Opening action for muskies was a bit hit or miss, or maybe folks just didn’t want to share their newfound hot spots. First reports from casters around Lakewood Bar are good with oversized jerk baits. Walleyes are continuing to be caught along weed edges in 8-15 feet of water first and last thing of the day. Reports of catches are fair at the same depths during the day while switching to jigging or slow-trolling with worm harnesses. Yellow perch and sunfish are readily biting around docks, making them great places for youth anglers.
LAKE ERIE & TRIBUTARIES
The nightime walleye action on the shallow reefs has slowed. The better, though fair, night bite is now a bit deeper in 15-20 feet off the traditional spring haunts. Available daytime walleye fishing intel is lacking, but walleye are typically caught in 30-50 feet of water during the spring-to-summer transition. Trolling, bottom bouncing and vertical jigging can all be productive. The yellow perch bite picked back up last week from Cattaraugus Creek to Sturgeon Point in 52-60 feet of water. Emerald and golden shiners have worked well. Smallmouth bass fishing has been decent to good inside 30 feet of water. Concentrate efforts around any structure, such as reefs, rock piles and humps. Ned rigs, tube jigs, jig heads with swimbaits or twister tails and live shiners are good bass offerings.
Smallmouth bass fishing inside and outside of the breakwalls at Dunkirk and Buffalo harbors has produced some big fish and good numbers. Rock bass have shown around the Dunkirk City Pier. Anglers are catching some walleye in Buffalo Harbor and around the gaps.
Smallmouth bass are the top catch in the Lake Erie tributaries. Creek levels have been low on all but Cattaraugus Creek. This past week’s rain will help and could draw in more fish. Cattaraugus Creek is the top channel catfish fishing spot, though the deeper holes of the other tributaries will hold a few catfish as well. Late May into early June is typically the most productive period. Nightcrawlers, raw shrimp, cut bait and prepared baits are good catfish offerings.
LAKE ONTARIO & TRIBUTARIES
Getting information out of the captains has been tough because of the 34th annual Lake Ontario Pro-Am Salmon Team Tournament. One who did was Capt. Joe Oakes of SalmonBoy Charters who ran north and west of Olcott until he found warmer waters after the lake flipped following recent northeast winds. Targeting the top 40 feet with spoons, flasher-flies and stickbaits, he did well on a mix of fish earlier this week. That is as good as it gets from competitors. One captain who was not competing in the tournament is Capt. Bob Songin of Reel Excitement Charters. He reports that he did well on Coho salmon going into last weekend. Focus in the top 50 feet of water over 200-to-300-foot depths. His program was to use a Dreamweaver spin doctor in 6-inch size in orange with orange crush tape, rigged with an A-Tom-Mik blue hammer or TG fly. He would put out 10 colors of leadcore line, one off each size off planer boards and one down the chute. He would run two divers, one on each side back 60 and 70 feet on a No. 3 setting with the same leadcore setup of DW flasher with flies. The riggers would be 100 to 120 feet down, where he would use meat behind a white on white 10-inch flasher with crushed glow on it. He would also run sliders on the riggers, either a Seasick Waddler or an orange Pirate 44. Karen Evarts at the Boat Doctors in Olcott says the harbors at Wilson and Olcott continue to be a mixed bag of rock bass, largemouth bass, northern pike, yellow perch and the occasional bowfin.
In the upper Niagara River, some nice walleyes have been coming from the wall at Broderick Park at night according to Josh Dunkelberger of Olcott. Over the holiday weekend his biggest was a 31-inch, 10 pound walleye he caught on a 3/4-ounce chartreuse jig head rigged with a crystal glow plastic walleye assassin. Capt. Connor Cinelli of Grand Island reports that the bass fishing has been fantastic. Best areas have been around Beaver and Motor islands. Tube jigs and drop shots have been producing according to Cinelli. The water is super clear so walleye action has been slow during the day. In the lower Niagara River, smallmouth bass, white bass, and a few trout have dominated the catch this week, but you had to work for them according to Lisa Drabczyk with Creek Road Bait and Tackle in Lewiston. Adding to the fishing situation is the arrival of more moss, showing up a little bit early this year, and it will only get worse in the next week or two. The NYPA fishing platform had quite a bit of fishing pressure for the holiday weekend and fishing was tough for white bass, smallmouth and carp. A few steelhead were also reported. From boats, Devil’s Hole has been the place for steelhead and the occasional lake trout, but numbers are dwindling. Downriver it is smallmouth bass keeping the catch consistent on Ned rigs and swim baits. Some walleyes at night casting plastics off the sanddocks.
¯ National Fishing and Boating Week is June 5-13. This is a great opportunity to take a kid fishing.