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Lake Erie & Western New York Fishing Hotline

November 16 to November 30, 2018

Lake Erie & Tributaries

There has been no shortage of water in the Erie tributaries this fall, bringing in more fish with each high water day. Currently, steelhead numbers and catches are good on all streams. Cattaraugus Creek is the only unknown, as it has been too high to fish for the past month. The small to medium sized streams have bumped up to slightly high levels following yesterday's wet wintery mix. The smallest streams are the best bet at the start of the weekend. Be aware that fall fingerling rainbow trout were recently stocked in Eighteenmile, Cattaraugus, Canadaway and Chautauqua Creeks. Please handle with care.

With water temperatures now in the 30s, expect steelhead to be more lethargic. They tend not to move far to grab bait and will generally strike less aggressively. Keep drifted offerings slow and low along slower moving "seams." Downsize your float to detect light biters. Egg flies, nymphs, egg sacs, trout beads and jigs with feathers or mister twister work well. For those new to steelhead fishing, see the Steelhead Fishing in Lake Erie Tributaries page.

Niagara River

Only a couple weeks left to target muskellunge in the upper river, before the season closes on November 30th. November is traditionally a top month for muskellunge fishing in the upper river. Target musky by casting large stickbaits or by drifting and jigging large (8"-10") tube jigs. Trolling around the outer Buffalo Harbor and breakwall gaps can sometimes produce a musky catch.

Lower river waters have cleared up and conditions are currently prime. Trout fishing started to pick back up early in the week and then really turned on over last few days. Steelhead are now the dominant catch, with some brown trout and lake trout mixed in. Be aware that lake trout season is closed in the lower river until January 1st. Incidentally caught lake trout should be quickly returned to the water. Devils Hole and Artpark are the top spots for steelhead catches for both boaters and shore anglers, but some lower drifts are starting to produce trout catches too. There are less specific reports of decent walleye and smallmouth bass catches around the lower river as well. Egg sacs, egg pattern flies, shiners or jigs with plastics fished under a float or casting medium-sized spoons and spinners are good steelhead offerings. The New York Power Authority (NYPA) Fishing Platform typically closes for season by December 1st, but may close earlier under icy conditions. For fishing access maps and lower river fishing information see the Fishing the Lower Niagara River page.

Lake Ontario & Tributaries, Harbors & Piers

Most of the Lake Ontario tributaries are in good fishing shape, giving anglers plenty of options this weekend. Eighteenmile Creek has moderate flow, but has bumped up slightly from a couple days ago. There are still lots of king salmon around Eighteenmile, but the majority are a bit "old". Good numbers of brown trout and fair amount of steelhead as well. Oak Orchard has slightly high and slightly stained flow. Oak anglers report good catches of brown trout with some steelhead, king salmon and coho salmon mixed in. Oak Orchard Creek is also the top regional spot for a chance at an Atlantic salmon catch, although they are less numerous than the other salmonids in that creek. The snow/sleet/rain that fell over last 24 hours will help sustain flows and fishing opportunities on Fourmile, Twelvemile & East Branch, Keg, Johnson, Marsh and Sandy Creeks. See the Steelhead Fishing in Lake Ontario Tributaries page for more information.

DEC requests your help with recovering heads from Coho Salmon caught in Lake Ontario beginning in 2018. We are comparing Coho Salmon stocking strategies by mass marking and/or tagging all stocked Coho Salmon in 2016-2018, and wild vs. stocked Coho Salmon by clipping adipose fins in 2016-2018. For more information on data to include with Coho heads and freezer locations for drop-off, see Coho Salmon Head Collection page.

Chautauqua Lake

Not much fishing activity lately. However, anglers are catching some walleye around the deeper holes. Vertical jigging techniques work well. Only a couple weeks left before muskellunge season closes on November 30th. Trolling or casting along deep weed edges is a good bet with large stickbaits and bucktail spinners. See the Chautauqua Lake page for more fishing information.

Surplus Broodstock Trout Stocking

DEC Randolph Fish Hatchery has completed their annual fall stocking of broodstock trout in select Allegany and Cattaraugus County waters. All breeder trout are over 2 years old and are stocked in waters where trout fishing is permitted all year. Each water was stocked with hundreds of rainbow trout, brown trout and/or brook trout ranging between 14-28 inches. The following waters were stocked in mid to late-October: Redhouse Lake, Quaker Lake, New Albion Lake, Case Lake, Harwood Lake, Allen Lake and the Genesee River (between Wellsville and the PA line).

If you need more fishing information or would like to contribute to the fishing report, please call or e-mail Mike Todd (716-851-7010; fwfish9@dec.ny.gov). Good Luck Fishing!

The fishing hotline can also be heard at (716) 679-ERIE or (716) 855-FISH.