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Lake Erie Fishing Hotline

September 22 to September 29, 2017

Free Fishing Day: National Hunting and Fishing Day, Saturday, September 23, is a designated free fishing day in New York State. No fishing license is required, making it a perfect day to see how fun fishing can be. Anglers must still abide by the NY Fishing Regulations during the free fishing day.

Lake Erie

Anglers continue to report excellent walleye catches from Dunkirk to the PA border, where limits seem to be the norm. The walleye bite is best in 80 to 110 feet of water. Stickbaits and worm harnesses run just off the bottom work well at the shallow end of the depth range, while many walleye are suspended 70-80 feet down over the deeper end of the depth range. Walleye trollers are also catching the occasional steelhead west of Dunkirk. Anglers off Cattaraugus Creek report good walleye action in 74-85 feet of water, where most of the fish are tight to the bottom.

Yellow perch fishing slowed this past week. Between Cattaraugus Creek and Sturgeon Point there is still the occasional limit catch by seasoned or perhaps lucky anglers, but most boats have had to work hard for between 30-50 perch. Live emerald shiners improve your catch odds, if you can find them. There has not been much smallmouth bass fishing intel available lately. However, some recent positive reports were at depths inside 35 feet of water. Target rocky reef structure with a drop-shot rig with live shiner, crayfish or tubes.

Lake Erie Tributaries

The recent summer-like temperatures has Lake Erie surface temps back up over 70 degrees. This has shut down the steelhead fishing in the nearshore areas off tributary mouths. Creek temperatures are even higher at mid day. For those new to steelhead fishing, see the Steelhead Fishing in Lake Erie Tributaries page.

Chautauqua Lake

Anglers continue to see a good walleye bite from weed edges out to 40 feet of water. Trolling and vertical jigging programs have both worked well. Fishing has been decent for suspended muskellunge over depths of 25-35 feet. Trolling with large, 51/2 to 8 inch minnow-type stickbaits is a good bet. Weed edges are perfect place to catch some fish for the dinner table. Small minnows, worms and small jigs tipped with a grub or worm work great for a mix of bluegill, yellow perch, white perch, white bass and the occasional crappie.

Inland Trout Streams

Area trout streams have low and clear flows. Many streams have higher water temperatures in the afternoon. Cooler, spring fed streams are the best bet for cooperative trout. 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.

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.