Buffalo NY Fishing Report – Observations from 11/27/2023 – 12/03/2023
Here’s our latest Buffalo NY fishing report: Up until this past week, Mother Nature had been quite mild mannered this fall – then she got angry. The week started with heavy WSW winds, 10’ waves (on Erie and Ontario), a fair amount of rain, and our first legit snowfall. All that chaos wrecked the system through Friday. In short, I only fished over the weekend. As predicted – the pattern changed a bit. Keep reading for more details.
Days on the Water: 2
Who we fished with: friends/clients
Where we fished: Lower Niagara, Lake Ontario
What we caught: smallmouth bass, lake trout, brown trout, steelhead
Tactics: 3-way rig with live bait, beads, or plugs
Episode 70 of Two Angles on Angling: Jordan and I start off with a review of the insane weather the Buffalo Niagara Region experienced this last week. All that chaos kept fishing and outdoor activities to a minimum but both of us put in enough work to provide an assessment. We get deep about winter gear – from layering systems to tackle and how to keep it all organized. https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/two-angles-on-angling
Detailed Reporting/Daily Observations
Monday – Wind + waves + cold temps + precip = cancellation
Tuesday – Muddy water/wrecked fishery due to the weather the day prior. Plus, some of the chaos continued through the day. Cancelled my trip.
Wednesday – More nastiness = another cancellation.
Thursday – System still wrecked but the weather was nice and conditions started to improve.
Friday – It was a bit nasty out with wind and rain but it didn’t do anything to further damage the system. In fact, the water calrity improved enough for me to call my Saturday team to let them know we’d be goo-to-go for the following day.
Saturday – Fished the Lower Niagara in pursuit of a trout slam. Mission accomplished. A heavy NE wind kept us in the river as Lake Ontario was rolling. The water was perfectly stained (if that’s a thing) – a light pea soup – more green than brown. It was an awesome session with the added bonus that there was little to no boat traffic.
Sunday – Fished the Lower Niagara in pursuit of yet another trout slam – mission accomplished. A stiff NE wind and on-and-off-again rain confineded to the river like it did the day prior. That didn’t matter – we found action in every zone we fished. Solid session with an angler who just moved to the area. Welcome to WNY!
Seasonal Assessment/General Observations
On the Conditions
All the un-fishable days this past week didn’t do much to help me create a picture of what’s going on underwater. I’ll say this much though – the lake trout and brown trout spawn is winding down if not done all together. Meat will become increasingly important in the upcoming weeks.
I think I have a valid excuse for the lack of smallmouth bass reporting this week. Crappy weather kept me off Erie the entire week. However, I did poke around some of the bass spots in the lower Niagara and we caught fish in all of them. No biggies though.
I still have a ton of bait so that’s what I used in pursuit of biggie smalls. However, the water temperature is in the mid-40s now so I bet soft plastics would produce just as well as the real thing. I’ll know fur sure very soon.
It’s tough to make a definitive call about what’s going on with the trout considering I only fished 2 days. However, I can say this much – the spawn is winding down. Sure, there are plenty of eggs rolling around the bottom of the Lower Niagara. However, minnows outperformed beads in all the drifts. Not by a huge margin, but it’s something worth considering.
Year after year, the lake trout and brown trout spawn wraps up around the end of November/beginning of December. In other words, we’re passing a “presentation milestone” (yeah, I just made that phrase up). If you’re the type of angler that likes to “match the hatch” – feed the fish what they’re eating the most – you’ll need to convert to baitfish (or something that imitates it) soon.
I love this transition period. As the water temperatures continue to drop, the feeding frenzy will continue. All the trout, plus the smallmouth bass and walleyes, will target schooling bait fish. Their goal is to get so bloated with that they look like they’re gonna bust open. Feed them what they want, my friends. Live bait, blade baits, swim baits, drop shots, and plugs will all work – have fun.
Buffalo NY Fishing Report – Forecast for 12/04/2023 – 12/10/2023
This upcoming week looks very promising. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed taking some time off this past week, but not that much time. I start getting like Capt Benjamin Willard (Martin Sheen) in the opening scenes of Apocalypse Now after spending more than a few days off the water. That’s not going to be a problem this upcoming week.
The wind won’t be too problematic on any of the days but Monday. Even then, it’ll only be a problem for Lake Erie – the lower will be excellent. Beyond that, sure, the wind will be variable throughout the week, but rarely problematic for any of the water in the Buffalo Niagara Region.
I’m going to take advantage of some of the calm days and fish Lake Erie in pursuit of biggie smalls and maybe a big walleye or 2. The Lake Ontario bar will be on the docket too. I’m booked daily – there will be a few stories to tell in the next report. Stay tuned.
Stay healthy my friends – mentally and physically,