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Lake Erie Fishing Hotline

October 1 to October 9, 2015

Lake Erie

Angler holding Lake Erie walleye caught off Dunkirk.
Twenty nine inch walleye caught off Dunkirk
in 65 feet of water.

Stiff northeast winds have kept most anglers off Lake Erie since the weekend. Up through Sunday, Sturgeon Point trollers were still reporting a good walleye bite west of the harbor in 65-70 feet of water. Worm harnesses and stickbaits worked well for eater-size walleye. Walleye prospects are still good out of Cattaraugus, Dunkirk and Barcelona Harbors as well, outside 70 feet of water.

The yellow perch fishing continues to confound anglers in the perch grounds between Cattaraugus Creek and Sturgeon Point. Perch schools are widely scattered and searching is required in 40-70 feet of water. Many anglers have opted for small golden shiners for bait, as emerald shiners are very difficult to find. Smallmouth bass are available around rocky structure in 25-35 feet of water. Try a drop-shot rig with live crayfish and shiners or tubes and plastics that imitate crayfish, gobies or shiners. For more information see the Smallmouth Bass Fishing on Lake Erie page.

Lake Erie Tributaries

Tuesday's rainstorms brought all Lake Erie steelhead stream levels up. All tributaries except Cattaraugus Creek have quickly dropped back to fishable levels. Anglers were only catching steelhead on Cattaraugus Creek prior to the water surge, but now Chautauqua, Canadaway and Eighteenmile Creeks are also worth a look. Cattaraugus Creek is currently running at about 722 cubic feet per second with a heavy stain. Lake Erie steelhead commonly hit natural baits like egg sacs or worms, flies such as egg imitations, streamers and bugger patterns, and lures like minnow-type stickbaits and in-line spinners. 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, fishing locations and links to stream maps.

The damaged fish passage at the Westfield Water Works dam on Chautauqua Creek has been repaired. This fish passage gives migrating steelhead access to an additional 10 miles of stream that runs through a deep, wooded gorge. There are about 7 miles of public fishing rights easements (PFR) over that stretch of stream.

Upper Niagara River

The upper river is a great smallmouth bass option in fall as water cool and bass go on the feed. Also, conditions on the river are often more manageable than the open lake in fall, and boat launches on the river remain open late into the fall. Target feeding bass outside weed edges by drifting with bottom bouncing rigs with live golden shiners, crayfish or plastics. Muskellunge fishing on the river generally peaks in the fall as well. Drifting along weed edges with large tube jigs or casting large stickbaits are top methods. Shore anglers along Unity Island (formerly Squaw Island) have recently seen an uptick in yellow perch catches. Shore anglers should be aware that the Ferry Street bridge to Broderick Park is closed for repairs until early 2016. Currently, Unity Island (formerly Squaw Island) is only accessible from the bridge at the north end of the island.

Chautauqua Lake

Anglers have been keying on weed beds in 8-12 feet of water for good catches of nice sized sunfish and yellow perch. Panfish will hit a variety of baits including nightcrawlers, small minnows, small tube jigs and ice fishing jigs with grubs. Some crappie have also started to show around Bemus Bay and off Mayville. Deep rocky points are good spots for smallmouth bass, with live crayfish or tube jigs. Trolling along deep weed edges with large stickbaits and bucktail spinners is a good bet for muskellunge.

Surplus Broodstock Trout Stocking

DEC Randolph Fish Hatchery has started their annual fall stocking of brookstock trout. On 9/25, Case Lake was stocked with 150 18-inch brook trout, 150 14-inch brook trout and 300 14-inch brown trout. Additional waters in Allegany and Cattaraugus Counties will be stocked with broodstock trout over the next couple weeks. All breeder trout stocked are over 2 years old and are stocked in waters where trout fishing is permitted year-round. Call the Randolph Hatchery Stocking Hotline at (716) 358-4950 for updates.

Inland Trout Fishing

Fall can be a good time for fish the inland trout streams, as trout are on the feed and many other anglers have shifted their focus to the Great Lakes tributaries. Most of the inland trout streams are currently high and off color.

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. Check out the Fishing for Stream Trout page for introductory information on trout baits, lures, fishing equipment and techniques.

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.