LAKE ERIE AND TRIBS
The late-week rain will benefit the some Lake Erie tributaries that are presently lower and clear. Anglers report lighter numbers of steelhead scattered in the streams. Better catches have been had by anglers covering a lot of water. Suckers are now quite numerous in the streams and the first of the smallmouth bass are showing in the lowest sections near creek mouths.
Dunkirk Harbor is open and is a typical casting spot for rainbow trout after ice out. The city pier is currently closed to vehicle traffic, but anglers have been walking out onto the pier to fish. Some trout often show in Barcelona Harbor in spring as well.
The crappie bite is running strong on Chautauqua, with schools moving around a bit. A spot may produce one day and then go cold the next. Search around to find active schools in the canals and open lake. Traditional open lake crappie spots include Ashville Bay, Burtis Bay, Cheney Point, Lakewood Bar, Rock Island, Grass Island, Bemus Bay, Whitney Bay, Dewittville Bay and the flats off Mayville. Small jigs tipped with a small minnow, one inch tube or other small plastic and fished under a pencil float, works well for crappie. Canal anglers are also catching lots of smaller yellow perch and a few bullhead. Look for bullhead along the lake shorelines as well, especially during low light periods.
LOWER NIAGARA RIVER
Some ice chunks have been coming down through the river system, serving as obstacles in the upper and lower river sections. Lower river trout action has been a bit more difficult due to winds and clear conditions, although not as clear as previously, according to Lisa Drabczyk of Creek Road Bait and Tackle. Minnows have been producing steelhead and browns in the river, as well as egg sacs. Cast spinners or jigs from shore. No reports on smelt yet. The Lewiston Smelt Festival will be May 3 in Academy Park in Lewiston this year. The ice boom is still in place since there was still more than 400 square miles of ice in the lake as of Monday. It needs to be 250 square miles or less.
LAKE ONTARIO AND TRIBS
The lake fishing out of Wilson and Olcott is really starting to turn on. Brown trout have been hitting closer to the shoreline on stickbaits and spoons. Capt. Vince Pierleoni of Newfane was focused efforts in 10 to 14 feet of water around Olcott with Bay Rats and Live Targets off the planer boards. On the riggers it was Dreamweaver SS spoons producing some nice browns, but a mix of other species, including an Atlantic, were also caught. Lake trout are out a bit deeper. A few king salmon are starting to show up in the lake. Chris Kempf of Cheektowaga hit a nice one last Saturday, a fish he reeled in while fishing with Capt. Joe Gallo of Amherst. They were fishing a flasher-fly 70 feet down over 125 feet of water when the bruiser hit while fishing out of Wilson. He also caught lake trout in 100 to 130 feet of water on spoons and flasher-fly. In the tributaries, the action has been consistent for steelhead and brown trout.