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Fishing the New York Waters of Lake Erie

Boy with fish

The eastern basin of Lake Erie is famous for trophy-size walleye (8-10 lbs.), which are mostly available to offshore trollers during the months of July and August. Local tournament winners often exceed 11 lbs.

Although not well known, the New York waters of Lake Erie may have the best smallmouth bass fishing in the Northeastern United States. Bass are found along the entire New York shoreline, with hotspots along rocky dropoffs in 15'-35' of water. The last five state record smallmouths have come from Lake Erie, with the current record standing at 8 lbs., 4 oz. Anglers can enjoy an early bass season on Lake Erie, which runs from the 1st Saturday in May until the 3rd Saturday in June. During this early season, there is a one fish limit and 20" minimum size requirement.

Excellent runs of steelhead are available to Lake Erie tributary anglers from September through April. Cattaraugus Creek has become famous throughout the Northeast for its incredible fishing, as well as its beautiful scenery and lack of fishing pressure. Other excellent streams are Chautauqua Creek, Canadaway Creek, 18-Mile Creek, and the Buffalo River.

For current fishing information, check out the region's Fishing Hotline(link below)


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  • NYSDEC
    Lake Erie Unit
    178 Point Drive North
    Dunkirk, NY 14048
    716-366-0228
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