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A warm day today with highs in the 60’s°F and chance of rain or thunderstorms later and thru tonight/tomorrow.  A wind advisory is forecasted tomorrow with falling temps.  Those cold temps are dropping below freezing at night, expected thru the end of week.  Then another warmup is expected for the weekend! 

For now, flows in the Oak are low and clear.  The other area smaller waterways have something like moderate flows and slightly stained water color.  Chance of a rise in flows with some color to the water depending upon how much precipitation is received or where thunderstorms may impact.  Forecasted track seems to show most major precipitation south of the area.  Any precipitation for trib flow maintenance or to raise flows up and off color could probably help perk up the steelhead action. 

The most recent lower and clearer flows have been making for harder drifting conditions.  Anytime we get these couple day unseasonable warmups there is the likelihood of rising water temps and chance for spawning activity.  And this time of year, rising trib outflow temps can draw in some fish with or without a significant change in flow, provided the base flow is at least reasonable. 

Fishing pressure over-the-all is pretty light, but chance of more folks coming out to enjoy the spring like weather.  Anglers should be able to spread out thru the waterways and will need to make long and light and careful presentations for fish that have been resident and seen a fair amount of other drifts over the past month+!  But the optimistic steelheader always hopes for the chance of fresh chrome, less educated fish!  This kind of warming weather will no doubt lead to some anglers looking toward the near shore Lake Ontario waters for casting or small boat trolling chances.  Pockets of stained water are the targets there and for now with calm or southerly winds it may be more like clear and clearer.  Near shore water temps are already warm for the calendar date.  Wind ahead will surely change the water color scenario soon enough to likely too dirty!

Coming out of another stretch of cold weather and some snow over the past weekend.  There are area accumulations of around 4 – 6 inches of windblown snow, probably greatest along the lakeshore.  Weather forecast ahead is warming, highs at least in the 40’s°F right thru the weekend, save for a colder day expected Sat bracketed by a couple of cold nights.  Chance of rain or showers end of week.  Trib flows all around are low and clear, with flows in the Oak being the least low.  There has been some renewed icing especially in the smaller waterways. 

Fishing pressure has been pretty light, mostly concentrated on the Oak where careful long and light drifters have still scored some steelhead hook ups like at the dam.  Downstream swingers have had some action on brown trout. 

Look for snowmelt ahead and the chance for rising flows with the smaller area waterways opening back up.  Any significant rain added to the equation could bolster flows all the more.  After the blowout conditions of 3+ weeks ago and the subsequent dry conditions since, the area could use more precipitation or snow for melt-off to help raise trib flows back up.  Good trib maintenance flows for springtime March and April could help out the steelhead action (and near shore Lake Ontario) so we’ll have to wait and see what the weather ahead may bring in the way of precipitation and temps.

Welcome back to a little bit of winter!  Back to a slight cool down to seasonably cold temps of highs in the 30’s°F and dropping back to the 20’s° at night.  No impacts expected here on the WNY Lake Ontario south shore from the latest nor’ester, but there is the chance for off and on snows or lake effect thru the week that could lead to a few inches of accumulations by weeks end.  Chance of a colder day or two by end of week or weekend.  With dropping and clearing flows esp in the smaller area waterways there is the chance for some renewed icing conditions.  No liquid precip seen in the near term forecast and since the last meltoff/rain of 2+ weeks ago its been pretty dry.  Flows in the Oak are med with 2+ ft of slightly stained viz.  Flows should be hanging in around medium-ish at least for a few days or week but I’d look for a dropping down toward mod and clearer some time soon given the current weather conditions and forecast.  Guys are living off the steelhead from earlier higher water “runs” with some good fish still being hooked up.  Check out the pic below of another good Oak Orchard fish.  Anglers are able to target all of the waterway from the downstream frog water up to the dam.  Fresher fish may be higher in the rivercourse and there are of course those landlocked fish in the overflow pools.  There’s a mix of fish and you might encounter darker fish that came in weeks ago, some fresher staged or spawning fish, or some chromers.  Other area smaller waterways have low and clear flows.  Steelhead or browns will be hunkered in where they can find water cover or else dropping back to estuary lies in those smaller tribs.  Who knows what the weather ahead may bring and if winter may settle in for a bit?  If it doesn’t we are likely headed toward an already early warm up and continued warming water temps that have hardly even got as cold as winter average.

The area is squarely on the backside of higher flows of a week + ago with warm temps expected thru the beginning part of the weekend.  Highs are forecast near 50°F with a chance of rain showers for end of week.  Hopefully precipitation will be enough to help maintain flows.  With a few cold nights, flows in the smaller area waterways are dropping toward medium and clearing with 2 + feet of visibility.  On the previous slightly high and slightly stained flows, anglers found some good action for some browns and fresh steelhead. Check out the pic below of a big, fresh steelhead from the past weekend. 

All the waterways are open with no icing conditions that we know of.  On the Oak, flows are still for now high and stained with about 1 + foot of visibility.  Flows consist of a good head of turbine water.  Look for flows to continue to clear and the chance for hydropower operators to throttle back flows in the near future toward something like slightly high or medium-ish.  Even thru the high and stained flows, guys have been picking off some steelhead and there’s been hook ups in the overflow pools.  The full bore turbine or close to full bore turbine flows afford plenty of water cover for the fish and likewise make drifts and swings tougher.  With any lowering and clearing of flows, drifts should become more productive with the chance to intercept some fresh fish migrations.  Anglers might consider catching and releasing any fish from the overflow channel into the turbine channel.  Steelhead can then have best chances at moving up and down the waterway as conditions change and your hookup chances can be better too.  Water temps are not that low by winter time standards and any warmer and/or sunnier days ahead could bump up water temps putting fish in a gravelly mood.  Newly staging or spawning fish will add to the already mixed bag of earlier run or spawned or staged up steelhead.

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