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Lake Erie Fishing Hotline

October 31 to November 7, 2014

Attention anglers: Your 2013-2014 Freshwater Fishing Licenses (purchased before February 1st, 2014) expired on September 30th. Fishing licenses purchased after February 1st, 2014, are valid for 365 days from date of purchase.

New Freshwater Fishing Licenses can be purchased at DEC regional offices and license issuing agents including many town clerk offices, sporting good stores and bait & tackle shops. For lists of license issuing agent locations or to purchase a fishing license online, visit DEC Internet Sporting License Sales. Licenses can also be purchased by phone at 1-866-933-2257.

Lake Erie & Tributaries

Two anglers holding yellow perch caught on Lake Erie.
Anglers enjoying excellent late season
yellow perch action on Lake Erie.

Cattaraugus Creek has generally been the only tributary with decent flow this fall. The creek has been fishing well, with catches reported throughout the system. Catches on Thursday were very good from Route 5 to Gowanda. The Catt is in good shape today with flow just over 200 cubic feet per second. With the forecasted rain, expect that level to come up over the weekend. The steelhead bite has generally been slow on the other creeks, except for small windows when the flows briefly bump up. There seems to be more fish in the upper sections of those creeks, with not much happening down low. The forecasted rains should help. Tributary steelhead commonly hit natural baits like egg sacs or worms, flies such as egg imitations, streamers and bugger patters, and lures like minnow-type stickbaits, smaller spoons and in-line spinners. When fishing low and clear conditions, it is best to use smaller baits, hooks and light line. Anglers can also target steelhead from the Cattaraugus Creek breakwall or off creek mouths by casting spoons, spinners and stickbaits. 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.

With the low creek conditions, steelhead are cruising the shallows off creek mouths. Boaters have good opportunity to catch steelhead in those areas. Casting spoons and spinners or trolling with stickbaits are good bets.

Some Lake Erie anglers were chasing yellow perch when weather permitted this week. Deeper has been better, with multiple limit catches coming from depths around 65 feet, between Cattaraugus Creek and Sturgeon Point. Live emerald shiners are easily the top perch bait. Emerald shiners are available for dipping along City of Buffalo shore sites. The Ferry Street bridge is closed for repairs, so Broderick Park is not an option for bait dipping. View the Baitfish Regulations for information on use, transportation and possession of personally caught baitfish.

Upper Niagara River

Broderick Park and Bird Island Pier 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. It just so happens, that anglers have seen some decent perch catches at the park, as well as some rainbow trout and a few walleye during low light periods. Rainbow trout often show in fall along the Bird Island Pier, Broderick Park and the northern tip of Squaw Island. Yellow perch and smallmouth bass have been showing at the Ontario Street boat launch and fishing access site. Boaters have good opportunity for smallmouth bass and muskellunge. Traditional smallmouth bass baits like golden shiners, crayfish, tube jigs and plastics work well when drifting with a bottom bouncing rig, however casting spinnerbaits and stickbaits is another option. Drifting along weed edges with large 8-10 inch tube jigs or casting large stickbaits are top methods for muskellunge.

Chautauqua Lake

Anglers continue to see good musky action off weed edges. Trolling with medium to large stickbaits is a good bet. Walleye fishing has been decent around deeper holes in 25-45 feet of water. Vertical jigging with spoons, jigging Rapalas or medium sized shiners are good tactics. Shore anglers are also catching a few walleye at night by casting shallow diving stickbaits. With dropping water temperatures, smallmouth bass action is heating up. Anglers report a good bass bite outside weed edges. Live shiners, tube jigs or lead head jigs and plastics work well, fished near the bottom.

Surplus Broodstock Trout Stocking

DEC Randolph Fish Hatchery completed their annual fall stocking of broodstock trout in Allegany and Cattaraugus Counties. All breeder trout stocked are over 2 years old and are stocked in waters where trout fishing is permitted year-round. The following waters were stocked: Quaker Lake 100 brown trout (24 inch) and 100 rainbow trout (28 inch); Red House Lake 190 brown trout (18-24 inch); Birch Run Ponds 25 brook trout (18 inch); Case Lake 150 brook trout (14 inch) and 75 rainbow trout (22 inch); Allen Lake 150 brook trout (14 inch) and 75 rainbow trout (22 inch); Harwood Lake 30 rainbow trout (30 inch) and 75 rainbow trout (22 inch); Genesee River (Wellsville to PA border) 100 rainbow trout (14 inch) and 100 rainbow trout (22 inch).

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.