Walleye are still available inside 20 feet of water along weedlines. Walleye have also recently shown inside the weeds and in pockets within the weeds, surprising some bass and perch anglers. The musky bite has been decent along weedlines. Casting or trolling large stickbaits works well.
LAKE ERIE AND TRIBS
Limit walleye catches are still possible out of Buffalo if you work for them, but quicker limits are the norm from Sturgeon Point to the Pennsylvania line. Walleye anglers out of Sturgeon Point head for the international line. From Cattaraugus Creek to Barcelona, stellar walleye action can be found in 70-90 feet of water. Gear run 55-60 feet down gets the most attention, however anglers are also picking up fish off the bottom and higher in the water column. Worm harnesses and stickbaits continue to produce. Other anglers are running smaller stickbaits and spoons (to great success) to match the smaller bait they are finding in walleye stomachs.
Some anglers have recently picked up decent-to-good yellow perch catches off Cattaraugus Creek and to the east, while others have come up empty in the same general area. Depths of 62-65 feet of water is a good starting point, but some searching is required, no doubt. Yellow perch catches are also possible out of Dunkirk Harbor starting in around 60 feet of water.
Lake Erie tributary waters are getting cooler, but all streams, except Cattaraugus Creek, remain low despite rain early in the week. Cattaraugus Creek level peaked earlier this week, too, and is falling fast. Without additional significant rainfall, the Catt is the best option for early run steelhead this weekend. Another good slug of rain is needed to draw steelhead into the other creeks. Lake Erie surface temperature is around 70 degrees. Look for steelhead to show near creek mouths as water temperatures drop into the upper 60s. Shore anglers can target staging steelhead from the Cattaraugus Creek breakwall or by wading off creek mouths and casting spoons and spinners. Boaters can target steel off major tributary mouths by trolling with spoons between 2-2.5 mph.
LAKE ONTARIO AND TRIBS
On the Big O this week, the fish are still in transition in the lake as the salmon and trout slowly make their way closer to the streams and rivers. Chris Trzaska of Buffalo connected with three brown trout this week, casting Booker spoons off the Wilson pier. Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctors in Olcott reports that the brown fishing has been good at Wilson off those piers. Greens and glows are best colors for spoons and spinners. Use No. 4 spinners with lots of dots. Salmon have been caught off the piers in Olcott, but not in any big numbers. A few browns, too. Salmon are jumping in front of the piers at Olcott and the night bite is back on in 20 to 40 feet of water with orange and firetiger Cleos, Moonshines, Bookers or J13 stickbaits. In the harbor, J13 stickbaits are producing some nice northern pike for casters. Some perch and bass are being caught in the creek, too. Out deep, in 450 to 500 feet of water, some salmon and trout action was being reported, but it’s been slower. Blacks, whites and red colored spoons; flasher-fly or meat rigs will take fish, too.
Remember that there are a few big events coming up next weekend, Sept. 28-29. On Sept. 28, New York will be offering another free fishing day around the state. It’s also National Hunting and Fishing Day and the NYPA Wildlife Festival will be held both Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 28 and 29 at the visitors center located at 5777 Lewiston Road, Lewiston, next to Niagara University from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. Lots to see and do for the whole family, and it’s free.
LOWER NIAGARA RIVER
In the Niagara River, Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls did well off of the NYPA Fishing Platform in the Niagara Gorge this week when he caught king salmon, bass and walleye using No. 4 spinners from the structure that reopened over the weekend. It had been closed for most of the summer due to the high water levels in the river and Lake Ontario.
Mike Marisa of Johnstown, Pennsylvania caught a king salmon on treated egg skein, one of the first we’ve heard about using that approach. Lisa Drabczyk of Creek Road Bait and Tackle says that glow spoons and spinners have been working well from shore under low-light conditions in the gorge. Good bass action the past week, especially for the fishermen who participated in the Lower Niagara River Sportfishing Challenge last Thursday and Friday. Crabs and golden shiners were the best live baits. A few walleyes were also caught. The single best catch was a 10-pound brown trout reeled in by Gary Hall of Niagara Falls while drifting a minnow. Winner of the Challenge was Mike Oliver of Amherst when he caught 24 bass over two days to score 2,400 points based on 100 points per bass. He was also part of the Grand Champion team when Brian Quinn of Massachusetts caught a dozen smallies, a walleye and a sheepshead to take the title with Oliver with 3,705 points. Their captain was Jeff Draper of Grand Island. The big winner was the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation when more than $90,000 was raised. It brought the total to over a million dollars in 10 years of events.
UPPER NIAGARA RIVER
In the upper Niagara River, Capt. Mike Capizzi of Niagara Falls was doing well on bass in front of Strawberry Island using a crayfish off a three-way rig. He started in front of West Marine near the Canadian line and drifted his bait in 15-20 feet of water.