The winter weather doesn’t know what it wants to do. Warm one day with rain the next; then cold and a little snow. Then a mix of snow, ice and rain with some wind thrown in. Adapt to the changes and you can be successful.
Lake Erie and tributaries
Danny Jankowiak of Buffalo got out last weekend and he found the creeks to be productive. Many Erie tributaries are holding a decent amount of trout, with both white and black jigs working best along with an occasional bead strike. With rain and snow in the forecast, this could negatively impact conditions. Cattaraugus Creek was fishing well earlier in the week using egg sacs under a float, but that could change, too, with this week’s weather patterns. Look for colder weather patterns to start showing up over the weekend. Out in the lake, a few diehard anglers pulled their boats out and hit the big water for perch, bass and walleye. Fishing was spotty for most, but they were thankful just to be able to fish the lake in January. Water temperatures are still pegged at 39 degrees.
Action at the foot of Ferry Street has been good for fishermen. Many have been doing well on walleye with the occasional lake trout and steelhead according to Joshua Marshall of Alden, who is involved with the WNY Walleye Fishing Facebook page. Baits have been mainly live minnows and crankbaits. Bite is up and down but producing fish. Jigs tipped with plastics will work, too. Buffalo's Joe Pavalonis took the early lead this week in the Rudd Division of the Capt. Bob’s Outdoors winter fishing contest by measuring in an 18-inch upper river fish at the Clarence store. He was using a crappie tube jig. In the lower Niagara, action has been consistent from both shore and boat, according to Lisa Drabczyk with Creek Road Bait and Tackle in Lewiston. Most of the fish have been steelhead and browns with a few lake trout and walleye thrown in for good measure. Silver Kwikfish worked well on Tuesday, patterned with chartreuse or green, for drifters, along with egg sacs and minnows. However, the water was starting to change with the pending storm on Tuesday and it could impact fishing conditions for a few days. Shore anglers are using jigs or spinners. Hot colors have been pink, chartreuse and green. If you can get out on the Niagara Bar, the lake trout were stacked up the last time boats were out.
Lake Ontario and tributaries
Tributary action has been fair for steelhead and brown trout, according to Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctors in Olcott. Egg sacs, jigs tipped with wax worms and beads are catching trout. In the east, there were good perch reports both in size and numbers coming out of Sodus and Port bays. If they are hitting there, they are probably hitting at Irondequoit, too. In fact, any Lake Ontario embayment should be holding perch.
Mike Sperry at Chautauqua Reel Outdoors reports that there are a handful of fishermen jigging walleyes on the north basin. It’s the same program as the fall. Some perch are being reported in the canals on the south basin. The entire lake is ice free right now. Skip Bianco at Hogan’s Hut says that the lake is in perfect condition for fishing with only a few fisherman fishing Long Point and the Bemus side of the ferry for perch. Most anglers are fishing trout in the Chautauqua County tributaries or the Kinzua Dam area for walleyes and Northern pike.
Lake Simcoe/Ice Fishing
Wil Wegman of Ontario reports that it looks like much of the 280 square miles of lake is slowly freezing over as of last weekend. Even the deepest portion of the lake to the north, Kempenfelt Bay out of Barrie, has a skim of ice on it. Meanwhile at the southernmost portion out of Simcoe County’s Cooks Bay and village of Gilford, some ice anglers are tenderly venturing out on less than acceptable safety standards (4 inches of clear blue ice) and catching a few perch. This is not recommended. Meanwhile, local ice hut operators are watching conditions closely before they can safely put out their huts. Zero reports of anyone venturing onto Simcoe ice for lake trout or whitefish, which opened Jan. 1. Other shallow perch areas that typically freeze over earlier also have questionable ice conditions. Give it a little time. Wegman will give a talk at the Greater Niagara Fishing Expo next weekend.
Joe Franchini of Buffalo reported on a dynamite trip he recently had to the lake. Northern pike was his primary target.