By Craig Robbins
Fishing Lake Erie later in the season is always exciting and the late season perch bite has been excellent this year. Schools of perch this past week have moved into 35-70 feet of water. Off Sturgeon Point, anglers have found limit catches in 45-50 feet of water.
Out of Cattaraugus Creek, catches have come between 50-70 feet of water. Some boats have had to move around before finding an active school. Near Buffalo, good perch catches have also been found in 45-50 feet of water, off the windmills. Emerald shiners are the best bait and are available for dipping at the foot of Ferry St. and other upper Niagara River sites. Keep in mind that transport of collected emerald shiners from Lake Erie/Niagara River for use on inland waters is prohibited.
This past weekend's storms on Lake Erie have pushed steelhead into the streams. As the small to medium sized streams have returned to fishing shape, steelhead action has been good. Clear water conditions are now found on all streams, and although Cattaraugus Creek is a little darker than it should be , it will be clearing up by mid-week.
Fall Lake Erie steelhead hit natural baits like egg sacs and worms, flies such as egg imitations, streamers and bugger patterns, and lures like minnow-type stickbaits and in-line spinners. Anglers can also target steelhead from the Cattaraugus Creek breakwall or off creek mouths by casting spoons, spinners and stickbaits. Boaters can target steelhead off major tributary mouths by trolling with spoons between 2-2.5 mph.
UPPER NIAGARA RIVER
The smallmouth bass on the upper river have been excellent lately. Boaters are doing very well along the humps in front of Strawberry Island as well as along the sides of the island. Another good option is along the shoreline below the Huntley Plant. Live golden shiners have been the go-to bait, but artificial swimbaits have also worked well. Cooling river waters in fall usually turn on the muskellunge fishing in the river. Drifting in the river along weed edges with large 8-10 inch tube jigs or trolling large stickbaits in the outer Buffalo Harbor are good bets. Live bait produces a mix of panfish and bass at shore sites along the City of Buffalo.
Fall is musky fishing time on Chautauqua Lake. Musky are feeding heavily before water temperatures drive them into deep warmer water during the winter months. Trolling large jointed stickbaits or casting bucktails are good bets. Trollers are finding perch colored baits doing well, and casters are finding black/yellow for bucktail working best.
Smallmouth bass are biting outside weed edges. Live bait fished near the bottom works best or three inch tube style baits. Yellow perch and blue gills are still biting in 6-12 feet of water on live bait.
FALL BROODSTOCK TROUT STOCKING
DEC Randolph Fish Hatchery has been conducting their annual fall stocking of broodstock trout in Allegany and Cattaraugus Counties. All breeder trout stocked are over 2 years old and are stocked in waters where trout fishing is permitted year-round. The following waters have been stocked as of 10/11; Birch Run Pond received 50 14-inch brook trout; Allen Lake received 100 14-inch brook trout, and 100 20-inch brook trout; Case Lake received 100 14-inch brook trout, 100 20-inch brook trout and 50 20-inch brown trout.