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Lake Erie & Western New York Fishing Hotline

January 19, 2018 to January 26, 2018

Lake Erie Tributaries

At mid-week there were plenty of open water spots on popular tributaries such as Chautauqua, Canadaway and Eighteenmile Creeks. With mild temperatures on the way, expect open areas to expand. Rain added to the mix could cause another blowout.

Niagara River

Shore fishing in upper river on hold due to pack ice along shorelines.

When conditions permit, lower river boaters are seeing good trout action in the mid to upper drifts. A three-way rig with flat fish style lures like Mag Lip or Kwikfish produce a mix of steelhead, brown trout and lake trout. A three-way with a live shiner is a better bet for walleye. Not much safe shore fishing opportunities due to shelf ice along the shoreline. For fishing access maps and lower river fishing information see the Fishing the Lower Niagara River page. Regulation notes: Lake trout season opened January 1st. Also starting January 1st, walleye daily limit decreased from 3 to 1, with minimum length of 18 inches.

Lake Ontario Tributaries

The sections below the dams on Eighteenmile and Oak Orchard Creeks remain open. Oak Orchard flow is slightly high and stained with about 2 feet of visibility. Eighteemile Creek was muddy at mid-week. The smaller streams are mostly frozen, so you will have to hunt for open spots.

Ice Fishing

A minimum of four inches of solid black or clear ice (not white) is the general rule for safety. Five inches of solid ice is better for groups fishing together. Drilling holes or tapping with a spud bar to check ice thickness is recommended on your way out. Safety ice picks, boot cleats, throw rope and a floatation devise 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 introductory information.

Chautauqua Lake

All of Chautauqua Lake has finally locked up nicely, with between 8-12 inches of ice reported. There have been some good walleye catches, primarily around dawn and dusk. Depths around 30 feet have been productive near Long Point, Prendergast, Warner Bay and Dewittville Bay. The rims of the deeper holes are good spots to try as well. Jigging Rapalas and vertical jigging spoons tipped with a small minnow or grub are good walleye offerings. Keeper size yellow perch have been very tough to find lake-wide. However, anglers have managed some keepers off Mayville. Anglers also report fair numbers of white perch around the north basin. A list of State maintained access sites can be found on the Chautauqua Lake page. Various municipalities also provide access points.

Buffalo Harbor

Ice in the inner harbor is 10-12 inches thick. Anglers are catching mostly smaller sunfish and yellow perch, with the occasional keeper. Anglers are also exploring the sheltered bays and channels to the north and south of the harbor.

Silver Lake

Silver Lake has ice of 10 inches plus. Anglers are still catching decent numbers of keeper yellow perch in deep water over 30 feet. At the south end, tip-ups with shiners have produced some northern pike and the sunfish bite remains slow.

Conesus Lake

Conesus Lake has ice of 10 inches or more. The bluegill bite at the north end (Vitale Park) is still going strong, with plenty of 7-8 inch fish caught. Tip-ups with shiners produce the occasional pike, tiger musky or largemouth bass. Some pike have been caught off access points at mid-lake and the south end as well.

Honeoye Lake

Honeoye Lake has good ice lake-wide. South end anglers report a decent mix of sunfish and yellow perch. Larger perch are more common in the deeper mid-lake area. The odd walleye catch is possible.

Canadice Lake

Lake trout are available over deeper water. Jigging with spoons is a good bet. Anglers catch smelt in mid to upper water column after dark. Target suspended smelt schools with small glow jigs tipped with single spike or waxworm.

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; fwfish9@dec.ny.gov). Good Luck Fishing!

The fishing hotline can also be heard at (716) 679-ERIE or (716) 855-FISH.