Things were starting to shape up on the fishing front until Mother Nature decided to act up by throwing some more wind and rain our way. At least it’s not white … yet. We’ll have to wait and see how we fare when things start to settle down. The high winds and rain could help with dissipating Lake Erie ice. With some 900 square miles of ice left in the lake, we need to knock that down to 250 square miles or less if you want to see the ice boom pulled. Unless the boom breaks from the wind, which is exactly what happened Wednesday morning. Ice is free-flowing down the river, impacting all river fishing for sure.
According to Wes Walker at The Slippery Sinker, the smaller streams had cleared up and 18 Mile Creek’s flow was low and slow with stained water. With recent rains that could change. Anthony Henley of Buffalo headed down after work and picked up three steelhead that appeared to be very fresh on Monday. Pier and harbor fishing has been tough with the northerly winds that continue to pound the shoreline. If you can get on the lake, brown trout and steelhead action has been decent with an occasional coho salmon thrown in for good measure. John Van Hoff and Wade Winch, both of North Tonawanda, hit the Olcott shoreline over the weekend. Using in-line planer boards, they worked 12 to 18 feet of water with Scatter Raps. Best color pattern was a clown. Water was quite a bit warmer than a previous outing as they found 37 to 40-degree temperatures along the shoreline, working a mud line that had resulted from run-off and winds. The weekend is the fifth annual Wilson Bullhead Contest sponsored by the Wilson Conservation Club, Route 425, Wilson. The contest is for Niagara County waters only. Open hours are from 5 p.m. April 6 to 1 p.m. on April 8. Registration outlets are The Slippery Sinker in Olcott and CMC Auto Repair in Wilson. Best two bullhead based on total weight wins the prizes. Weigh in will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Club on Sunday only. Call Eric at 628-6078 for more information. And, yes, they have been catching some bullhead in some of the traditional areas in and around Wilson. Over at the Oak, Ron Bierstine with the Oak Orchard Tackle and Lodge sends word that fishing over the weekend was decent for steelhead and flows now were high and stained with about a foot of visibility. Smaller streams had a medium to slightly high flow but that could change quickly if we get an significant rains.
Lower Niagara River action was fair to good but that will all stop due to ice flowing down from the busted ice boom. Best baits have been minnows and pink egg sacs from boat with drifters using three-way rigs to bounce bottom. A few shore anglers were doing well in the gorge. Capt. Nick Calandrelli of Lewiston picked up some nice steelhead earlier in the week using an egg sac or egg imitation like a bead but the water was rippin’ through making fishing a bit more difficult. Jigs fished under a float will also work. Remember that the New York Power Authority Fishing Platform is now open, as well as the reservoir above. However, a note came through April 4 that the platform was closed temporarily due to high water. Ice could create problems, too. Call 796-0135 Ext. 45 for updates.
Lake Erie and tributaries
Fish are available in the tributaries and steelhead were being caught earlier in the week but waters are trending on the high and muddy side according to Zak Doldan of Buffalo. Seek out smaller streams and that should increase your odds.
There were some good reports coming in regarding inland stream success for the opening few days. With the rain it could create a few problems with high muddy water. Look around and you should be able to find some less turbid conditions in the smaller streams. In the Naples Opening Day Trout Derby on Naples Creek, it was an 8.8-pound trout that won the big fish prize. During the month of April over 83,000 trout are being stocked in Western New York just from the Randolph Fish Hatchery. For a stocking hotline report call 358-2050. This is a new number.
The canals at the marinas are ice-free and fishermen are catching perch according to Mike Sperry at Chautauqua Reel Outdoors. The crappie bite has started as well, but not a heavy bite. It should only get better as the water warms. Emerald shiners and tube jigs under a float are both working. Ashville Bay Marina allows fishing in their canals, but there is a $3 charge.