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Plenty of anglers have been taking advantage of the favorable winter weather conditions to extend their fishing seasons on area waterways. (Submitted photo)
Plenty of anglers have been taking advantage of the favorable winter weather conditions to extend their fishing seasons on area waterways. (Submitted photo)

Fishing & Outdoors in WNY: Getting ready for 2024 fishing season

Fri, Jan 12th 2024 11:00 am

By Capt. Frank Campbell

Outdoor Promotions Director for Destination Niagara USA

One of the best things about being an angler on the Niagara Frontier is the vast species and fishing opportunities the area has to offer. It is only fitting that the 2024 Greater Niagara Fishing Expo also has diversity in its show offerings.

This year’s Expo runs Tuesday, Feb. 15, through Sunday, Feb. 18, at the Niagara Falls Convention Center. Not only is the show the largest pure fishing show in New York, but it offers more educational opportunities than any other fishing show I’m aware of.

Between seminars, schools and the Hawg Trough, there will be in excess of 200 hours of learning opportunities from some of the best professionals, charter captains, and veteran anglers willing to share tips and techniques to give you an advantage on the water next season.

Some highlights of this year’s event include a virtual seminar/Q&A with Steve Quinn from “In-Fisherman” fame. Steve, recently inducted into the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame, was TV host of the iconic show for more than 15 years. He will touch on many topics, including his visits to the Niagara Region filming segments for multi species. I was lucky enough to share the boat with Steve when he brought to the net the largest smallmouth ever filmed for the show – a PB (personal best) that tipped the scale at over 7 pounds.

Another great offering is the Walleye School, which is an in-depth look into all the latest and greatest techniques to make attendees more successful when they hit the lakes and rivers this summer. The class is being presented by Capt. Lance Valentine, Capt. Don Ruppert and Capt. Criag Sleeman. All of the educators will be able to key-in on certain areas of the walleye hunt they have refined that make them highly successful. This is an educational opportunity I would love to be able to take advantage of, as fishing the game and advancements are always changing.

If you’re more of a visual learner, the Hawg Trough provides the perfect setting. A 5,000-gallon fish tank that is loaded with bass and other species for the show lets you watch the way fish react to different lures presented by the angler on the boat platform above the tank. It truly is the best seat for observing how your bait looks underwater, how retrieve speed draws interest, and how an angler controls the action of certain baits.

The upcoming 2024 Greater Niagara Fishing Expo offers anglers a variety of learning opportunities, all in one setting. (Submitted photo)


The Greater Niagara Fishing Expo is a show that all anglers – young to old, and all skill levels – will benefit from attending. A full listing of seminars, along with vendors and additional information, can be found at www.niagarafishingexpo.com. I hope to see everyone there.

In other news, another great report came in from the baitfish surveys in Lake Ontario. Two strong year classes of alewives were observed in trawl sampling, which translates into a lot of food for the trout and salmon to eat. This should help ensure we have healthy fish to target for several years.

In the wake of the positive baitfish outlook comes word that New York DEC will increase salmon stocking in Lake Ontario by 10%, which will bring stocking levels up to over 1,000,000 salmon for the first time in several years. The future is definitely looking promising for Lady O and her tributaries.

The warmer weather and record water temperatures will definitely have a positive impact on both the baitfish and gamefish this year. With that said, a lot of anglers are taking advantage of the conditions to extend their fishing season, as evidenced by the number of boats on the lower Niagara and Niagara bar. I have never witnessed this many boats on the water, and the good news is that a lot of success is being had. If you do venture out on the water at this time of the year, please be safe.

I hope to see you enjoying the local outdoors. Every week, I produce a fishing report (Niagara County Fishing Hotline). You can access it online at www.niagarafallsusa.com or by simply calling 716-282-8992, ext. 4, to hear what’s up in the world of fishing. It is updated every Wednesday.

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