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Lake Erie Fishing Hotline

June 23 to June 30, 2017

DEC Free Fishing Weekend: On June 24th and 25th, anyone can fish the waters of New York State and no fishing license is required! Since no license is required, its 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 Teach-Me-To-Fish clinic

Saturday, June 24th from 9:30 AM to 1:00 PM at Chestnut Ridge County Park, Orchard Park, NY. DEC and Erie County Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs team up to provide this family friendly fishing event, where no fishing license is required to fish. Participants can learn about fish species, fishing techniques, tackle and where to fish at the education stations. Youth age 15 and under can register to receive 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.

Lake Erie and Harbors

Diagram of yellow perch fishing rig used by Lake Erie anglers.
Productive perch fishing rig used by Lake
Erie anglers.

Windy weather has limited fishing outings much of the past week. Through last weekend, anglers were seeing the better walleye fishing at the west and east ends of New York's portion of Lake Erie. Out of Barcelona, trollers were catching good numbers of walleye in 40-60 feet of water on stickbaits and worm harnesses run in the top 30 feet. Catches included many short walleye with bigger fish mixed in. Remember to handle and release small walleye with care. Anglers were also doing well off Buffalo in 30-45 feet of water. Bottom bouncing with worm harnesses has been most productive. Between Sturgeon Point and Dunkirk, the fishing has been relatively slow, with lighter catches reported in 40-65 feet of water.

No new information on perch fishing, however anglers saw an excellent perch bite a week ago out of Cattaraugus Creek in 45-60 feet of water, with better action at the deeper end of that range. Some boats returned with limit catches of large perch. Live emerald shiners fished near the bottom work best for perch.

Anglers report good catches of smallmouth bass around Seneca Shoal. Other good spots to try include Myers Reef, Evans Bar and Van Buren Reef. Many smaller reefs, rock piles and humps will hold bass as well. Tube jigs, jigs with twister tails, deep diving stickbaits, live minnows and crayfish are good bass baits. For more information see the Smallmouth Bass Fishing on Lake Erie page.

Lake Erie Tributaries

Channel catfish are available in the low end of Cattaraugus Creek, from the train trestle down to the mouth. Nightcrawlers, chicken livers, raw shrimp or cut bait on the bottom works well, especially at night.

Upper Niagara River

Anglers are catching some walleye near the head of the river to Strawberry Island. Controlled drifting with bottom bouncing rigs and worm harnesses is a good tactic. Look for smallmouth bass around Strawberry and Motor Islands, and along the west side of Grand Island. When fishing the west river, be aware that the international line runs quite close to the island. Early season musky are often found near emerging weeds in spawning areas. Casting large stickbaits and spinnerbaits are good bets in early season.

Chautauqua Lake

Anglers continue to see good walleye action along weed lines and in pockets within weed beds. Productive techniques have included trolling with worm harnesses and jigging with blade baits or jigs tipped with a leech or nightcrawler. Musky are available along weed edges. Troll with large stickbaits or position boat outside weed beds and cast oversized jerkbaits and bucktail spinners over the weed beds. Anglers continue to report excellent yellow perch fishing around the lake. Use medium sized shiners to select for larger perch. Largemouth bass are typically available in nearshore areas and around docks. Shallow diving stickbaits, spinnerbaits, tube jigs, plastics, surface plugs and live shiners are good bass baits.

Inland Trout Streams

The area's trout streams are in good shape with moderate flows. Surface action is picking up. Sub-surface nymphs are good bets early in the day, while dry flies can be productive in the afternoon. Look for hatches of sulphurs, caddisflies and stoneflies on the streams that have them. Productive offerings for spinning anglers include worms, salted minnows and small inline spinners. 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 region's best trout streams. Check out the Fishing For Stream Trout page for introductory information on trout baits, lures, equipment and fishing techniques.

Spring Trout Stocking

All of Region 9's trout stocking waters have been stocked with all of designated stocking increments. For County lists of stocked waters check the Spring Trout Stocking 2017 page. Hatchery staff stocked some surplus two-year-old brown trout in the following waters between May 23rd and 26th: Genesee River - 400 brown trout from Wellsville to PA border; Cattaraugus Creek - 400 brown trout in Erie and Wyoming Counties; Cohocton River - 275 brown trout; Oatka Creek - 275 brown trout.

Genesee River Angler Diary Program

DEC Region 9 Fisheries Unit will be running an angler diary program for the Genesee River during 2017, and is currently looking for anglers to keep diaries. The diarist program aims to record data for trout and bass fishing trips on the Genesee River from the Pennsylvania line downstream through Letchworth State Park from March 1st through October 31st, 2017. If you fish the Genesee River (even once) and would like to contribute your observations by keeping a diary, please call DEC Fisheries at (716) 379-6372 or email

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; Good Luck Fishing!

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