At this time of the year, lots of snagged lures will be revealed and get un-snag for free, after water recedes at its lowest possible level. Many lures got snagged during past Salmon season, these hidden treasure can only be revealed once water recedes. The Niagara city normally cuts down on the amount of water being release from Nov 1, to April 30. after tourist season slows down. With few exception on Christmas week ,and other special holidays, water level goes back higher again , so Niagara falls will be impressive the way it should be.
I was greedy trying to retrieve a crank bait out off a rock, that was when I slipped and one of my foot accidentally slip on the slippery mossy rock, water went inside my boots,and my foot got wet. I was glad Corsara brought a small plastic bag and a spare pair of socks, Then he suggested that I improvised and use them, so I took my wet socks and shoe insole out to dry, then put his dry socks on first, wrapped my dry foot with the plastic bag before I put on my wet boot. My foot got so used to being dry and was warm, I could not tell the difference, and forgotten about my wet boot issue all the time and fished till 7pm at night. I have never got wet in 20 years I fished there. Always some new experience as always. so bringing an extra pair of socks and small garbage bag is not a bad idea, or wear my waders on my next trip. The problem with wearing waders, our body gets very hot from having to hike back up the trail. Something new I learned from Corsara. Some items might be insignificant to bring at times to our fishing trip, but when we need them during an emergency situation, we definitely appreciate that we have them,
I did not get any hits that morning, but I got 5 cleo spoon, one 8 inch long Rapala deep diving crankbait, few heavy 3 oz lead weights. One huge 3" x 2" long big treble hook (what was the guy trying to catch- a shark?) and couple of swim-bait. I lost one jighead on grub that morning, and a wet boot to wear..... Not a bad trade off! Corsara also found few lures.
From 6:30am-11:00am- We Fished Niagara river. Parking lot was already packed by 6:30am to my surprise. Probably due to rain days before, where most anglers only came on sunday instead. Temp was 6 degrees with 9km wind. water was 5' visibility. Current level was higher then normal after we got there, water level only started to go down after 10am. But never at its lowest normal level during this time of the year, since water level of lake ontario is 3-4 ft higher this year . It should be consistent low level by now, It was also veterans day the day before, so the city released some water again to impress tourist. I lost two eastern tribe fishable spot this past salmon fishing season due to water being higher then normal.
Roughly 30 anglers were already fishing, not a lot of good prime fishable choices left when we got there. Most were float fishing either with roe or streamers. I have to take turns timing to cast my heavy spoon further away, while the guy beside me was float fishing closer to the shoreline. No tangle between us even ones. The guy witness Corsara lost his two fish and smiled during that frenzy moment . Before they quit by 10am, they walked pass by Corsara to advice him to just take his time and not be overly excited next time. I wanted to give Corsara some advice at first, when he hooked up those two fish, I told him I learned something new that day. Corsra was retrieving so fast, I was surprise both aggressive fish wanted his crankbait, Fish wanted his fast retrieve on the 6 inch yellow colored crankbait. Two main reason, the fish were not hooked properly, the crankbait hooks were not sharp , then the retrieve was just a touch too fast, two more seconds of short pause and it would have given the fish enough time to chum on the lure further and gotten hook better.
I only witness 5 total steelhead landed as far as I could see. Many anglers left before 11am. while other new batch of anglers came to replace them. Few more steelhead and a salmon surface right about 11am, just when we were about to leave. A new guy who just came to fished beside us, ( claimed to be a bass tournament angler,) said he also lost a fish, when we check his jig on grub, and I insisted that the hook was un-sharp, which I end up sharpening for him anyway, but I doubted that he was a tournament angler, not knowing how to test a hook for sharpness, and fishing with un-sharp hooks. The proper way to test a hook sharpness is to slide the pointed area of the hook on top of our Thumbnail, in a 45 degrees angle, with minimal force. If the hook does not slide, It is sharp, if it slides, it is not sharp enough. By mere touching the pointed surface with our finger, this is not sufficient to indicate the hook sharpness.
Since we fished the prime time period, and did not land any fish. I knew the fish were not as aggressively biting that morning stage, so time to regroup and fished elsewhere.
From 12:00-2:30pm- We went across the US border to pick up two of my ebay purchases that I had them shipped to a niagara falls US mail box address weeks before. Then we visited the Schoellopf Power Station and the New York Power Authority platform in lewiston for future potential fishing trip. Only 3 guys were fishing at NYPA, SPS was close for the season, but we were able to get down the elevator to enjoy the scenery and checked potential fishing spot. The current was super strong at NYPA. One guy said there were lots of salmon just two weeks ago. That was my original plan weeks ago, to find someone to fish there. With no visible fish, potential of snag It would be hard to control lure action was my observation, since current coming off the plant were too strong, The guy who was float fishing, his float was going around in a circle and fast. I did not see any fish surface within the short time we were there. I also wanted to visit the free museum and go fish Olcott pier soon, since I heard trout started to be caught at the pier. It was Free to fish US side during Veterans day! Unfortunately, we miss it by a day. To fish the NYPA platform, we need a long net extension due to the height of the ledge. But other shoreline areas close to the platform were fishable, with free Parking. NYPA platform will be close by Dec. 1, but not the shoreline area, having short well constructed stairway to walk down.
We had lunch at burger King close to the outlet, using the special survey code on the back of the receipt. We got whopper , fries and coffee for $3. US BK whopper and fries seems to be bigger in size then our Canadian version. Many of US fast food burgur joints have dollar menu and all were bigger in portion compared to what we have here in canada. McCafe Specialty coffee starting today on the canadian side is $1 only, 8 inch tall big cup. US side McCafe does not taste as good as GTA MCdo Coffee.
3:15-3:30pm- After 30mins of time going through the custom border crossing and inspection station, yet not having to pay any HST taxes on a US$50 purchase, we went to a Niagara boat launch to check the area out. Water there was somewhat murky to my surprise, two guys were fishing there, bottom bouncing with roe. I saw only one fish surfaced within that short period.
4:30-6:30pm., We went and fished St Catherines area, water level has dropped at least one meter lower that its height during springtime, one area was closed off until recently, the water level was overflowing all the way to the walkway back in spring. Water visibility was only couple feet that afternoon, hardly any wind. The current flow was not as strong as it should be. 15 anglers were fishing and I only saw one fish landed, but fish were surfacing in front of us at times, even few salmon were still there. One salmon, close to the dam area jumped 4 times to my surprise. but too far from our casting distance. A BC visitor to the area said he landed a 10lb trout two days ago bottom bouncing using three way swivel with white grub on jighead..
We have decided to stop fishing by 6:30pm to head back home, due to work the next day. If it was spring time, I would have head off to another area and fished for carp till 11pm , before my fishing day is really ....., really ......over. Just when we left st Catherines area, rain started to come down. Our timing was just right to not having to be wet on a skunk day.
I told Corsara it was just a fact finding day during our first trip this season, to further familiarized water level height, I was not sure if other shoreline fish-able spot might also be submerge , so I was not confident enough to venture to another area of the river when it was still semi dark before daylight, and to feel the crowded fishing spot on a warm Sunday. It would be a waste of time to go to some spot, when lots of cars were already at the parking lot that morning, just to realize the known prime shoreline spot were already taken or submerge underwater. So we need to be there even earlier if we want those prime fish-able spot.
Water temp was still at 55 degrees, trout fishing also gets better when water temp drops under 50 degrees. Since Corsara had two potential catch within that pre-existing condition, What else was my excuses for not catching one that day?
What an awesome update/article Joshua with a lot of tips and local knowledge I had no idea about.
It certainly sounds like you both had a fun day, with some action, some finds and some laughs no doubt when you got a wet foot. Also being able to go check out a few spots on the other side of the river is probably something I probably wouldn't have done but makes a lot of sense especially when you are going over anyway.
I appreciate you sharing your day with us at OFF & hopefully others will get a lot out of it too.
I have my own story about getting wet after a mishap on a river, I was a little bit worse off than you, I was soaked from the waist down. It was early in the year & there was still snow on the ground, I had a change of clothes with me but they were 300 yards away in the car.
It was a comedy of errors fishing with another fellow that talked me into using a canoe so that I didnt need to walk much....