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Lake Erie Fishing Hotline

October 24 to October 31, 2014

Attention anglers: Your 2013-2014 Freshwater Fishing Licenses (purchased before February 1st, 2014) expired on September 30th. Fishing licenses purchased after February 1st, 2014, are valid for 365 days from date of purchase.

New Freshwater Fishing Licenses can be purchased at DEC regional offices and license issuing agents including many town clerk offices, sporting good stores and bait & tackle shops. For lists of license issuing agent locations or to purchase a fishing license online, visit DEC Internet Sporting License Sales. Licenses can also be purchased by phone at 1-866-933-2257.

Lake Erie & Tributaries

Two anglers holding yellow perch caught on Lake Erie.
Anglers enjoying excellent late season
yellow perch action on Lake Erie.

Mid-week rains gave the steelhead creeks a needed bump in flow. Cattaraugus Creek has been murky the last couple days, but now has moderate flow and looks like its in fine shape for the weekend. The small to medium sized streams have dropped back to lower, clear flows. However, the slight rise moved fish further upstream and likely drew more fish in. Steelhead action has been consistently best on Cattaraugus Creek, where anglers have caught fish from the mouth, up to the dam in Springville. Catches have also been good at times on Chautauqua, Canadaway, Silver, Walnut and Eighteenmile Creeks. Tributary steelhead commonly hit natural baits like egg sacs or worms, flies such as egg imitations, streamers and bugger patters, and lures like minnow-type stickbaits, smaller spoons and in-line spinners. When fishing low and clear conditions, it is best to use smaller baits, hooks and light line. Anglers can also target steelhead from the Cattaraugus Creek breakwall or off creek mouths by casting spoons, spinners and stickbaits. 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.

Lake Erie Steelhead Diary Cooperator Program: The DEC Lake Erie Fisheries Unit is seeking active Lake Erie tributary anglers to participate in the Diary Cooperator Program. The diary program provides valuable information on angler's fishing trips and helps biologists assess the status of the lake and tributary trout fishery in the New York waters of Lake Erie. For more details or to sign up, contact senior aquatic biologist Jim Markham by phone at 716-366-0228 or email: james.markham@dec.ny.gov.

Boaters also have good opportunity to catch steelhead near the mouths of the tributaries. Anglers have recently done well in 10 - 15 feet of water off the mouth of Chautauqua Creek by casting spoons. Another group did quite well by trolling stickbaits up and down the low end of Cattaraugus Creek, between the Hanover launch and the mouth.

Most of the week it has been too rough on Lake Erie to get out to the perch grounds. However, yellow perch are still available and the late season action has been very good. Head for depths of 60-70 feet between Cattaraugus Creek and Sturgeon Point. Searching around for perch schools on the bottom before dropping anchor usually pays off. Many successful Lake Erie perch anglers employ a fluorocarbon rig, as opposed to flashier offerings like a spreader rig. Live emerald shiners are easily the top perch bait. Emerald shiners are available for dipping along City of Buffalo shore sites. View the Baitfish Regulations for information on use, transportation and possession of personally caught baitfish.

Upper Niagara River

From 10/17 report: The upper river is a great smallmouth bass option in fall as waters cool and bass go on the feed. Also, conditions on the river are often more manageable than the open lake in the fall, and boat launches on the river remain open late into the fall. Traditional smallmouth bass baits like golden shiners, crayfish, tube jigs and plastics work well when drifting with a bottom bouncing rig, however casting spinnerbaits and stickbaits is another option. Cooling river waters in fall usually turns on the muskellunge fishing. Drifting along weed edges with large 8-10 inch tube jigs or casting large stickbaits are top methods. Emerald shiners have produced some decent yellow perch catches at Broderick Park and Ontario Street boat launch.

Chautauqua Lake

From 10/17 report: It has been a great season for muskellunge fishing on Chautauqua Lake, with some of the better catches in recent memory. Trolling outside weed edges with large perch-pattern stickbaits is a good bet. Drifting and casting around weed beds has also produced musky catches. Anglers were recently catching some walleye in the deeper holes of the north basin. Vertical jigging with spoons, jigging Rapalas or medium sized shiners are good tactics. Some walleye have also been caught along weed edges, by drifting with shiners. Smallmouth bass fishing is picking up along points, with catches reported at Warner Bar, Maple Springs and Long Point. Some smallmouth action has also been reported around the Lakewood Bar.

Surplus Broodstock Trout Stocking

DEC Randolph Fish Hatchery has been conducting their annual fall stocking of broodstock trout in Allegany and Cattaraugus Counties. All breeder trout stocked are over 2 years old and are stocked in waters where trout fishing is permitted year-round. The following waters have been stocked as of 10/24: Quaker Lake received 100 brown trout (24 inch) and 100 rainbow trout (28 inch); Red House Lake received 190 brown trout (18-24 inch); Birch Run Ponds received 25 brook trout (18 inch); Case Lake received 150 brook trout (14 inch) and 75 rainbow trout (22 inch); Allen Lake received 150 brook trout (14 inch) and 75 rainbow trout (22 inch). Call the Randolph Hatchery Stocking Hotline at (716) 358-4950 for updates.

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.