Niagara County streams but Anthony Henley of Buffalo managed to connect with a feisty brown in just an hour of fishing. In Orleans County, Ron Bierstine at Oak Orchard Tackle and Lodge reported Tuesday that stream flows at the Oak were medium with a couple of feet of visibility – good for steelheading. There has been limited fishing pressure. Smaller streams were low and clear there, too. To the east, Maxwell Creek in Wayne County was holding steelhead with conditions near perfect according to Chris Kenyon. Egg sacs and brightly-colored beads were working on the trout. Jigs fished under a float in white, black or olive were catching fish as well.  The Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Association has announced that April 7 is the date that the group will be putting its net pens together to hold salmon and steelhead. They will be meeting at the Town of Newfane Marina at 9:30 a.m.

Chautauqua Lake

Ice is still an issue and there's nothing to report.


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