Anglers have been seeing good numbers of walleye since the season kicked off last week and are seeing a good walleye bite along weed lines both night and day. Boaters can troll with stickbaits or worm harnesses, or drift and work jigs with nightcrawlers. Shore anglers are casting for walleye by casting stickbaits, especially near stream inlets. The better crappie bite is now on the open lake. Target crappie near structure and weed beds at depths of 4-8 feet of water.
LAKE ERIE AND TRIBUTARIES
Walleye season is off to a pretty good start at Van Buren Bay, where anglers are catching good numbers of walleye at night, including some limits. It has been slower, but anglers are also catching some walleye at other popular night sites. Nearshore water temperature is nearing 50 degrees, so the bite is expected to improve. Traditionally productive night sites include Shorehaven Reef, Green Hills, Van Buren Bay, Evans Bar, off Hamburg and near the mouth of Smokes Creek. Trolling minnow-type stickbaits at around 2 mph over rocky areas in 8-15 feet of water is a typical program. Only a few anglers are targeting walleye during the day, which is making to difficult to get a handle on what is working.
Yellow perch fishing has been hit or miss. Searching around with good electronics improves catch odds. Fifty-five feet of water off Cattaraugus Creek is a good place to start. Limited numbers of emerald shiners have shown at times for dippers in Canadaway Creek, Buffalo River and upper Niagara River at foot of Sheridan Drive and Black Rock Canal Park. Anglers agree.
Steelhead fishing still is going strong in Cattaraugus Creek where anglers are catching good numbers on Seneca Lands and below the Route 5&20 bridge. There are a few steelhead hanging around the medium-sized streams, but run is done on the small streams. All tributaries are now fishing well for incoming smallmouth bass. Wooly buggers and minnow imitations are good bets for fly anglers, and spinning anglers generally do well with stickbaits, minnows and jigs with grubs or plastics fished under a float.
UPPER NIAGARA RIVER
Difters are still catching decent numbers of steelhead on minnows, egg sacs and flatfish lures in the mid- to upper drifts. Smallmouth bass are moving into the river and anglers are seeing a good bite on tube jigs, downstream of Joe Davis State Park. White bass and walleye are also showing in the lower rive
LAKE ONTARIO AND TRIBUTARIES
Tributary action was very good over the weekend with a mixed bag of steelhead and smallmouth. With warming waters, though, the steelhead option could be a thing of a past by this weekend. All you can do is check it out — jigs and egg sacs.
Trollers are reporting good trout and salmon action west of Olcott, with the most productive area off Wilson. Anglers are catching some king salmon in 60-100 feet of water, with plenty of coho salmon and lake trout mixed in. Fish are scattered throughout the water column. Large spoons and flasher-fly combos are good salmon offerings. Brown trout are still available inside 30 feet of water by trolling with medium-sized spoons and stickbaits.
DEC requests your help with recovering heads from Coho Salmon caught in Lake Ontario beginning in 2018. We are comparing Coho Salmon stocking strategies by mass marking and/or tagging all stocked Coho Salmon in 2016-18, and wild vs. stocked Coho Salmon by clipping adipose fins in 2016-18.