With another Nor’easter bearing down and affecting weather conditions once again, we’ll have to adopt another wait-and-see attitude after Mother Nature dumps what could be up to and over 2 feet of snow in parts of Western New York by Thursday. Remember that northern pike, pickerel, walleye and tiger musky seasons close on March 15. Think spring.
Lake Erie tributaries
Scott Feltrinelli of Ontario Fly Outfitters reports that Canadaway, Walnut, Big Sisters, Eighteenmile Creek and Cayuga all have trout in them. Fish are mostly "holed up" in pools due to low water right now. Water conditions have been running clear. Timing is critical for increased success. Fishing just after ice out, rain or snow melt off will increase odds so if we do get dumped on with snow, that could help the cause a bit. Not every hole has fish right now so walking will also increase chances of a catch. White flies and jigs have been working well. Jig tipped with a wax worm also have been catching some fish. Next rain or melt off should produce a solid push of fish. Water has been cold so fish low (deep) and slow (slow retrieve) according to Feltrinelli. Water temperatures are unusually cold for this time of year as winter is holding on. There has been a mixed bag of dime bright steelhead moving into the tributaries and older seasoned fish dropping back to the lake. It will not be long before we see the first smallmouth bass caught. We usually see that around St. Patty’s Day in the tributaries. Incidentally, Feltrinelli will be speaking at the next meeting of the Lake Erie Chapter of Fly Fisheries International on Thursday at the American Legion Post No. 745 in West Seneca starting at 7 p.m. Word is that the pier in Dunkirk is ice covered, making for some tough conditions if you want to cast for trout. They had been catching some trout in Barcelona harbor, too.
Lake Ontario tributaries
Tributaries are low and clear there as well. Most of the same information we mentioned for the Lake Erie tributaries also applies for the Lake Ontario streams. Capt. Nick Calandrelli of Lewiston noted that conditions were prime in the Niagara County streams he checked on Monday and egg sacs did the trick for him. Ken Jackson of Sanborn reported clearing conditions at 18 Mile Creek and jigs worked for him earlier in the week on steelhead. Johnson and the Oak were both holding fish, but levels were dropping. Jackson also reminded anglers that the Niagara River Anglers group will be holding its annual John Long, Sr. Memorial “Feast” on Sunday, March 18 at the Niagara Active Hose Fire Hall located on Lockport Road in Niagara Falls from 2 to 6 p.m. This is the big fund raiser of the year for the club to help support all of its kids' activities. To the east, reports out of Sodus Bay were good for guys launching their boats for perch, a continuation of the excellent perch fishing they enjoyed through the ice this year. Maxwell Creek has also been fishing decent for trout according to Chris Kenyon of Wolcott.
Conditions in the Niagara River below Niagara Falls have been super clear, creating a situation that is making fishing a bit more difficult than it needs to be. Combine that with a large amount of bait in the river and you will have to work for every fish you catch. Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls reports that he picked up a few fish on Tuesday using a white and silver jig in the Devil’s Hole area. Water was high and visibility was about 10 feet. Capt. Mark McGranahan of Sparky’s Charters reports that the water clarity was bothering the boaters, too. He was throwing a smorgasbord of trout egg sacs, minnows and plugs like Kwikfish and MagLips and managed to hook into a few this week. Action was not consistent. Try running some lighter line, longer leads, smaller hooks and smaller baits. Walleye season closes on March 15 on the New York side of the river. Above Niagara Falls, this is a good time to cast the Broderick Park area for trout. There are usually a few fish hanging around the shoreline at the head of the rapids area near the new-and-improved entrance into Niagara Falls State Park.
There still isn’t enough open water to get the job done. Remember that walleye season will be closing on Thursday (March 15) so don’t even think about it after the cut-off.