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Lake Erie Fishing Hotline

August 22 to August 29, 2014

Lake Erie

Angler holding large walleye caught from Lake Erie off Dunkirk.
Nice walleye caught in deeper water off Dunkirk
on a worm harness.

The walleye bite has been better to the west. However, even then it has been spotty, with some boats doing well, while other struggle to put a few fish in the boat. Out of Sturgeon Point, trollers are picking up some walleye west of the harbor in 60-80 feet of water on gear run 50-55 feet down. Dunkirk anglers are working depths of 80-105 feet of water and see the best bite between 60-70 feet down. Yesterday out of Barcelona, trollers saw some decent walleye catches between the harbor and Brocton Shoal in 85-90 feet of water, 40-50 feet down. However, the better action was near the PA line in 90-110 feet of water, on gear run 60 feet down. Out of all ports, anglers are catching walleye on stickbaits and worm harnesses. Although, white bass and sheepshead have been a nuisance at times when running worm harnesses.

West of Dunkirk, walleye trollers also see the occasional steelhead, brown trout or lake trout catch. Run "cheater lines" for some supplemental steelhead action. A cheater line can be 6-8 feet of fluorocarbon line with a snap swivel on one end and spoon on the other. After you have dropped the downrigger ball to desired depth, attach snap swivel to the downrigger fishing rod's line. Toss the lure into the water and the cheater line will slide down to the bow in the line, approximately half way down.

Yellow perch fishing is picking back up, which is typical for late summer. Anglers have done well the last couple days west of Cattaraugus Creek in 56-62 feet of water, with the best action coming at depths of 63-64 feet. Live emerald shiners are the best bait, but salted shiners or fathead minnows work as well. There are some smaller emeralds available for dipping at Broderick Park.

Anglers report good smallmouth bass catches in the waters near Buffalo. Depths of 20-40 feet around Seneca Shoal and Myers Reef have been productive. The key to successful smallmouth bass fishing is to locate rocky structure or drop-offs. Drop-shot rigs with crayfish, minnows or tube jigs are good bass bets. For more information see the Smallmouth Bass Fishing on Lake Erie page.

Upper Niagara River

Smallmouth bass catches are fair, but consistent throughout the upper river. Drifting along deeper holes (10-20 feet) with a three-way rig with tube, crayfish or shiner is a good bet. Drifting on the outside of weedlines with large 8-10 inch tube jigs works best for muskellunge. If you plan to fish from Broderick Park, be aware that there is a construction project at the main parking lot, so that parking lot and the adjacent area along the river are currently fenced off.

Chautauqua Lake

The muskellunge action has slowed a bit, but anglers still have good opportunity to catch them. Trolling tight to weedlines with large perch-pattern stickbaits is a good bet. Shallow areas and around docks are still top spots for largemouth bass. Try live shiners, tube jigs, power worms, senkos or topwater lures. Slightly deeper areas of 10-15 feet off weedlines are better for smallmouth bass. A drop-shot rig with a minnow or crayfish is a good bet. Weedy areas in 6-10 feet of water are good spots for bluegill. Try the sheltered bays of the north basin or throughout the south basin. Worms and wax worms work great for sunfish.

Inland Trout Fishing

All of the area's trout streams are in good fishing shape. Tricos are hatching well in the morning hours and are the go-to pattern at that time. Terrestrial insects are on the trout menu as well. When fishing streams surrounded by moderate to heavy vegetation, terrestrial imitations can be very effective. Ant dry flies and foam beetles are favorites among fly anglers who fish terrestrials often. Grasshopper, cricket and spider patterns can also take fish. 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.

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.