By Craig Robbins
Steelhead fishing on the tributaries that run off Lake Erie has been especially good so far this season. In addition to quality catches reported all Lake Erie tribs and Chautauqua County tribs, Cattaraugus and Eighteen Mile have been producing extremely well also. All of the creek levels are rising with this past weekends rain, and the coming weeks weather is supposed to be clear and cool, perfect for Lake Erie tribs fishing.
Fishing with egg sacs and egg pattern flies are the best bets for steelhead Lake Erie trib anglers. Light colored streamers and bugger patterns are good options in clear water conditions, while darker patterns in black or purple work better in stained conditions. Worms are also a good bait when waters are riled.
When weather permits, there is still good opportunity to catch yellow perch on Lake Erie. Anglers have reported good catches off Cattaraugus Creek in 40-55 feet of water.
Fall is a good time to target muskellunge in Chautauqua Lake. Anglers have been catching musky by trolling large jointed stickbaits along weedlines in both the northern and southern basins. Working edges in the southern basins of Ashville and Bemus Bays has produced some good catches. Northern basin trollers are working deep weed edges off Warners Bar and the Bell Tower at Chautauqua Institution.
Yellow perch are readily taken on live bait outside weed edges off Lakewood Bar and in the narrows between the bridge and ferry. With so many fish being caught, anglers are having to weed through some throw-backs for each keeper. There has not been much chatter about walleye fishing lately.
While walleye anglers haven't been talking about their catches so far this fall, traditionally vertical jigging around the out side sides of deeper holes in 25-45 feet of water in the northern basin off Dewittville Bay and Warners Bar. Swedish pimples and blade baits tipped with a minnow or jigging Rapalas are good bets.
UPPER NIAGARA RIVER
Upper river anglers have seen good smallmouth bass catches lately. Bass are bunched up in areas that offer some relief from the main current, like humps, drop-offs or other bottom structures. The humps upriver of Strawberry Island are a good bet. Bigger golden shiners have worked best for bass on the feed. November is traditionally a great time to fish for muskellunge in the upper Niagara River and Buffalo Harbor. Anglers can target musky in the river by drifting along weed edges or over bottom structures with 8-10 inch tube jigs, large stickbaits or large shiners. Musky are generally caught in the outer Buffalo Harbor by trolling large stickbaits. Shore anglers report good yellow perch catches on minnows at Broderick Park and Squaw Island. The occasional rainbow trout has also been taken on drifted egg sacs or casted spoons and spinners.