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Lake Erie Fishing Hotline

December 8 to December 15, 2017

Lake Erie Tributaries

Anglers have continued to see good steelhead action on the Lake Erie tributaries, with quality reports coming from Canadaway, Silver, Walnut and Eighteenmile Creeks. Cattaraugus Creek had been running high, but has dropped back into great fishing shape just in time for the weekend. All other creeks are in good shape today and conditions range from low and clear to moderate with good color. With freezing temperatures forecasted for the next week, expect fishing to get a bit more challenging on the smaller creeks due to lower flows and icy conditions. When fishing winter conditions, it is best to keep drifted offerings slow and low for steelhead that are more lethargic and hugging the bottom. It is also good to concentrate efforts during the warmest part of the day. Tributary steelhead commonly take flies such as egg imitations, nymphs, streamers and wooly buggers. Drift anglers do well with egg sacs, beads and jigs with grubs fished under a float.

Trout fishing at Dunkirk Harbor is not as productive as it was when the power plant was operational and it's warmwater discharge drew bait and sportfish into the harbor. However, anglers at the city pier have caught a few hefty brown trout recently.

There are new resources available for anglers looking for stream conditions. There are now water-stage recorders on Chautauqua, Canadaway, Silver, Walnut, Big Sister and Eighteenmile Creeks. At present, these recorders only measure gage height, which is height of the water in the stream above a reference point. There will be a bit of a learning curve here, to figure out how gage height translates to actual stream flow or condition. See the USGS Water Data for New York webpage for this information. For those new to steelhead fishing, see the Steelhead Fishing in Lake Erie Tributaries page.

Upper Niagara River

Upper river waters are murky but fishable. Anglers have been catching yellow perch in various harbors/marinas and at City of Buffalo shore sites. Expect many throwbacks for every keeper. Live emerald shiners work well for perch and are currently available for dipping at Broderick Park. Muskellunge season closed on the upper river after November 30th.

Chautauqua Lake

Some walleye are being caught from shore sites during low light periods. Casting small stickbaits works well. Fishing around weed beds with small minnows is a good bet for yellow perch. Muskellunge season closed after November 30th.

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.