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A great way to get a gauge on the local fishery is to follow the results of area fishing contests. For example, the Niagara River Anglers Association held its annual Roger Tobey Memorial Steelhead Contest on the lower river and in Lake Ontario tributaries last Saturday (Feb. 4) during some pretty adverse weather conditions. Despite cold temperatures, stained water and gusty winds, some fish were caught during the friendly competition. At the top of the list at the end of the day was Ed Waller of Lewiston who hauled in a 9.62 pound steelhead from Devil's Hole while fishing with Capt. Chris Cinelli of Grand Island. He was drifting an emerald shiner on a three-way rig, with a chartreuse bead above it. Second place was an 8.08 pound steelhead reeled in by Norm Deitrich of Haverford, Pennsylvania, caught on a minnow. He was using Waller's boat along Artpark at 1:50 p.m. when the fish hit. Third place was Fran Szovati of Cold Springs, Kentucky with a 7.88 pound steelhead. He caught it on an emerald shiner-trout bead combination, fishing with Capt. Ted Kessler of Grand Island - also in Devil's Hole. Down on 18 Mile Creek near Burt Dam, a few brown trout were caught. Bob Rustowicz of Cheektowaga hauled in a couple nice trout, including a fish that was around 9 pounds. However, he thought that it would never place in the money so he released it. The only fish he brought to the scales was a 5.82 pound brown trout for a special brown division. He missed by .02 pound to place in the money. Winning brown was a 5.84 pound trout reeled in by Capt. Tyler Morrison of Barker. He was using a jig tipped with a wax worm and fished under a float. In the Niagara River, water is still stained but it was starting to clear up yesterday. Capt. Joe Marra of Lewiston caught 8 steelhead yesterday, all on egg sacs upriver. However, as the day progressed, it was getting muddier and Capt. Matt Yablonsky of Youngstown could only muster walleye for customers as visibility dropped to less than a foot. It doesn't look good for the weekend.
In 18 Mile Creek, Wes Walker at The Slippery Sinker in Olcott reports stained water with a flow of about 150 cfs. The creek is open and you have the option of being able to catch a trout but you do have to work for them. The smaller creeks are low and clear.
If you've ever thought about giving ice fishing a try, next weekend might be the perfect time ... if you can find some ice. It's a free ice fishing weekend Feb. 18-19 for anyone who wants to sample some hard water fishing around the state. You can find other spots by doing a little online exploring. Make sure you have at least 4 inches of ice. Wilson harbor could be back up to snuff in the back bay, but make sure you check things out first. Meyers Lake near Bond Lake might be an option, too. Give it a go!
On Saturday, Feb. 25, there will be the annual rack scoring day with official scorers Dave Muir and Don Haseley at Niagara Outdoors in North Tonawanda. They will be scoring from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Whether it's a rack you shot last fall, one you found or just an old rack that's been laying around the garage and you always wanted to know what it scored, stop down and share your story.
If you are looking for a fishing boat, check out the WNY Boat Show February 22 to 26 at the Adpro Sports Fieldhouse located at 1 Bills Drive in Orchard Park. Talk with a wide variety of marinas and boating-related vendors.