Overall, fishing on Chautauqua has been slow. Walleye fishing has been fair to decent, with the better daytime bite at depths of 30-50 feet of water around the deeper holes in the north basin. Vertical jigging is the typical tactic. In the fall, walleye are often available close to shore at night and can be caught by casting stickbaits. A DEC night electrofishing survey this week showed good numbers of walleye along the south basin shoreline at night. Fall is usually prime time to target muskellunge, but fishing has been slow lately. That could change as water temperatures continue to drop. Key on weedlines by trolling with large stickbaits or by casting large bucktail spinners.
LAKE ERIE AND TRIBS
Big lake outings are diminishing as the boating season winds down. Over the past couple of weeks, there have been some good yellow perch catches off Cattaraugus Creek in 64-67 feet of water. Live emerald shiners are the top bait. Some emeralds have been available for dipping in the upper Niagara River at Broderick Park and near some small stream inlets along City of Buffalo.
Cattaraugus Creek is the top option for Lake Erie steelhead. The Catt currently has lower flow of about 130 cubic feet per second, with good color. The lower section has provided decent to good steelhead action lately. Be aware that most of the stream below Gowanda is on Seneca Nation Territory, and a Seneca fishing license is needed to fish on Seneca lands. There are a few steelhead around the lowest sections on the other Lake Erie tributaries. However, fish are easily spooked in the very low and clear conditions. Anglers can target staging steelhead off the Cattaraugus Creek breakwall (at mouth) or by wading off creek mouths and casting spoons and spinners.
LAKE ONTARIO AND TRIBS
Over an inch of rain that fell the last couple of days has helped the local fishing situation in the tributaries. Burt Dam and 18 Mile Creek saw a fresh run of salmon push through this week along with some brown trout and steelhead. Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctors in Olcott reports that egg sacs, beads, wooly buggers, soft creatures, and eggs were all catching fish. The hot bait is egg skein for salmon. There was a report of someone spearing fish at the dam and that they were cited for violating the fishing law. Remember that anglers can only keep one steelhead (with a minimum size of 25 inches) and one brown trout now with new regulations. Off the piers, action has been slow in Olcott, but it could pick up now. Green Mister Twisters were working for Matt Becker of Wilson this week, fishing at night in Olcott Harbor. Wilson perch fishing action has been very good, according to Evarts and some king salmon were seen jumping around Wilson Tuscarora State Park. Supplemental water from the Erie Canal has been a benefit to streams in Orleans and Monroe counties and it will help 18 Mile Creek starting Nov. 6. Scott Feltrinelli with Ontario Fly Outfitters reports the colder temps and recent rains have brought kings and browns into what were once “bone dry” creeks. Smaller tributaries on Lake Ontario saw a good push of anxious fish this week according to Feltrinelli
Mike Rzucidlo and Mike Ziehm, both from Niagara Falls, were back at it in the lower Niagara River again this week. Whether they are fishing off the NYPA fishing platform, along Artpark or further up towards the Whirlpool area, they always seem to find success with either a No. 4 or 5 spinners in silver and chartreuse or with a jig. The jig produced some white bass and a big brown trout this week for Ziehm. Rzucidlo caught 3 steelhead and a lake trout off the NYPA fishing platform recently. Lake trout are in thick now so release them safely and quickly. While anglers are still getting some salmon off the platform and a few are being taken from shore and boats, according to Lisa Drabczyk of Creek Road Bait and Tackle, the run is starting to slow down – unless the cold rain attracts a fresh run this week. Some steelhead were reported in the river, but most of the effort has been on smallmouth bass where they have been bulking up for winter. Mitch Grant with Rapid Fishing Solutions had these tips to share after fishing last week. Locate the fish and once you do, stay on them. Vertical jigging or drifting through the area will yield some nice bronzebacks. The fish have been tight to the grass and he found them in 8 to 20 feet of water depending on the area. His best tube was a Strike King peanut and jelly or a dark melon in 3/16 ounce to ™ ounce. Ned rigs were working, too. All were 2-3/4-inch in size. Along the Stella drift, he would quiver a drop shot rig hooked with a Strike King Baby Z-2 in a “Deal” color. Out of the mouth of the river on the Niagara Bar, seek out 14 to 17 feet of water with a tube or Ned rig. They managed to catch 2 bass over 6 pounds and many between 4- and 6-pounds last week. They were imitating gobies or emerald shiners. Walleye have been hitting jigs and split-tail swimbaits according to Drabczyk. In the upper river, not too much has changed from last week with reports of decent smallmouth bass fishing and the occasional musky being taken.