Anglers have had to work for decent walleye catches lately. Target walleye lake-wide along weed edges in 12-16 feet of water by slow trolling with worm harnesses, bottom bouncing or by jigging. The key is to get your bait/lure close to the bottom. There is a plentiful mix of yellow perch and white perch in deeper weed beds, especially around the northern end of lake. Small minnows work well. Anglers can target muskellunge along and over weedlines by trolling or casting large stickbaits and bucktail spinners, or target suspended muskie 10-15 feet down over 20-30 feet of water. A faster trolling speed of 3-4 mph works well.
LAKE ERIE & TRIBUTARIES
Overall, walleye fishing on Lake Erie has been fair, with some more productive days and spots mixed in. The walleye bite west of Barcelona Harbor to the Pennsylvania line has picked up very recently and anglers report good catches in 65-70 feet of water. Out of Dunkirk trollers are targeting walleye in 60-85 feet of water. Cattaraugus area anglers report recent catches in 55-75 feet of water. Watch for floating debris from recent flooding if fishing off the Cattaraugus Creek. In areas from the Catt to the Pennsylvania line, some walleye are suspended and some are coming off the bottom. Spreading out your lines within the water column is a good idea. The most productive area out of Buffalo has been along the international line in 55-60 feet of water. Slow trolling or drifting (0.8-1.2 mph) and bottom bouncing with worm harnesses has worked well. At those depths, you will need 4- to 6-ounce sinkers to effectively stay near/at the bottom. Anglers continue to catch mostly short walleye in Buffalo Harbor.
LAKE ONTARIO & TRIBUTARIES
Fishing has been difficult the past week. Kyle Hovak of North Tonawanda and his Mean Machine shared some information from last Friday’s win in the Curt Meddaugh Memorial contest held by the Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Association. He fished the river water on the Niagara Bar and used a north-south troll in 200-250 feet of water at the drop. A-Tom-Mik meat rigs fished deep on his riggers did the damage. He only had one hit on a diver that broke off. It was a relatively slow bite, averaging 1 hit with each south troll pass. Temperature break was about 80 feet down. It was tough fishing for everyone when a massive amount of warm water moved into this section of the lake. Hovak also won the LOTSA 3-2-3 contest for the best three fish over two days of fishing, weighing in his best three fish on Friday with a 61.53-pound total. Meanwhile, Matt Dunn of Newfane and his Streaker team won the Big Fish LOTSA tourney with a 25.75-pound king salmon on Sunday after the Saturday contest was postponed. He, too, was fishing the Niagara Bar in 130 to 220 feet of water and almost all his salmon came on a 300-foot copper line outfitted with a white spin doctor and a meat rig with N & D cut bait. He ended up with 57.58 pounds for his best three fish. Out of Olcott, Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctors reports that the water is still messed up with some cold water inside. Some trollers found 42-degree water from the top down 120 feet. Look for the bait. Fishing is slowly starting to get better.
Fishing has been a bit tough the past week but Lisa Drabczyk with Creek Road Bait and Tackle in Lewiston reports that anglers are hooking up with some smallmouth bass on crayfish and minnows from boats and off the NYPA fishing platform. Some walleyes, too, using jigs and spinners from shore. From the boat, try using a worm harness or a sparkle jig. Some of the walleyes have been taken at night. Casting from the sanddocks with Fin-S Fish plastics is taking a few ‘eyes, too. Bass down river are coming on Ned rigs and swim baits in addition to the live bait options.