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Lake Erie Fishing Hotline

December 19 to December 26, 2014

Lake Erie & Tributaries

Angler holding steelhead caught from Eighteenmile Creek.
Winter steelhead caught on an egg
pattern fly in Eighteenmile Creek.

Creek levels have been dropping back quickly since the mid-week blowout. The smallest streams are your best bet today. All other tributaries, except Cattaraugus Creek, should be in good shape through the weekend. At the start of the week, anglers saw improved steelhead action on many streams. Expect some slush ice on the streams on cold mornings.

Lake Erie steelhead commonly hit natural baits like egg sacs and worms, flies such as egg imitations, nymphs, streamers and bugger patterns and lures like minnow-type stickbaits and in-line spinners. In cold water conditions, it is best to keep drifted offerings slow and deep, as steelhead are more lethargic and hugging the bottom. It is also good to concentrate efforts during the warmest part of the day when chasing winter steelhead. 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

There has not been much fishing activity on the upper river lately. Anglers can target yellow perch from City of Buffalo shore sites such as Broderick Park, northern end of Squaw Island and Ontario Street boat launch area. Emerald shiners are the top bait. Anglers can also catch the occasional rainbow trout from Broderick Park and north end of Squaw Island by drifting egg sacs or casting spoons. Keep in mind that Broderick Park will be tougher to access for fishing over the foreseeable future, as the Ferry Street Bridge is now closed for repairs. Visitors can only access Squaw island by the bridge at the north end, and then walk the riverside path to Broderick Park.

Chautauqua Lake

The south basin has thin, unsafe ice in the sheltered bays. There is a good chance that will melt off with the next warm-up starting Monday. The north basin remains open to boating. Anglers may still target bass by catch and release only, artificial lures only. Anglers can find yellow perch and sunfish action in nearshore areas. Small minnows, worms and small ice fishing jigs tipped with waxworms work well.

Ice Fishing

Skim ice coverings on some local waters have ice anglers anxious for the start of the season. However, there is currently no safe ice to report in western New York. In the meantime, get the ice fishing gear primed and ready to go. Before you head out on the ice this winter, remember that a minimum of 3 to 4 inches of solid ice (blue or black, not white) is the general rule for safety. Those new to ice fishing can check the Ice Fishing Basics page for more information.

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.