Bill Hilts Weekly around our outdoors

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Bill Hilts Jr. is a past president of the 
New York State Outdoor Writers Association.
In addition to the above, Hilts is an avid outdoorsman, 
an outdoor writer who has contributed articles to numerous 
national and local magazines, newspapers, and other publications. 
Hilts is also responsible for Niagara County Tourism Sportfishing Programs.
He freelances from his home in Sanborn N.Y.  
Hilts was inducted in the New York State 
Outdoorsmen Hall of Fame in the Spring of 2007! 

Email Bill at; Bill Hilts Jr.     
  This column as it appears here is seen in the Niagara Gazette on Fridays.
The Niagara Gazette is the area's leading outdoors sports information newspaper

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Bill Hilts Fish Weekly Fish Report
Bill Hilts Jr.



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On this page is the complete, uncut, unabridged, unedited version of the weekend fishing forecast

 Note: Hilts SUNDAY Outdoor Column appears on this website HERE  

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Niagara USA Fishing Forecast for Dec. 1, 2016
[See Report Below This]

Lake Ontario and tributaries – Nearly an inch of rain fell on Nov. 30 and into Dec. 1, helping along some of the tributaries. The best spot to be is still 18 Mile Creek and Burt Dam for trout and, believe it or not, there was a fresh run of salmon that arrived this week. Browns, steelhead and salmon are still available, but water was low and clear for the most part before the rain. Downsize your baits to single eggs, small sacs or smaller streamers and wooly buggers in more natural colors if the water is still clear. However, with the recent rains, it could stain the water up a bit and it will give you some more options.

Lower Niagara River - More steelhead are starting to show up every day! Devil’s Hole is the best spot for your best chance at a steelie, but Artpark is producing a few, too. Eggs or egg imitations in yellow, pink or chartreuse are all good colors to try. Kwikfish and MagLip wobbling baits will also catch you trout. Remember that lake trout season is closed in New York until the end of the year, but if you venture over into Canadian waters, laker season opened on Dec. 1. The lower river is the only body of water (along with Lake Ontario) that still has musky season open. That season is open until Dec. 15. This Sunday, Dec. 4, is the John Henning Memorial Musky Tournament from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information contact Adam at (623) 205-9939. Kyle Kraft of Akron, Ohio caught a 44 inch musky earlier in the week on a MagLip while trout fishing. He also caught some nice bass over 5 pounds in the river using tubes and minnows. The minnows were fished off three-way rigs. Shore fishermen continue to do well on trout and if the winds stain the water up at all, it should help the shore guys out. Spoons, spinners, egg sacs or egg imitations such as beads - both hard and soft – are working well. In fact, both shore and boat guys are using beads to catch trout. You can keep posted on things that are happening in the Niagara USA area by signing up on Facebook for Niagara USA Fishing and Outdoors.

Upper Niagara River – With the closing of the musky season, anglers still have the option to catch other species like the catch-and-release bass season, walleye or trout that might be starting to find their way into the upper river. Make sure you mark your calendar for the 4th Annual Greater Niagara Fishing and Outdoor Report set for Jan. 20-22, 2017 at the Conference and Event Center Niagara Falls. A huge ice fishing section is included in a packed house of vendors and education. Check out www.niagarafishingexpo.com  More information is going on the site every day. We will keep you posted!


Up to date fishing report for your weekend fishing;

Weekly Fishing Report and Weather Forecast [at top]
Niagara Fishing Forecast


I Love NY Fishing!


Muskellunge and bass seasons both closed on Nov.30, generally speaking, in New York. However, there are a few caveats to consider with both of those species.

For musky, the Lower Niagara River and Lake Ontario offer an open season through Dec. 15 – perfectly timed by the Niagara Musky Association to hold the annual John Henning Memorial Musky Tournament on Dec. 4 from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Give Adam a call at (623) 205-9939 for details.

For bass anglers, Dec. 1 starts up a catch-and-release season that requires the use of artificial lures – until the Lake Erie special trophy bass season the first Saturday in May (May 6, 2017) or the first Friday before the regular-season opener on June 17, 2017 in the rest of the state.

If you have any questions on either, visit the state’s fishing regulations section at www.dec.ny.gov  or pick up a hard copy at any state license issuing agent.

Niagara River

What the week’s winds whipping up on Lake Erie will do to water clarity is a coin flip right now. Water conditions below Niagara Falls were clear for the most part in the beginning of the week, making it a bit more difficult for shore-bound anglers along the main stretch of Artpark in Lewiston. However, making the trek up to the bridge did make a difference for some. Jeremy Kane of Kenmore did well using a chrome and orange Acme Little Cleo spoon. Other local favorites include the BC Wobbler and Little Gem spoons that Ricardo Davilo of Wheatfield has been using. Sizes are two-fifths ounce and half-ounce. Boaters were doing better. Capt. Ted Kessler of Grand Island was doing well using yellow or chartreuse trout beads in an 8 mm size off of three-way rigs. Kwikfish and MagLips will also work with the same set-up. Steelhead are starting to show up in greater numbers and one spot working well is Devil’s Hole on small pink and yellow spawn sacs according to Kessler. Capt. Frank Campbell of Niagara Falls took advantage of the diversity of the lower river fishery with Kyle Kraft of Akron, Ohio. One day they caught trout in the river and then hit the Niagara Bar to see what was swimming out there. Kraft caught a 44-inch musky while drifting a MagLip lure on a three-way rig. They next day they used tubes and minnows to take some nice smallmouth bass, including three over 5 pounds. In the Upper Niagara River, Ryan Welch of Hamburg was fly fishing with Ryan Shea of Brookdog Fishing this week. He was rewarded with his first muskellunge on a black and red streamer fly – stretching the tape 42 inches long. What a way to close out the season. Its memories like these that last a lifetime!

Jeremy Kane of Lockport was fishing the shoreline along Artpark over the weekend to take this nice lake trout on an Acme Little Cleo spoon in chrome and orange. Jeremy Kane of Lockport was fishing the shoreline along Artpark over the weekend to take this nice lake trout on an Acme Little Cleo spoon in chrome and orange.

Lake Ontario and tributaries

A fresh run of salmon showed up in 18 Mile Creek this week according to Wes Walker at The Slippery Sinker in Olcott. They were mixed in with browns and steelheads. There are plenty of trout around, but fish have been wary with the clear waters. Downsize your baits, hooks and line if you want to increase your chances for hooking up. Perch can be found in Wilson and Olcott harbors, but you will have to weed through the smaller ones. Some browns and perch are being reported from the piers at Wilson. Two Orleans County fish took over the lead in the trout divisions of the Captain Bob’s Fishing Derby going on right now. In the Steelhead Division, Charlie Stahl of Williamsville took the early lead with a 27-3/4-inch steelie taken from the Oak Orchard River on a jig. Johnson Creek produced the leading brown trout, a 26- inch fish, that hit a spike on a No. 14 hook in low, clear conditions - reeled in by Bob Rustowicz of Cheektowaga. Mike Waterhouse of Albion is reporting moderate flows in the Oak that should be getting some additional water flow from the canal as it is being de-watered for the season. Brown and steelhead action is good.

Gavin Beck, an 11 year old from West Seneca, was fishing with Capt. Ted Kessler of Grand Island to take this nice lake trout while drifting a small chartreuse spawn sac. Gavin Beck, 11, from West Seneca, was fishing with Capt. Ted Kessler of Grand Island to take this nice lake trout while drifting a small chartreuse spawn sac.

Lake Erie and tributaries

Nicholas Sagnibene of Ellicottville, guiding out of Adventure Bound on the Fly of Ellicottville, reports that most small- to medium-sized tributaries off Lake Erie were fishable on Tuesday. There should be a fresh run of steelhead in all with recent high waters. Cattaraugus Creek is high and muddy right now. As soon as water levels start to recede, it should pick back up again in the Catt. Sagnibene also commented on some of the inland trout streams that are still open. Those open waters are producing a good number of big browns in spawning colors. With a decent amount of water in those streams, fish are cooperating nicely. Nick cautions when walking the streams to stay out of the redds (spawning areas).

Chautauqua Lake

With the closing of the musky season, anglers will be focusing on walleye and panfish. Focus your attention around Ashville, Bemus and Burtis bays with a quarter-ounce black hair jig tipped off with a worm according to local guide Craig Robbins. Keep the bait on the bottom and moving with a jigging motion. A good spot for perch and bluegills has been in front of the launch at Bemus Bay in 8 to 12 feet of water with a crawler.

email: billhiltsjr@gmail.com

An outdoor show on LCTV (Time Warner Cable Channel 22; Phone number is 716-434-1733; www.lctv.net  is on Wednesdays at 4 pm called “The Outdoor Beat”, bringing aboard local experts on area outdoor activities. It will be live for call-in and also air several other times on Thursday and the weekend. Check it out!

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Dropshotting for bass: [Lake Erie] Capt. Jim Hanley sends word that just prior to the Labor Day weekend and the nasty weather he had experienced some of his best fishing of the year around Sturgeon Point, Myers Reef and Seneca Shoal. You could catch all the 14-15-inch smallmouth bass you wanted in 25 feet of water or you could slide out a bit deeper – out to 45 feet – to catch some bigger fish up to 5 pounds, six ounce for him. He had back to back days of 120 bass coming to the boat. Top bait was crayfish and Gulp green worms fished on a drop shot rig. « Go to Link

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For LOC photos & stories from the Niagara River/Lake Ontario/Youngstown area go to: LOC Derby on Outdoors Niagara  Stories & Photos exclusively on Outdoors Niagara!

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FRIDAY FEBRUARY 13 2009 - We must preface this report with some sad news. One of the local giants in the sportfishing industry passed away this week. Capt. Doug Stein of Grand Island, a charter captain and guide for many years, died after a valiant bout with cancer. Doug was the president of the Niagara River Anglers Assn. for nearly a decade, with one of his big initiatives being the first pen rearing project for salmon in the county. He was one of those guys willing to go out on a limb to support what he believed in and always willing to help when work needed to be accomplished to help the sportfishery along. He was a big man with an even bigger heart and I’m proud to say that he was a friend of mine. We fished, hunted and shot together and he will be sorely missed by many. Bill Hilts Jr.

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