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Lake Erie Fishing Hotline

October 21 to October 28, 2016

Lake Erie and Harbors

Angler holding 21 pound lake trout caught in 80 feet of water off Dunkirk Harbor.
21 pound lake trout caught off Dunkirk Harbor
on worm harness run near the bottom.

Anglers have been catching fair numbers of yellow perch west of Sturgeon Point. Schools are small and scattered in 50-65 feet of water. Some perch have also shown off Dunkirk in 70 feet of water. Live emerald shiners are the top bait if available. Small golden shiners or salted shiners will work as well. Anglers off Buffalo continue to see a good bass bite near structure in 15-35 feet of water. Boaters can target staging steelhead off major tributary mouths by trolling between 2-2.5 mph with spoons and stickbaits.

Lake Erie Tributaries

We are finally in the midst of a significant rain event. All creek levels are up and still on the rise. The smallest streams are the best bet for fishable conditions later this weekend. It may be a few days at least before Cattaraugus Creek is back in manageable shape. During the previous low water conditions, the only productive steelhead fishing was on the lower section of Cattaraugus Creek. Some fish were confined to the larger holes, in the lowest sections in other streams as well. On the current high water event, more steelhead will move in and push upstream on all creeks. Lake Erie steelhead commonly hit natural baits like egg sacs or worms, flies such as egg imitations, streamers and bugger patterns, and lures like minnow-type stickbaits, in-line spinners and small spoons. 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.

Upper Niagara River

Smallmouth bass fishing has been picking up on the upper river. Bass are on the feed and will readily hit live shiners or tube jigs. Some walleye have shown for boaters at the head of the river and shore anglers have caught a few from the Bird Island Pier. Some muskellunge have been caught recently, but water temperature remains well above prime musky fishing range.

Chautauqua Lake

There is still great opportunity to catch some Chautauqua Lake walleye. Anglers continue to do well in the south basin by trolling in 14-18 feet of water. In the north basin, vertical jigging at depths over 30 feet has been productive. For muskellunge, key on weed edges by trolling with stickbaits or by casting bucktail spinners and stickbaits. Anglers continue to see excellent yellow perch fishing throughout the north basin. One angling duo in particular picked up plenty of 9-10 inch perch of Mayville in 10-12 feet of water, by fishing with small tube jigs and simple nightcrawler rigs. Crappie are showing in the canals and near canal and tributary mouths.

Surplus Broodstock Trout Stocking

DEC Randolph Fish Hatchery are conducting their annual fall stocking of broodstock trout in select Allegany and Cattaraugus County waters. All breeder trout stocked are over 2 years old and are stocked in waters where trout fishing is permitted all year. The following waters have been stocked as of October 21st: Case Lake received 300 brown trout (15"-26") and 25 rainbow trout (28"); Quaker Lake received 150 brown trout (21"-26") and 200 rainbow trout (15"); Red House Lake received 250 brown trout (15"-26"); Allen Lake received 200 brook trout (15"-20"), 50 brown trout (15") and 25 rainbow trout (21"); Genesee River received 150 brown trout (15"-26") and 325 rainbow trout (15"-28").

Inland Trout Fishing

All inland streams are on the rise an likely unfishable at present. When conditions permit, the inland trout streams are a good option for solitude in the fall. The statewide trout season closes on October 15 (Great Lakes tributaries excluded). However, a number of inland streams are open to trout fishing all year. Check the Special Regulations by County to see what streams are open to trout fishing beyond October 15.

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.