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Lake Erie Fishing Hotline

November 20 to November 27, 2015

Attention anglers: The Lake Erie Fishing Hotline will not be updated for the week of November 27 to December 4.

Lake Erie Tributaries

Angler holding chinook salmon caught from Eighteenmile Creek in Evans.
Rare catch of a Chinook salmon on
Eighteenmile Creek in Evans on 10/15.

Cattaraugus Creek's water level has been steadily dropping this week, with the flow rate dipping below 500 cubic feet per second (today) for the first time in over a week. Without additional rain, the Catt will be a top steelhead option this weekend. Before the water surge, anglers saw decent steelhead catches on Cattaraugus Creek, from the mouth up to Scoby Dam. Conditions were ideal on the other tributaries at the start of the week, and anglers reported good steelhead action. The small to medium sized creeks now have lower, clear flows. When fishing clear conditions, it is good practice to use light lines, small hooks/baits and to move stealthily. 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, fishing locations and links to stream maps.

The damaged fish passage at the Westfield Water Works dam on Chautauqua Creek has been repaired. This fish passage gives migrating steelhead access to an additional 10 miles of stream that runs through a deep, wooded gorge. There are about 7 miles of public fishing rights easements (PFR) over that stretch of stream.

Lake Erie

Most boat launch sites have pulled their launch docks, so don't forget your waders. There was very little fishing activity this past week due to wind, waves and stained waters. When waters clear up, there is still opportunity to target yellow perch between Cattaraugus Creek and Sturgeon Point. Depths of 50-60 feet is a good starting point. Emerald shiners are available for dipping at Black Rock Canal Park (foot of Ontario Street launch), and likely at other upper river shore sites as well.

Upper Niagara River

Musky anglers still have little over a week left before the season closes after November 30th. Unfortunately, windy weather has again left the river with a heavy stain. When waters clear, target musky by drifting along weed edges or over bottom structure with 8-10 inch tube jigs, large stickbaits or large shiners. Casting large stickbaits is another option. Trolling around the outer Buffalo Harbor and North Gap can sometimes trigger a musky strike.

Chautauqua Lake

Panfish prospects are good at depths of 6-15 feet of water, especially around weeds or other structure. Decent sized yellow perch have been readily caught, with some crappie and bluegill showing as well. Small minnows are a good bet for perch or crappie. Worms or small jigs with a grub work well bluegill. Anglers have just over a week to target musky before the season closes after November 30. Trolling or casting along deep weed edges is a good bet with large stickbaits and bucktail spinners.

Surplus Broodstock Trout Stocking

DEC Randolph Fish Hatchery has completed their annual fall stocking of broodstock trout in Allegany and Cattaraugus Counties. All breeder trout stocked are over 2 years old and are stocked in waters where trout fishing is permitted year-round. The following waters were stocked: Case Lake received 300 brook trout (14-18") and 300 brown trout (14"); Quaker Lake received 175 brown trout (18-24") and 100 rainbow trout (18-28"); Red House Lake received 100 brown trout (18-24") and 25 rainbow trout (28"); Allen Lake received 100 brook trout (18"), 125 brown trout (18-24") and 75 rainbow trout (14-28"); New Albion Lake received 175 brook trout (14"), 25 brown trout (24") and 50 rainbow trout (21-28"); Genesee River received 65 brown trout (24") and 400 rainbow trout (14-28") between Wellsville and PA border.

Lake Sturgeon Tags

Picture of two tags

Scientists from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are looking for satellite tags that were attached to lake sturgeon last season. These unique tags are programmed to "pop off" of (detach from) each fish once they have collected data on lake sturgeon movements. Scientists use these data to determine annual movements, migration, behaviors and habitat use of lake sturgeon in the eastern Lake Erie basin. Once these tags become detached from the fish, they float to the surface, and are easily recognized by their unique shape and bright orange coloration. They tend to drift from Buffalo Harbor into the Upper Niagara River and occasionally become entangled in riverside vegetation. Should you encounter a floating pop off tag, collect and contact USFWS using the information printed on the body of the tag. The responsible scientist will assist you in sending it back to the appropriate office. In addition, once the data are downloaded, scientists will provide a detailed letter about that particular sturgeon's migration and movement patterns within the eastern Lake Erie Basin.

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.