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The Fishing Beat

Who knows what Mother Nature has in store for us in the coming week. This week held what we hope will be the last snow of the spring, 70-degree temperatures and some more high winds. No matter what she dishes out, there’s always some nice fish to be caught. Make sure you see the online gallery this week … and next week.

Lake Erie and tributaries

Going into this report, perch fishing was trying to get started but it kept misfiring. Only a handful of fish here and there all along the lake shore. That could change this weekend after a few more days of warming waters. Dredging was underway at Sturgeon Point and the docks were in at the state launch at Cattaraugus Creek. We’re getting there. Best depth for perch when they did find some was 50 to 57 feet of water just east of the Catt. The warming water should be beneficial for the walleye opener this Saturday as night time trollers work large stickbaits off Hamburg Beach as soon as the clock ticks after midnight on Friday night. Bass fishermen are already seeking out the big spring fish in preparation for the Spring Border War this Saturday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. out of Safe Harbor Marina. Call Andy Fall at 535-0908 for details on the battle. Registration should start by 5:30 a.m. If you normally use the Skyway, take note that detours are in place due to restrictions. In-bound from the south in the morning and outbound from Buffalo in the afternoon and evening.

Stream anglers had a last hurrah of sorts for trout. Guide Scott Feltinelli of Ontario Fly Outfitters headed to the Erie tribs to pursue some bass action with the fly rod and he was surprised with some decent trout action. He wasn’t the only one. Be sure to check out some of the fish in this week’s online gallery. “Fish need fuel to move upstream and they were crushing my olive woolly bugger fished on the ‘swing’ with my new flyrod,” Feltrinelli said. He saw only one bass caught last weekend but that will probably change this week with the warmer temperatures. Everything is about three weeks late. We’ll have to see how much rain falls on Thursday and Friday to see the impacts. “The best steelhead fishing is behind us and the best bass fishing is at our doorstep.”

Inland streams

Feltrinelli shared some firsthand knowledge on the inland action. Fishing has been solid on the local tribs in WNY. Hendricksons are hatching and fly fisherman stand a good chance at catching rising fish on a dry fly presentation. He has been catching inland trout on an olive woolly bugger this week but will alter his approach as conditions change. He encourages everyone to practice safe fish handling and catch and release so we can enjoy fish the entire season.

Niagara River

Trout action has been good in the lower river. Shore anglers are catching trout off the NYPA fish platform on jigs, as well as up in the gorge area on egg sacs and jigs. Again, check out the online gallery to see some of the fish being hauled in. From boats, it’s been a mixed bag of fish – from lunker walleye and musky to trout and bass. You just never know what you are

going to catch. Mark Davis of South Carolina, in town for the Greater Niagara Spring Media Event, hit a 12 1/2-pound walleye from the river on a swim bait as he sought out a big smallie. The group did catch smallmouth up to 6 pounds as water temperatures were slowly increasing. One of the media guys also caught a 45-inch musky on a Jackson kayak while fishing off Youngstown. Steelhead and lake trout were also in the mix. If smelt are going to run, it will be in the next week or so. The Lewiston Smelt Festival is Friday (May 4) at Lewiston Landing starting at 5 p.m.

Lake Ontario and tributaries

It’s been a slow warm-up process in the lake but the kings are starting to turn on. John Van Hoff of North Tonawanda headed west of the bar and fished off the Welland Canal to take three kings and five lake trout in 60 feet of water using lead core, dipsy divers and downriggers. In the first tournament of the lake, the King of the Lake out of St. Catharines, Silver Junkies took the first win with a score of 128.42 points. Capt. Bob Songin’s Reel Excitement team placed fifth and their program was in 30 feet of water west of St. Catharines from Jordan to Grimsby. He was using green and silver and green frog Bay Rat deep-diving plugs off the boards, taking him down about 20 feet. They also caught some salmon on DW Mag spoons using lead core and slide divers. The stud fly behind a white spin doctor produced a nice king, too. Timing should be good for the action from the Niagara Bar to Olcott for the Lake Ontario Counties Trout and Salmon Derby, set for May 11-20 this year. Check out for details.


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