Outdoors Niagara exclusive

A Great Niagara River Fishing Story
by Mark Daul


In part 1 we told you the Lower Niagara River brags of the greatest steelhead fishing in the world. It truly is the greatest, and the only way to find out is to try it. Then you can tell us if we are right or wrong! There is a map of proven fishing areas in this section of the river and at the bottom of this page there is a link to it.

Drift fishing from boats is the most effective means of tying up with one of these silver jumpers using egg sacks or egg imitations. Certain days lures are just as effective and the banana baits such as Kwikfish or Flatfish in the variations of the silver/pink, silver/green or silver/blue combinations and K-9 and K-11 sizes taking the prizes.

The finest in World class lake trout and brown trout fishing is said to be the best in the northeast is right here. Fish these species in the same manner as steelhead.

Aluminum boats 16-20 feet are recommended with a trolling motor big enough for controlling the speed of your drift and the direction of your boat.

Shoreline fishing can be extremely effective and shore fishermen can score from the N.Y. Power Authority’s fishing dock at the foot of the power plant or fishing the rugged shoreline above or below that area.  

Most popular shoreline fishing starts above the power plant starting  at the Whirlpool State Park area and shifting down river to the Devil's Hole State Park area. There is rugged terrain to encounter on either one of these adventures so be sure you are in shape to climb rocks and stairs. Do not go off established trails and always travel light and with a companion. Don't forget your camera. You will encounter some of the most beautiful scenery in God's creation and you will want to show others where you ventured.


King Salmon - Coho  In March and generally into May, the fishing picks up at what is known as the Niagara Bar. The Bar is located at the mouth of the Niagara River where the river empties into Lake Ontario. At this time of year hoard's of lake trout, brown trout and spring coho salmon and king salmon [chinook] all drawn by the smelt and alewives that are the choice feed of these beautiful creatures. Again 16-20 ft. boats recommended.

Yellow Perch. May and early June will find a lot of fishermen searching out the fine tasting yellow perch. 11 to 14 inch perch considered lake perch will be hitting on minnows on a 2-way perch rig or crappie rig. This action will again pick up in late September and October.

June, July , August and into early September brings the warmer water and the Bass and Walleye fishing to the forefront. Most of the cold water fish like the salmonoids and their forage base have moved from the river to the deeper, cooler waters of the lake.

Bass. There are a dozen smallmouth bass drifts favored by the local fishermen and the best way for a new fisherman to find these spots is to either ask at the boat launch or go where you see the fishing boats congregating. You will learn real fast on how to latch onto one of these 2-3 pound fighting bronzebacks. It is not unusual to latch onto a 5 pound plus fighter. Favorite artificial baits are numerous but the one standout is the Berkley Power Grub. Live baits are leeches, nightcrawlers, crabs [crawfish], minnows and big shiners and not necessarily in that order. Food fare for the day depends on what other natural feed is available at the time. Again, the Bar at the mouth of the river is a favorite location.  

Walleye fishing brings out the best of the hard fishing fisherman. Using the same live baits as the bass fishermen and sometimes the same drifts, the walleye fisherman will latch on some of the largest walleye in the entire northeast and including Canada lakes. In the summer of 2000 walleye of over 14 pounds have been reported. One taken by a reputable Charter Captain in the summer of 2001. 11 and 12 pound walleye are really happy catches and most all are released by concerned anglers. 4 to 5 pound are common and anything just over 18" being fine table fare. Size limit is 18" and that rule is strict and enforced not only by the Conservation officials but other fishermen.

Nightcrawlers on either a 3 hook worm harness with spinner and beads or a large silver/copper spinner with a yellow sally [fly] tied on a 1/0 hook has been a local favorite for over 60 years. Silver Kwikfish or Flatfish lures [banana baits] with the front hook removed and a piece of nightecrawler fastened to the remaining hook has proved to get ‘em on those tough days. K-8, K-9 sizes. All baits are tied with a three-way swivel with a drop sinker mostly a pencil sinker so called because of its shape. Weight will vary but start with 1 ounce as a rule of thumb and adjust from there. Identical 3-way hookup for bass fishing.  

The very latest method that is proving very popular is the "Drop Shot" method. There is an article with pictures explaining this method on this website.

Muskellunge and Northern Pike are available but not abundant in the Lower Niagara, meaning they are not a particularly targeted species. Most fishermen spend their time targeting bass and walleye during the summer months.........  


Go Here
to find out about the now believed extinct, Blue Pike
a direct cousin of the Walleye Pike,  A.K.A. Yellow Pike or Pickerel.

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