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Lake Erie & Western New York Fishing Hotline

March 23 to March 30, 2018

Personal Floatation Device (PFD) law: As a reminder, between November 1 and May 1, anyone underway in a boat (less than 21 feet long) must wear a securely fastened PFD. This includes canoes, kayaks, rowboats and motorboats.

Lake Erie Tributaries & Harbors

Cattaraugus Creek is murky green with a slightly higher flow. It should remain at a fishable level through the weekend, but will start to come back up with any significant snowmelt or rain. All other Lake Erie streams have been low and clear as of late. Steelhead fishing has been slow with no recent reports of fresh fish movement. However, there is a slight bite improvement in the afternoon as water temperatures rise a few degrees. Target steelhead in the deeper holes and drift offerings slow and low for best results. See the Steelhead Fishing in Lake Erie Tributaries for more information.

Trout fishing from the Dunkirk Harbor pier is on hold as ice has returned.

Niagara River

Trout fishing has recently been tough on the lower river, due to very clear water conditions. Better success has been during morning hours or on days with light fishing pressure. Egg sacs and live minnows have worked best. Walleye season is now closed as of March 16. For fishing access maps and lower river fishing information see the Fishing the Lower Niagara River page.

Lake Ontario & Tributaries, Harbors & Piers

There has been a decent steelhead bite at Eighteenmile and Oak Orchard Creeks, including a few fresh fish. Eighteenmile has slightly low and clear flow, and Oak Orchard has moderate and clear conditions. Fishing pressure has been light on the smaller streams and not much fishing information has been available. For those new to stream fishing for steelhead, see the Steelhead Fishing in Lake Ontario Tributaries page for more information.

When conditions have permitted, trollers have seen a good brown trout bite along the shoreline in 8-20 feet of water. Key on areas near stream/harbor mouths, in murky waters or in areas with a slightly higher temperature. Trolling with small to medium sized stickbaits or spoons run behind planer boards is the top tactic. Lures run directly behind the boat get less trout attention.

Spring casting at pier sites is often productive for trout. Spoons and spinners are a good bet. Yellow perch are showing at Olcott Harbor and in the low end of Oak Orchard Creek. Bullhead should start to show at harbor and stream sites soon, if not already.

Chautauqua Lake

The majority of the lake remains covered with ice that is not safe for ice fishing. There is some open water off stream mouths and at the extreme southern end. See the Chautauqua Lake page for more fishing information.

Spring Trout Stocking

DEC Hatchery staff are busy stocking area waters in preparation for the traditional April 1st trout opener. Thousands of yearling brown, brook and rainbow trout will be stocked in the region's streams, lakes and ponds. In, addition, many of the popular trout waters will also receive stockings of two-year-old brown trout that are between 12-15 inches long. For County lists of stocked waters and numbers of trout to be stocked, see the Spring Trout Stocking 2018 page. Public Fishing Rights Maps showing public access on many trout streams are available for printing. The following waters are scheduled to be stocked prior to April 1st:

Allegany County: Dodge Creek (Clarksville), Clarksville Town Pond (Clarksville), Little Genesee Creek (Bolivar), Genesee River (Wellsville, Amity).

Cattaraugus Creek: Forks Creek (Great Valley), Great Valley Creek (Great Valley, Ellicottville), Wrights Creek (Humphrey), Mansfield Creek (Mansfield), South Branch Cattaraugus Creek (East Otto), Beaver Meadow Creek (Ellicottville), Connoisarauley Creek (Ashford), Bone Run (South Valley), Guernsey Run (South Valley), North Branch Sawmill Run (South Valley), Little Conewango Creek (Conewango), Paisley Park Pond (Randolph), County Ponds A & B (Randolph), Quaker Run (Cold Spring), Bay State Brook (Red House), Red House Brook (Red House), Science Lake (Red House).

Chautauqua County: Goose Creek (Harmony, North Harmony).

Erie County: Cattaraugus Creek (Yorkshire), East Branch Cazenovia Creek (Aurora, Holland), Little Buffalo Creek (Lancaster, Marilla), Eighteenmile Creek (Boston Town Park).

Wyoming County: Buffalo Creek (Java), Beaver Meadow Creek (Java), Cattaraugus Creek (Arcade), Little Tonawanda Creek (Middlebury), Tonawanda Creek (Orangeville), East Koy Creek (Gainesville).

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.