By: Chris Shaffer
For more than 15 years I’ve been hoping to fish the Niagara Bar. Meanwhile, the one-to-two times a year we’re able to fish the Lower Niagara River conditions haven’t been right. In fact, our local pros joke about how I bring the worst weather possible with me every time I fly in. This last trip, however, the weather was more like the Miami of the north, as my good buddy Frank Campbell of Niagara Region Charter Service calls it when joking about Lake Ontario’s winter weather.
For a change the weather was good this February, and the fishing was just as inviting. On the other hand, steelhead and trout fishing hasn’t been excellent all season. The mild winter has prohibited any major ice accumulation on Lake Erie and in turn has made the Lower Niagara River unpredictable this season. Any significant wind has churned up the water on Erie and sent dirty water over Niagara Falls, which has shut down fishing on many occasions.
Three hours later we had another episode of Pautzke Outdoors in the books. Kessler told us that chrome kings were caught on the bar the day prior, but we didn’t catch any. We landed one small brown trout and at least a dozen lake trout and could have caught many more had we stayed out. The lakers weren’t enormous, but were impressive. Only one or two was smaller than eight pounds. The rest were roughly 10-12, which were a blast to catch on light tackle.
Chartreuse didn’t let us down. Once we ran out of chartreuse minnows we figured it was time to head in early. We caught more than enough fish to film an episode and were hungry. We launched at 9am and were at the dock by noon, just in time to head to Favorites, one of our favorite pizza spots in Western New York.