Niagara Gazette


December 20, 2013

Bill Hilts' Fish Forecast: Need a license? Act before Christmas.


Niagara Gazette — 2. Lower Niagara River

Fishing was slowly getting back on track for lower river drifters and casters as water conditions improved. However, warmer temperatures, rain and wind could have an impact on fishing going into the weekend. On Wednesday, charter guys were doing well on steelhead in the river with minnows being the most consistent bait. Kwikfish lures were also working, all fished off three-way rigs. A few walleye have also been caught. 

Shore fishermen can also pick fish up along Artpark and Devil’s Hole but caution is advised. Remember that the stairs at Artpark off the main lot and the NYPA access road stairs are both closed for the winter. Also remember that lake trout season opens on Jan. 1, 2014.

3. Upper Niagara River

Shore anglers can still catch perch or trout around Broderick Park. Emerald shiners can work for just about anything, but egg sacs and spoons will allow you to target trout specifically.

4. Lake Erie and tributaries

Buffalo Boat Harbor was reporting some ice fishing action but conditions were marginal. Wait until things get safe before venturing out. In the tributaries, with some of the areas south of Buffalo getting as much as three feet of snow, look for fishing to be tough in the tribs – especially with a warm up and added rain. It will be a mess. When it does clear, look for some free fish to be in all of the streams.

5. Chautauqua Lake

While there is some ice cover on the lake, there were also reports of some open water so stay away until it’s safe.

6. Finger Lakes-Inland Waters

While we’re close for ice fishing action, we’re still not there yet for the most part. Honeoye, Silver and Conesus lakes are covered (or portions are) and almost ready to go … but we’ll have to see what Mother Nature brings us this weekend first. Hold off for the time being. If you are really itching to get on the hard water, your best bet is to head north to Lake Simcoe where up to five inches was being reported around Cooks Bay and Pefferlaw River.

Bill Hilts Jr. is an outdoor writer with the Niagara Tourism and Convention Corporation. Contact him at

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