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Lake Erie Fishing Hotline

October 13 to October 27, 2017

Lake Erie

Windy weather has limited outings on the open lake this past week. When conditions have permitted, anglers were catching decent numbers of yellow perch, including the occasional limit catch off Cattaraugus Creek and Sturgeon Point. Sixty-three to 70 feet of water off the Catt and 53-60 feet of water southwest of Sturgeon Point are good starting points. Some emerald shiners are available at Broderick Park, but dippers have had to work for them. Anglers are still catching walleye from Cattaraugus Creek to the PA line in 70-85 feet of water.

Lake Erie Tributaries

Up until this point, steelhead fishing has generally been slow on the small to medium sized tributaries, due to low and clear conditions. Following Wednesday's rainstorms, most streams were slightly high and muddy Thursday morning. Good numbers of steelhead were reportedly pushing up the creeks by late Thursday. All streams except Cattaraugus Creek are in great shape today, giving anglers plenty of options for the weekend. Cattaraugus Creek has been fishing well up through Gowanda, but fishing currently on hold due to slightly high and turbid conditions. Without additional rain, the Catt should be fishable in another day or two.

There are new resources available for anglers looking for stream conditions. There are now water-stage recorders on Chautauqua, Canadaway, Silver, Walnut, Big Sister and Eighteenmile Creeks. At present, these recorders only measure gage height, which is height of the water in the stream above a reference point. There will be a bit of a learning curve here, to figure out how gage height translates to actual stream flow or condition. See the USGS Water Data for New York webpage for this information. For those new to steelhead fishing, see the Steelhead Fishing in Lake Erie Tributaries page.

Upper Niagara River

The upper river is a great smallmouth bass option in fall as waters cool and bass go on the feed. Also, conditions on the river are often more manageable than the open lake in fall, and boat launches remain open late into the fall. Target feeding bass outside weed edges by drifting with bottom bouncing rigs with live shiners, crayfish or plastics. Muskellunge fishing peaks on the river in fall as well. Drifting with large 8-10 inch tube jigs or casting large stickbaits are top methods.

Chautauqua Lake

Walleye are cooperating for anglers in both basins. Trolling along the deeper section of the south basin in 14-18 feet of water with stickbaits or worm harnesses works well. Vertical jigging around the deeper holes of the north basin has been productive. Yellow perch are available almost lakewide and readily take live minnows. Fall is generally the top time to target muskellunge on Chautauqua Lake. Key on weedlines by trolling with large stickbaits (especially perch pattern) or by casting large bucktail spinners.

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 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 19th: Quaker Lake received 550 brown trout (14"-24") and 410 rainbow trout (14"-28"); Case Lake received 400 brook trout (14"-18"), 100 brown trout (14") and 50 rainbow trout (21"-28"); Harwood Lake received 100 brook trout (14"-18") and 100 brown trout (14"); New Albion Lake received 150 brown trout (14") and 75 rainbow trout (14"-21"); Allen Lake received 275 brook trout (14"-18") and 50 brown trout (14"); Genesee River received 150 brown trout (14") and 380 rainbow trout (14"-28"), stocked between Wellsville and the PA line.

Inland Trout Streams

The area trout streams are in great shape with moderate flows. Fall is a good time to fish the inland trout streams, as trout are on the feed and angling pressure is light. The statewide trout season closes on October 15th (Great Lakes tributaries excluded). However, a number inland trout streams are open to trout fishing all year. Check the Special Regulations by County to see which trout streams are open to trout fishing beyond October 15th.

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.