If you were looking for a time when there was less fishing pressure in some of the more popular areas like 18 Mile Creek and Burt Dam, this is the weekend for that with the opener of the regular big game season in the Southern Zone on Saturday. It's a perfect time for some trout fishing and thereís even a few salmon still hanging around. Brown trout fishing continues to be good at Burt Dam and steelhead fishing is picking up. Use single eggs or egg imitations like trout beads in the low, clear water. A few anglers were fishing jigs tipped with a wax worm and fished under a float, taking some trout in the process, too. Unless we get some rain, look for the next impact to the creek coming next week with the dewatering of the Erie Canal. Pier action in Olcott has been decent for trout and perch. At least, when the winds will let you out there. In addition to spoons and spinners for the trout, a few egg sac casters have been drifting this popular trout bait under a float when the waves arenít too bad. Over in Wilson, pike and perch have been the primary target.
Not too many people fishing of late but those that are seem to be doing pretty well. Musky action has been consistent for the most part, whether you are bouncing large tubes along the bottom or dragging live bait off three-way rigs. Some trollers are using large body baits to entice a hit. Bass fishing continues to be decent. Seek out any kind of bottom structure, such as the humps at the head of Strawberry Island or the shoals in the West River. Shore fishing at Broderick Park and the Bird Island Pier is a bit more difficult because of the closing of the Ferry Street bridge. You will have to access those areas by the bridge at the north end of Squaw Island and walking the path. Perch, trout and walleye are all being reported by casters.
In the lower Niagara, trout fishing has been good there, too, for both boat and shoreline fishermen. If you are fishing the lower river from shore, be aware that the new stairs at Artpark are now open, but with a caveat Ė the stairs will be closed at times Nov. 17-21 during the day when workers will be doing some welding on the stairs. While beads have been a hot bait for some (Paul Yaeger of Grand Island took three browns, one steelie and a lake trout earlier this week on chartreuse-colored beads), spinners can also work wonders for casters. Local writer Bob DiCesare hooked into ten trout from shore this week by casting Mepps and Vibrax spinners in silver, red or blue. Out of the ten hookups, he managed to land half - four lakers and a steelie. Remember that lake trout season is closed until the end of the year in New York. The New York Power Authority access road is now open to the fishing platform. The NYPA access will only be open until Dec. 1 or until the snow starts flying-Ė whatever comes first. This includes the platform, the stairs to the shoreline and the reservoir access. That could be sooner rather than later. Boaters have also been enjoying success by dragging wobbling baits like Kwikfish or MagLips. Capt. Joe Marra of Lewiston took out Alin Fodorciuc from Romania last Sunday and even though the water was a little off-color they still managed to reel in three steelhead and six lake trout in just three hours of fishing. Chartreuse colored yarn and silver Kwikfish in 20-25 feet of water was the ticket for consistent success.
The first lake effect snow storm warning of the year was in place on Thursday, all south of Buffalo. Itís anyone's guess what's going to happen. For the most part, Cattaraugus Creek is your best bet for stream action with the best flow available. Fish can be found throughout the system. Use eggs or egg imitations like trout beads or yarn flies. Live bait like worms or shiners will also catch fish. Other streams are low and clear. A reminder that the DEC is looking for Lake Erie Steelhead Diary Cooperators and if you are interested give DEC a call at 366-0228. Lots of wind this week so did not hear of anyone chasing perch on the big water.
Bill Hilts Jr. is a past president of the New York State Outdoor Writers Association. Hilts is an avid outdoorsman, an outdoor writer who has contributed articles to numerous national and local magazines, newspapers, and other publications. Hilts is also responsible for Niagara County Tourism Sportfishing Programs. He freelances from his home in Sanborn N.Y. Hilts was inducted in the New York State Outdoorsmen Hall of Fame in the Spring of 2007!
His column is seen in the Niagara Gazette on Fridays. The Niagara Gazette is the area's leading outdoors sports information newspaper.
Boaters working the Devils Hole and Artpark drifts have seen good steelhead action, with incidental lake trout catches and the occasional brown trout catch. Keep in mind that lake trout season is closed until January 1st, so all caught lake trout must be quickly released. Drifting with a 3-way bottom bouncing rig with egg sac, live shiner or Kwikfish lure is a good bet. Shore anglers see similar catches at Whirlpool, Devils Hole and Artpark State Parks. Egg sacs, egg pattern flies and shiners fished under a float, or casting medium-sized spoons and Vibrax spinners are good bets for trout from shore
Tuesday's light showers had no real impact on the streams in Niagara and Orleans Counties, but the rain forecasted for Thursday and Friday should raise stream levels. Eighteenmile and Oak Orchard Creeks still lead the way in terms of conditions, catches and angling pressure. Both creeks have lower flows with just the slightest tinge of color. Brown trout action has been very good in both, with increasing numbers of steelhead mixed in. It seems like the king salmon are just starting to thin, although there are still plenty around. Waders see a mix of actively spawning kings, zombies and even some fresh kings. Conditions remain very low and clear on Johnson, Sandy and Marsh Creeks. King salmon numbers are starting to dwindle on those creeks, but more brown trout are starting to show up. If the rainy forecast holds true, look for more brown trout and steelhead to move in and spread out. Depending on the amount of rain, we may also see some fish move into other Niagara County streams that have been practically void of water.
Egg sacs, salmon skein, egg pattern flies and streamers work well for migrating salmon. Egg sacs, single eggs, trout beads and egg pattern flies are tops for brown trout and steelhead. Trout catches can be especially good just below pairs of actively spawning salmon
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