Rainbows Under Niagara

Rainbows Under Niagara

Talk about a tough drift. I think I need a bigger float. Maybe a barrel.

The mighty Niagara Falls is 176 feet high, and  150,000 gallons of water descend each second. The water is rolling from Lake Erie into Lake Ontario on its way to the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Some of the finest steelhead fishing in North America can be found in the several miles of river below the Falls, and it's happening right now. Some anglers take the stairs down into the Gorge. Not recommended for people with ticker problems.


A better way to roll is to call Frank Campbell of Niagara Region Charter Service. He'll take you up and down river from Lewiston in a decent boat.


The best fishing occurs sometime between January and April every year. Big winds can roil Erie up, muddying the Niagara, but Captain Frank can take you out on the Niagara Bar, a sure thing for lakers on light tackle, with many over 12 pounds and the occasional fish topping 20. It's an experience you won't forget. Frank can put you on monster browns, pitching or trolling the shorelines and mudlines surrounding the mouth of the Niagara.


Steelheading the Niagara is a unique experience. Though shore-bound anglers can occasionally find veins of silver on the limited shallow shelves with floats and jigs, the preponderance of the fish are 20 feet down or deeper a lot of the time. Your success depends on the ability of the captain to control the boat, negating the faster surface currents with his bow-mounted trolling motor so your three-way rig moves at the slower speeds of the currents near bottom. Frank's been doing this so long he could keep you in the zone in his sleep. The rig is weighted with pencil lead, so you can adjust quickly to the different depths with fewer snags. The 6- to 8-pound fluorocarbon leader is 7 to 10 feet long. The bite feels like a gnat landing on the end of your 10-foot rod. Or the rod just doubles over. Depends on the mood of the fish.

Frank uses fresh spawn, minnows, and plastics on size #10 hooks. He sometimes pulls plugs. Whatever it takes.

The above  photo of Frank was taken last April, when we could also target smallmouth bass. Fishing with tubes near the river mouth, we caught browns to 13 pounds, lakers over 17 pounds, and smallmouth bass over 6 pounds. What a trip! It doesn't get much better.


This is a must-do thing. No matter what species you prefer to target, the Niagara River should be on your checklist.

Get Your Fish On.

Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.

Recommended for You

This recipe for Steelhead Trout Niçoise Salad is heart healthy, paleo- and gluten-free diet friendly. Fish Recipes

Steelhead Trout Niçoise Salad Recipe

This recipe for Steelhead Trout Niçoise Salad is heart healthy, paleo- and gluten-free...

Navionics adds SonarChart Shading and HotMaps Platinum. News

Navionics adds SonarChart Shading to its Platinum+ and HotMaps Platinum cartography

In-Fisherman - April 29, 2019

Navionics adds SonarChart Shading and HotMaps Platinum.

Catfish is meaty, juicy and holds up well in this soul-satisfying fried fish recipe with homemade chips and tartar sauce. Fish Recipes

Catfish Dinner with Homemade Chips and Tartar Sauce Recipe

Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley

Catfish is meaty, juicy and holds up well in this soul-satisfying fried fish recipe with...

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

New 4-Liter Dry Creek Gear Pouch from Simms

New 4-Liter Dry Creek Gear Pouch from Simms

Outdoor Sportsman Group writer Lynn Burkhead gets new product details from Simms Fishing Product's John Frazier about the new waterproof 4-Liter Dry Creek Gear Pouch.

New Abu Garcia Baitcasting Reels

New Abu Garcia Baitcasting Reels

In the booth of one of fishing's all-time great reel makers, Outdoor Sportsman Group writer Lynn Burkhead and Andrew Wheeler of Pure Fishing discuss one of the brand new baitcasting reels from Abu Garcia being released at ICAST 2019.

Berkley

Berkley's Surge Shad

Major League Fishing pro Scott Suggs has relied on the Berkley Surge Shad lure concept for years, using similar designs to capture MLF titles and a $1 million dollar FLW Forrest Cup win. With new features in the Surge Shad, Suggs tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead that even he can find success out on the water!

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Check out this Largemouth Bass Length To Weight Conversion Chart, a simple and accurate explanation from the In-Fisherman biologists. Bass

Largemouth Bass Length To Weight Conversion Chart

Dr. Rob Neumann - January 22, 2017

Check out this Largemouth Bass Length To Weight Conversion Chart, a simple and accurate...

Now more than ever, understanding each category's strong suits is critical to choosing a powerplant that best fits your personal needs and preferences. Boats & Motors

2- Vs. 4-Cycle Outboard Motors

Dan Johnson - April 16, 2018

Now more than ever, understanding each category's strong suits is critical to choosing a...


Spring is prime time for pike. The Prespawn and Postspawn periods offer excellent odds at catching Pike & Muskie

How To Catch Pike In Spring

Dan Johnson - April 26, 2016

Spring is prime time for pike. The Prespawn and Postspawn periods offer excellent odds at...

See More Stories

More Trout & Salmon


How many king salmon run the Columbia & Snake rivers and their tributaries varies each Trout & Salmon

Western King Salmon

In-Fisherman - January 25, 2016

How many king salmon run the Columbia & Snake rivers and their tributaries varies each

Buzz Ramsey shares his top 10 picks. Trout & Salmon

The Top 10 Steelhead Rivers On The West Coast

Matt Straw - May 04, 2015

Buzz Ramsey shares his top 10 picks.

Stream trout were the glamour fish of the early-to-mid twentieth century. Wild settings, clear Trout & Salmon

How To Fish For Trout: A Stream Trout Primer

Matt Straw - July 03, 2013

Stream trout were the glamour fish of the early-to-mid twentieth century. Wild settings, clear

See More Trout & Salmon

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.