As hunting season continues into the rut, anglers on Chautauqua Lake have been left to the hard-core anglers. Late-season fishing on Chautauqua can be trying at times, but with the extra effort there can be some great reward, and this past week has seen walleye anglers filling their freezers. Tasty walleye are to be had in the deep waters off Long Point, Burtis Bay and Lighthouse Point. Anglers are doing well when deep drop off and shelves are found in 20-plus feet of water with a black hair jig tipped off with a nightcrawler. The tip of the week is, mature “eyes” seem to like the bait tight to the bottom structure with a short jigging action.
Bass are still being found in the shallows in Bemus Bay and Mayville Flats. First light bite it good with top water baits, with tubes around the rocks working throughout the day.
LAKE ERIE AND TRIBS
Anglers saw some decent steelhead action at the start of the week on streams such as Eighteenmile, Canadaway and Chautauqua Creeks. Fishing then slowed as flows dropped to low and clear. Cattaraugus Creek was in good fishing shape for a day or so before rain arrived. The 1 to 1.5 inches of rain that fell has all streams running high and muddy. More steelhead will be moving in on this high-water event and with each subsequent rain event through November. The steelhead bite is often very good just as streams drop back into fishable shape. Some of the smaller streams should be ready by today and medium streams possibly by Sunday. Cattaraugus Creek will take longer. Keep and eye on the Cattaraugus Creek USGS water data page for discharge to drop below 500 cubic feet per second. Fly anglers typically target steelhead by drifting egg patterns, trout beads, nymphs and woolly buggers or by swinging streamers. Egg sacs, trout beads and jigs are common offerings by spinning or center pin drifter.
LAKE ONTARIO AND TRIBS
For Lake Ontario, lots of rain late last week and part of Saturday caused turbid conditions in the bigger creeks. Smaller creeks are producing browns and steelhead right now. Egg patterns and streamers work well, according to Scott Feltrinelli of Ontario Fly Outfitters. Try using egg patterns in orange and natural color buggers. Many fish are spawning on the redds right now, so those fish have had lockjaw. Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctors in Olcott reports good action on egg sacs, artificial eggs, marshmallows, beads and wooly buggers. Pier action has been slow, primarily due to the winds keeping people off of them.
LOWER NIAGARA RIVER
The Niagara River was still very stained as of mid-week, but we’re getting close to fishable conditions for boaters. Use scent or something with vibration. Steelhead and brown trout top the list, but a few out-of-season lake trout are showing up, too. There are still bass and walleye around, too, according to Lisa Drabczyk with Creek Road Bait and Tackle. Lower river fishing has been better for the shore casters than the boaters for sure with the condition of the water since the storm. The shoreline usually clears first when you have conditions like this, allowing for better fishing close to the rocks. Egg sacs or imitations, spoons, spinners will all work. It should continue to improve, barring any further wind events. If we see some snow and ice, there’s a good chance that the New York Power Authority fishing platform will be closing temporarily. Call 796-0135 Ext. 45 to find out if it’s open. In the upper Niagara River and Buffalo Harbor, musky fishermen are chomping at the bit to get out there and target these toothy fish. The season ends there on Nov. 30. Hans Mann of Buffalo Harbor Outfitters reports that we need some green water for fish to start turning on, and they should be hungry. Fishing was good in the river prior to the storm. When the water finally clears, it should be game on in Buffalo Harbor, just in time for the re-scheduled Tim Wittek Memorial Musky Tournament on Sunday. The contest is sponsored by the Niagara Musky Association.