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Lake Erie Fishing Hotline

September 5 - 12, 2014

Lake Erie

Two men in a boat on a lake. One is holding a large lake trout.
Lake trout caught off Barcelona by Mike Malota Jr. The laker was
around 39" long and caught on a spoon in 110 feet of water.

Walleye and yellow perch action continue to be hot for anglers fishing Lake Erie over this past week. Bass action remains slow while a few steelhead are starting to show in Cattaraugus Creek.

The warm weather over the past week has kept the walleye fishing good for offshore trollers. The better locations didn't appear to change much from the previous week with anglers seeing action out of every port except Buffalo. The best reports to the east have come off Evangola State Park in 70-80 feet of water and off Center Road at 80-85 foot depths, with anglers fishing around 50 feet down at both locations. To the west, the best reports have come from deeper depths of 100-110 feet off Van Buren Point and at the state line west of Barcelona with baits concentrated at the thermocline around 60-70 feet. Worm harnesses in purple and blue remain the best bets although stickbaits are a good option when pesky white bass are around.

Typically as the calendar changes from August to September, the yellow perch bite begins to set up in the usual haunts between Sturgeon Point and Cattaraugus Creek, and this year is no exception. Good catches with some limits have been caught the past two days off Point Breeze in 60-66 feet of water and at 64 feet from Cattaraugus Creek west to Center Road. Many of the perch are in the large to jumbo size range of 11-13 inches. Top catches are all coming from live emerald shiners fished just off the bottom. Salted emeralds are a good back-up, but don't expect as good an action.

Angler holding large walleye caught from Lake Erie off Dunkirk.
Nice walleye caught in deeper water off Dunkirk
on a worm harness.

For salmonid anglers, the best action remains for lake trout. Lake trout have been very plentiful at depths of 80 feet or more from Dunkirk west to the state line, trolling spoons just off the bottom. The lakers are averaging 8-12 pounds, but it is not uncommon to hook into one in excess of 20 pounds and 3 feet long. September is also the time when steelhead begin to stage off the creek mouths, waiting for a shot of cooler water to begin entering the streams. Trolling flashy spoons at slightly higher speeds than walleye around the creek mouths and outward to 70 foot depths is a good tactic. Some coho salmon in the 10-12 pound range have also been showing up in some offshore catches, so don't be surprised if you hook into one of them! There are reports of a few steelhead already in Cattaraugus Creek. Cooler temperatures over the weekend might spark this a bit along with some rain, but don't expect a larger push of fish until creek temperatures dip in the mid-60's or lower.

Bass fishing has been slow over the past week for the most part. Areas around Buffalo, including Seneca Shoal and Myers Reef, remain your best bets at depths of 20-40 feet. Key on rocky areas and ledges using drop-shots rigs tipped with crayfish, live shiners, or tube jigs.

Upper Niagara River

Following information from 8/29-9/5 report: Some decent smallmouth bass and walleye have shown near the head of the river for boaters. Boaters also target bass around Strawberry, Motor and Grand Islands. Drifting along deeper holes (10-20 feet) with a three-way rig with tube, crayfish or shiner is a good bet. Anglers can target muskellunge around Strawberry Island and the Huntley Plant. Drifting with large 8-10 inch tube jigs or casting large stickbaits are good bets. Live bait is best for a mixed bag of bass and panfish from shore sites along Buffalo and the Tonawandas.

Chautauqua Lake

Following information from 8/29-9/5 report: The muskellunge action has slowed a bit, but anglers still have good opportunity to catch them. Trolling tight to weedlines with large perch-pattern stickbaits is a good bet. Shallow areas and around docks are still top spots for largemouth bass. Try live shiners, tube jigs, power worms, senkos or topwater lures. Slightly deeper areas of 10-15 feet off weedlines are better for smallmouth bass. A drop-shot rig with a minnow or crayfish is a good bet. Weedy areas in 6-10 feet of water are good spots for bluegill. Try the sheltered bays of the north basin or throughout the south basin. Worms and wax worms work great for sunfish.

Inland Trout Fishing

Following information from 8/29-9/5 report: The area streams are in good shape, with moderated to slightly lower flows. Tricos are still hatching in the morning hours on some streams. Anglers may see some caddisflies as well. Using terrestrials like ants, beetles and grasshoppers are good options, especially in areas with moderate to heavy vegetation. Productive offerings for spinning anglers include worms, salted minnows and small inline spinners. If you are a catch-and-release angler and use spinners, it is a good practice to outfit your spinners with a single hook rather than a treble hook.

Western New York anglers have a variety of Wild Trout Streams and Stocked Trout Streams to choose from. In addition, Public Fishing Rights Maps are available for many of the area's best trout streams.

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; michael.todd@dec.ny.gov). Good Luck Fishing!

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