Walleye anglers continue to do well at night by trolling and jigging along emerging weedlines and rocky shores in 5-15 feet of water. Shore anglers can also catch walleye during low-light periods by casting stickbaits. During the day, target depths of 30 feet of water and around the rims of the deeper holes in the north basin. Trolling with stickbaits and vertical jigging have both been producting.
LAKE ERIE AND TRIBS
Anglers continue to see best walleye catches in the nearshore shallows at night. Trolling with shallow-diving stickbaits at speeds around 1.5 mph near rocky structure works well. Good spots to try include Shorehaven Reef, Bournes Beach, Green Hills, Van Buren Bay, Evans Bar, off Hamburg and near the mouth of Smokes Creek. However, any nearshore structure has potential. Daytime anglers report decent to good walleye catches by vertical jigging and trolling the deeper ledges outside of the traditional night grounds in 20-30 feet of water. Smallmouth bass are showing in decent numbers around nearshore structure and marina breakwalls. Sturgeon Point boat launch is closed due to sandbar at mouth.
The Lake Erie tributaries are in good fishing shape today, but rain may blow them out tonight. Smallmouth bass are available in all tributaries. Woolly buggers and streamers are good bets for fly anglers, and spinning anglers do well with stickbaits, minnows, and jigs with grubs or plastics fished under a float. The lower section of Cattaraugus Creek is a good spot to target channel catfish. Nightcrawlers, chicken livers or raw shrimp fished on the bottom works well, especially at night. The deeper holes in other creeks may hold catfish as well. Anglers can also catch catfish along the Lake Erie shoreline on calm nights, especially near stream inlet
LAKE ONTARIO AND TRIBS
The big news this week is that we have entered into Phase One of the reopening process here in Western New York and that means that charter fishing operations are full steam ahead for taking advantage of the excellent fishing that has been happening in Lake Ontario and the Niagara River. Of course, there are plenty of guidelines in place to keep people safe, for the charter captains to follow, and for the customers to abide by social distancing requirements, wear face masks and have antibacterial gel handy. Charters started running Tuesday and it looks like a great Memorial Day weekend.
In Lake Ontario, the action has been fast and furious, according to Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctors in Olcott. Their 24-hour bait machine (that also includes top lures, safety items like masks, and other handy items) has been a big hit. They are now open to assist customers with certain restrictions. Some of the best salmon fishing has been in 60 to 100 feet of water out front, as well as both east and west of the harbor. It has been primarily a spoon bite. Capt. Joe Oakes of Salmonboy Charters reports that the fishing was red hot with kings and lake trout being caught in 60 to 170 feet of water from Wilson to the power plant east of Olcott. He has been running stickbaits, spoons and flasher-fly combos in the top 100 feet of water depending on where he is. Capt. Bob Songin of Reel Excitement Charters reports that fishing is as good as it gets from out in front of Wilson to a couple miles west. There are plenty of kings in anywhere from 80 to 140 foot of water. Magnum spoons have been the best, such as DW Carbon-14 super glow, white two face and a new one, a UV green skirt. Fish are coming anywhere from 30 to 70 feet down on the downriggers; 10 color lead core lines on the boards, and divers at a No. 2 setting out anywhere from 80 to 120 feet back behind the boat.
LOWER NIAGARA RIVER
In the lower Niagara River, Lisa Drabczyk of Creek Road Bait and Tackle is back operating again and she reports that the steelhead action has been especially good in the morning in Devil’s Hole before the water comes up. According to her husband, Capt. Steve Drabczyk, run an emerald shiner off a three-way rig to take your fish. Smallmouth bass have been chomping on tubes, swim baits and Ned rigs downriver around Peggy’s Eddy and Joe Davis State Park. Only artificial lures can be used during this catch and release season. The Niagara Bar at the mouth of the river off Fort Niagara around the green can continues to be a productive spot for king salmon and lake trout. Throw on a MagLip or a Kwikfish and use a three-way rig to bottom bounce, moving just fast enough to get the action out of your lure. There are some Coho salmon hanging out in the upper parts of the water column. If you see feeding birds on the surface, you will know that bait is around and that means the Coho salmon will be nearby. If you do catch any Coho salmon, save the head for a DEC study on these fish. Bags and forms can be found at Fort Niagara at the fish cleaning station, Bootleggers Cove Marina in Wilson, and the Town of Newfane Marina in Olcott near the fish cleaning station.