While local officials and “paid experts” are crying from the top of the mountain about the success of this year’s application in the sections of the lower basin of Chautauqua Lake, anglers still aren’t finding walleye. While the sections of the southern basin aren’t producing, anglers are discovering the northern basin is.
The better walleye catches in the north basin continue to come along weedlines by trolling or jigging. The walleye bite in the south basin has picked back up. Trolling down the deeper, middle section has been productive. Anglers are picking up some muskellunge in the same areas as the walleye catches. Large, 6- to 8-inch stickbaits and jerkbaits are good bets for musky. Largemouth bass are holding in shallower areas along weed lines, in pockets within the weeds and around docks. Live shiners, weedless rigged plastics, wacky rigs and topwater lures are good bass offerings. Target weed edges and pockets with minnows and worms for a mix of yellow perch, white perch, white bass and bluegill.
LAKE ERIE AND TRIBS
Lake Erie walleye action has been hot this week with good catches out of all ports. Midday can be a little slower, but anglers are reporting some quick limits both early and late in the day. Barcelona anglers report excellent catches in 40-65 feet of water with most fish right on the bottom. Between Dunkirk and Sturgeon Point there are consistent walleye catches outside 50 feet of water. Out of Buffalo, walleye are available anywhere from 35 feet of water out to the international line, however marks and catch numbers have been consistently higher at depths of 50-55 feet.
Buffalo anglers are catching fish anywhere from 25 feet down to the bottom, with the hot depth(s) fluctuating from day to day, or even time of day. On Thursday, early morning anglers did very well by bottom bouncing with worm harnesses at 1.0 to 1.5 mph. Anglers were still picking up walleyes with bottom bouncers in the late afternoon, but better marks and catches were coming on gear run 35-45 feet down. Lots of lunker sheepshead are hitting worm harnesses as well.
Colder water pushed some yellow perch schools into shallower water near Dunkirk last week, and catches were good at that time. Water temps have stabilized and perch schools have been moving deeper and are still providing decent catches for those who can find the schools. Smallmouth bass fishing remains spotty with lighter angler effort. Target smallmouth bass around shoal and reef structure in 25-40 feet of water. A drop-shot rig with tubes, plastics or live crayfish is a tried-and-true presentation.
LAKE ONTARIO AND TRIBS
Lake Ontario salmon and trout action has been a little spotty of late and some of it can be blamed on the weather. With Tropical Depression Barry showing up this week, the hottest weather of the season has been this weekend. One sleeper area could be the Niagara Bar as mature kings have been reported this week. Capt. Frank Campbell of Lewiston had some customers looking for some salmon slammin’ and they were rewarded with some mature kings in 100 to 200 feet of water, pulling magnum spoons in greens and white glow spin doctors with green flies behind dipsy divers 30 to 50 feet down. Off Wilson, fishing has actually been pretty good, but information was tough to come by with the Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Association events taking place Friday and Saturday this week.
The Lower Niagara River, bass fishing has picked up, according to Lisa Drabczyk of Creek Road Bait and Tackle. The moss is still an issue, but it does seem to be getting a little better. Worms, crabs and tube jigs have been the bait of choice. A few walleye have been reported, too. Upper river action has been great for bass, as well. According to Capt. Ryan Shea of Brookdog Fishing, his best bass bait has been a Ned rig. That same rig has been producing an amazing number of muskellunge, too. So far this year he has connected with 16 muskies, caught and released with care. There has been some decent walleye fishing in the river, too, especially in the Emerald Channel.
Some walleye are showing between the head of the Upper River and Strawberry Island, but smallmouth bass catches are more common in that area. Drifting along the east side of Strawberry and Motor Islands is another good spot for smallmouth bass.