Fishing Report

Jack Mings shows off his 27-pound brown trout. Submitted photo


Chautauqua Lake is offering no safe ice, with the ice in the annual process of being broken up. While much of the lake is still ice covered there is NO safe ice. Shore anglers are starting to pick up perch and small crappie in open channels in the southern basin.


There is a region-wide blowout in progress on the Lake Erie tributaries. With minimal precipitation forecasted for the weekend, some of the smaller tributaries may be fishable by today. Prior to this high-water event, anglers were catching decent numbers of steelhead. There is a mix of spawning and drop-back steelhead, with some suckers, too. A push of fresh fish is possible as stream levels drop. It is recommended that anglers avoid actively spawning fish on creeks that support natural reproduction, such as Chautauqua Creek, Cattaraugus Creek and its tributaries.

Dunkirk and Barcelona Harbors are opening back up and are good options for steelhead. Just a week ago, anglers were catching lots of steelhead through the ice at Dunkirk Harbor. When fishing the open water, casting spoons and spinners is a good bet. Buffalo Harbor is still ice covered (not safe for ice fishing). Perch fishing in the harbor generally picks up after ice out


Trout fishing on the lower river had generally been tough due to very clear water. However, boaters who put in the work were still catching some nice sized steelhead on egg sacs and minnows. Runoff is adding some much needed color to the river and some shore anglers caught decent numbers of trout today. The New York Power Authority fishing platform is scheduled to open today.


The first part of April is generally a good time for big brown trout in Niagara. Last year it was Bob Klemm’s 31-pounder that shook things up from the lower Niagara River. Using egg sacs first thing in the morning is a good way to start the day. Traditionally, after the sun comes up, it’s all about the meat, minnows and shiners.


We finally saw some warmer temperatures this week as the thermometer hit the 50-degree mark for the first time in March. We also received some rain which should draw in some more trout into the tributaries. In the lower Niagara River, conditions have been clear and you have to work for trout. Minnows and egg sacs were working for local guides drifting the river this week.

Fourmile Creek is about the only creek that isn’t seeing much flow yet. The north winds the past two weeks have silted the mouth in and flow (and fish movement) has been restricted. The piers at Olcott and Wilson are starting to turn on for hardware casters of spoons and spinners. Stickbaits, too, as well as live bait and egg sacs. A bunch of perch have been hanging around, too.