Jump to content

Boating In Devil’s Hole


Burger

Recommended Posts

As a newer angler to the area, I wasn’t able to find much of anything on forums about boat safety in the lower Niagara - particularly getting up to devils hole. 

 

I have an 18’ lund with a 90hp mercury, and have safely gotten up into devils maybe 7-8 times. I was hesitant to even try, but spoke with a few captains and got the nod. 

 

Purpose of this topic is to provide some searchable info on boat safety for people wanting to navigate the treacherous water between the hydro plants. I’ve seen many many people in VERY small boats up there. The niagara has unfortunately chewed up a few people lately, and feel like this would be good to have around. 

 

Was hoping to get some veterans or captains to chime in on basic safety pointers, boat requirements, a possible path or side taken from Lewiston-Queenston bridge up to the devils drift, navigating around the giant whirlpools, water levels/conditions, etc. 

 

Thanks in advance 

Edited by Burger
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not a captain but a rec boater who has fished there with guides but never had the stones to go myself.  Interested in your experience with the 90hp.  I assumed that would be underpowered.  Most of the guys up there have larger outboards.

 

 Is there a specific line you like to take?

 

Seems like there’s a lot of bad water up there to be driving around with your bow up/transom down (not on plane).  How important is hole shot?/time to plane in that swirly water?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was slammed into the ice trapped between the power plant flumes and thought I knocked rivets out of my boat. There are plenty of trout and salmon taken drifting along the bottom for miles all the way to Fort Niagara. Be safe, going above the power plants is thrilling but there are just as many fish in the lower river.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, Jomat said:

Not a captain but a rec boater who has fished there with guides but never had the stones to go myself.  Interested in your experience with the 90hp.  I assumed that would be underpowered.  Most of the guys up there have larger outboards.

 

 Is there a specific line you like to take?

 

Seems like there’s a lot of bad water up there to be driving around with your bow up/transom down (not on plane).  How important is hole shot?/time to plane in that swirly water?

Yes, most of the captains have well above what I do, however there’s also 2 I can think of who have 18’ with a 90hp and take clients up to devils regularly. 

 

When I do it, I always go by feel and am watching carefully for whirlpools. I tend to start and stay on the canadian side from Lewiston-Queenston bridge to past the power plants, then go over to US side for the devils drift. For me, my key factors of it being doable are water level and winds. When the levels are high, it’s much more frightening and I don’t go anymore. I go slow, but not too slow. I often will slow down or speed up, or cut my wheel to make it thru some rough patches. If you ever go, you’ll notice in the middle of the plants a wake forms as the two currents from each east-west facing hydro plants meet each other. I always avoid that and stay to the side. Also, once I’m approaching the staircase by the NYPA platform I’m done. Engine gets turned on and drift is over. I feel that drifting into the power plant waters transom first is obviously a danger…I’m much more weary of going up nowadays. But, when conditions are right, I’ve had a few trips up where I was pleasantly surprised how easy and safe it was. 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, jimski2 said:

I was slammed into the ice trapped between the power plant flumes and thought I knocked rivets out of my boat. There are plenty of trout and salmon taken drifting along the bottom for miles all the way to Fort Niagara. Be safe, going above the power plants is thrilling but there are just as many fish in the lower river.

 

man thats scary. agreed, i tend to only hit devils when art park, fort, and bar aren’t producing. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...
On 12/14/2021 at 6:47 AM, tuffishooker said:

No fish is worth risking your safety for !

I swear, walking down that cliff to Devils Hole was as deadly. When we walked it down, I remember casting a hairless silver mepps 3 and letting it sink for a long while then just close the bail and let the current swing it. Did great on bows and Lakers, good times. 
 

it is true though, Artpark is good enough. That dam is wicked and the whirlpools that just form out of nowhere are wicked. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dickey and I had a fun trip today with Matt Gantress. Checked out the Artpark drift first but water was murky so we shot up to the Hole. Water there was good and we managed to land 8 steelhead, probably missed or dropped another 8. Surprisingly we were the only boat on the river. 

5F66DA88-57CF-4DD0-9878-31762484CEAB.jpeg

9DFCB2A1-242F-4F66-8A1F-66B84A64A970.jpeg

A51A562A-6158-4463-80AA-E59BC5AC79B5.jpeg

68EC955B-EA12-4716-9120-2116F96DD26E.jpeg

540CDDBB-1001-4C56-9061-A79C6F0C3671.jpeg

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We were supposed to be there Monday but had to reschedule to next week we did the trip last year and it was a blast hopeing for good conditions it feels good to be on a boat in Jan the Niagara is a truly worthwhile expeience

Sent from my XT1080 using Lake Ontario United mobile app

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have gotten comfortable enough with my rig (22' Sabre/ 200 Optimax) to go up there but only after help from Vince Periloni (Thrillseeker charters) and others. That's truly treacherous water and there have been fatal accidents. Minimum boat requirements from them that know (not me) is 18'/90Hp. Do not go up there without going there first with an experienced guide. One thing people don't realize about the fast drifts on the lower Niagara is that boat control and being completely organized in terms of your gear are not just a good idea but flat out essential. When you start a fast drift you have to be really ready because seconds later you are either out too deep, oriented wrong, snagged, broken off your sinker or all of the above. Don't try fishing the river green, it's dangerous and frankly pretty complicated.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  At least this year you don't have to worry about ice coming over the falls so far and maybe  not at all.   First time I fished the art park drift with my father and brother in my father' s  18ft. boat, my brother insisted that we had to go to the  devil's hole to get any fish.  My father told him "F- that" his boat wasn't going there and if he wanted to go, get out and walk there the fish have to go past us to get there!  Needless to say we didn't go there!  lol fond memories.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I personally would only make the run to the hole with an experienced guide, even then it’s pretty spooky. I’ve been there dozens of times but there are plenty of great drifts that are below. 
Some days, when below the power plants the water is stained, the hole is a nice option. 
One weird thing yesterday was that we didn’t catch a single lake trout. 

Edited by whaler1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...