Niagara Gazette —
With the late release of the ice boom at the head of the Niagara River, anglers can finally breathe a sigh of relief now that the end is in sight. The last remaining ice should pass through the Niagara River and into Lake Ontario quickly, but that’s not going to help anyone targeting the early bite for bass and walleye on Lake Erie or salmon and trout in Lake Ontario. You will need to have a strategy to try and get fish to hit.
Bass and walleye combine for a very effective one-two punch for Lake Erie anglers because of the fact that the early trophy bass season opened on May 3 this year, the same date as the walleye opener. Throw in some pretty darn impressive perch fishing and warm water fishermen and women can enjoy some excellent early season fishing opportunities. But with the ice keeping things cold in Lake Erie, the normal fishing process is definitely behind schedule.
“Stay away from the ice until it’s gone,” says Capt. Frank Campbell with Niagara Region Charter Service. “Try and seek out the warmest water that you can find, even if you have to head west. That is where you will find the bait and that’s where the bass will be feeding. Some of the best places will be in the shallower waters around creek mouths where warmer water will be flowing into the system due to recent rains.”
“Because the water is cold,” shares Campbell, “you will want to fish your presentation as slow as possible. If you think you are fishing slow – be it with tube, jerk bait, live bait or drop shot rig – slow it down even more from there. These pre-spawn fish will be very sluggish.” Campbell says that from eight to 15 foot depths is a good place to start. “Look for stained water, too. That water will warm quicker.”