The smallmouth bass bite on Lake Erie is picking up as lake temperatures start to cool. The smallmouth have started to move out of the deeper shoals and reefs into the shallower areas.
Fall smallmouth can be found in shallows off the dumping grounds out of Dunkirk Harbor in 10 to 20 feet. Best bets for artificial baits are tube and grub system baits.
As the water temperatures cool and with the recent rains this past weekend, the steelhead are starting to move into the tributaries of Lake Erie. That includes Chautauqua, Canadaway and Cattaraugus Creeks. To fish Chautauqua and Canadaway Creeks, a current New York State fishing license is required. With the majority of the Cattaraugus Creek running on the Seneca Nation Reservation, a Seneca fishing license is required. Reservation licenses are available at several Seneca businesses along Routes 5 and 20.
Early fall steelhead anglers find egg sacks to be their best bet for fishing for steelhead in the creeks. If steelhead haven't all moved into the creek, wading at the mouths of the creeks and throwing spinners and spoons can catch some the fish as they start to stage before they run up the creeks.
Early fall anglers are finding good quality and quantity of yellow perch staging just outside of the weed edges in Bemus and Ashville Bays. Fishing under a bobber with an unpainted jig head tipped off with a night crawler is working best. The occasional walleye is hitting the same offering also.
Largemouth bass are beginning to move to the outside edge of structures, working the cover for an easy meal as the temperatures begin to drop. Spinner and crank baits worked along the edges of Rock and Grass Islands in the southern basin by anglers in the morning are working best.
Muskie hunters are still reporting good catches casting along the weed edges in 10 to 16 feet of water in the southern basin. Suspended muskies are being caught in depths of 25 to 35 feet trolling the northern basin.
Anglers on Cassadaga Lake are seeing bass and walleyes in good numbers. Walleye anglers are catching good numbers of "eyes" off the Job Crops building on the outside of the weed edges. Early day legal-size fish are being caught trolling the edge with perch-colored stick baits.
As the sun gets high in the sky, walleye start to move deeper, with anglers drifting the edges with a split-shot rig to keep their night crawler offering on the bottom. The only problem with this rig is keeping pan fish off your baits.