Fishing On The Niagara River

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As the sun rises, the cool breeze awakens the sleeping fish in the Niagara River. They begin to stir, seeking food and biting at whatever comes their way. For some fishermen, this is the perfect time to start their day.

They know that the fish are hungry and will be biting at anything. Others wait until the sun is high in the sky and the fish are more active. No matter what time of day, fishing on the Niagara River can be a great experience.

The Niagara River is one of the most popular fishing spots in New York State. It is home to a variety of fish. This article will focus on the different fish in the Niagara River and some tips on catching them.

Listen to more fishing tips on the Cast & Spear Podcast

Different Species You Can Find in Different Seasons in The Niagara River

Niagara River is home to a diverse range of fish species. You can find both cold water and warm water fish in the river. The most popular fish that fishers target are bass, trout, and walleye.

This is what Lyle Gayder, an experienced guide in Ontario Niagara and also the host of the Love of Fishing podcast, said, “Something I really love doing is going through different seasons and having a chance to catch a bunch of different fish.”

“On the Niagara, we are really lucky because we have both a cold-water fishery and a warm water fishery. And depending on the time of year, it gives us access to different species like rainbow trout, brown trout, uh, warm water species, like smallmouth bass and walleye.”

Spring Time

Spring is when the water starts to warm up, and the fish become more active. This is a great time to target springhead or rainbow trout.

“During this time, there’s a spring run of steelhead or rainbow trout. And this is really the predominant fish that you find in that area from anywhere between January and late May.” Lyle Gayder said.

These fish are typically found in the headwaters of the river. You can also find big walleye in the river during this time.

“There can be some really big walleye up to 13, 14 pounds, which if you’re walleye angler, that’s a trophy by any standard,” Lyle Gayder said.

Summer Time

The summer is when the river is warmest, and the fish are most active. This is a great time to target largemouth bass and smallmouth bass. Lyle Gayder said, “As you start to get into the warmer months like June and July, you get into some great smallmouth bass fishing.”

One of the coolest things about Niagara is that you get a chance to fish on the New York side.

“And what’s cool about the Niagara is if you’re fishing on the upper Niagara, you have the opportunity to fish the New York side, which is open for smallmouth bass all year round,” Lyle Gayder said. New York allows you to fish for smallmouth bass all year.

Fall Time

As the cold weather sets in, the fish become less active. This is a great time to target trout.

“As the fall approaches, you start to get back into your cold-water species, both on the upper and the lower you get trouts starting to run the river,” Lyle Gayder said.

The brown trout are beautiful with bright red spots and their brown color.

Lyle Gayder said, “Every year, we have a fantastic run of brown trout, which is really a special fish for me. Anyone who’s seen a brown trout in a stream will know how beautiful they are with the bright red spots, the beautiful brown colors, and on the Niagara.”

You can also find some smallmouth bass while feeding for the winter. They are gorging themselves on baitfish. “Fall time as well is a great time for smallmouth bass fishery. Those fish are feeding up for the wintertime. They’re gorging themselves on bait,” Lyle Gayder said.

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Ecology of The Niagara River

Niagara River is an important waterway in North America that flows for about 35 miles (56 kilometers) from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario. The river forms the border between the Canadian province of Ontario and the US state of New York.

The river is a vital power source for both Canada and the United States. More than 50 million people live in the Niagara River watershed. The Niagara River is home to various fish, including bass, carp, catfish, and sturgeon.

The river is also a popular destination for recreational fishing. Every year, thousands of people fish on the Niagara River.

Fishing on the Niagara River can be a great experience. The river offers beautiful scenery, good fishing spots, and a chance to catch various fish.

The Niagara is also a diverse river with much to offer. It is a perfect destination for those who love the outdoors and want to explore all that nature offers. The Niagara River is a true gem, and it is sure to provide you with a memorable experience.

Lyle Gayder said, “If you ever get a chance, John, um, you know, it’s really an experience like no other to, to come up and fish the Niagara River.”

Tips for Fishing on The Niagara River

Fishing on the Niagara River can be an enjoyable experience for anglers of all expertise. For your trip to Niagara to be successful, you should keep a few things in mind.

Niagara is a Fast-Moving River

Niagara is a fast-moving river, and, as such, the fish that reside in it are constantly on the move. This means that you need to always move to stay ahead of the fish.

The Best Time To Fish Is Early in the Morning

The best time to fish on the Niagara River is early in the morning before the sun gets too high in the sky. This is because the fish are more active in cooler water temperatures.

Use Live Bait

Live bait will always be your best bet when fishing on the Niagara River. Some of the most popular live baits include minnows, leeches, and nightcrawlers.

Pay Attention To the Weather

The weather can have a big impact on the fishing conditions on the Niagara River. Before heading out, be sure to check the forecast and be prepared for any changes in the weather.

Know the Regulations

Familiarize yourself with the regulations that are in place for fishing on the Niagara River. These regulations are in place to help protect the fish population and ensure that everyone has a chance to enjoy the river.

The Fishing Methods Used in Niagara River

The Niagara River is a veritable smorgasbord of fish, just waiting to be caught by the enterprising angler. There are many different ways to fish the river, and each has its unique benefits.

Here are some of the most popular methods used by anglers in Niagara:


This method involves dragging bait behind a moving boat to entice fish to bite. Trolling is a great way to cover a lot of ground quickly and can be very effective in finding fish that are spread out.

Bottom Fishing

You can also choose to fish at the bottom of the river, using heavy weights and bait to attract fish swimming near the bottom. This method can be very productive, as many fish congregate near the bottom of the river.

Fly Fishing

Fly fishing is a popular technique in Niagara, as it allows anglers to target specific fish species. This method involves using a light rod and line and casting artificial flies into likely fishing spots.

Fly fishing can be challenging but can also be very rewarding.

Ice Fishing

In the winter months, many anglers enjoy the challenge of ice fishing. This involves drilling holes in the ice and fishing through them. Ice fishing can be a great way to catch fish that are otherwise inaccessible.

Spear Fishing

Spearfishing is another popular method in Niagara and can be a great way to catch fish hiding in underwater structures. This method involves using a spear or harpoon to target fish and can be very effective in areas with a lot of cover.

Kayak Fishing

Kayak fishing is a great way to get up close and personal with the fish in Niagara. This method involves fishing from a kayak and can be very effective in areas where other boats cannot go.

Kayaks also provide anglers with a great vantage point for spotting fish.


The Niagara River is a great place to fish, and there are many different ways to do it. Whether you prefer to troll, bottom fish, fly fish, or ice fish, there is a method that will suit your needs. 

Be sure to familiarize yourself with the regulations and be prepared for the changing weather conditions. With a little effort, you will have a successful fishing trip on the Niagara River.

Diana Nadim
Fishing Expert
Diana began fishing at the age of seven, as it has been a long-time family tradition. From catching small bullheads to catching strippers on the backwaters of Bighorn, she loves to get out in the wild and have a marvelous day on the water. Her dad was an expert angler, and he taught her fishing along with her two siblings. They used to go to the Bighorn River in Montana and Henry’s fork, Idaho. As a pragmatic person, she is obsessed with creating well-researched and practical guides and reviews of the best fishing methods and gear.
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