Spring means pen rearing time for both Kings and steelhead. This Saturday, the salmon and steelhead pens will be assembled with fish anticipated to arrive from NYSDEC next week for their one month or so rearing in the Oak Orchard. Volunteers needed for help this Saturday at 9 AM and for feed and care after that. Pens will be assembled and will soak at Ernst’s Lake Breeze Marina. Many thanks for all the help that the marina has given for pen rearing help.
Trib flows all around on a slow drop for this mid week period after the past weekend precipitation. Emphasis on slow. There were some showers thru yesterday. Chance of more rain/snow showers later Wednesday and precipitation again for end of week ending in… you guessed it – wind again! Seems like we can’t shake the every weekend wind advisory forecasts. So we’ll have to wait and see how much precipitation is realized out of the upcoming forecast and if it will mean flows holding steady or going back up high and off color. Either way it seems unlikely that trib flows in the near term will be approaching anything like low and clear or even medium and slightly stained. Look for at a minimum slightly high and stained.
Flows in the Oak are high and dirty. Overflow levels are just about diminished again and it still looks like a full head of turbine water. Water color is about 1 foot of visibility with still lots of stained water upstream in Lake Alice. Fishing pressure looks light with just a handful of cars parked at the access spots. Without that ripping overflow water now and as visibility goes on the positive side of one foot, guys should be able to make some productive drifts. Look for some fish to be set up in gravel spots and/or adjacent holes. The other area smaller tribs have slightly high flows trying to ease back toward medium with 1 – 2 ft of visibility. Its likely going to be a hunt and peck scenario there with a mix of drop back browns/steelhead and a few fresh steelhead.
All that same wind that has been making the weekend conditions challenging is likewise making the near shore open Lake action tough at times too. Acres and acres of mud won’t allow for narrowing down the trolling or casting spots. But on the backside of the windy days like about now for this mid week period you can target the green water or mud lines. When boat anglers or casters have intercepted that tasty water there have been some browns hooked up.
For now, flows all around are hanging in at around high and stained, and could go back up in the near term based on the forecast. We are back to warm temps at least thru the mid week so after the previous few days of below freezing temps where runoff was tempered – now, runoff is ramped back up again at least for the remaining snow and ponded water left in protected areas. Rain around half an inch is forecast on Thursday that, if realized, will bring flows back up toward blown and dirty. For now flows in the Oak are high and dirty with just less then a foot of visibility. Overflow levels are diminished so it looks like we are left with wide open turbine flows. There are a few guys fishing primarily nearer the dam with unknown results but if the drift can be slowed down enough there should be the chance for hookups on fresh steelhead.
The other area smaller tribs are probably offering up their best chance at fishable conditions about now before flows may go higher and dirtier. Flows for now are slightly high and slightly stained with about 1 foot of visibility. Look for fresh fish to be well distributed thru the smaller waterways. Drifting chances all around will have to contend with high-ish and off colored water for now and in the near term. It may take brake shot float techniques, old school pencil lead spin drifts or heavy dead drift fly drifts to put you in the game right now while the worst of the spring runoff runs it course.
Pier head and lakeshore casting chances should be coming on more consistently now. Brown trout are the primary focus for land lubbers and small boat casters and trollers alike. Look for the best chances when semi stained or green near shore waters are on the backside of windy conditions. Serious rec boats and charters will be shaking down in earnest now – targeting the tasty green near shore waters for the first trolling passes of the new season.
No major impacts expected here on the WNY south shore of Lake Ontario from the Nor’easter.
The major snow accumulations are expected east of here with maybe 1 – 3 inches from the wrap around Lake Effect Snow thru tonight. A cold NW wind is expected today and thru some of tomorrow and then another slight warm up thru the end of week with high 40’s°F forecast.
Flows all around like in the Oak and area smaller tribs are mostly being maintained at about medium flows with slightly stained water color going toward clear. The end of week warmup may again get some run-off rolling bumping flows back up to slightly high with more color to the water. On one of these spates of water or some future blow out, hopefully, we’ll see more fresh steelhead action. Looks like for now we are living off the numbers of earlier run fish (when it was milder) that are mostly staged up nearer the dam on the Oak and a few fresh fish trickling in thru downstream areas. A future warm up along with high and off color flows will tell the tale if spring steelhead are still queued up waiting to move upstream. There’s light fishing pressure all around. Expect to work the fast water sections on the Oak thoroughly or other smaller tribs for a few steelhead hookups or some silver browns.
Check out the pretty steelhead caught from the Oak this past weekend in the pic below. Just a few suckers in the Oak for now. The mild winter that has turned into a cold and snowy spring might have the typical Feb/Mar action shifted more toward Mar/Apr or even later, so we’ll have to wait and see what the weather and future high water flows may dish out.
Thanks to a few days of previous warmer temps with snowmelt, all the tribs are up with nice fishy flows by steelhead standards. Given the time of the year and milder water temps it should be a good trigger for fresh fish migrations. Thru yesterday there was no impact from the snowstorm here on the WNY Lake Ontario south shore and likewise the forecasted end of week snow storm is expected to have minimal impact for accumulations here. Temps are forecast to be highs in the 30’s °F and dropping back down at night, so flows should hang in for now or begin to drop back slowly like in the smaller area waterways. Longer range forecast looks like cold-ish weather thru some part of next week so it may be the seasons are averaging out with pay back from the milder winter! Flows in the Oak are slightly high with a strong head of turbine water and no overflow water. Viz is about 2 feet and slightly stained but might color up just a touch more thru the rest of the week. The other area smaller tribs east and west of the Oak have high flows with about 1 foot of visibility. Look for those waterways to turn and drop now and thru the mid week offering up some good drifting chances. Real light fishing pressure on the Oak where guys reported tougher steelhead action like thru the past weekend, but that was when flows were lower and clearer. Browns are making a pretty good accounting of themselves, especially by spring standards with a mix of fresh silver fish and colored up holdover fall fish – both in the Oak and Sandy. Now and into April as the weather and water flows may dictate could offer up the best spring steelhead action so get out there and hit the cold water chances while they last!