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Lake Erie Fishing Hotline

June 26 to July 3, 2015

DEC FREE FISHING WEEKEND: On June 27th and 28th, anyone can fish the fresh or marine waters of New York State and no fishing license is required! Since no license is required, it's the perfect time to take a friend or relative fishing. Anglers must still abide by New York State fishing regulations during the free fishing weekend.

Free Fishing Clinic

Rain or Shine. Join the DEC and Erie County Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs on June 27th at Chestnut Ridge County Park Pond, Orchard Park, NY for the free Teach-Me-To-Fish clinic. This free family fishing day will run from 9:30 AM to 1:00 PM at the Commissioners Cabin (registration ends at 11:00 AM). Participants learn about fish species, fishing techniques and tackle at the education stations before fishing in the productive pond. Kids age 15 and under can register to win great fishing prizes in the random drawing and all participants receive a free hot dog lunch. Fishing rods are available to borrow or bring your own. Worms provided for bait. Adult accompaniment is required for all youth participants. Call 716-597-4081 to pre-register. Contact NYSDEC at (716) 851-7010 for more event information.

Lake Erie

Angler holding two walleye caught while night fishing on Lake Erie
Lake Erie walleye caught while nighttime trolling
over Van Buren Bay/Reef.

Barcelona trollers are seeing a good walleye bite about 6 miles west of the harbor near the "red roof" in 70-80 feet of water. Walleye are scattered within the water column from about 20 feet down, to the bottom. Everywhere else the walleye fishing has been rather slow. Anglers have located some fish off Dunkirk in 50-65 feet of water and west of Cattaraugus Creek in 60-70 feet of water. On Thursday, Buffalo anglers were working all of the traditional spots and averaging between zero and 3 walleye.

There may be dip in catches of some species, but smallmouth bass action remains steady. Target bass in 15-30 feet of water around rocky bottom structure like reefs, rock piles and drop-offs. Reliable spots include Bourne's Beach, Van Buren Reef, Evans Bar, Myers Reef, Woodlawn Bar and Seneca Shoal. Anglers are also catching bass around the breakwalls at Dunkirk and Buffalo Harbors. Tube jigs, jigs with twister tails, deep diving stickbaits, swimbaits, live minnows and crayfish are good bass baits. A drop-shot rig with tubes, plastics or live bait is a good bet when fishing deeper water. For more information see the Smallmouth Bass Fishing on Lake Erie page.

Yellow perch have been tough to locate between Sturgeon Point and Cattaraugus Creek lately, but the occasional boat has managed to fill the cooler. Anglers have recently picked up some decent perch catches in 40-45 feet of water between Dunkirk Harbor and the lighthouse at Point Gratiot.

Picture of walleye, showing location of external loop tag.
Look for orange loop tag on walleye's back with
handling and reward information.

Walleye Reward Tag Program: The New York State DEC Lake Erie Research Unit, along with other jurisdictions around Lake Erie are conducting a walleye movement study. If you catch a tagged walleye, there is a $100 reward for the return of the whole fish and its internal transmitter. Tag handling and reward information are displayed on an orange external loop tag on the walleye's back. Your cooperation with this research is greatly appreciated!

Upper Niagara River

Smallmouth bass are available throughout the upper river. Target areas outside weed edges in 10-20 feet of water. Traditionally productive spots include the east side of Strawberry and Motor Islands, and the west bank of Grand Island (near Beaver Island State Park). When fishing the west side of Grand Island, be aware that the international line runs quite close to the island. Live crayfish have been the top smallmouth bass bait since the season opened last Saturday. Drifting with a three-way bottom bouncing rig and crayfish works great. Shallower weedy areas, harbors and marinas are a better bet for largemouth bass. Anglers can target muskellunge along weed edges with large stickbaits or 8-10 inch tube jigs. Live bait produces mixed catches from shore sites, including black bass, perch, sunfish, rock bass, white bass and sheepshead. Be aware that the ferry street bridge to Broderick Park is closed for repairs until early 2016. Currently, Squaw Island is only accessible from the bridge at the north end of the island.

Chautauqua Lake

Muskellunge action has slowed a bit, but anglers are still catching some along weed edges by casting or trolling large stickbaits. Largemouth bass catches are common along weed edges, around docks or in open pockets within the weed beds. Productive methods include fishing live bait (minnows, crayfish, leeches) outside weed edge, dropping plastics and tube jigs in open pockets or retrieving weedless or topwater baits over submerged weeds. Anglers are catching good numbers of keeper-sized sunfish and yellow perch in shallower areas around emerging weed beds. Some walleye have been caught in the south basin along weed edges and in deeper water. Target walleye by trolling with stickbaits and worm harnesses or by jigging with blade baits or jigs with nightcrawlers of leeches.

Inland Trout Fishing

Most of the area's trout streams are in good shape today. However, that will certainly change with this weekend's heavy rains. There are some hatches of sulphers, isonychia and caddisflies in the area. 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 stocked thousands of yearling brown, brook and rainbow trout throughout western New York. In addition, many of the popular trout waters also received stockings of two-year-old brown trout that are between 12-15 inches long. For complete County lists of stocked waters and numbers of trout stocked, check the 2015 Spring Trout Stocking page.

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.