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Lake Erie & Western New York Fishing Hotline

September 13 to September 20, 2019

Lake Erie

Limit walleye catches are still possible out of Buffalo if you work for them, but quicker limits are the norm from Sturgeon Point to the PA line. Walleye anglers out of Sturgeon Point head for the international line. From Cattaraugus Creek to Barcelona, stellar walleye action can be found in 70-90 feet of water. Gear run 55-60 feet down gets the most attention, however anglers are also picking up fish off the bottom and higher in the water column. Worm harnesses and stickbaits continue to produce. Other anglers are running smaller stickbaits and spoons (to great success) to match the smaller bait they are finding in walleye stomachs.

Some anglers have recently picked up decent to good yellow perch catches off Cattaraugus Creek and to the east, while others have come up empty in the same general area. Depths of 62-65 feet of water is a good starting point, but some searching is required no doubt. Yellow perch catches are also possible out of Dunkirk Harbor starting in around 60 feet of water.

Lake Erie Tributaries

Lake Erie tributary waters are getting cooler, but all streams except Cattaraugus Creek remain low despite yesterday's rain. Cattaraugus Creek level peaked overnight and is falling fast. Without additional significant rainfall, the Catt is the best option for early run steelhead this weekend. Another good slug of rain is needed to draw steelhead into the other creeks. Lake Erie surface temperature is around 70 degrees. Look for steelhead to show near creek mouths as water temperatures drop into the upper 60s. Shore anglers can target staging steelhead from the Cattaraugus Creek breakwall or by wading off creek mouths and casting spoons and spinners. Boaters can target steel off major tributary mouths by trolling with spoons between 2-2.5 mph.

Niagara River

The first of the season's king salmon have been caught from shore along the lower river gorge (State Parks). No word of any catches from boats yet. King salmon typically start moving into the river in earnest in mid-September with peak usually occurring the last week of September through the second week of October. The New York Power Authority has announced that efforts are underway to re-open the pier on Saturday, September 14th. It is still best to call ahead to be sure. For updates on pier call 716-796-0135, extension 45 (enter extension # when message starts to avoid listening to long menu). Walleye fishing has slowed, but eyes are still available in the mid to lower drifts and out on the Niagara Bar. Smallmouth bass fishing remains good in the same area where walleye are present.  For fishing access maps and lower river fishing information see the Fishing the Lower Niagara River page.

Lake Ontario

Fishing for staging king salmon off creek mouths has been slow thus far. When staging kings show, fishing is typically best at dawn and the bite can pick back up again near dusk. Before daybreak, salmon can be just a short distance off pier heads. After sunrise, depths of 50-100 feet of water are a better bet. Large spoons, meat rigs, flasher-fly combos and J-Plugs are good offerings for staging salmon. Trollers fishing well off shore report good fishing for steelhead and king salmon of mixed ages. Run gear in the top 80 feet.

Lake Ontario Tributaries, Harbors & Piers

Anglers have just started to catch the occasional king salmon from the piers at Olcott, Oak Orchard and Genesee River, but the best is yet to come. Watch for any north or northeast wind that could push colder water inshore and with it salmon and trout. Casting heavy (3/4 ounce plus) Little Cleo, K.O. Wobbler and Moonshine glow spoons at pier sites from dusk to dawn is the typical tactic for kings. Brown trout, northern pike and smallmouth bass are also present around piers at this time of year. Lake Ontario water levels are still high but have receded enough to allow for fishing at most piers. Be cautious as waves can still top the piers depending on wind speed and direction.

A few kings have been reported up to the dam on Oak Orchard Creek. No word of any kings in Eighteenmile Creek or smaller tributaries yet.

Chautauqua Lake

Walleye are still available inside 20 feet of water along weedlines. Walleye have also recently shown inside the weeds and in pockets within the weeds, surprising some bass and perch anglers. The musky bite has been decent along weedlines. Casting or trolling large stickbaits works well. Visit the Chautauqua Lake page for more fishing information.

Inland Trout Fishing

The region's trout streams are in pretty good shape with cooling water temperatures and slightly lower flows. Tricos are a possible hatch on some streams and fly anglers can do well with trico emergers and spinners in the morning. Stimulator patterns and terrestrials (ants, beetles, grasshoppers, etc.) will also draw trout to the surface. Western New York anglers have a variety of Wild Trout Streams, Stocked Streams and Stocked Lakes to choose from. Public Fishing Rights Maps are available for many of the region's best streams. Check out the Fishing for Stream Trout page for introductory information on trout baits, lures, fishing equipment and techniques.

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; fwfish9@dec.ny.gov). Good Luck Fishing!

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