Orleansoutdoor Fishing Conditions strives to provide its patrons w




  strives to provide its patrons with Click to see bigger pic reliable stream, weather and fishing conditions during the fall, winter and spring. We are happy to provide this information for anglers so that they can make informed decisions about fishing trips. Please be aware, however, that weather, fishing conditions and water flows can change in a moment's notice. Hydro power generation can and does alter water flows. Not all fishermen's expectations and skills are equal and if you wait for "perfect" conditions, you'll likely miss some good opportunities. No guarantee of success, natural conditions or safety is ever implied. Here's what we know right now...

Last updated: Mar 26, 2015

Weather Forecast


Lodging dates are available for 2015 trib season. There's lots of good fishing for steelhead and brown trout ahead! Stay at the Licorice Lodge at the shop in the heart of the fishing action! Brand new additional lodging available for Fall 2015 located just 5 miles east on Route 18, convienent to Sandy Creek. All lodging reservations now accepted for 2015.

The Oak Orchard Pen Rearing Association received approx 30,000 steelhead placed in net pens and directly into the OOrchard Apr 15, 2014. Approx 115,000 King salmon where also placed in the net pens for hopeful imprinting on the OOrchard. These numbers represent just some of the total number of salmonids stocked here in Orleans County annually. Many thanks to Bob Songin and other local stakeholders for their efforts of securing, feeding and monitoring the fish. More tributary anglers are invited in 2015 to help with feeding the fish and cleaning the pens. Contact us for how and where to help out.

The Sportsmen Archer's Club Fly Fishing Only Catch and Release Contest will be held Oct 21, 22, 23 - 2015. Everyone is sure to enjoy the great hospitality and comradorie of the Archer's Club and experience some real good fishing. Their cooperation with out of the area fishermen is truly above board and greatly appreciated by all. Please contact us or see the Club for registration.

Tributary Fly Fishing Class on Sat, Apr 11, 2015. Join our great instructors NYSLOG Paul Jacob from Reel Action Fly Fishing and Capt. Jason Franz from Trout 'n' About and RonB aka the Licorice Man in 2015. An informative and fun filled day where we can help shorten the learning curve for you. Lunch is provided. Call or email for more info and pre-registration!

Be sure you follow-up with your comments on the Waterport dam situation via the contacts listed below, especially the first three. It's very important! For specific questions email the power company at the 4th contact listed. We can't speak for Brookfield!

Yes you can still fish all of the same water, there are just some new rules in place! There is significant misinformation out there about the new site rules put forth by Brookfield Power at the Waterport dam. Read the info below carefully, PFD's are required only on the Brookfield Power Company lands where water entry is permitted. Brookfield does not own the lands downstream anywhere near the end of the peninsula or near the Archer's Club! There are no new concerns or changes or otherwise on the rest of the river say on the Oak Orchard River Public Fishing Access Area or around the Archer's Club, etc...

If anglers see any spinning or erratic swimming or sunken steelhead here in the OOrchard or other tribs, please report it to us and we will forward this info to NYSDEC who is looking to gather info to see if there are any issues here like they have been seeing some on the Salmon River.

*Ask about our "Long Cold Winter Sale..." Savings to 20% OFF or greater on fly, spin, float rods and reels and wading jacs and waders and boots. All mail orders for any shop gear receive free shipping and discounts too. Call for info and orders.*

Mar 26 revised..
A return to colder temps today and thru Sat are forecasted. Yesterday's precip and warmer temps here on the Niagara Frontier have brought the smaller waterways back high and dirty. Todays rains showers weren't much and are already changing to some snow. Less then an inch or two is expected. The previous couple days warmer temps and recent precip shouldn't blow anything back out, but as previous scenarios have similarily played out with the up and down weather, smaller tribs flows are on the rise slightly with more color to the water. OOrchard flows are prob just halted from retreating and overflow levels may come back up some. Flows in the OOrchard are still at a full head of turbine water. Water color is about 2 feet of viz but will likely go a little more off color again. The other area smaller tribs should drop and clear again in a day or two thanks to the forecasted colder temps. With just a few more guys out recently there were reports of steelhead hook-ups in the smaller tribs both east and west of the OOrchard. Dirtier water color will make for challenging conditions in the smaller tribs again. High water drifters on the OOrchard are into some fish mainly higher in the rivercourse. Water temps remain cold with no major spawning activity noted yet. With no major spawning pull yet on fish, they seem to still be on a mission to migrate to the dam and haven't spread out well downstream thru fast water gravel areas. More fish yet will hopefully migrate on warming flows and the high water fish already in the river should look to drop back.

Mar 25...
Turbine flows remain pretty much cranked in the OOrchard with overflow levels now minimal. Water color has cleared some more to greater then 1 foot of viz, going toward 1 - 2 feet of viz. Over-the-all still a med pick on some fresh and darker fish mostly in either the turbine OR overflow channel. Downstream fast water drifting will be a little easier now with diminished overflow water, but either fly, spin or float drifts will need to get down and slowed some for best hook-up chances. Indications are there are fair numbers of steelhead around, a good amount of them prob nosed up to the dam and some spread otherwise thru the heavier flows downstream - so, if and when one or more of cold or high or stained water conditions is lessened in that 3-way formula, then hook-ups should be more consistent. A warmer day today and tomorrow with chance of precip may cause flows to go back up and off color. The other area smaller tribs have a nice window of fishability at med - slightly high flows and stained viz with steelhead that should be well spread out in those waterways. Any future melt-off of still some existing snow or with precip will quickly bring those flows back up.

Mar 24...
Thru yesterday, today and prob some of tomorrow trib flows are on the retreat thanks to cold temps. See previous report where we remark about the up and down weather and resultant trib flows. Temps are forecast to warm slightly in the 30's F today and then be near 50 F with the chance of precip Wed and Thu. With a warm-up and any significant precip trib flows may go back high and dirty. Even the slightest warm-up with lots of dark water to soak up sunshine could put some steelhead on gravel spots. For now flows in the OOrchard are high and stained with about 1 foot of viz and diminishing overflow water. With diminishing overflow water the downstream fast water areas could offer up some better drifting chances. Previously most action has been either in the turbine channel OR in the overflow channel for some fresh steelhead that seem to have boogied upstream in the high flows. Over-the-all fishing pressure remains pretty light. Higher flows make it hard to spook fish badly anyway. The other area smallest tribs have med and slightly stained flows that have iced back up slightly in their estuary reaches. The other area mid size smaller tribs have med - slightly high flows and slightly stained water color offering a fishable window now and before any new rise in flows. Steelhead should be well distributed thru those waterways with new migrations and possible spawning activity on any warming flows. Theres still ice cover on Lake Alice and if the weather warms up slowly the OOrchard could offer steelhead chances thru Apr and possibly May. But... the gamble is waiting for better water conditions that may or may not materialize and in fact could just get worse.

Mar 23...
A couple of days of cold temps , a couple of days of warm temps, a couple days of cold temps, etc... So goes the pattern with likewise up and down trib flows. Now flows are back on the retreat and clearing after cold temps yesterday and today. Smallest area tribs are in good shape now with med flows and stained water color. The prime fishable window is in fact fading as flows lower and clear. Fish are likely spread thru those waterways with little fishing pressure. The other area med size smaller waterways have med - slightly high flows with dirty water color of about 1 foot or so of viz. Fishing pressure in those mid size smaller waterways both east and west of the OOrchard seems pretty light. On the backside of recent higher flows as we've had there should be fish well spread out in those waterways. A good fishable window exists there now with two days of cold temps having helped to lower and clear those flows. Future warming and wetter forecasts could quickly put those smallest and mid size smaller waterways back out of shape. Flows in the OOrchard are high and dirty with about 1 foot of viz. Overflow levels were back up but now are retreating at least until the next warm-up or precip. Downstream fast water flows are challenging for dead drifters with most action taking place in either the overflow or turbine channel. There may be good numbers of steelhead farther upstream not yet dropped back (at least in the turbine channel where they can drop back) due to so far cold conditions and no serious spawning activity. The high flows in the OOrchard aren't going away anytime soon and could go higher or dirtier with any warm-ups or precip, so some anglers are taking the conditions as they are with deep and heavy drifts and are scoring some fresh fish hook-ups. Watch for new fish pics below posted soon.

weekend Mar 21...
With warm temps yesterday and today (Sat) and precip today (Sat) trib flows are back on the rise, or at a minimum halted from retreating. Tomorrow, Sun forecast is for cold temps returning again. Smaller area tribs may go a little off color again with the high and dirty flows like are reported to be hanging on from tribs to the east. Reports are few coming from smaller tribs to the west, but there is likely high and stained or dirty water color there as well. OOrchard flows remain up with what looks like full bore turbine water and some overflow water. Overflow levels seem to be barely back on the rise or at least stalled from retreating as reported above. Viz is about 1 foot. Anglers keen enough to see no big lowering of flows in the near term and an eye toward the already late calender are getting out on the higher flows with deeper and slower and heavier drifts and getting some fresh steelhead hook-ups. Guys are scoring nearer the dam and in the overflow channel. Fly anglers will find challenging conditions lower in the rivercourse at the combined channels flow and may need long leaders and more weight for dead drift techniques or heavier tips and flies for swinging. Downstream slower slack water presentations in the broader bigger water will have to intercept moving fish intent on going upstream. The slow burn on the previous rise in flows likewise looks like now a slow burn on retreating, so anglers waiting for lower and clearer flows are missing some action underway right now.

Mar 20...
There was another cold night last night that should help all the trib flows to continue to drop and clear. All the waterways have open flows although there may still be ice flows/jams on the smaller tribs with some bankside ice. Smallest trib flows right now have nice med - slightly high and stained flows for good fresh fish hook-up potential. The other area smaller tribs have slightly high and stained flows likewise on the retreat with steelhead that that should be well distributed and migrating right now. OOrchard flows are high and dirty and clearing from about 1 foot of viz. Flows consist of a good head of turbine water that will likely stay up in the near term even as water color may continue to clear without any new precip or melt off. Steelhead should be spread thru the OOrchard with new migrations underway right now and more to come as water temps may increase. Just reasonable fishing pressure, with warmer temps forecast today and tomorrow and chance of rain showers Sat. Lots of water and now more trib options to spread out the fishing pressure. No effects forecast here on the Niagara Frontier from the latest mid Atlantic snowstorm. Nows the time for sringtime steelhead action since it is already late Mar after all...

See important contact info following...

Anglers fishing at the Waterport dam are reminded to follow all site rules and user requirements (site rules) and warnings, to not go beyond or wade past restricted areas and to obey all instructions from site or security personnel. Those few who might choose to not obey site rules could jeopordize the good and respectful actions of most anglers who enjoy access for fishing provided by Brookfield Renewable Power (power company) on their privately held lands. For anglers accessing Brookfield PFD required zones, PFDs can be purchased here for fall 2014 where we offer a few different styles that should not hinder your current fishing system set-up including belt models, suspenders and foam vests.

The power company has initiated the site rules and user requirements while fishing at the Waterport dam on their privately held lands. The site rules are an alternative to not being allowed access for fishing on thier privately held lands.

We have encouraged users to obey the developing site rules from the beginning (see above) and recommend continued following site rules. The power company has put forth the site rules for the public safety. An incident this past fall 2013 where two users fell in the water while fishing immediately against the powerhouse building, and other factors, are likely responsible for the power company's new site rules. Some of the power company's private lands include the powerhouse area on the turbine channel, the overflow channel bankside areas extending downstream, and the turbine channel bankside areas extending downstream to where it meets the south boundary of the Oak Orchard River Public Fishing Access Area (approx 800 ft downstream from the old RR trestle.) The NYSDEC also owns lands of an approx 60 foot wide swath across the turbine and overflow channels that would approximate the footprint of the old RR trestle.

New site rules include but may not be limited to...

restricted wading areas on both sides of the turbine channel at the powerhouse,

exclusion for wading or water entry on the far side or west side of the turbine channel at the powerhouse,

exclusion from some area below the falls on the overflow channel,

a PFD required zone on the overflow channel,

a PFD required zone extending downstream on the turbine channel starting at the old RR trestle to the southern boundary of the Oak Orchard River Public Fishing Access Area (which is approx 800 ft or half way to the end of the peninsula).

Prior to the new site rules there has been a concentrated salmon fishing effort of many users at the Waterport dam in the fall time-frame over a period of many years. There has also been lawful trout and salmon fishing by fly, spin and float anglers during the fall, winter and spring over a period of many years at the Waterport dam and on all the rest of the power company's lands on the Oak Orchard River.

The new site rules may impact your fishing effort on the Oak Orchard River at the Waterport dam. Your fishing effort on non power company lands on the rest of the Oak Orchard River could also be impacted, for example, by displacing some fall time-frame salmon anglers to other parts of the river.

If you have any concerns or comments about the new site rules you should contact... For the first three contacts you could send one email and copy everyone or call.

Mike Waterhouse the Orleans County Sportfishing Coordinator at sportfishing@orleansny.com. 585 589 3103

Orleans County Tourism at tourism@orleansny.com.
585 589 3198

NYSDEC Region 8 at fwfish8@gw.dec.state.ny.us.
585 226 2466

Brookfield directly for specific questions about the new site rules at inquiries.newyork@brookfieldrenewable.com.

Your comments and concerns are important for the involved policy makers to insure continued great trout and salmon fishing opportunities for all anglers on the Oak Orchard River. Given the timeframe of recent developments near the end of the 2014 spring tributary fishing season, be sure you share this info with all your fishing friends thru whatever social media or forums appropriate.

Remember you have to get out and fish. Come experience great fishing as it takes place instead of solely relying and waiting on internet reports. Anglers who find the best fishing often anticipate when the right conditions will come together. Internet bragging seems a lot less prevelant then it was a few years ago, and our reports tend to be even keeled - not reporting fish numbers great enough that they would be jumping in your waders - even if they were! Good water flows will be the biggest factor for trout and salmon migrations in the Oak Orchard River and in the area smaller tribs and pushing them upstream. Weather is the biggest factor for angler migrations and bringing more fishermen out and about. There have been some exceptional fish caught this trib season, just check out the pics below and in the archives. Come on out and get in on some trophy action this fall, winter and spring and add to the photo collection!

What does the Oak Orchard River, Lake Ontario and WNY offer? The chance to fish from your own two feet for trout and salmon you measure in pounds, not inches, for 7 - 9 months depending upon weather and water conditions. Recent economic conditions may make it more difficult for a fishing trip, but a trip here to the Oak Orchard River and WNY to fish for World Class trout and salmon is still easily the best bargain in trophy fishing. The working man's big trout and salmon trip is still here, and it's not even a contest compared to the other exotic, far off angling destinations. We believe our web reports are the straightest poop by far about Oak Orchard and most WNY conditions. We are living and experiencing all the fishing action directly or thru trusted reports of other die hard anglers as it happens. So how do you know if trophy trout and salmon will be catchable upon your travels to the Oak Orchard and WNY area? All the best web info, bulletin boards, angler skill and top notch equipment cannot replace getting out there and actually fishing! The nuances of fish migrations is an inexact science and we cannot predict the future. Fish as soon as reasonable conditions allow instead of waiting for supposed better conditions that may or may not materialize. Be one of the lucky few that experiences good fishing as it takes place instead of hearing that famous quote, "you should have been here yesterday!"

Tight lines and smooth drags!
Licorice Man


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