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Lake Erie Fishing Hotline

June 24 to July 1, 2016

DEC Free Fishing Weekend

On June 25th and 26th, anyone can fish the waters of New York State and no fishing license is required! Since no license is required, its the perfect time to take a friend or relative fishing. Anglers must still abide by New York State fishing regulations during the free fishing weekend.

Free Fishing Clinic

Join the DEC and Erie County Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs on June 25th at Chestnut Ridge County Park, Orchard Park, NY for the free Teach-Me-To-Fish clinic. This free family fishing day will run from 9:30 AM to 1:00 PM (registration cutoff 11:00 AM). Participants learn about fish species, fishing techniques and tackle at the education stations before fishing in the productive pond. Kids age 15 and under can register to win great fishing prizes in the random drawing and all participants receive a free hot dog lunch. Fishing rods are available to borrow or bring your own. Worms provided for bait. Adult accompaniment is required for all youth participants. Call 716-851-7010 for more information or to pre-register.

Lake Erie and Harbors

Angler holding 29 inch Lake Erie walleye
29 inch Lake Erie walleye.

In between the wind and waves, walleye outings have produced some decent catches, with better numbers to the west. From Cattaraugus Creek to the PA line, trollers have been picking up walleye over depths of 55-120 feet of water. The shallow end of that depth range has tended to be more productive. Depths of 55-65 feet is a good starting point between Eagle Bay and Dunkirk, between Van Buren Point and Portland water tower and west of Barcelona. Buffalo anglers are working hard for a walleye or two off the windmills in 30-40 feet of water. Trolling with stickbaits or worm harnesses is the traditional walleye tactic. Off Buffalo, bottom bouncing with worm harnesses is also popular.

The smallmouth bass bite is hanging on at Dunkirk and Barcelona Harbors. Rocky bottom structure in 15-30 feet of water are also good bets for bass. Reliable spots include Van Buren Reef, Evans Bar, Myers Reef, Woodlawn Bar and Seneca Shoal. Tube jigs, jigs with twister tails, deep diving stickbaits, live minnows and crayfish are good bass baits. A drop-shot rig with tubes, plastics or live bait works well when fishing deeper waters. For more information see the Smallmouth Bass Fishing on Lake Erie page. Yellow perch reports remain scarce. Some boats perch fishing out of Dunkirk today were only able to put a few perch in the cooler.

Attention Anglers: The DEC fishing platform at Dunkirk Harbor is closed for a project to replace the deck and railings. The pier will remain closed until at least the end of June.

Upper Niagara River

Smallmouth bass fishing has improved for boaters over the past week. Drifting with bottom bouncing rigs and live shiners or crayfish has worked well. Traditionally productive bass spots include the east side and head of Strawberry and Motor Islands, and west side of Grand Island. When fishing the west river, be aware that the international line runs quite close to the island. Anglers report some decent muskellunge catches, with a couple boats reporting two muskies landed in a single outing. Early season musky are often found near emerging weeds in spawning areas. Casting large stickbaits and spinnerbaits are good bets in early season. The Ferry Street bridge to Broderick Park is now open to car and pedestrian traffic. Currently, there are plenty of emerald shiners available for dipping at Broderick Park.

Chautauqua Lake

Muskellunge fishing has been good for casters during morning and evening hours. Ashville and Warner Bays have been productive spots. Position boat outside weed beds and cast oversized jerkbaits and bucktail spinners over the weed beds. Anglers are picking up some walleye along weed edges. Try trolling with worm harnesses or jigging along deep weed edges with leeches or nightcrawlers. Yellow perch have been biting well lake wide on minnows. Largemouth bass are available in the nearshore shallows and around docks. Shallow diving stickbaits, spinnerbaits, tube jigs, plastics, surface plugs and live shiners are good bass baits.

Inland Trout Fishing

All of the area streams have low flows and many have warm water. Keep in mind that hooking and playing trout in warm waters can be lethal to trout.

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, fishing equipment and techniques.

Spring Trout Stocking

DEC Fish Hatchery staff stocked thousands of yearling brown, brook and rainbow trout throughout western New York. In addition, many of the popular trout waters also received stockings of two-year-old brown trout that are between 12-15 inches long. For complete County lists of stocked waters and numbers of trout stocked, check the 2016 Spring Trout Stocking pages.

Cattaraugus Creek was stocked on Tuesday, June 7th with 1000 surplus two-year-old brown trout. Trout were stocked a multiple sites from Java Lake Road crossing in Arcade, downstream to Hake Road crossing in Sardinia.

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.