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Lake Erie & Western New York Fishing Hotline

September 14 to September 21, 2018

Lake Erie & Harbors

Walleye fishing was excellent until some stiff northeast winds mixed things up earlier this week. Upwellings pushed colder water up higher in the water column and fish scattered. Anglers have experienced tough walleye fishing since mid-week and some have commented about empty screens (electronics). Searching will be required. Previously, the walleye bite was good from Sturgeon Point to the PA line at depths over 55 feet of water. However, from limited reports, some walleye have been caught at depths over 70 feet of water right off the bottom this week.

Lake Erie Tributaries

A few smaller steelhead have reportedly shown in the low section of Cattaraugus Creek. However, Catt Creek temps need to drop into the mid to lower 60s before we see any significant influx of steelhead. All other creeks are low, warm and void of steelhead. Fishing near creek mouths in Chautauqua County is the best bet at present, as Lake Erie surface temperatures have dropped below 70 degrees, which is generally when steelhead start to show near creek mouths. Shore anglers can target steelhead from the Cattaraugus Creek breakwall or by wading off creek mouths and casting spoons or spinners. Boaters can target steelhead off major tributary mouths by trolling with spoons between 2-2.5 mph. For those new to steelhead fishing, see the Steelhead Fishing in Lake Erie Tributaries page.

Niagara River

Anglers at the NYPA fishing platform are starting to catch a few king salmon. Look for the run to start in earnest as water temperatures drop into the 60s. Smallmouth bass and walleye are available from Artpark through the mid-river drifts. For fishing access maps and lower river fishing information see the Fishing the Lower Niagara River page.

Lake Ontario & Tributaries, Harbors & Piers

Between northeast blows, anglers are catching some staging king salmon in the nearshore zone. As water temperatures stabilize on the inside, action should really pick up. Mature kings are also concentrated along the Niagara Bar ledge, waiting for the right temps to run the river. Trolling with J-Plugs, flasher-fly combos and cut bait rigs works well for staging salmon. Offshore depths of 350 feet plus remain a good bet for a mix of king salmon and steelhead in top 75 feet. For those new to fishing Lake Ontario, visit the Trolling for Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon page for more information.

With colder water pushed along the shoreline earlier in the week, there was an uptick in catches from the piers. At Olcott, anglers were catching a few mature king salmon, brown trout and a few northern pike. Salmon and trout catches were also reported from the piers at Oak Orchard and the Genesee River. Casting heavy (3/4 ounce plus) Little Cleo, K.O. Wobbler and Moonshine glow spoons at night is a top technique for king salmon. For brown trout or steelhead, cast medium-sized spoons and spinners during low light periods. Don't forget a large long handled net. Lake Ontario tributaries remain warm and no sign of salmon yet.

DEC requests your help with recovering heads from Coho Salmon caught in Lake Ontario beginning in 2018. We are comparing Coho Salmon stocking strategies by mass marking and/or tagging all stocked Coho Salmon in 2016-2018, and wild vs. stocked Coho Salmon by clipping adipose fins in 2016-2018. For more information on data to include with Coho heads and freezer locations for drop-off, see Coho Salmon Head Collection page.

Chautauqua Lake

Walleye fishing along weedlines has been good during low light periods. Trolling or jigging over deeper water are good daytime walleye tactics. Anglers are catching muskellunge tight to weedlines and suspended muskies in 20-30 feet of water, 10-15 feet down. Weed beds are a good bet for a mix of yellow perch, white perch, bluegill and white bass. See the Chautauqua Lake page for more fishing information.

Inland Trout Fishing

The area streams are in good shape with cooler temperatures and moderate to slightly low flows. There are some tricos hatching in the morning hours, at which time trico emergers and spinners are good bets. Stimulator patterns and terrestials will also draw trout to the surface. Western New York anglers have a variety of Wild Trout Streams, Stocked Streams and Stocked Lakes to choose from. In addition, Public Fishing Rights Maps are available for many of the region's best streams. Check out the Fishing for Stream Trout page for introductory information on trout baits, lures, fishing equipment and techniques.

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.