An American who survived a plunge over Niagara Falls and went on to sign a lucrative deal as a circus stuntman has been fined $US2,256.

Kirk Jones, 41, whose $100,000 circus contract stipulates an unlimited supply of shaved-ice snow cones, pleaded guilty to mischief and to unlawfully performing a stunt.

Jones, who admitted he was afraid of heights, said he had been seeking "a new challenge in his life" when he took the plunge down the falls in October.

He says he was physically ill as he approached the massive cataract.

"The walk I walked from the parking lot across the street was one of the longest walks of my life," he told Reuters.

On October 20 Jones climbed over a wrought-iron barrier and jumped into the swift-flowing water that tossed him over the brink of the tourist attraction.

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