There’s lots of good fishing for salmon, steelhead and brown trout ahead! Stay at the shop lodge (Licorice Lodge) close to the Oak Orchard River fishing action! Or for the fall stay at our new well appointed private ground floor lodge (Garage Lodge) located just 6 miles east on Route 18. The new lodge is convenient to eastern tribs like Sandy Creek. Call 585 682 4546 or email email@example.com for a reservation ASAP!
The Oak Orchard Pen Rearing Association receives steelhead and salmon from the NYSDEC placed in net pens in the Oak lower watercourse each spring. Approx 100,000+ King salmon and 10,000 – 15,000 steelhead are placed in the net pens for hopeful imprinting on the OOrchard. These numbers represent just some of the total number of salmonids (brown trout too!) stocked in Orleans County waters annually. Many thanks to local stakeholders for their efforts of securing, feeding and monitoring the fish. More tributary anglers are invited to help with feeding the fish and cleaning the pens. Contact us for how and where to help out each spring. Be sure you contact NYSDEC with comments on the predation from over-abundant cormorants and the impacts on the young stocked salmonids. The NYSDEC Region 8 office in Avon, NY would in-fact love to hear from more anglers showing concern for trib issues. Its ok and encouraged for out of the area anglers to verify their economic impact for the upstate NY tourism economies!
The Sportsmen Archer’s Club Fly Fishing Only Catch and Release Contest will be held Oct 17, 18, 19 – 2018. Everyone always enjoys the great hospitality and convenience of the Archer’s Club and will experience some good fishing. The Club’s 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. Parking on club property and breakfast/lunch for fall fishing usually starts the first week of Oct and runs thru Veterans Day. After that (winter and spring), fishermen can park at the top of the hill outside the gate and walk down. All non club members are reminded to act as courteous and responsible guests on the private bankside lands of the Archer’s Club so that we may all enjoy the fishing access there now and in the future.
We encourage all anglers and users to follow the site rules for access and fishing on the Brookfield Power Company lands. We cannot speak for the power company or interpret their site rules. We have an aerial map highlighting the PFD zone just downstream of the dam and on the overflow channel on the Oak. A PFD is not required to fish all of the Oak, only on the Brookfield Power Company areas below the dam (about 600 feet) where wading is permitted. We can also forward you a copy of the Brookfield Power Company brochure highlighting that area via email. For specific questions about the Waterport dam site rules you can email Inquiries@Brookfieldrenewable.com. We continue to lobby for water access on the far side or west side of the Waterport dam hydro pool and the rest of the Oak. We encourage you to do the same with Brookfield, NYSDEC and/or Orleans County Tourism.
We changed the name from Orleans Outdoor to Oak Orchard Tackle & Lodge going on 3 years ago! We have a new logo that cleverly looks a lot like the old one! Watch for other changes soon like more content to this website. If you’re reading this you should be at the right spot on our new fishing conditions page. There’s probably still some old Orleans Outdoor content out there on the web and Goggle. We hope to go live with more fishoakorchard.com info soon! We look forward to another 20 years as WNY’s longest running trout and salmon speciality fly, spin and float trib shop!
Its all about water flows… Water flows are the single biggest factor in encouraging upstream movements of fish during the fall, winter and spring trib seasons. The Oak benefits from 24/7 spring, summer and fall supplemental flows from the Erie Canal. In our fishing conditions tabs below we use a simple system to describe the water flows on the Oak and oftentimes other area smaller trib flows too. We are generally most confident in our Oak interpretations, less so in the other area smaller tribs. Remember use caution in interpreting the upstream USGS gauging stations on the Oak that can mean little or nothing for flows downstream of the Waterport hydro – especially in considering both the turbine channel and overflow channel.
Real low, low, mod, mod to med, med, slightly high, slightly high to high, high, real high, blown. Intrepid anglers are capable of catching fish on the Oak in all of these flows, except for maybe blown AND dirty. Remember the turbine channel can only get so high due to how much flow can pass thru the hydro plant. That flow is still actually fishable – unless its high AND dirty. Blown flows typically come from the overflow channel.
Back to more wintery weather after a few inches of snow thru last night. Cold temps forecast thru the mid week with a warming trend toward the weekend. Chance of rain showers tomorrow. For now flows are all dropping and clearing. Flows in the Oak are about med or maybe just one notch less with mostly clear water color of 2 – 3 ft of viz. Fishing pressure is light and there’s no significant icing conditions. The other area smaller tribs have mod flows and mostly clear water color. With dropping flows and cold temps hanging in there could be some renewed icing in spots on the smaller tribs. Look for a few fresh fish from earlier higher water now pooled up in deeper holes or near the dam or in downstream slow & deep water spots. The next shot of higher flows should lead to some fresh steelhead migrations and late winter/spring action. Larger waterways like the Niagara are back in business and the Genny should be close to a decent fishable window too.
After a couple day warm up, weather is back to seasonable temps with chance of a few inches of snow for the end of the weekend. Still real nice fishable conditions in the Oak at slightly high with 2 ft or better of viz. For a Feb or Mar time frame you’d take these conditions anytime. When you wait for better conditions it oftentimes just gets higher and dirtier. Fishing pressure is low to moderate, plenty of water to move thru and drift – many guys fishing nearer the dam. Action reported today, Sat, a little tougher as guys are putting in some time for some their hook-ups. The other area smaller tribs have mostly open and med flows. Thanks to longer days now those smaller waterways prob are not going to lock back up completely, but consistent cold will likely cause some icing in spots, esp downstream or slower water areas. Not a lot of reports heard back on the smaller tribs, fishing pressure seems pretty quiet there.
This begin part of the week’s storm didn’t amount to much snow or rain here on the WNY Lake O Plain so no great change in trib flows. Most waterways still on a slow drop and clear. Water conditions for now just about perfect in the Oak by late winter steelhead standards at maybe one notch below slightly high and slightly stained with about 2 ft of viz. Still a real good head of turbine water. Wide open to fish even down thru the lower frog water. That downstream water filling in with a subsequent change in drift thanks to seasonal rising big Lake O levels (normal). Kind of a shame to see chairs and junk left done there getting flooded. Pretty light fishing pressure thru this whole week so far. The other area smaller tribs have something like med and slightly stained flows and are for the most part open to fish esp in the upstream fast water reaches. Downstream or slow water areas could show some icing back up, esp if prolonged cold weather should set back up. Fresh steelhead or lake run or drop back brown trout chances in those smaller tribs? Hard to confirm with such light fishing pressure, but by the calendar date they should be there and a few guys have reported some action. Warm temps today and tomorrow and chance of rain showers could get a little bit of run off rolling but then the forecast is back to seasonably cold for the weekend so it may be just good for maintaining flows.
Just when you think the weather will get somewhat consistent – it changes again. Seems to be the pattern… This weeks forecast temps prob not as cold as anticipated at least until the end of week or upcoming weekend, so look for most trib flows to be open and fishable for now without icing back up. Given this Feb time frame it would take a good bit of consistent cold to lock things back up. There’s snow expected today changing over to a wintery mix or rain and then changing back over to snow tomorrow. Warmer temps and the rain may get some runoff rolling again just as things were trying to retreat. For now flows in the Oak are slightly high consisting of a good head of turbine water and diminished overflow water. Water color has been improving at about 1 – 2 ft of viz. Flows may be back on the increase and getting dirtier thru the mid part of this week. There has been a fair amount of pressure at the dam at times, but generally the rest of the downstream water has not had a lot of pressure. Guys are into a mix of old and fresh steelhead with some legit 30+ inch fish reported. The other area smaller tribs have slightly high to high and stained flows that are pretty well open. Reports from those waterways are somewhat quiet but there’s likely some fresh steelhead chances there too. The stormy weather today and tomorrow may make for some challenging drifting and we’ll hafta see what the end of week and upcoming weekend weather may do to the water levels.
Flows in the Oak are on the retreat now at high and dirty. Flows consist mostly of turbine water that looks to be about wide open. Overflow levels are diminished and viz is 1 foot or just less. Look for turbine flows to remain high at least in the short term and slowly clearing water color. Forecast is for seasonably cold around the 30’s for highs thru next week. The other area smaller tribs have high and dirty flows that did mostly open up the fast water channels but are now back to running icy and likely to be freezing back up as they retreat. On the Oak the downstream slow water areas are open again for now. With the higher flows we had and the flows still cranking pretty good now even on the retreat – there should be the chance for some fresh steelhead migrations, esp in the Oak. Even thru the high and dirty and cold flows there’s been a few fish scratched up and when even just one of that high and dirty and cold parts of the equation can be removed say in the future with moderating conditions, anglers should be able to do all the better. Oak Orchard Tackle & Lodge helped Orleans County out at the Edison, NJ Flyfishing Show and the NRA Great Outdoorsman Show in Harrisburg, PA in Jan and Feb. Shop hours should be routine again and we are receiving our spring orders of fly and spin and float gear now and gearing the shop back up for steelhead action!
Shop lodge open all winter and spring for brown trout and steelhead action! Call 585 682 4546 for a reservation.
Check out the link below for some exciting reg changes proposed by NYSDEC. Various open Lake and trib interests like Oak Orchard Tackle & Lodge were asked to participate in discussions on the salmonid fishery. These are advance notice for proposed regs something like 2 years off and comments are being sought by NYSDEC. These proposed regs are designed to enhance, protect and spread out the salmonid resource across both the open Lake and tributary interests. As goes the fishing in the Lake, so goes the fishing in the tribs… As goes the fishing in the tribs, so goes the fishing in the Lake… These regs are just what’s needed esp for brown trout and steelhead when faced with often intense seasonal pressure. Consider the chance for more angling opportunity now on off peak times with more trophy browns and steelhead available that have not been creeled already earlier. Anglers will still have the chance to creel fish and/or trophy fish for a lasting memory. Follow the link to submit your well thought out comments and be sure to tell the NYSDEC why you might support these enhanced protections.
Remember you still 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 and the calendar is the biggest factor for angling pressure and bringing more fishermen out or keeping them indoors. There are always some exceptional fish caught in the 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, the Lakeshore and other WNY tribs 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. A trip 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!
Latest Catch Photos
Mid week at dawn 1 for 2 with this nice fresh hen landed at the Oak rivermouth. No consistent cool down or big freshets yet so the action has been on and off. Some persistent casting in the low light or at night periods should provide chances for hard strikes and good fights. Look for better rivermouth and lower river action each day on cool or wet weather. Oak Orchard rivermouth King, second week Sep 2018.
High and stained flows gives up some fresh Oak Orchard chrome for the Licorice Man. Fresh steelhead chances for late winter, early spring usually means high and stained and cold water challenging drifts. Waiting for supposed “better” conditions could mean missing out and finding even worse water conditions later on. Late Feb 2018.
Even lucky, old and not pretty casters like the Licorice Man can get in on the early hard striking and fighting fresh King action at the Oak Orchard rivermouth! IMO one nice silver fish is worth a whole bunch old upstream darkies. Early Sep 2017.
Erica finds it hard to hold up nearly 20 lbs of fresh King caught at the Oak Orchard rivermouth! Early silver fish like this are a good sign for the upcoming trib action. No trolling gear required, you can get in on this action casting or drifting! Early Sep 2017.
Steelhead glory to the swung fly in the OOrchard for end Jan 2016/begin Feb 2017. Will you be there when a chromer moves upstream? Don’t wait for Apr and ask if the steelhead are in yet!
Good steelhead action for fresh fish up and down the OOrchard River on retreating and clearing flows for begin of Mar 2017. Savvy trib anglers anticipate good hook-up chances on the backside of high flows when reasonable weather and water conditions coincide!