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Lake Ontario and tributaries: Some more fresh king salmon arrived on the scene this week in 18 Mile Creek and Burt Dam, thanks to a little more water flow from the dewatering of the Erie Canal. With the salmon, brown trout and steelhead are both in the mix, giving anglers several options to choose from. For the salmon, eggs or egg imitations top the list, but with the low, clear water conditions, be sure to downsize your baits. Single eggs, smaller hooks and you may need to go with lighter line ... but that will mean you will probably lose some fish, too. Some jigs fished under floats and tipped with waxies is starting to work. Egg pattern flies, nymphs, wooly buggers and the like will work for the trout. With the water clear, more natural colors seem to work better. Getting out on the piers hasn't been easy with northerly winds posing a problem. When you can cast a lure, use spoons or spinners to entice fish to hit. Perch have been in the harbors, especially in Olcott all the way up to the dam.
Lower Niagara River: Steelhead are finally hitting with more regularity after the waters cleared up after last week of wind and rain up on Lake Erie. Devil's Hole and Artpark are both producing some nice chromers up to about 10 pounds. Small chartreuse or pink yarn flies or minnows - both fished off three-way rigs - is the way to go for steelhead. When the winds are right out of the south or southwest, throw on a Kwikfish or MagLip lure - again off a three-way set-up. No matter what you are using - from boat or shore - you will probably catch a lake trout or three. While the season is open on the Canadian side of the river, it is closed in New York until January 1. Handle those fish with care and release them back into the water. Where else in the world can you catch lake trout of this quality from shore in a river system? It's time to request an exemption for lake trout fishing in the lower river - allowing for catch and release with artificial baits only. Some big bass are also in the river right now and best enticements have been swim baits and jigging spoons. Bass is catch and release only right now and you must use artificial lures. For musky fishermen, remember that the season will close on Dec. 15. In the Niagara Musky Association's John Henning Memorial Lower River Tournament held Dec. 4, Andrew Lacko of Kenmore won the contest with a 38-inch muskie casting a rubber creature bait in some turbid conditions. The NYPA fishing platform will close down on Dec. 8. This also includes the Upper Mountain Road access for the reservoir.
Upper Niagara River: Bass, walleye and trout should all be available for anglers. Knowing where to go is the trick. Bass are on their fall feed; trout are staging off creek and river mouths and can be found in creeks off the upper river; and walleye have been reported around Broderick Park, Thompson's Hole and at the Huntley Power Station. The only waterfowl hunting going on right now is the goose season and that will remain open until Dec. 17. The late season opens on Dec. 31. Keep that in mind when fishing the river.