Spring fishing in the Buffalo Niagara Region is magical. Given it’s the peak fishing period for so many species, the biggest problem we face is deciding which one to chase (that’s a good problem to have). Lake Run Brown Trout, Steelhead, Smallmouth Bass, King Salmon, and Lake Trout are all abundant and willing. It makes for tough decisions – but often times, you can get all of them in the same day! Rest assured that we stay dialed in to the hot bite and can help determine which endeavor will yield the best day on the water.
As winter slowly begins to loosen its grip in early spring, the rivers swell with snowmelt and the smaller lakes begin to ice-out. Fresh runs of steelhead enter the tributaries of Lakes Erie and Ontario to join the fish that wintered-over as they ready for the annual spawn. We catch fresh chrome and colored-up fish in solid numbers at this time. This incredible steelhead fishing holds up well through April and in years with a cool spring and good flows, we often catch drop-back fish well into May on the larger rivers.
Lake Ontario Brown Trout
Accompanying the steelhead action of the early spring is our pursuit of giant lake-run brown trout in the tributaries of Lake Ontario, along the shallow shoreline of Lake Ontario, and on the Lake Ontario bar. As the tributaries warm and swell, metabolic rates increase and trophy browns go on the hunt for meat – constantly patrolling the areas mentioned above. This is the time of the year when to biggest lake run are caught so if you’re in the hunt for a monster – this is when you want to go.
Inland Trout Fishing
As the waters continue to warm through April and May, inland trout fishing in Buffalo Niagara really comes into its own. We enjoy impressive insect hatches beginning with Hendricksons and BWO’s by the third week of April, followed by March Browns, Grey Fox, Sulphurs and various caddis species in May. Some of the most exciting dry fly fishing occurs in early June when the clumsy Green Drakes and stoneflies begin to emerge, causing big trout to look up for an easy meal. Buffalo Niagara rivers explode with life every evening this time of year with hatches of multiple mayfly and caddis species accompanied by the spinner falls of these bugs. The “bug soup” that’s left on the surface turns these serene settings into feeding frenzies that resemble watching a washing machine with the machine door open. Oh yeah, traditional nymphing techniques will take their fair share of fish at this time too.
Smallmouth Bass Fishing
While the insanity ensues on our inland creeks, the smallmouth bass fishing in Buffalo grows to peak as well (we told you deciding where to fish is tough)! It begins with bass entering the lake tributaries as the steelhead are dropping out. This is a time for size and numbers, double-digit days are the norm with some fish surpassing 20″ and 6lbs. As the tributary action begins to fade, the smallmouth action in the crystal clear waters of the Niagara River and Lake Erie comes on strong, REAL strong. The bass are in shallow this time of year and there is no better time to take advantage of both the numbers and size of fish.
Lake Ontario Bar
Late spring also marks the arrival of incredible king salmon and lake trout fishing on the Lake Ontario bar. As the water begins to warm, alweives, smelt, emerald shiners, and gobies (all regional forage fish) concentrate in the area where the Lower Niagara River dumps into Lake Ontario. This massive concentration of bait attracts an equally incredible concentration of apex predators. The action is non-stop and because the water is still cold, the fights these fish put out are the best of the year. This is a truly unique phenomenon of the Buffalo Niagara Region – you have to see it to believe it!