This species was once indigenous to New York. Catching an Atlantic salmon is a rare feat, but once you catch one you’ll remember it for a lifetime. Lake Ontario is the only water in the Greater Niagara area currently receiving stockings, with occasional fish showing up in Lake Ontario, the Niagara River and some of the tributaries like Eighteenmile Creek at Burt Dam. Minimum size for these fish is 25 inches long in an effort to protect them. The state record is another Lake Ontario fish, a 24 pound 15 ounce trophy. These fish are often confused with brown trout for identification.
BlueGill / Pumpkinseed
These popular panfish are just what the doctor ordered to keep young kids busy and happy. While these are two different types of fish, they'll often occupy the same waters, such as around sunken limbs, weeds or any type of shallow bottom structure. Red worms are the favorite bait of these feisty scrappers. They can be found in lakes Erie and Ontario, the Niagara River, the Erie Canal and most inland lakes and ponds.
Most of the brown trout fishing takes place in Lake Ontario portion of Niagara County, although some of the Erie County inland streams may see some stocking. Browns can be found throughout the year in Lake Ontario or its tributaries, with the hotspots being Eighteenmile Creek at Burt Dam; Twelvemile Creek at Wilson; and the lower Niagara River during fall and winter. Come springtime, the big lake is the best spot, trolling the shoreline during April and May. July and August is a good time to target browns out a bit deeper, but inside of 100 foot depths. Placing small spoons on or near the bottom near the thermocline is traditionally the best approach. Fish over 30 pounds have been caught. The state record is 33 pounds, two ounces from Lake Ontario.
These fish can be found throughout the Greater Niagara area, too, with spring being the most popular time for catching these tasty fish. Beware of the sharp spines on the dorsal and pectoral fins. Worms, crabs and minnows are all favorite foods of whiskered fish, but stink bait, chunks of meat or dough balls can all be used to catch these fish, too. The state record brown bullhead is six pounds, nine ounces; the black bullhead is seven pounds, seven ounces.
Carp are quickly gaining recognition as a prized catch in Greater Niagara waters, especially since European anglers started coming over to sample our fishery. The result has been some impressive catches, including some fish over 40 pounds. The state record is a 50 pound, four ounce beast. Carp can be found in most streams, the shallow bays off Erie and Ontario, as well as throughout the Niagara River and Erie Canal system. Worms are a favorite bait, as is corn, dough balls or bread.
These fish are really making a mark on the local fishing scene, with a state record fish of over 31 pounds coming from Lake Erie waters in 2002. While that mark has since been broken by a 32 pound, 12 ounce fish, these fish can be consistently caught from May to October throughout Great Lakes waters.