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Lake Ontario and tributaries: The only option in Niagara USA right now is 18 Mile Creek and Burt Dam in the Town of Newfane. Both salmon and trout are available in the creek, with Coho salmon replacing King salmon in the fresh run department. Egg sacs or egg imitations are the preference for catch Cohos. Numbers have been fair. Flow in the creek is less than last week but the water clarity is a bit more stained. Today is a lake effect advisory storm that should hit Western New York for the next couple of days. Expect up to a half-foot of snow. Combined with this are frigid temperatures into the single digits and wind chills below zero. By Saturday, there is some possible rain in the forecast and temperatures in the upper 30s, so that might be your best bet for wetting a line next. If you want to target trout, your best option is with a small jig tipped with a wax worm or spike and fished under a float. Don't be surprised if you catch some decent perch using that set-up - from the harbor to the dam.
Lower Niagara River: Action from last week continued into this week for trout fishing. The big news is the influx of steelhead into the river system - some fish reaching the 10 pound mark. There have also been a few brown trout caught. Best drifting bait has been the MagLip in a 3.0 size, fished off three-way rigs. Many of the captains are now running these and really like the action that it provides. So do the fish apparently. Silver-green and silver-pink are good colors to start with, but it will probably be based on water clarity. Don't be afraid to change things up. Shore anglers are working the banks off Artpark for a mix of trout including steelhead, brown trout and lake trout. Remember that lake trout season opens officially on January 1, 2017. Best baits have been BC Wobbler spoons in chartreuse or orange; in-line spinners in chartreuse or yellow.
Upper Niagara River: Not too many people have been out fishing. In the Capt. Bob's contest that ends on Dec. 17, the largest rudd has come from the upper river, taken on a crappie tube and fished under a float. With the strong winds in the forecast the next couple of days, there's a good chance it could muddy the river water up and slow things up for a bit. If you are looking for a few ideas for some last minute Christmas gifts, consider a fishing charter from area captains; a weekend pass to the Greater Niagara Fishing and Outdoor Expo Jan. 20-22, 2017 at the Conference and Event Center Niagara Falls; a derby pass for the Lake Ontario Counties events in 2017; or a membership in a local fishing club like the Niagara River Anglers Assn., the Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Assn., or the Niagara Musky Assn. Stay warm out there!