Niagara River Fishing: A Complete Guide

Studying Time: 8 minutes

For those who’re searching for a singular waterway to discover, look no additional than the Niagara River. Making a pure border between the US and Canada, it’s thought of a prime fishing spot in each nations – and for good purpose. Whenever you head out on a Niagara River fishing journey you’ll have the chance to hook into each fun-to-catch and scrumptious fish, year-round. 

There are quite a lot of issues that make the river so distinctive. To begin with, it’s divided into two distinct components by the mighty Niagara Falls. As such, it could possibly really feel such as you’re fishing utterly two completely different our bodies of water. The Higher River is shallower and slower, housing its personal set of fish species, in comparison with the Decrease River, which is quicker and deeper.

Even supposing you’ll have the chance to decide on when, the place, and what to fish for, the Niagara River is fickle. The currents will be testy and water ranges fluctuate typically. On this information, we purpose to provide the know-how essential to make your journey each protected and profitable.

What fish are within the Niagara River?

A greater query is perhaps what fish aren’t within the Niagara River? This freshwater haven is residence to over 100 completely different species, 45 of which spawn right here. We couldn’t spotlight all of them, so with out additional ado listed below are our prime Niagara targets.


Few freshwater fish have as celebrated a popularity as Salmon. Scrumptious, hard-fighting, and out there in a restricted capability, these fish tick all of the packing containers. Within the Niagara River, you’ll have the chance to go after two of essentially the most sought-after varieties – Chinook and Coho.

You’ll discover them within the Decrease River, the place it empties out into Lake Ontario, beginning early September. Chinook come to spawn first and usually hit peak numbers within the second half of the month. They’ll stick round properly into October and even keep till early November some years. Coho spawn just a little later, hitting their stride in October.

This part of the river is quick and deep, that means the fish are much more highly effective. You’ll be battling 20–30 lb Chinook Salmon so gear up with 20 lb monofilament line. The waters main as much as productive Salmon fishing spots will be fairly turbulent, so should you’re a newcomer, enlisting the assistance of a information is strongly really helpful.


One other notable resident of the Decrease River is Steelhead. These fish begin making strikes in November, simply as we are saying goodbye to Salmon, and stick round till Could. Steelhead are a constant goal for winter anglers and also you’ll discover them in nice numbers even because the ice begins to type. Since close by Lake Erie normally freezes over, the Niagara River is cleaner than traditional, attracting much more fish.

The presence of spawning Lake Trout additionally performs a component. Their eggs are a meals supply for Steelhead, so gearing up with pink egg sacs for bait is nice follow. When you’ve bundled up, head to the 10-mile stretch of water under the falls. Anglers right here typically boat 10–15 fish per day. The winter climate retains the crowds at bay and it’s seemingly you’ll be reeling in 10 lb Steelhead all by your self.

Brown and Lake Trout

Anglers like to fish the Niagara River for Brown and Lake Trout for various causes. Lake Trout are an ideal goal for novice anglers, whereas Browns are a number of the hardest Trout to catch. Browns right here get large, with some specimens hitting the 30 lb mark. You may both put in your waders, head out on a float journey, or fly fish from the banks to hook ’em.

Lake Trout are caught in the identical means, and the summer time emerald shiner run is a good time to get their fingers on them. When it comes to seasonality, you’ll discover Browns within the Niagara River concurrently Steelhead. Lake Trout are a year-round goal however keep in mind that fishing for them is prohibited from October to December.


You’ll discover Walleye in each the Higher and Decrease River – particularly from Could–September. Throughout this time, a lot of the fish congregate close to Fort Niagara, on the mouth of the river the place it empties into Lake Ontario. To get your fingers on a trophy, strive trolling the weed beds in spring. Within the peak of summer time, head out on a drift boat and equipment up with worm harnesses.

Bear in mind, Walleye favor low mild so except for fishing earlier than dawn and after sundown, it’s a good suggestion to go looking areas with cowl. Other than being so plentiful, the opposite large draw for Walleye anglers within the Niagara River is their measurement. You’ll discover a lot within the 8 lb vary and a few hit properly over the ten lb mark.


You’ll discover Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass all through this waterway, however for the toughest combating specimens, head to the Higher River. Smallmouth Bass are undoubtedly the celebs of the present. They like the slower waters, which is nice information for you. It’s far much less busy than the Decrease River and lots of the time, you’ll have the fish to your self.

To efficiently fish for Smallmouth Bass, hunt down weed beds, ledges, and deep holes. Gear up with 10–20 lb braided line or pair a light-weight deal with spinning rod with a sinker to entry these secluded areas. Drift fishing and casting from the shore are each appropriate for hooking your subsequent Bass.

And Extra!

Like we talked about in our introduction, there are lots of fish to focus on within the Niagara River. Within the higher sections of the river, above the Falls, you may add Perch, Northern Pike, and Muskellunge to your goal checklist. You’ll discover these identical fish under the Falls, in addition to Channel Catfish and even Carp from time to time.

How can I fish the Niagara River?

The Niagara River isn’t at all times straightforward to navigate. There’s a big quantity of water right here and a few sections of the river are very quick and unpredictable. There are extra methods to fish the river than those listed under, nevertheless, we consider these to be the most secure throughout the board.

Constitution Boat Fishing

Particularly should you’re new to the river, we are able to’t suggest hiring a Niagara River fishing constitution sufficient. Having a educated captain with you is an indispensable benefit, particularly should you’re tackling stretches of the river which are tough. They’ll take command of the vessel in addition to share their prime suggestions and secret honey holes with you.

For those who’re hoping to troll for Trout and Salmon, you’ll discover all kinds of boats with highly effective engines to present you velocity and allow you to navigate the waters. Niagara River float journeys are a giant deal within the spring and are an effective way to focus on Bass, Walleye, and Lake Trout.

Shore Fishing

Fishing the Niagara River from shore could be a very fulfilling expertise. There are many locations on each the Decrease and Higher River the place you may forged a line for coveted targets like Walleye, Pike, Bass, and Trout with out stepping foot on a ship.

Shore fishing spots on the Higher River are far more accessible, however should you’re heading to the Decrease River – carry your mountaineering boots. Reaching widespread areas requires hoofing it down some steep hills. When fishing the river from the shore, forged upstream and provides your line sufficient slack to float downstream naturally.

The place ought to I’m going?

The Niagara River creates the border between Canada and the USA, and there are ample fishing spots in each nations. Under we spotlight a number of of our favorites that can assist you get began.

  • Whirlpool State Park: This honey gap is an ideal spot to hook Salmon, Steelhead, Browns, and Lakers. Solid from shore or head out on a float journey – however beware. They name it “Whirlpool” for a purpose, water ranges can fluctuate drastically and the present spins backwards and forwards.
  • Satan’s Gap State Park: Situated a number of miles under Niagara Falls, Satan’s Gap is a first-rate fall Salmon and winter Steelhead fishery. The waters in Satan’s Gap itself are calm, however the boat experience right here will see you go up towards a powerful present. Enlist a information should you’re new to the world.
  • Strawberry Island: Anglers concentrating on Bass within the Higher River ought to head to the world surrounding Strawberry Island. This spot is particularly nice for early season Smallmouth Bass!
  • Lewiston: Launching from Lewiston, New York provides you nice entry to the mouth of the Niagara River. With loads of boat ramps and shore fishing spots, it’s an ideal all-around alternative for anglers concentrating on Walleye, Yellow Perch, Trout, and Bass.
  • The Niagara Bar: As its identify implies, the Bar is a sandbar that holds all kinds of baitfish. As such, it’s fishable year-round. Relying on the season, you’ll discover Chinook and Coho Salmon right here, in addition to Steelhead and Brown and Lake Trout.

The rest I have to know?

Like another waterway, the Niagara River is topic to fishing laws. The very first thing you’ll want to verify of is that you’ve got the correct fishing license. For those who’re fishing on the American aspect of the border, be sure that to purchase a New York fishing license for all anglers over the age of 16. You could find out extra in regards to the completely different license sorts on this information.

Fishing on the Canadian aspect? Get an Ontario fishing license for anglers aged 18–64 earlier than hopping on a fishing constitution or casting from the shore. Canadian and American fisheries on the Niagara River are topic to differing possession and bag limits. These can change on an annual foundation so be sure you learn up on the laws earlier than heading out.

Good to eat?

The Niagara River’s water high quality has improved during the last three a long time, nevertheless, warning ought to nonetheless be used when consuming fish caught right here. There are some fish you shouldn’t eat in any respect, and others the place a most of 4 meals per 30 days is really helpful. To make sure protected consuming select smaller fish, trim pores and skin and fats, and cook dinner your catch.

Niagara River Fishing: Highly effective and Thrilling

Point out Niagara and most minds soar to the Falls, however there’s multiple highly effective and thrilling waterway to see and discover on this area. For those who’re up for a freshwater journey and year-round fishing for a number of the most coveted species on the East Coast, that is the place you need to be. A Niagara River fishing journey is worthy of your bucket checklist – you received’t remorse it!

Have you ever fished the Niagara River earlier than? What are your favourite spots to forged a line? Tell us within the feedback – we love to listen to from you!

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