By Bill Hilts Jr.
Niagara Gazette — 1. Lake Ontario and tributaries
Browns are being caught along the shoreline in front of Olcott according to reports. Stickbaits and heavy spoons like KO Wobblers are producing the most fish. Work the mud line in and out. Cast Little Cleos off the piers for trout, too, according to Wes Walker at The Slippery Sinker. The harbor is producing a few fish, including some perch. Wilson Harbor is also yielding some perch. The Wilson Bullhead Contest is being run out of Jean’s from Friday night at 6 p.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday. Call 751-9198 for more info.
There are still some trout hanging out in 18 Mile Creek up at Burt Dam, but water conditions are low and clear. Ditto for all tributaries along Lake Ontario, including the Oak Orchard River. The Spring Lake Ontario Counties Trout and Salmon Derby is not that far off, set for May 3-12. Register at area outlets or go online at www.loc.org. Fox Boyz Marina in Youngstown will be open for business and they are now taking reservations at www.foxboyzmarina.com or you can call 745-7121.
The Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Association is putting their salmon and trout pens in at the Town of Newfane Marina on Saturday morning at 9 a.m. They are looking for volunteers to feed the fish, too. For more info check out www.lotsa.org. Speaking of LOTSA, Capt. Rob Wescott of Sandy Creek will be giving a seminar at the next meeting on Thursday night at Lockport’s Cooperative Extension starting at 7 p.m. His focus will be on a stealth approach for brown trout and king salmon.
2. Lower Niagara River
The river turned muddy on Tuesday, making fishing difficult for charter guys. It was chocolate on Wednesday. Hopefully things will start to clear by the weekend.
No report of smelt in any numbers in the river, but Creek Road Bait and Tackle is trying to stay on top of it. Call (716) 807-6111 for updates. They also have telescopic smelt nets for sale.
The Niagara River Anglers group is working on organizing their salmon pen project in Youngstown and they are looking for volunteers. Call Steve Drabczyk at (716) 807-6248.
Ice could still be a problem in the river this weekend. Shore fishermen could be doing well along Artpark and Devil’s Hole with turbid conditions. Eggs or minnows fished under a float or casting hardware in clear water.
3. Upper Niagara River
Good news for trout fishermen. There are two inland lakes or ponds that will receive trout stockings April 15 – Oppenheim Park Pond on Niagara Falls Blvd. in Wheatfield and Hyde Park Lake in Niagara Falls. Oppenheim will receive 100 two year old brown trout and 200 rainbow trout yearlings at 10 a.m.; Hyde Park Lake receives 200 of the bigger two year old browns and 1,450 of the yearling browns at 11 a.m.
In addition, Gill Creek in Niagara Falls – the outflow of Hyde Park Lake –will also receive 470 brown trout. In the upper river, ice was flowing down at a good pace and the water turned muddy with the recent winds. When the ice finally leaves the river, action should start to heat up for panfish.
4. Lake Erie and tributaries
If you want to find out what’s happening in Lake Erie, the annual state of the lake meeting is set for Thursday April 11 at the Southtowns Walleye Club House at 5895 Southwestern Blvd., Hamburg starting at 7 p.m. Tributary action should pick up on the weekend as flows increased a bit according to Craig Robbins.
Cattaraugus Creek was flowing about 715 cubic feet per second and was a bit turbid, but that should come down to fishable levels by the weekend. Chautauqua and Canadaway creeks had trout in all the holes and fish were spread out. It is recommended to avoid active spawning fish and do not disturb the gravel nests.
5. Chautauqua Lake
The ice fishing season is coming to an end. Crappie catches were good in Burtis Bay and off Mayville. As the ice dissipates, look for action to continue, as well as in other traditional spring spots. Use minnows or a small jig tipped with a minnow.
6. Finger Lakes-Inland Waters
The inland trout season is now open. To find out what waters are being stocked in Region 9, contact the Stocking Hotline number at 358-4950.
7. Cayuga Lake
The southern end of the lake is producing brown trout on stickbaits near the surface. Lake trout are being taken by vertical jigging in 125 to 150 feet of water. Cayuga Inlet should be good for trout fishing as waters start to warm, triggering spawning activity.