While there has been some ice fishing activity in Mayville and Burtis bays, local officials are still advising caution with many areas only having 2-3 inches of good ice with snow and slush on top.
LAKE ERIE AND TRIBS
Lake Erie tributaries are still fishing well, but only when conditions permit. This season temperatures have kept anglers guessing many times. With Lake Erie water temps in the mid-30s, fish have been moving up and down in the lake which has slowed down trib and stream fishing this week. With warmer temps forecasted next week things should stabilize at least for the time being. Eighteenmile, Canadaway and Chautauqua creeks still have some ice in and are open in swifter areas. Buffalo and Cayuga creeks are mostly open. Traditionally this time of year fly fishermen 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 anglers.
LAKE ONTARIO AND TRIBS
As far as the Lake Ontario tributaries, fishing has been a little tough with only a few steelhead and brown trout being caught. Flows are medium or a bit better with 2-3 feet of visibility. Look for the coldest temperatures of the year on Friday, making things difficult this weekend. It could ice up the smaller streams.
This weekend is the first Free Fishing Days weekend of the year. If you are 16 years of age or older, you don’t need a fishing license today, but you do need to abide by the fishing regulations on the body of water you intend to fish.
Action in the lower Niagara River was on fire this week as conditions were near perfect, if you were fishing from a boat. Capt. Chris Cinelli of Grand Island reported excellent water as he guided Gary Laidman of South Wales and Bob McNamara of Allegany to hefty catches of steelhead using a mix of Kwikfish and pink egg sacs fished off three-way rigs. A few brown trout and lake trout are also hanging around, as well as some walleye. Downriver, the brown trout and lake trout were hitting a bit more and MagLips were added to the list of preferred lures. Minnows were also used to hit both trout and walleye. A fair number of bonus king salmon were being caught as anglers drifted off the mouth of the river near the green buoy marker. Shore anglers didn’t fare as well of late. Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls did report a 3-for-3 day on steelhead in the gorge by tossing a favorite No. 4 spinner. Fishing from shore is tough without boots. Be careful walking the gorge along the shoreline. Ice grippers are important. The NRAA Roger Tobey Memorial Steelhead Contest is set for Feb. 22 in the lower Niagara River and Lake Ontario tributaries. Sign up at Creek Road Bait and Tackle in Lewiston or the Lewiston Launch Ramp the morning of the event. It runs from sunrise to 2 p.m.