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Lake Erie Fishing Hotline

May 1 to May 8, 2015

Attention anglers: Walleye, northern pike, pickerel and special Lake Erie black bass (smallmouth and largemouth) seasons open on Saturday, May 2nd.

The special black bass season is in effect on Lake Erie and its tributaries up to the first impassible barrier only. Anglers can use natural/live bait and can keep one bass per day, with a minimum size limit of 20 inches. Bass fishing on all other waters in western New York is by catch and release only, artificial lures only, until the 3rd Saturday in June. Tiger muskellunge season also opens on May 2nd on the inland waters where they occur. Tiger muskellunge remains closed on Lake Erie, Niagara River and Lake Ontario until the 3rd Saturday in June.

Cayuga Creek Trout Stocking

DEC has added Cayuga Creek as a new trout stocking site for 2015, offering another trout fishing option for anglers in the greater Buffalo area. Over two stocking increments on April 13th and April 22nd, Caledonia Fish Hatchery stocked 3,150 yearling rainbow trout over a one-and-a-half mile stretch of Cayuga Creek within Como Lake County Park in Lancaster. Trout were stocked in 5 locations from just above Como Lake, upstream to the park pavilion on Bowen Road. This section of stream has unlimited public access on both sides of the creek.

Lake Erie

Angler holding steelhead caught from Cattaraugus Creek.
Steelhead caught from Cattaraugus Creek in
the upper end of Zoar Valley.

Early yellow perch trips have been successful and walleye season kicks off on Saturday, May 2nd. Anglers will be able to launch at most access sites this weekend. Launches at Barcelona, Dunkirk, Sturgeon Point and Buffalo boat harbor are open and have at least one launch dock in. At Cattaraugus Creek, anglers can launch at the state launch and Town of Hanover launch, however no launch docks are in at present. Anglers have reported good early season perch action, including some limit catches. There have even been some walleye catches mixed in. Depths around 50 feet between Cattaraugus Creek and Sturgeon Point are good starting points. Live emerald shiners fished near the bottom works well for perch.

With cold water temperatures in the low 40s, walleye season could be off to a slow start. Trollers usually hit the nearshore spawning shoals/shallows when the season opens. Shorehaven Reef, Bournes Beach, Green Hills, Van Buren Bay, Evans Bar, off Hamburg and near the mouth of Smokes Creek. The typical program involves trolling in 6-15 feet of water with shallow diving stickbaits or worm harnesses over rocky areas. If the shoal bite is slow, trolling or bottom bouncing in deeper areas off the spawning shoals is worth a shot.

The harbors are good spots for smallmouth bass when the special season opens on Saturday. These areas warm quicker than the open lake, drawing in smallmouth bass. Anglers at Buffalo Small Boat Harbor have seen decent yellow perch and crappie at times. Perch and sunfish can also be found in other sheltered areas with weeds around the greater Buffalo Harbor.

Lake Erie Tributaries

Cattaraugus Creek is currently in the best shape its been all spring. The smaller streams have moderate to low and clear flows. There are still decent numbers of steelhead in the creeks, consisting mostly of drop-backs. Smallmouth bass are moving into the lower ends of the tributaries and action has been excellent at times. Woolly buggers and minnow imitation patterns are good bass offerings for fly anglers, and spinning anglers generally do well with stickbaits and natural baits like minnows, crayfish and worms.

Upper Niagara River

Lake Erie ice is gone and the ice boom has been removed. With warming river temperatures, look for the yellow perch and sunfish bite to pick up at harbor, bay and inlet sites. Small minnows, worms or grubs are good baits. Also look for crappie schooling in the backwater areas of Tonawanda Creek, between the confluence with the Erie Canal and the Niagara River. Anglers usually catch some rainbow trout at this time of year from the Bird Island Pier and Broderick Park. Target trout by drifting egg sacs and minnows, or by casting spoons and spinners.

Chautauqua Lake

Walleye season opens on Saturday, May 2nd. Targeting walleye along shallower shoreline areas at night is a good early season tactic. Boaters can slow troll with stickbaits and worm harnesses, or drift and work jigs with nightcrawlers or leeches. Shore anglers can connect by casting stickbaits, especially in areas near stream inlets. Anglers were recently seeing good crappie catches at times in the canals and at open lake sites, as well as plenty of perch and bluegill in the same areas. On the open lake, target crappie in 6-10 feet of water in the sheltered bays and around structure. Recent crappie catches have been reported at Lakewood Bar, Rock and Grass Islands, Ashville Bay, Burtis Bay and off Mayville. Catches are best from before dusk through dawn. Small jigs (1/32 and 1/64 ounce) with a small minnow, one inch tube or other small plastic and fished under a pencil float works well. A small minnow on a bare hook is another simple, but effective method for crappie.

Inland Trout Fishing

The inland trout streams are in good fishing shape. Hatches of hendricksons, blue-winged olives and stoneflies are happening in the area. Most of the action is still sub-surface on nymphs, but small streamers of buggers also work. Productive offerings for spinning anglers include worms, salted minnows and small inline spinners. If you are a catch-and-release angler and use spinners, it is a good practice to outfit your spinners with a single hook rather than a treble hook.

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 area'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 have stocked thousands of yearling brown, brook and rainbow trout throughout western New York, as well as two-year-old brown trout in many waters. All of the region's trout stocked waters have now received at least one stocking increment. For complete County lists of stocked waters and numbers of trout stocked, check the 2015 Spring Trout Stocking page. Hatchery staff are now stocking select waters with additional stocking increments. Call the Randolph Hatchery Fish Stocking Hotline at (716) 358-4950 or check back here for weekly stocking updates. The following waters will receive an additional trout stocking between 5/4 and 5/8:

Allegany County: Allen Lake (Allen), Rushford Lake (Caneadea), Dodge Creek (Clarksville).

Cattaraugus County: Bone Run (South Valley), New Albion Lake (New Albion), Case Lake (Franklinville), Quaker Lake (Elko), Red House Lake (Red House).

Chautauqua County: Cassadaga Creek (Stockton), Goose Creek (Harmony, North Harmony).

Erie County: Springville Field & Stream Creek (Concord).

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.

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.