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Lake Erie Fishing Hotline

October 17 to October 24, 2014

Attention anglers: Your 2013-2014 Freshwater Fishing Licenses (purchased before February 1st, 2014) expired on September 30th. Fishing licenses purchased after February 1st, 2014, are valid for 365 days from date of purchase.

New Freshwater Fishing Licenses can be purchased at DEC regional offices and license issuing agents including many town clerk offices, sporting good stores and bait & tackle shops. For lists of license issuing agent locations or to purchase a fishing license online, visit DEC Internet Sporting License Sales. Licenses can also be purchased by phone at 1-866-933-2257.

Lake Erie & Tributaries

Two anglers holding yellow perch caught on Lake Erie.
Anglers enjoying excellent late season
yellow perch action on Lake Erie.

Late season yellow perch action can be excellent, and this year has been no exception. Some good catches have been reported this week outside 60 feet of water between Cattaraugus Creek and Evangola State Park. In addition, recent DEC trawling surveys have shown large numbers of perch in 60-80 feet between Silver Creek and Eighteenmile Creek, especially off Sturgeon Point. Searching around for perch schools on the bottom before dropping anchor usually pays off. Many successful Lake Erie perch anglers employ a fluorocarbon rig, as opposed to flashier offerings like a spreader rig (See a description of a fluorocarbon rig below and a diagram, below right, provided by a seasoned Erie perch angler). Live emerald shiners are easily the top perch bait. Even salted emerald shiners will outperform live fathead minnows or other small minnows. Emerald shiners are available for dipping along City of Buffalo shore sites like Broderick Park (foot of Ferry St.) and the Ontario Street boat launch. View the Baitfish Regulations for information on use, transportation and possession of personally caught baitfish.

Double Fluorocarbon Perch Rig: Tie a 6 foot section of 6 pound fluorocarbon line onto the main line using a surgeon's knot. Slide a #6 Aberdeen hook onto fluorocarbon line to 3 foot from end, and tie a double overhand knot, leaving a 1.5 inch loop with hook attached. Slide a second hook onto the line to 12-15 inches below the first hook and secure same as first hook. Attach a 1 or 2 ounce sinker, 12-15 inches below the bottom hook.

Diagram of fluorocarbon perch rig.

Due to the start of a construction project at Buffalo Small Boat Harbor, the boat launch is now closed.

Boaters have good opportunity to catch steelhead near the mouths of the tributaries. Anglers have done well in 4-10 feet of water off the mouth of Chautauqua Creek by casting spoons. Another group did quite well by trolling stickbaits up and down the low end of Cattaraugus Creek, between the Hanover launch and the mouth.

As for tributary steelhead action, the go-to spot has been Cattaraugus Creek. Anglers are catching steelhead from the mouth up to the dam in Springville. The best catches have been around Gowanda and on the Seneca Reservation, including some double digit catches. So far, catches have been fair at the dam, although reports indicate some fresh fish showing up over last couple days. Light rains gave Cattaraugus Creek flow a bump yesterday, adding some color. Catt flow is currently at about 200 cubic feet per second. With continued low and clear conditions on the other tributaries, steelhead catches have been light. Some fish have been caught in the low ends of Chautauqua, Canadaway and Eighteenmile Creeks. The forecasted rain should help. Tributary steelhead commonly hit natural baits like egg sacs or worms, flies such as egg imitations, streamers and bugger patters, and lures like minnow-type stickbaits, smaller spoons and in-line spinners. Anglers can also target steelhead from the Cattaraugus Creek breakwall or off creek mouths by casting spoons, spinners and stickbaits. For those new to steelhead fishing, see the Steelhead Fishing in Lake Erie Tributaries page for information on steelhead fishing equipment, locations and links to stream maps.

Lake Erie Steelhead Diary Cooperator Program: The DEC Lake Erie Fisheries Unit is seeking active Lake Erie tributary anglers to participate in the Diary Cooperator Program. The diary program provides valuable information on angler's fishing trips and helps biologists assess the status of the lake and tributary trout fishery in the New York waters of Lake Erie. For more details or to sign up, contact senior aquatic biologist Jim Markham by phone at 716-366-0228 or email: james.markham@dec.ny.gov.

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 the fall, and boat launches on the river remain open late into the fall. Traditional smallmouth bass baits like golden shiners, crayfish, tube jigs and plastics work well when drifting with a bottom bouncing rig, however casting spinnerbaits and stickbaits is another option. Cooling river waters in fall usually turns on the muskellunge fishing. Drifting along weed edges with large 8-10 inch tube jigs or casting large stickbaits are top methods. Emerald shiners have produced some decent yellow perch catches at Broderick Park and Ontario Street boat launch.

Chautauqua Lake

It has been a great season for muskellunge fishing on Chautauqua Lake, with some of the better catches in recent memory. Trolling outside weed edges with large perch-pattern stickbaits is a good bet. Drifting and casting around weed beds has also produced musky catches. Anglers were recently catching some walleye in the deeper holes of the north basin. Vertical jigging with spoons, jigging Rapalas or medium sized shiners are good tactics. Some walleye have also been caught along weed edges, by drifting with shiners. Smallmouth bass fishing is picking up along points, with catches reported at Warner Bar, Maple Springs and Long Point. Some smallmouth action has also been reported around the Lakewood Bar.

Surplus Broodstock Trout Stocking

DEC Randolph Fish Hatchery has been conducting 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 have been stocked as of 10/10: Quaker Lake received 100 brown trout (24 inch); Red House Lake received 190 brown trout (18-24 inch); Birch Run Ponds received 25 brook trout (18 inch); Case Lake received 150 brook trout (14 inch) and 75 rainbow trout (22 inch). Call the Randolph Hatchery Stocking Hotline at (716) 358-4950 for updates.

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.