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Lake Erie Fishing Hotline

August 11 to August 25, 2017

Lake Erie and Harbors

Walleye fishing picked back up this past week, with majority of action in deeper water. Off Barcelona, trollers are picking up good numbers in 80-120 feet of water on stickbaits and worm harnesses run 60-75 feet down. Barcelona anglers also report incidental catches of yellow perch and the occasional lake trout. Dunkirk anglers see a good bite in 75-95 feet of water on gear run 70-75 feet down. Sixty-five feet of water is a good starting point off Cattaraugus Creek and from Sturgeon Point to Buffalo, anglers have best success by working the international line with gear run just off the bottom.

Lake trout are an underutilized species in Lake Erie that are available outside 75 feet of water, from Dunkirk to the PA line. August is typically a top month to target lake trout. Downriggers with spoons run near the bottom is a productive method.

Upper Niagara River

Worms, crayfish and minnows produce a mixed catch of small yellow perch, rock bass, sheepshead and smaller black bass from City of Buffalo shore sites. Boaters have a better chance of catching bigger smallmouth bass. Drifting and bottom bouncing with crayfish or live shiners works well outside weed edges in 10-20 feet of water. Anglers have seen some consistent bass action at the head of the river and around Strawberry Island.

Chautauqua Lake

Anglers continue to report a solid walleye bite in both basins. In the north basin, vertical jigging techniques have produced good numbers in 20-30 feet of water. Blade baits, jigging Rapalas, Swedish pimples and lead head jigs with a nightcrawler or minnow, are good offerings. Trolling for walleye along the deepest, center section has been productive in the south basin. Anglers are catching a few short walleye for every keeper, which is good news for future fishing. Handle and return short walleye with care. Weed beds are top spots for a mix of yellow perch, white perch, bluegill and white bass. Small minnows are top bait for perch and white bass. Worms or small jigs with a wax worm work well for bluegill. It's prime time for topwater largemouth bass action over weeds in the nearshore zone.

Inland Trout Streams

The region's trout streams have moderate to slightly lower flows. There are some tricos and caddisflies hatching in the area. Stimulator patterns and terrestrials (ants, beetles, grasshoppers) will also draw trout to the surface. Productive offerings for spinning anglers include worms, salted minnows and small inline spinners. 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 region's best trout streams. Check out the Fishing For Stream Trout page for introductory information on trout baits, lures, equipment and fishing techniques.

Genesee River Angler Diary Program

DEC Region 9 Fisheries Unit will be running an angler diary program for the Genesee River during 2017, and is currently looking for anglers to keep diaries. The diarist program aims to record data for trout and bass fishing trips on the Genesee River from the Pennsylvania line downstream through Letchworth State Park from March 1st through October 31st, 2017. If you fish the Genesee River (even once) and would like to contribute your observations by keeping a diary, please call DEC Fisheries at (716) 379-6372 or email

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; Good Luck Fishing!

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