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Lake Erie Fishing Hotline

July 21 to July 28, 2017

Lake Erie and Harbors

Diagram of yellow perch fishing rig used by Lake Erie anglers.
Productive perch fishing rig used by Lake
Erie anglers.

The recent walleye bite has been very good with anglers catching fish out of all ports. Out of Buffalo, anglers start to pick up walleye along the 50 foot contour near the international line. Further west off Sturgeon Point, 60 feet of water is a good starting point. Some walleye are also holding around Seneca Shoal in as shallow as 30 feet of water. Walleye at the east end are tight to the bottom. From Evangola to west of Cattaraugus Creek, anglers report a good bite in 65-70 feet of water. A recent walleye hot spot has been off Van Buren and extending 2 miles east and west. Gear run within 15 feet of bottom is a good bet. Anglers have been working the 65-75 foot zone off Barcelona for a while, and have seen decent to good catches that has included plenty of short walleye. Barcelona trollers have recently located schools of bigger walleye in 100-110 feet of water. Run worm harnesses or stickbaits 65 feet down or deeper. During periods when the bite has gone cold, trollers have enticed bites by popping lines. This is done by popping a downrigger line and letting the lure slowly flutter towards the surface (without reeling).

The overall smallmouth bass bite has been slow, however there have been some productive spots. Barcelona anglers are reportedly catching good numbers of bass in 20-30 feet of water off the red roof. Quality catches have also been reported in 25-40 feet of water at Myers Reef and Seneca Shoal. A drop-shot rig with tubes, plastics or crayfish works well when fishing deeper waters. For more information see the Smallmouth Bass Fishing on Lake Erie page.

Upper Niagara River

Some walleye are still showing between the head of the river and Strawberry Island, but smallmouth bass catches are more numerous in that area. Anglers can also find smallmouth bass around Motor Island and along the west side of Grand Island.

Chautauqua Lake

Anglers continue to report good walleye fishing in both basins. Concentrate efforts in the deeper, center section of the south basin. The better walleye catches in the north basin are still coming along weed edges. Largemouth bass are holding in shallower areas along weed lines, in pockets within the weeds and around docks. Live shiners, weedless rigged power worms, wacky rigged senkos and topwater lures are good bass offerings. July tends to be the slowest period for musky fishing, and this July has been no different. Look for the musky bite to pick back up in August.

Inland Trout Streams

Yesterday's rainstorms missed the southern tier counties, so those trout streams are in good fishing shape now. The larger streams in Erie and Wyoming Counties are currently a bit high, but dropping. The smaller streams in those counties are the better bet for tomorrow. No consistent fly hatches happening right now. Best bet is to try and match any observed bugs or tie on a terrestrial pattern. 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.