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Top Fishing Charters in Buffalo

Fishing in Buffalo

It’s a rarity and a treat to come to one city, yet have the opportunity to test your angling skills on three different bodies of water. That’s exactly what Buffalo fishing has to offer you. Located in between the scenic Niagara River, Lake Ontario, and Lake Erie, Buffalo is heaven for every inshore fisherman looking for their next big challenge.
This is the place to come to when you’re looking to catch colossal Trout, delicious Salmon, or the best fighter in the freshwater hall of fame, Walleye. There’s something for every preference in this playground of both warm and cold water game fish. Whether you’re curious to explore eastern Lake Erie, or you want to see what the Niagara River has to offer, coming to the second largest city in the state of New York will be worth your while.

Fishing Spots

The fishing in Buffalo, NY has something for everyone. If you’re in the mood to experience the continuous thrill that comes with fishing the upper Niagara River, Buffalo is the best spot to start your fishing trip. The abundant fisheries of Lakes Ontario and Erie offer calmer waters... at least until you feel that first tug of the line!


Upper Niagara River

The waters of the upper Niagara River are clear, fast, and not always easy to navigate, but they make up for it with the outstanding fishery they offer. You don’t have to go far to get to the excellent bite – usually a 10–20 minute boat ride will do the trick. Muskellunge thrive in these outflow waters and you can find lunkers here that weigh up to 40 pounds. 
Salmon and Trout fishing is good year round, but it’s particularly productive from late November until mid-April. In this period, you can expect plenty of Coho and Chinook Salmon coming in from the north, as well as Lake and Rainbow Trout in healthy numbers. Fishing the Niagara River also means you’ll be protected from the winds that are never-yielding on the Great Lakes, which is a welcome advantage, both for winter fishing, and your health.

Lake Erie

Walleye, Smallmouth Bass, Steelhead, Perch – when you’re fishing Eastern Lake Erie, you don’t have to choose, you can hook them all in one trip. This is the deeper part of the lake, but its waters are clear and bountiful. Walleye is the star of the show and you can find them relatively close to the surface. Bear in mind they are cunning and won’t be easily fooled, especially if you barge in with bright colored lures and a lot of noise. Your captain will know exactly how to target them in different periods, so follow his lead. The fishing spots Buffalo, NY has to offer are countless, and Lake Erie hides a good part of the best honey holes in the area.

Lake Ontario

Even though it’s the smallest of the Great Lakes, fishing Lake Ontario is nothing short of extraordinary. This is the place to be when you’re looking to catch Trout, Steelhead, Walleye, Smallmouth Bass, or Salmon. The spot where the Niagara River flows into the lake is one of the best places to be if you’re fishing for migratory Chinook and Coho Salmon. The prime season to catch King Salmon in these deep waters is anywhere from April to September. Smallmouth Bass is also abundant here, as well as Brown and Lake Trout.

Fishing Tips

  • Long lining and using live bait are the the best option if you’re looking to land 10 lb Walleye on Lake Erie.

  • In Buffalo’s waters, Smallmouth Bass react well to vertical jigging spoons, soft-shelled crabs as live bait, and vibrating lures. Donnely’s Wall and Seneca Shoals are the ultimate hotspot for targeting these tasty fish.

  • To target Brown Trout on Lake Ontario, troll with plugs, and as the weather and the water become warmer, you can switch to downriggers and spoons.


Need to Know

Before you head out on your angling expedition, familiarize yourself with the fishing regulations of the area. If you decide to explore these waters aboard one of many Buffalo fishing charters, your guide will explain in detail the rules you need to follow. 


To be able to fish anywhere on Lake Ontario, the Niagara River, and Lake Erie, you will need a valid New York state fishing license. There are different options to choose from, depending on your state of residence, age, and how long you want to fish for.
Fishing seasons change significantly from species to species. You can catch Trout and Salmon all year, but the Walleye and Northern Pike season is open from the first Saturday in May until March 15. The season for Muskellunge opens on the third Saturday of June  closes by the end of November.


If you want to get a taste of Buffalo fishing, and you want to do so with the help of an experienced captain, all you need to do is take your pick. Full day trips cost anywhere from $300–$500, while half day excursions are usually around the $250–$350 benchmark. If you’re using live bait, there might be some small additional fee for it, unless you’re catching it along the way.

Getting There

Aside from New York City, Buffalo is the center of the state’s events. Museums, parks, botanical gardens, and the exciting nightlife should all be on your to-do list when you visit this dynamic city. On your way to do some fishing, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Erie Basin Marina and its beautiful waterfront. 
Come to Buffalo to catch your next trophy, and stay for the amazing mix of the compelling city life and stupendous fishing opportunities!
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Buffalo Fishing Seasons

Ice fishing and Lake Erie pair well, and you can expect a fair amount of Perch. Northern Pike and Brown Trout are biting on Lake Ontario, so bundle up and head out.

You can catch some big Walleye while ice fishing on Lake Erie, and there’s plenty of Lake Trout to hook on the Niagara River. Ice fishing on Lake Ontario brings Perch and Walleye.

The ice is slowly melting, but that means the waters are cold and you will have to go deeper to catch something. Steelhead and Trout are the most frequent catches this month.

The Niagara River produces a good number of Lake and Brown Trout, as well as Steelhead. You can find a decent amount of Perch on Lake Ontario, unless there’s a lot of ice floating around.
Go out on Lake Ontario to hunt King Salmon and Lake Trout. Fishing for Walleye, Bass, and Trout has been good on the Upper Niagara, and Lake Erie Walleye is becoming more active.
The Southtowns Walleye Association’s Walleye Tournament is this month, and you can catch Walleye and Bass all around Buffalo. Muskellunge season is also open, so get out and fish on!

Going after Chinook Salmon never disappoints on Lake Ontario, and you can catch Steelhead here and there on the Niagara River. Bass and Walleye fishing on Lake Erie is as good as ever.

Bass and Walleye are still very much biting on Lake Erie, as well as on the Niagara River. Salmon fishing is good on Lake Ontario, and it will only get better as the winter approaches.

Both on the Upper Niagara River and Lake Erie Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass will start to hide around rocks and grass as the weather cools down, so this is where you should cast your line.

Perch and Walleye aren’t giving up on Lake Erie, and the Niagara River is teeming with Coho and Chinook. Steelhead and Salmon are also a popular catch on Lake Ontario, as well as Brown Trout.

Steelhead and Rainbow Trout are lively in Lake Erie. Musky season closes on November 30, but you can still catch plenty of Lake and Brown Trout when fishing Lake Ontario.

The beginning of the month brings the John Henning Lower River Memorial Musky Tournament. On the Niagara River, you can expect Bass, Trout, and Steelhead, while King Salmon rule Lake Ontario.

Buffalo Fishing Calendar

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What People Are Saying About Buffalo

"August fishing trip"

Barbara K. fished with Schultz Sportfishing Charter on August 2, 2018

Barry is well versed and knowledgeable, friendly and helpful

"Salmon Fishing on Lake Ontario with 1st Choice Charters"

Tom S. fished with 1st Choice Charters - Buffalo on July 26, 2018

Without question! Lakes Erie and Ontario are extremely healthy as are the fish!

Top Targeted Species in Buffalo



Lake Trout

Lake Trout

Rainbow Trout (Steelhead)

Rainbow Trout (Steelhead)

Bass (Smallmouth)

Bass (Smallmouth)

Brown Trout

Brown Trout

Salmon (Chinook)

Salmon (Chinook)

Salmon (Coho)

Salmon (Coho)

Nearby Fishing Destinations