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Lake Erie Fishing Hotline

March 24 to March 31, 2017

Personal Flotation Device (PFD) law: As a reminder, between November 1 and May 1, anyone underway in a boat (less than 21 feet) must wear a securely fastened PFD. This includes canoes, kayaks, rowboats and motorboats.

Lake Erie Tributaries

Angler holding steelhead caught from Canadaway Creek.
Spring run steelhead caught on Canadaway

Tributary anglers have recently been catching decent numbers of fresh and post-spawn steelhead. Most creeks are in good fishing shape today. There is rain in the weekend forecast, which may muddy some streams. Keep in mind that upper reaches and smaller streams tend to clear faster. Anglers report a mix of fresh and holdover steelhead. Bait has moved into the lower sections of the creeks, so minnows or minnow imitations are good bets. Other good steelhead offerings include egg sacs, egg flies, nymph patterns, trout beads and small jigs tipped with a waxworm (fished under a float). For those new to steelhead fishing, see the Steelhead Fishing in Lake Erie Tributaries page for information on steelhead fishing equipment, locations and links to stream maps.

Upper Niagara River

No measurable fishing activity lately. The ice boom at the head of the river has been removed.

Chautauqua Lake

There is still some skim ice on the lake, but it shouldn't last long. After ice-out, look for crappie schooling in the canals and in open water areas near structure or weeds. Bullhead should show in nearshore areas after dark.

Inland Trout Streams

Anglers have had some success on inland trout streams that are currently open to trout fishing. Drifting nymphs has been a top tactic. On streams that are currently open to trout fishing, fishing is by catch and release only, artificial lures only until April 1st. Check the Special Regulations by County to see what streams are open all year.

Spring Trout Stocking

Due to lack of ice earlier this month, hatchery staff were able to trout stock the southern tier lakes early this year. Quaker, Redhouse, New Albion, Case, Allen and Harwood Lakes have all been stocked and are open to trout fishing all year. Hatchery staff are now busy stocking streams in preparation for the traditional April 1st trout opener. Thousands of yearling brown, brook and rainbow trout will be stocked in many of the region's streams, lakes and ponds. In addition, many of the popular trout waters will also receive stockings of two-year-old brown trout that are between 12-15 inches long. For County lists of stocked waters and numbers of trout stocked, check the Spring Trout Stocking 2017 page. Public Fishing Rights Maps showing public access on many trout streams are available for printing. The following waters are scheduled to be stocked prior to April 1st:

Allegany County: Allen Lake (Allen), Dodge Creek (Clarksville), Little Genesee Creek (Bolivar), Genesee River (Wellsville, Amity).

Cattaraugus County: Quaker Lake (Cold Spring), Red House Lake (Red House), New Albion Lake (New Albion), Case Lake (Franklinville), Harwood Lake (Farmersville), Great Valley Creek (Great Valley), Forks Creek (Great Valley), Wrights Creek (Humphrey), S. Branch Cattaraugus Creek (East Otto), Mansfield Creek (Mansfield), Beaver Meadow Creek (Ellicottville), Connoisarauley Creek (Ashford), Bay State Brook (Red House), Quaker Run (Cold Spring), Red House Brook (Red House), Science Lake (Red House), Bone Run (South Valley), Guernsey Run (South Valley), North Branch Sawmill Run (South Valley), Little Conewango Creek (Conewango), Paisley Park Pond (Randolph).

Chautauqua County: Goose Creek (Harmony, N. Harmony).

Erie County: Cattaraugus Creek (Yorkshire), East Branch Cazenovia Creek (Aurora, Holland), Little Buffalo Creek (Lancaster, Marilla), Eighteenmile Creek (Boston Town Park).

Wyoming County: Buffalo Creek (Java), Cattaraugus Creek (Arcade), Little Tonawanda Creek (Middlebury), Tonawanda Creek (Orangeville), East Koy Creek (Gainesville).

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.