The majority of the lake is still covered with ice that is not safe for ice fishing. There are some open-water areas along the shore and some of the canals are ice free. Look for bullhead near creek mouths. No reports of crappie concentrations yet. Once the ice clears, there should be good walleye fishing opportunity for boaters until the season closes on March 15.
UPPER NIAGARA RIVER
Upper river has nice color and clarity. At this time of year, anglers typically catch the occasional rainbow trout at Broderick Park and along Bird Island Pier. Target trout by casting spoons and spinners or drifting egg sacs or minnows.
Recent steelhead action has been good in the upper drifts for boaters and shore anglers. Controlled drifting with a three-way rig and egg sacs, shiners or flatfish lures works well for boaters. Three-way rigs with shiners have produced decent walleye catches in the mid-river.
LAKE ERIE AND TRIBS
Cattaraugus Creek was still a little high, but all other streams were in great fishing shape on Thursday. Anglers are catching plenty of steelhead on all streams. Things seem to be progressing rather quickly, with some steelhead actively spawning and suckers moving into the streams. Flow rates have bumped up a little from the overnight snowstorm. Anglers report good success on egg sacs, trout beads and jigs tipped with a grub fished under a float.
Steelhead action was very good for the many anglers at the Dunkirk Harbor pier last weekend. The bite has tapered off a bit, but there are still decent numbers of steelhead around. Barcelona Harbor anglers are catching some trout as well. Egg sacs, minnows, jigs and spoons have all been productive.
LOWER NIAGARA RIVER
Lower river action has been good to very good for boaters bouncing bottom with three-way rigs. When the wind is out of the south or southwest, go with MagLips and Kwikfish lures in silver and green or chartreuse. Silver and pink will also work. When the wind isn’t there to help you, switch over to minnows or egg sacs. Use the same three-way setup if you are fishing from a boat. If you are fishing from shore, tossing jigs or fishing a jig under a float and tipped with a small worm is very effective. If the water is clear, you may have to get your bet out a bit deeper. Anglers are having some success using a slip bobber to get his offering as deep as 14 feet with his jig under a float. You can also cast spinners or spoons to get your bait out and into the fish zone. Steelhead, brown trout, lake trout and walleye are all available in the system. If you venture into Canadian waters, make sure you have a current license. The new license year started on Jan. 1. Always make sure you know your seasons. Walleye season closed Feb. 28 on the Canadian side of the river but closes March 15 in New York.
Tributary action has been good for the most part. Four Mile Creek, 12 Mile Creek, 18 Mile Creek and Keg Creek all had fish in them the past week. Mostly it’s been trout but there have been some pike around, too. Pike season closes on March 15as well. In the streams, trying using a jig under a float and tipped with a worm. Egg sacs will also work.