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Lake Erie Fishing Hotline

February 27 to March 6, 2015

Attention Anglers: The Lake Erie Fishing Hotline will not be updated the week of March 6 to March 13.

Wiscoy Creek Angler Diary Program

DEC Region 9 Fisheries Unit will be running an angler diary program for Wiscoy Creek in Allegany and Wyoming Counties during 2015, and is currently looking for anglers to keep diaries. If you fish Wiscoy Creek (even once) and would like to keep a diary, please call DEC Fisheries at (716) 372-0645 or email at fwfish9@dec.ny.gov. The program will run March 1st through October 31st. This program duplicates one run in 2012 (2012 survey summary) and will be used in conjunction with a late-summer electrofishing survey to evaluate the fishery's overall quality.

Lake Erie Tributaries

Two yellow perch and a fishing pole lying on the ice
Ice fishing is in full swing in western New York.

All of the tributaries remain frozen over, offering practically no steelhead fishing opportunity at present. 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.

Dunkirk Harbor

There is open water off of the DEC fishing platform near the power plant, and anglers have recently caught some brown trout and steelhead. Jigs, spoons, spinners and live minnows are good trout offerings. There is no open water around the city pier.

Ice Fishing

Western New York's ice fishing waters have good, thick ice. However, deep or drifting snow has made travel tough on many of the area waters. Ice anglers should still keep in mind that ice thickness can vary greatly on the same body of water, especially if there are springs, stream inlets or heavy snow cover. Before you head out on the ice this winter, remember that a minimum of 3 to 4 inches of solid ice (blue or black, not white) is the general rule for safety, for individuals on foot. Five inches of solid ice is more suitable for small groups fishing together. Drilling holes or tapping with a spud bar to check ice thickness is recommended on your way out, or when moving around. Safety ice picks, boot cleats, throw rope and a floatation device are recommended safety supplies. Use good judgment and fish with a friend when possible. Those new to ice fishing can check the Ice Fishing Basics page for more information. See the Lake Contour Maps page for maps organized by county.

Lake Erie

Most of Lake Erie's ice sheet east of Cattaraugus Creek is around a foot thick. However, there have been some reports of dangerous ice conditions off Sturgeon Point, including possible open water spots. For more information, see the DEC Press Release issued today. Individuals are strongly encouraged to check ice conditions for themselves and avoid situations that appear to present even a remote risk. Keep in mind that pressure cracks can form on the big lake, especially when there are gusting winds out of the east. Anglers should always travel with a GPS and/or compass as you can lose sight of land when snow or fog sets in.

Drifting snow and slush are still giving Lake Erie ice anglers trouble getting in an out. The first mile is a rough walk and many ATVs have become stuck. Perch fishing in 50-55 feet out of Sturgeon Point is still slow for the most part. A few anglers have reached double digit perch catches, or managed the rare walleye or lake trout. Catches out of Hamburg Beach have been better. Catches for most are still modest, but there have been some limit catches mixed in. Be aware that parking at Hamburg Beach is by permit only. Emerald shiners are the top perch bait, fished on a drop-shot style rig with 2 or 3 baited hooks near the bottom, or on tip-downs.

Barcelona Harbor

The harbor has good ice of around 8 inches or more. The trout fishing has slowed a bit, but anglers have recently caught some steelhead and brown trout through the ice. Try jigging with spoons tipped with waxworms or piece of minnow. Tip-ups with shiners are also worth a shot.

Buffalo Boat Harbor

Ice fishing inside the inner breakwall has not changed much in the past month. Anglers continue to catch mostly small yellow perch and sunfish, with a few keepers mixed in. Tip-ups with shiners produce the occasional northern pike.

Chautauqua Lake

Chautauqua Lake has ice of about 16 inches in most places, with a mix of slush and snow on top, including deep drifted areas. Anglers have reported some good yellow perch action in deeper areas of 30 feet plus. Small minnows have worked well for decent numbers of keeper perch off Prendergast, Long Point and the Bell Tower. Anglers are also catching keeper perch in the shallows off Mayville, along with good numbers of bluegill and some crappie near dark. The walleye bite has slowed a bit, but some anglers have connected around the north basin. Some recent walleye have been caught around 30 foot depths at Dewitville Bay, off the Bell Tower and between Prendergast and Magnolia. Jigging near dawn and dusk with Rapalas, Moonshine lures or Swedish Pimples is a good bet.

Cattaraugus County Lakes

A number of small lakes in Cattaraugus County have good ice and offer a variety of ice fishing opportunities. Case, Harwood, Allen, New Albion and Redhouse Lakes offer fishing for smaller yellow perch and a variety of sunfish. However, there is also an opportunity to catch large breeder trout that were stocked in the fall by the Randolph Fish Hatchery. Quaker Lake offers decent sunfish and northern pike fishing and was also stocked with breeder trout in fall.

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.