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The Fishing Beat (Jan. 30)

The weather is taking a toll on some events. For instance, the Roger Tobey Memorial Steelhead contest set for Saturday in the lower Niagara River and hosted by the Niagara River Anglers Association has been postponed until further notice. Contact person is Paul Jackson at 731-4780 for more information.

Lake Erie and tributaries

Tom Baritot reports that Buffalo Harbor had about 6 inches of clear black ice with an inch or two layer of white ice on top as of Monday. Action was consistent, but catches have all been fairly small. No reports out of Barcelona, but Gerri Begier at Bill’s Hooks in Dunkirk reported that the west side of the Dunkirk pier had some ice but no one had reported the thickness. She noted there will be an ice fishing tournament on Feb. 9 as part of the city’s Winterfest. Call 366-9885 for more information. As far as the tributaries, Danny Jankowiak of Buffalo found some open water before the extreme cold weather hit. Water was slushy, but he still managed to catch a few steelhead with Janky jigs in black and white.

Niagara River

Lots of ice in the river and with near-record low temperatures having arrived with more snow, you should not expect to see too much action going on in either the upper Niagara River or the lower section below Niagara Falls and beyond. If you are walking the shoreline in the gorge, take the necessary precautions to ensure safe footing. Nick Calandrelli of Lewiston hit the gorge at the end of last week and caught some nice steelhead on jigs fished under a float. If you want to dodge ice floes, there is open water available. However, gaining access because of ice blockages at the launch ramps could pose a problem. You might need to wait for a warm up.

Lake Ontario and tributaries

With the cold temperatures, it will be difficult to find some open water in the tributaries. Aaron Horvatits of Buffalo reports that fishing in the tributaries had been good, but he had to fight ice chunks. Jigs fished under a float have been the key to success. Try the dams at Waterport or Burt to locate some open water, but it won’t be easy with the conditions. You might be better off sticking with hard water fishing. Lisa Drabczyk of Creek Road Bait and Tackle reports 6 inches of ice in Wilson Harbor’s Tuscarora Bay as of early in the week. Perch have been cooperating with anglers using jigs tipped with grubs or minnows as bait.

Chautauqua Lake

Skip Bianco at Hogan’s Hut reports there are still lots of anglers fishing Long Point. Good walleye action continues there. Ice anglers are also doing pretty well on the perch in the weed beds just north of Long Point. Dewittville Bay, Prendergast Point, the Bell Tower, and Magnolia (south of Prendergast Creek) are all producing walleyes 20-50 feet of water. Perch, bluegills, and crappies are at Mayville and action is starting to pick up. Anglers are just now able to get on most of this ice because of the recent thaw.  Use a spud both heading out and heading back in. Any weed bed will produce good perch catches. Anglers must move around to find the better size fish.

Ice Fishing update

Silver Lake: Steve Brzuszkiewicz and Tom Baskerville of Marilla went to Silver Lake last Friday morning and brought back their  fish fry. They kept about 40 perch and threw back a bunch of smaller ones. Perch ran 8 to 10 inches. They used salted minnows and grubs. Everything worked. Ice was a solid 4-inch plus.

Red House/Quaker Lake: Red House and Quaker Lake at Alleghany State Park have been producing rather well for bluegills, northern pike, crappie, and trout, Bianco from Hogan’s Hut said.

Conesus/Finger Lakes: Gary Metz at Finger Lakes Bait and Tackle reports good action through 8 inches of ice for northern pike and tiger musky on Conesus Lake. A few perch are also being caught. Some nice lake trout also have been coming out of Canadice.

Sodus Bay: Eight-plus inches of ice was being reported and good action for perch, according to Chris Kenyon with Wayne County Tourism. Bright jigs have been working near the loop and the trestle.

Capt. Bob’s Outdoors Derby Update

The Capt. Bob’s Outdoors Winter Contest offered up some new leaders the past week, starting with Stan Travis and his 37.5-inch northern pike from Conesus. Matt McCarthy of West Seneca took over the Lake Trout lead with a 27.75-inch lower Niagara River fish caught on a jig. Corey House of Middleport hauled in a 14.5-inch crappie from Ringneck Marsh to take over that lead, and Roy Letcher of Burt is the new yellow perch leader with a 13.5-inch fish from Conesus through the ice. There’s a new second-place steelhead, too. Pastor Pat Hilkey of Tonawanda measured a 31.5-inch steelhead from 18 Mile Creek in the Town of Newfane. He was using a jig. Bobby Joe Frost of Alden jumped into first place in the walleye class with a 29-inch Chaumont Bay fish. He was using a chartreuse Swedish pimple tipped with a minnow.

NYS Winter Classic Leaders

The New York State Winter Classic Tournament has reached the halfway point as the two-month contest is ready to hit the final month of February. Here’s a list of current leaders heading into the last four weeks of angling:

Pike – Nick Ramsey (Ballston Spa) - 19.72 pounds; Trout - Jack Mings (Amherst) - 10.59 pounds with a lower Niagara River lake trout; Walleye - Louis Pagnotti (West Pittston, Pa.) - 12.02 pounds from Chaumont Bay in eastern Lake Ontario; Pickerel - Jordan Allen (Sackets Harbor) - 6.05 pounds; Yellow Perch - Tom Allen (Oswego) from Lake Ontario - 2.11 pounds; Crappie - Brenndan Taft (Beaver Dams) - 2.58 pounds; Panfish - Timothy Edwards (Hastings) - 1.26 pounds. Check out for more details.

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