Niagara Gazette


September 20, 2013

Bill Hilts' Fish Forecast: Salmon are striking as fall arrives

Niagara Gazette — 1. Lake Ontario and tributaries

Salmon are starting to hit more readily at the Olcott piers, either at night or under low light conditions. If the day remains overcast, there’s a good chance that salmon can hit all day long! Some salmon are also being seen in the harbor, as well as a few kings at the Burt Dam area of 18 Mile Creek. However, the main run has not yet started. One heavy rain will do the trick. A few browns are also being caught off the piers, too, by spoon casters. 

Out in the lake, trollers can work J-plugs, cut bait or flasher-fly to take staging kings. Out deeper, immature kings and a mix of coho and trout are still an option on spoons or flasher-fly set ups. Pike, perch, bass and panfish are available in both Wilson and Olcott harbors, too.

2. Lower Niagara River

It looks like the king salmon are in at the Niagara River. Capt. Steve Drabczyk of Lewiston reported a great catch of salmon earlier this week using treated egg skein off of three-way rigs, hopefully a sign of good things to come. He focused his attention in the Devil’s Hole area of the gorge and for the first time recorded double-digit kings with customers. Maintaining light contact with the bottom is one key, along with long leads and good boat control. Shore fishermen have been picking up a few salmon up toward the whirlpool, as well as off the Fishing Platform at the Power Authority’s Niagara Project. 

Speaking of NYPA, don’t forget that next weekend, Sept. 28-29, will be the annual Wildlife Festival, co-sponsored by NYPA and the Niagara County Federation of Conservation Clubs. This event is held in recognition of National Hunting and Fishing Day, celebrated around the country by sportsmen and conservation groups. This is a great family event with things like the Niagara River Anglers fishing pond, archery and crossbow stations, a shooting trailer, the Primate Sanctuary, Liberty the Bald eagle and so much more. It’s great for the entire family. Last year over 10,000 people came out to celebrate this special day. The best thing about it is that it’s free! There will be a kids fishing contest for youngsters age 15 and under in the public waters of Niagara County. Three ages classes: 13-15; 8-12; 7 and under. The weigh in will be at the Wildlife Festival between noon and 2 p.m. both days. The largest fish caught out of the NYPA reservoir and from the NYPA fishing platform will also receive a prize. Call 286-6661 for more info. 

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