Walleye fishing has generally been slow. The weedlines remain the most productive area in both basins. Jigging and trolling are the top tactics. Trollers running worm harnesses are catching plenty of pesky white and yellow perch. Muskellunge are also hanging around the weedlines. Trolling (2.1-2.6 mph) or casting with large stickbaits can be productive.
LAKE ERIE AND TRIBS
The sand has been cleared and Sturgeon Point boat launch is now open. Walleye fishing has generally been slow during the day with the occasional walleye catch in 30-50 feet of water. The low-light and night fishing has been better at those depths, especially in areas off the traditional spawning shoals and off Cattaraugus Creek. Anglers are also catching walleye around the outer Buffalo Harbor breakwalls at night.
Yellow perch fishing remains quite good off Cattaraugus Creek and slightly west in 50-60 feet of water. Some good catches of jumbo perch have also been reported for boats fishing away from the pack further to the west. Emerald shiners, golden shiners or salted shiners are good perch offerings. Smallmouth bass fishing was recently good inside 30 feet of water around structure such as reefs rock piles and humps. Ned rigs, tube jigs, jig heads with swimbaits or twister tails and live shiners work well.
Except for Cattaraugus Creek, all of the Lake Erie tributaries are very low and clear. Smallmouth bass and channel catfish are the top targets. Catfish have been biting well in the low end of the Catt, from below Route 20 bridge to the mouth. Nightcrawlers, raw shrimp, cut bait and prepared baits are good catfish offerings. Anglers can also catch catfish along the Lake Erie shoreline on calm nights, especially near stream inlets.
Capt. Joe Oakes of Newfane reports that good water continues to move daily, and the fish are moving with it. This is all leading to some days being good in 100-foot depths and others in 400-foot depths. Spoons trolled in the top 50 feet seems to be the one constant for a mix of steelhead, cohos and kings according to Oakes. The east wind last Thursday and Friday really changed things around. In the Orleans County Open last weekend, it was the Screamer team led by Dave Antenori of Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania leading both days to win $8,500. Their strategy was to move with the fish and head west. Focusing their efforts from Olcott to 30 Mile Point, they were the only team to reel in a tournament limit of five salmon and five trout each day. The first day was in 300 feet of water off Olcott, but things changed again the second day and they moved a bit shallower — from the Somerset plant to 30 Mile Point — and had some great fishing. Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctors in Olcott reports that the harbor has been producing a mixed bag of warm-water fish, including catfish, pike, bowfin, perch and largemouth. And if those fish are hitting in Olcott, they will also be hitting in Wilson.
In the Upper Niagara River, Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls reports that he fished two times this week, using plugs and jigs, with pike master Matt D’Agostino. Both baits were working well. They caught a few largemouth and smallmouth bass, too. Rzucidlo spotted a few bowfins on the spawning beds, but he could not get them to hit. Bass action continues to be good, and it should be a good opener when live bait becomes legal today. In the lower stretch of river, bass are still being caught at the NYPA fishing platform, according to Lisa Drabczyk with Creek Road Bait and Tackle in Lewiston. Moss is becoming more of a problem, but there are some days where it is manageable. Bass action downriver from boats has been best around Fort Niagara and around the marina. Ned rigs and swimbaits work best, but live bait will be a popular alternative today.