Dear Italo, Thank you for helping me be a better fisherman! Catching fish has really helped my father-son relationship. My question is about fishing the Niagara Whirlpool with Rapala J13 for salmon. The current makes controlling the lure difficult. How should I retrieve the lure? Any advice on retrieval speed/action? How about the angel of the cast relative to current? Thank you!

Posted on August 24th, 2021

Thank you for your kind words. Glad I have been able to add to your enjoyment of fishing and with your son. The water in the Niagara River is regulated daily. During the day there is a normal flow right up until 10pm. After that they re-direct the water into large reservoirs to be used for hydro power. The redirection of flow drops the water level in the lower river by several feed. The current speed and water level continues to be lower until about 8am in the morning. At that time they allow the water to flow naturally again down the river so that the falls look impressive.

Niagara Whirlpool
Niagara River Chinooks strike the Rapala J13 all morning long.

A key is to get to the Whirlpool at daybreak so that you can take advantage of the slower current. I find my best fishing there is the first 2 hrs of daylight when the current is slower and the water lower. That lower water exposes algae covered rocks which are very slippery to walk on. Caution must be used to get close to the water. Also, when the water rises it rises fast and any item left near the water when it’s lower may get swept away. A good idea is to leave flash lights, packs, tackle, etc. at the tree line, not down near the low water line.

With regards to presentation, I cast perpendicular to the current and reel the J13 slowly as it swims with the current. With a normal 50-70′ cast it will dive down to 15′. As the lure gets closer to shore it’s important to slow down the retrieve and to also hold the rod-tip high so that the lure doesn’t swim into rocks and get snagged. Chinooks there usually hold 20-30′ off the shoreline in water 20′ deep and shallower so expect strikes within 10′ from shore. Use a moderate retrieve speed and get ready for very strong strikes…God bless you.

Make sure to check the fishing videos on our Italo Labignan YouTube channel and if you have any questions just email them to me at Ask Italo throughout our website.

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