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Niagara River Fishing Map
and Fishing Techniques/Hot Spots

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PLEASE NOTE: Author unknown. If anyone has an idea of who the author is, we would like to know so we can credit this writer for such a great article. Some historic, famous names are resurrected at the beginning of this article. These were men that knew the upper river like the backs of their hands. This article and map were put on it’s own page on this website because of its map and its importance. Everything it says, still holds true today. Nothing changed.

"In the Niagara River, successful angling is dependent upon an understanding and application of a technique developed for fast water fishing over many years. Some of the historical guides that have developed this technique are Hans Mang, Hamp Howard, Freddie Mauser, Patty Hoctor and Bill Dekdebrun.

In the upper Niagara River you'll find, first of all, the famous fighting Niagara River small-mouth bass, yellow pike, northern pike, and muskellunge. In addition, anglers fishing from like banks and docks have been successful in landing rock bass, perch, calico bass and bullheads. There are a number of large sturgeons taken from the waters of the Niagara every year.

Many people have made the statement that they have fished in the river any number of times and have yet to catch their first bass. That’s because the wily bronze-back confines his activities to certain weed beds, wrecks, rock ledges, and deep holes that in many cases cover less area than a normal living room. The successful bass fisherman has managed to range these small-mouth lairs, and any fishermen with a reasonable amount of ability can manage to become a Niagara River bass fishermen by using our marked map and establishing his own ranges.

Our map is self-explanatory. Solid lines denote bass drifts, and broken lines designate areas where you may troll for muskellunge.

Other than to say it is possible that you may pick up a good number of yellow pike while fishing for bass on these designated drifts, we'll not indicate any specific yellow pike grounds except those at the head of the river and Thompson's Hole. It would be physically impossible to give accurate land ranges for any of these spots. Average water depth of bass fishing drifts will range from six feet to ten feet except for certain deep holes, which are indicated on the map.

In regard to rigging for bass, most successful anglers use ten to eighteen pound test braided Nylon line with a snap and swivel at the end. Recently more anglers are using spinning tackle and the light monofilament lines, also with a snap and swivel. Fastened to the snap is a sinker very similar in shape to the large chugging wires used in the lake and river trolling. However, these are miniature replicas . . . the wire being only seven to nine inches in length and the sinker set close to the top weighing only 1/2 to 3/8 of an ounce. Snapped into the same snap and swivel is a three-foot gut leader with a No. 21 or No. 22 Cincinnati bass hook without eye.

The universal bait is the soft-shelled crab properly set up. By “setting up" we mean that the crabs must be reasonably soft and of the consistency of sponge rubber. Our experience has been that the smaller crab is most successful. Late in August and early September, many fishermen switch from crabs to chub and moddock, but nine out of ten bass caught in the river fall victim to the soft-shelled crab.

We locate our drift and get above it because of the river current, drop the line over, allowing it to get away from the boat about fifteen to twenty feet and drift over our designated area. A bass generally will pick up the bait and make a slight run. On feeling a bite, smart fishermen will immediately peel off about ten feet of line allowing the bait complete freedom. This relieves any strain on the line indicating that it is not natural. Then the hook may be set and if you connect, you have a real fight on your hands.

You'll notice from our map that there is very good fishing on both American and Canadian sides of the West River. Some especially good spots are from the head of Grand Island to Oakfield Road on the Grand Island side, and from just below Black Creek to Twin Poplars on the Canadian side. Another hot bed is just above Staley's Reef on the Grand Island side of the river near the new parking area on the Niagara Frontier West River Parkway. This is called the Clay Banks. Out from Staley's Reef is a big hole called the drop off and directly below the Reef is a fine bass area called the Weed-Bed.

This should be fished about 3 or 4 feet outside the weeds. Both sides of the head of Navy Island have produced fine bass fishing. There'll a big weed bed there that is very productive of bass. Surprisingly enough to many, you'll see there's a long bass drift to the west side and above the head of Strawberry Island. All of these spots marked on the map produce good catches of black bass.

It is very important that you try these spots at various distances from shore, because once you strike a fish and take range, you will be able to get additional fish, as we have mentioned before. The east branch of the Niagara River generally has only a few places where there's good bass fishing, although the East River from Edgewater to the foot of the island has produced some of the very finest bass. We hope these instructions and maps will help you in a greater enjoyment of what we think is the finest fishing in the world.

Upper Niagara River Fishing Map
Not for navigation and not to scale

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