Difficulties for ice fishermen continue on Chautauqua Lake. While there is some ice on the lake, local officials are still saying there is not safe ice to fish on Chautauqua.
LAKE ERIE AND TRIBS
Most creeks and streams are back on the rise again this week, but with this weekend forecast of more rain and snow they should be running fast and darker. With that being said, between high water, anglers are still reporting decent steelhead fishing, with some fresh fish showing in the creeks. Remember, during fishing winter conditions, it is best to keep drifted offerings slow and low for steelhead that are more lethargic and hugging the bottom. Fly anglers typically target winter steelhead by drifting egg patterns, trout beads, nymphs and woolly buggers. Egg sacs, trout beads and jigs are common offerings by spinning or center pin drifters.
LAKE ONTARIO AND TRIBS
In the tributaries of Lake Ontario, the conditions right now offer medium flows and about two feet of visibility. There are reports of steelhead hook ups, a few each outing by good drifters or swingers. Some hens are already showing loose eggs. Smaller tributaries are challenging with the cold weather. Things are slushing and icing up. The next forecasted warmup will only give us more of the same with conditions and fish. Roy Letcher of Newfane reports that 18 Mile Creek is running good right now with a fair number of trout. Everything else is mainly frozen. Scott Feltrinelli with Ontario Fly Outfitters reports that many of the smaller streams are frozen up right now. We have some warmer weather coming the end of the week and that could open some areas. Later in the day might be better.
After another round of windstorms, it looks like things are going to take off again in the river in a good way. There were plenty of fish around the last time the water was decent, especially in the lower Niagara River — steelhead and walleye with an occasional lake trout and brown trout. Egg sacs in pink or chartreuse, Kwikfish or MagLips for plugs, minnows for live bait — all fished off three-way rigs. Shore casters should be starting to pick up steelies with spinners, jigs, flies and sacs. The water along the shoreline should offer anglers clearer opportunities a bit quicker. With favorable weather Thursday and Friday, that will be your best bet until the weekend. Next week looks pretty good, too. Upper river options should also include some trout including lake trout, and walleyes. The Niagara River Anglers Association will be holding its Roger Tobey Memorial Steelhead Contest on Saturday, Feb. 22. This date has been moved from its traditional time slot, set for the lower Niagara River and Lake Ontario tributaries starting at sunrise. Cost is $20 for the contest plus an optional $5 for the best brown trout. In addition, you must be a member of the NRAA. Membership cost is $20, a $5 savings from the normal membership cost.