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Lake Erie Fishing Hotline

July 18 to July 25, 2014

Lake Erie

Angler holding two yellow perch caught from Lake Erie off Evangola State Park.
Two of many yellow perch caught off Evangola
State Park in 52-57 feet of water.

Walleye fishing has transitioned to deeper waters where trollers target suspended fish between 15-45 feet below the surface. The key to better walleye catches is to locate bait schools on the graph, and run lures at those depths. Anglers also concentrate efforts in progressively deeper waters as you move west. Off Buffalo and Hamburg, good action has been outside 50 feet of water. West of Sturgeon Point, the better bite has been reported outside 70 feet of water. Dunkirk and Barcelona trollers have located limits in 80-100 feet of water. Three to six colors of lead core with stickbaits or worm harnesses have worked well for walleye.

Deeper has also been better for yellow perch. Anglers have produced decent catches in 45-65 feet of water between Sturgeon Point and Cattaraugus Creek. Large perch schools have been tough to locate. Rather, catches come in flurries from small schools on the move. Live emerald shiners fished just off the bottom work best for perch. If emeralds are scarce, try other small minnows/shiners or salted minnows.

Smallmouth bass action has been good in 25-45 feet of water. Key on structure such as reefs, rock piles and drop-offs. Drop-shot rigs combined with crayfish, minnows, tube jigs or other plastic baits works well. For more information see the Smallmouth Bass Fishing on Lake Erie page.

July and August are traditionally the best months to target lake trout in Lake Erie. Head for prime depths of over 90 feet deep, northwest of Dunkirk to the PA line. Downriggers with spoons run near the bottom is a productive method, although lakers may also be suspended in the water column.

Upper Niagara River

Boaters target smallmouth bass outside weedlines, often over rocky or gravel bottom. Live crayfish work great for smallmouth bass. Anglers can target muskellunge along weed edges with large tube jigs or stickbaits. Recently at Broderick Park, emerald shiners have produced good catches of white bass and white perch, with improving numbers of yellow perch in the 9-10 inch range. A few smallmouth bass and walleye have also been caught there. Emerald shiners are still available for dipping at the current break, but numbers are starting to dwindle.

Chautauqua Lake

Walleye fishing has been a little slow, but anglers are still picking up a few along weed edges in both basins. Target walleye by trolling with jointed stickbaits and worm harnesses or by drifting and jigging with blade baits (cicada, silver buddy) or jigs with nightcrawlers or leeches. Muskellunge anglers employ a couple different strategies, and both can be productive. Some anglers troll along weed edges, targeting musky that are waiting to ambush preyfish. Others troll in deeper water of 25-30 feet of water, targeting large musky that are suspended in the water column. Good trolling lures include perch pattern crankbaits, large jointed stickbaits, hot-n-tots and bucktail trolling spinners. Largemouth bass fishing has been good along weed edges, around docks and in open pockets within weed beds. Top water lures, weedless rigged power worms and wacky rigged senkos work well.

Inland Trout Fishing

The inland trout streams have excellent flows and cool temperatures for mid-summer. Tricos are hatching on some streams at first light and are the go-to patterns at that time. Anglers may also see hatches of isonychia, cahills and caddisflies. Terrestrials such as ant dry flies, foam beetles, grasshopper and cricket patterns will take trout. Fish these patterns on a dead drift, giving a slight twitch every now and again to imitate a struggling insect. 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.

Spring Trout Stocking

The DEC completed stocking of all western New York trout stocking waters back in May. For lists of stocked waters (by County) and numbers of trout stocked, check the 2014 Spring Trout Stocking page.

Genesee River Angler Diary Program

The New York State DEC Region 9 Fisheries Office will be running an angler diary program on the Genesee River in Allegany and Wyoming Counties. The program will run from March 1st through October 31st, 2014. This program will cover the portion of the river from the PA line, downstream through Letchworth State Park, and will record data for both trout and bass fishing trips.

If you fish the Genesee River (even once) and would like to keep a diary for DEC please call the Region 9 Fisheries Office at (716) 372-0645 or e-mail fwfish9@gw.dec.state.ny.us. This diary program will be used to evaluate the quality of the fishery and determine future management actions.

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.