Buffalo NY Fishing Report – 04/21/2024

by | Apr 21, 2024

Buffalo NY Fishing Report – Observations from 04/15/2024 – 04/21/2024

Here’s our latest Buffalo NY fishing report:  It didn’t hurt me being bullish about the forecast going into this week – but I failed to fish all 7 days.  Harsh winds, poor water clarity, and little “shellshockedness” cost me 2 days.  Still, every outing was a blast with a little adventure sprinkled in.  I’m happy to say that I finally was able to put the new boat through a gauntlet of wild conditions.  Let’s just day that it lives up to the Warrior name.  Keep reading for more details.

Days on the water: 5

Who we fished with: friends/clients

Where we fishedUpper Niagara, Lower Niagara, Lake Ontario

What we caught:  lake trout, steelhead, smallmouth bass.

Tactics: 3-way rig with live bait, drop shots, spoons

Episode 81 of Two Angles on Angling:    It was a wild weather week but both Jordan and I managed to spend time on the water, so the conversation starts off with a report about what we saw. An assessment of the forecast for the upcoming week follows. We get deep about lost connections with nature, what it feels like when a cold front approaches, similarities and differences between spring and fall, how fear of missing out in the spring is a thing but not so much for the fall…and more. https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/two-angles-on-angling

Detailed Reporting/Daily Observations

Weather Breakdown

04/15/2024 – Fished the Upper Niagara with Ron and Paul – gorgeous day, but it had some drawbacks.  Most of East River remained muddy from the flooding the week prior.  However, there was enough green water along Grand Island and in West River to make it worthwhile.  We did VERY well in the green stuff – not so much where it was muddy. 



04/16/2024 – Another gorgeous day.  Fished the Upper Niagara with Lee and Sam.  Water clarity improved a little bit from the day prior, but those muddy zone didn’t produce much (we tried a few).  So, we fished some new water and some of the old haunts where the water was green.  Awesome session with some great anglers.  


04/17/2024 – Huge East winds and consistent rain caused me to reschedule our trip.  The plan was to fish Lake Ontario for kings and trout but with waves over 5′ out there, we decided that wouldn’t be a good idea.  I was stoked to give the new boat a shot at conquering waves that size, but my sanity got the best of me.



04/18/2024 – Fished the Lower Niagara with a new client, Ed, in town on business from NYC.  We had a lot of fun and covered the whole system – but the bite was grindy.  Until next time…



04/19/2024 – Fished Lake Ontario and the Lower Niagara with Shawn, Phil, and Andy.  There was a small craft advisory on Lake Erie the day prior.  Although it didn’t look like the waves got big, a lot of stained water made it’s way downstream.  There was a lot of mud just hanging in Lake Erie from the flooding the week prior, maybe the big SW wind finally pushed it downstream.  Anyway, visibility on the Niagara wasn’t great and the water on Lake Ontario was muddy out to over 120′.  There was some wild weather that day too – wind from 3 directions, a little rain, and a major drop in temperature. We struggled…   



04/20/2024 – Fished the Upper Niagara with Greg and Tanner from OH.  These guys have been fishing with me for years – they always come up for a couple days in the spring as well as the fall.  They are hardcore anglers, ready to put in work even when Mother Nature creates some hostile conditions.  On this day, she tested our mettle.

The forecast was off – by a lot.  Wind chills in the upper 30s and the occasional hail kept us cold.  Sustained 20MPH winds that seemed to shift from the SW to the NW at the most inconvenient times, made drifting near impossible in most of the river.  There were standing 3’+ waves in a mile long stretch of East River.  West River had something similar going on.

It was wild – but the new Warrior rode through conditions like one of those huge snowplows they use to plow the highway – effortlessly.  In other words, although it sucked (read – entertaining) trying to fish through those conditions, getting around wasn’t a problem with the new boat.

So, we fished in areas where we could get a little wind relief and caught plenty of fish.  Most of what we caught were smallish males, so I didn’t take many pictures.  We ended the day a bit early – wind burnt with hands that could barely function.  Good times!  Better yet – an intense bonding experience.



04/21/2024 – This was supposed to be day 2 for Greg and Tanner.  Still shell shocked from the day before and facing more cold, wind, and marginal water clarity, we opted to reschedule.

I’m conflicted by this decision – knowing that what most informed it was a brutal experience that happened hours prior.  Was that weakness that crept up in me/us?  I’m still stewing on that thought as I allowed it to emerge in our discussion.

I ultimately conceded to reschedule because these guys have been loyal to me for years.  Putting them in a questionable situation following a day like the one we had hours before, just didn’t feel right.  Yes, I could’ve put together an entertaining plan for the day. However, knowing they’d be back over the summer, and again in the fall, I decided the gamble wasn’t worth it.  Still, as I type this, I have serious FOMO.  



Seasonal Assessment/General Observations

On the Conditions

Although I managed to fish 5 days this past week, conditions were marginal on most of those days.  That makes it a little tough to provide an overall assessment of what’s going on, but I’ll give it a shot. 


The Lake Ontario bar continues to produce brown trout, lake trout, drop back steelhead, and the occasional king salmon.  Sessions out there have been hit or miss/spotty – likely due to marginal water clarity.  Pulling plugs seems to be the most productive tactic when fishing in stained water.  Still, it’s tough to gauge how well it’s “set up” with bait and fish due to poor water clarity.  The temperature is right – we just need conditions to line up for that zone to shine. 

The rest of our basin of Lake Ontario has been a bit tougher to get a read on.  All the mud that the Niagara has been dumping into Lake Ontario lately is swirling around with the wind and current.  One day, it’ll be clear enough to fish in 50-90’+ of water.  The next day, it’ll be muddy out to over 130’+. 

Regardless of water clarity, if you motor out to that 50-90’ zone and look at your sonar, you’ll likely have a stacked screen.  However, if there is a hint of brown to it and you see scattered debris around, catch rates will be LOW to non-existent.  If it’s clear, it’ll be game on.  Bottom line, the fish are around, we just need conditions to line up to make it a worthwhile endeavor. 

Smallmouth bass

The Upper and Lower Niagara River have been fishing well for smallmouth bass.  A lot of fish are still stacked up on points/current breaks, but I’ve been seeing increasing numbers of fish starting to spread out near their spawning zones.  In other words, covering water has been more productive than spot locking lately. 

On more than a handful of occasions, bass threw up crawfish during the fight.  Maybe my memory is flawed, but I can’t recall seeing bass eat crawfish in good numbers this early in the year.  I’m sure they’re eating emeralds too, but what they’re waiting for are the alewives and smelt.  There’s been some smelt around on the Lower, but I’ve seen no big schools of those big calorie sources around on the Upper.  In other words, the fish are still hungry and have a lot of growing to do. 

I’m sure Lake Erie is exhibiting the same pattern, but I can’t confirm that having not been out there yet this season.  All in good time.  Although I love fishing Lake Erie, I’ll be out there regularly from late May through December.  The Upper has such a small window that I want to experience as much of it as possible before it closes. 

A quick note on baits: although a drop shot rig with a 3” white flatworm has remained my “go-to” bait lately, crankbaits are starting to shine as well.  The water temperature at the head of the river is 42 degrees – so it’s still early.  45 degrees+ seems to be the magical temperature when cranks really come into their own.         

Buffalo NY Fishing Report – Forecast for 04/22/2024 – 04/28/2024

Weather Breakdown

    Forecast Commentary

    This forecast for this upcoming week looks – chaotic – once again.  Tomorrow will be pleasant, and Tuesday looks like it’ll start off nicely too.  However, from Tuesday night – Thursday, we’re going to revisit winter with more north winds and temperatures dropping into the upper 30s/low 40s. 

    There is a silver lining to this forecast though – the worst of the winds are going to be from the north.  Although big winds from that direction will make fishing Lake Ontario tough to unsafe, Lake Erie and portions of the Niagara will be fishable.  Also, water clarity is likely to improve as a result. 

    Although it’s a long way out, the weekend looks favorable – other than the rain.  Spring will return with warm weather, some sun, and scattered showers.  Bottom line, all days will be fishable this upcoming week, if you’re not focused on a specific species.  I’m booked daily, we’ll see where it goes.        

    Stay healthy my friends – mentally and physically,