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.
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Bill Hilts Jr.



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

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Bill Hilts Jr. Fishing Beat 3/31/17

PICTURE CAPTAIN: Rich (left) and Bob Klemm holding up the 31 pound brown trout caught Monday while fishing with Capt. Frank Campbell of Niagara Falls. It was caught on a spottail shiner. 033017

Local fishing is really starting to ramp up with the opening of the inland trout and salmon season on April 1. Increased opportunities become available throughout the state, spreading out the anglers and giving everyone a spot to cast. Even some inner city-type situations will exist early in the season such as Hyde Park Lake, Gill Creek and Oppenheim Park Pond in Niagara Falls. Be sure to mark April 5 on your calendar. Oppenheim Park Pond, along Niagara Falls Boulevard. in Wheatfield, will receive 100 browns and 200 rainbows around 10 a.m. Hyde Park Lake in Niagara Falls will receive 200 2-year-old browns and 1,650 yearlings at 11 a.m. In addition, Gill Creek will be the recipient of 540 browns from Buffalo Avenue upstream to the dam at the lake.

In Erie County, April 4 will see 2,800 yearling rainbows stocked in Cayuga Creek in Lancaster. On April 6, Sprague Brook Park Ponds A and B, Veterans Pond and Foote Road Pond will receive over 700 browns and rainbows. On April 7, Main Park Pond will get a dumping of 300 ‘bows and Ellicott Creek in Amherst will receive 1,250 rainbows. Pre-April 1 stockings:

Goose Creek in Chautauqua County (Harmony and N. Harmony – 870 yearling browns, 300 2-year old browns and 1,050 yearling brook trout. Erie County stocking locations will be Cattaraugus Creek in Saardina (3,140 yearling browns and 600 two year old browns); East Branch Cazenovia Creek at Aurora (2,560 yearling browns and 300 2-year-old browns); Little Buffalo Creek at Lancaster and Elma (1,070 yearling browns and 200 two year old browns); Eighteenmile Creek in Boston (620 yearling browns).

In Wyoming County, stocking sites are Buffalo Creek in Java (1,070 yearling browns, 200 2-year-old browns and 400 brook trout); Cattaraugus Creek in Java (1,980 yearling browns and 600 2-year-old browns); Little Tonawanda Creek at Middlebury (580 yearling browns); Tonawanda Creek at Orangeville (990 yearling browns and 200 2-year-old browns); East Koy Creek at Gainesville (3,300 yearling browns and 650 2-year-old browns). Allegany County stockings: Allen Lake at Allen (2,800 yearling browns and 500 2-year-old browns); Dodge Creek at Clarksville (2,550 brook trout; 200 2-year-old browns); Little Genesee Creek at Bolivar (200 2-year-old browns and 2,200 yearling brook trout); Genesee River at Wellsville (2,060 yearling browns, 750 2-year-old browns and 2,850 yearling rainbows) and at Amity (5,240 yearling browns and 750 2-year-old browns)

For Cattaraugus County, Great Valley Creek and Forks Creek in Great Valley (2,230 and 1,320 yearling browns); Wrights Creek in Humphrey (700 yearling browns); Cattauraugus Creek, South Branch in East Otto (990 yearling browns); Mansfield Creek in Mansfield (410 yearling browns and 100 2-year-old browns); Great Valley and Beaver Meadow creeks in Ellicottville split 700 yearling browns; Connoisarauley Creek in Ashford (400 yearling brook trout); Bay State Brook in Red House (450 yearling browns; Quaker Run in Cold Spring (1,470 yearling browns); Red House Brook and Science Lake in Red House (990 and 220 respectively, yearling browns); Bone Run, Guernsey Run and the North Branch of Sawmill Run in South Valley (250, 170 and 120 yearling browns); Little Conewango Creek in Conewango (1,440 yearling browns and 200 2-year-old browns); Paisley Park Pond in Randolph (50 yearling brook trout). The stocking hotline number for the Randolph hatchery is 358-4950 for updates.

Lake Erie and tributaries

With an increased amount of rain in certain sections of the region, you’ll need to keep an eye on the weather forecast and do your best to avoid the wet stuff in some streams. If a stream is low and clear, look to see where the rain will help matters along. Danny Colville with Colville Outfitters in Hamburg hooked five steelhead on Eighteen Mile Tuesday morning. However, bass and suckers are starting to show up. Canadaway is doing much better and Cayuga and Buffalo creeks are fishing decent with some fresh runners in the system.

Lake Ontario and tributaries

Eighteen Mile Creek was flowing at 530 cfs coming out of the weekend and it was down to 310 cfs at mid-day Tuesday. It could be fishable by the weekend. Water was stained from Burt Dam to the piers. The east pier was totally ice-free and the west pier was almost there. Cast spoons or spinners. You can also fish worms, minnows or egg sacs under a float. The same will work over in Wilson. Best bet in the streams will be the smaller ones like Keg, Hopkins or 12 Mile. To the east, Johnson Creek was starting to clear up and so was the Oak. Bullhead are starting to hit in Wilson, just in time for the Wilson Conservation Club Bullhead Tournament April 7-9. Call Eric at 628-6078 for details.

Niagara River

Everyone is still talking about the lunker 31-pound brown trout reeled in by Bob Klemm of Pennsylvania Monday morning along Fort Niagara! He was fishing with his brother Rich from New Jersey and Capt. Frank Campbell of Niagara Region Charters. The water was slightly off-color and fishing was a little tough, but boats were reporting a mixed bag of steelhead, browns, lake trout, bass and walleye. Klemm was using a spottail shiner, but egg sacs have also been working very well, especially pink. Shoreline casters up in the gorge have been struggling a bit the past three or four days, but it should improve as waters clear. The New York Power Authority fishing platform, gorge stairs and upper reservoir all open April 1.

Chautauqua Lake

Crappie action has started in the canals according to Mike Sperry at Chautauqua Reel Outdoors. Best times are early morning and after dark. Emerald shiners, tube jigs and small marabou jigs fished under a float. Good numbers of perch, too.


Destination Niagara USA Fishing Forecast for March 30, 2017

The big news this week was the 31 pound brown trout caught by Bob Klemm of Pennsylvania fishing with Capt. Frank Campbell of Niagara Region Charters. That’s all we are going to tell you this week because it will be a feature in the Buffalo News next week on Thursday, April 6. You have to hear the whole story on this one. Lower Niagara River trout action has been decent from both boat and shore. Some days you have to work a little more than others. Best drifts have been Devil’s Hole and Artpark for rainbows and lake trout, but you should be able to find trout throughout the river system. Egg sacs have been working best on the steelhead; minnows for the lake trout. Boat drifters are using 3-way rigs to bounce the bottom. For browns, target down river closer to the lake with minnows or shiners. From shore, casters are still using spoons, spinners and egg sacs in the gorge from Artpark to the Whirlpool. The New York Power Authority Fishing Platform in the Niagara Gorge, as well as the stairs leading down to the shoreline along the NYPA access road near Niagara University, will be open for business on April 1. Also on April 1, the NYPA reservoir is also open for fishing. The NRAA John Long, Sr. Memorial Raffle and Feast is April 1 from 2 to 6 p.m. at the Niagara Active Hose on Lockport Rd. in Niagara Falls. Great eats!

The weather forecasters are calling for some rain this Friday so that could put a damper on the stream action off Lake Ontario. Burt Dam and 18 Mile Creek is stained, but there is good flow. Silver steelies are being caught but you do have to work for them. Jigs tipped with wax worms or grubs will work as will small floating stickbaits two to three inches long in rainbow color patterns. There is no ice on the piers any more so catching hardware like spoons and spinners is the way to go. Minnows and worms will also work. Smaller creeks like Keg, Hopkins and both branches of 12 Mile were flowing nicely. Some bullheads are being caught in Wilson, perfect timing. The Wilson Conservation Club bullhead contest is set for April 7-9. Weigh in is held out of the Wilson Conservation Club, 2934 Wilson Cambria Road (Route 425), Wilson. The tournament is based on your best two fish with the tie-breaker being the overall length of the two fish. Any Niagara County waters are eligible. Entry fee is $10 for 13 years of age and older; free for junior anglers 12 and under. The fun contest actually starts at 5 p.m. on Friday and runs until 1 p.m. on Sunday. All weigh-ins will take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Wilson club. You can register at CMC Auto Repair, 418 Lake Street, Wilson or The Slippery Sinker, 5780 W. Main Street (at Jackson), Olcott. If you have any questions, contact Eric at 628-6078.

On April 8, the LOTSA pen rearing project will start at the Town of Newfane Marina starting at 9 a.m. They will ready the pens and get them in the water to prepare to receive the fish.

The Hyde Park Lake, Gill Creek and Oppenheim Park Pond trout stockings will take place on April 5. Oppenheim Park Pond, along Niagara Falls Blvd. in Wheatfield, will receive 100 browns and 200 rainbows around 10 a.m. Hyde Park Lake in Niagara Falls will receive 200 two-year-old browns and 1,650 yearlings at 11 a.m. In addition, Gill Creek will be the recipient of 540 browns from Buffalo Avenue upstream to the dam at the lake. They will be fair fame to the public as soon as they are stocked.



An outdoor show on LCTV (Time Warner Cable Channel 22; or 22.5 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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Big Bass Contest Lower Niagara/Lake Ontario - Go Here for all the Information!

Go to the Official DEC Press release regarding the VHS Disease in fish


Niagara River Cabela's Masters Walleye Tournament story in photos HERE 

NEW! New York & Ontario Fishing Regulations HERE

NEW! Finger Lakes Fishing Website! Check it out here! Finger Lakes Fishing  Fishing reports & weather at the Fingers

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NEW! New York & Ontario Fishing Regulations HERE

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Walleye Fishing Clubs - New York Walleye and Southtowns Walleye Associations
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Go to Hilts Weekend Fish Locator
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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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