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The Fishing Beat: Musky season in upper Niagara River closes Nov. 30

Learning what happens to local waters after a storm is important to figuring out what your angling options are at any given time. With another storm hitting Western New York south of Buffalo, try to develop a plan of attack based on the information you have. Also, pay attention to the fishing seasons as they start to change.

Niagara River

It’s the last hurrah for musky fishermen above Niagara Falls in the upper river as the regular season closes Friday. That said, there are two days left to target a trophy. Rebecca Gaulteri of Hamilton, Ontario, was fishing with Capt. Chris Cinelli of Grand Island over the weekend and caught a 50-inch muskellunge – a fish of a lifetime. Joining her was her husband, Francesco, and her dad, Chris Mills, who caught a 45-inch fish the same morning. Conditions in the river were good this week, but that could change with the most recent storm advisory that includes more high winds.

Below Niagara Falls, the lower river was hot the past week as waters cleared and trout fishing took off. Lisa Drabczyk at Creek Road Bait and Tackle in Lewiston reports that beads, egg sacs and Kwikfish/MagLips lures fished off three-way rigs from boats has been good to very good for a mixed bag of trout. George Gregory, 87, of Lewiston was fishing with his son Kurt and Capt. Joe Marra of Lewiston. They caught double-digit trout over the long weekend, using primarily egg sacs, catching steelhead to 13 pounds and some nice browns. What had them talking, though, was a lake trout that both father and son caught at the same time.

Remember that lake trout season is closed on the New York side until Dec. 31. However, on the Canadian side of the river, the lake trout season opens Saturday. Shore fishermen are doing well with the good conditions, especially off the NYPA fishing platform. Nancy Colavecchia of Niagara Falls caught her first steelhead with a green egg sac while fishing off the platform. She was fishing with Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls, who caught nearly double-digit steelies on egg sacs and four walleyes on jigs. The NYPA platform closes Friday at dusk. Drabczyk also reported that spinners and beads in chartreuse, orange and pink colorations are working. The Niagara Musky Association will host the John Henning Memorial Lower River Musky Tournament, a catch-and-release event, on Sunday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. You must be a member of NMA. Contact Scott McKee at 225-3816.

Lake Ontario and tributaries

Fishing for steelhead and browns has been a bit slow in some of the Lake Ontario tributaries. However, Scott Feltrinelli of Webster with Ontario Fly Outfitters was a perfect 11 for 11 on browns in just three hours of fishing using the same brown streamer/fly. According to Feltrinelli, trout were off of gravel and fast water, feeding heavily as post-spawn fish will do in deeper pockets of water. Now is the time for swinging big flies. Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctor in Olcott says that there are fish (mostly browns) around, but not much pressure from anglers. Hot baits in the tributaries have been spikes, egg sacs and beads. Gianni Etopio of Youngstown used his own hand-tied marabou jigs to take a mix of salmon, steelhead and browns. Ron Bierstine at the Oak Orchard Tackle and Lodge reports that streams are on the rise and off-color. The Oak has 2 feet of visibility and others have one foot or less in Orleans County. You will encounter brown trout spawning, post-spawn and steelhead in the systems. Chris Kenyon with Wayne County Tourism reports good perch fishing in Port and Sodus bays with 20 feet as the magic depth. It could be a sign for a repeat performance once the water turns hard. Last year’s perch fishing was phenomenal.

Lake Erie and tributaries

Lake Erie tributary action has been just okay as far as fishing according to Feltrinelli. Erie streams have been a challenge with recent high-water events. However, Cattaraugus Creek fished well for trout before the rain. It was Feltrinelli’s first time out in seven weeks due to turbid conditions. He noted that some smaller Erie creeks have offered a few windows of opportunity between rain events. Casters can still work the mouths of creeks with hardware like spoons and spinners. While the rest of the state will trigger a catch and release bass fishing season, Lake Erie will institute its new trophy season on Saturday and continuing through June 14, when the regular season re-opens. Anglers will be allowed to keep one bass per person per day with a minimum size of 20 inches in length. For more information, consult the DEC website at Who knows what kind of conditions snow storms will bring this week? Be careful.

The Lake Erie Chapter of Fly Fishers International has rescheduled its monthly meeting due to weather considerations. It will be held Thursday at the West Seneca Library’s Community Center located on Union Road and Legion Drive at 6 p.m. The guest speaker will be Homer Wilde, who will talk about fishing in the Rockies. For further information, call 675-4766.

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