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Lake Erie Fishing Hotline

July 22 to July 29, 2016

Draft Lake Erie Steelhead Management Plan Now Available for Public Review and Comment through August 18th

The 10-year draft Lake Erie Steelhead Management Plan (PDF) (783 KB) is out for public review and comment through August 18th. The draft plan describes the goals, objectives and strategies that will guide DEC's actions and decisions related to management of the steelhead fishery in New York's portion of Lake Erie over the next ten years (2016-2026). The plan advances the primary goal of managing New York's Lake Erie steelhead as maintaining a high quality fishery that provides diverse angling experiences and broad angler satisfaction.

How to submit a comment

The draft management plan (PDF) (783 KB) is available on the DEC website. The comment period on the draft plan runs through August 18, 2016. Comments may be submitted:

• in writing to NYSDEC Lake Erie Unit, 178 Point Drive North, Dunkirk, NY 14048
• or by e-mail to (type "Steelhead Plan" in the subject line).

Lake Erie and Harbors

Angler holding muskellunge caught in upper Niagara River.
Surprise! Upper Niagara River muskellunge
caught while bass fishing.

There is a small craft advisory on Lake Erie today, but fortunately winds are forecasted to die down for the weekend. Trollers continue to see a good walleye bite in some areas, while fish are tight-lipped in other spots. Some of the better action has been between Sturgeon Point and Dunkirk, where anglers are catching good numbers of walleye in 70-75 feet of water. Spoons and worm harnesses run within 10 feet of bottom have worked well. On Wednesday and Thursday, Barcelona anglers saw good walleye action west of the harbor off DJ's Campground. Trollers were targeting suspended walleye in 70-130 feet of water. Lures run 25-30 feet down worked well.

Anglers have had to work hard for decent smallmouth bass catches lately. With warming waters, bass are seeking deeper, cooler waters. Key on deeper shoals and structure outside 30 feet of water. Drop-shot rigs combined with crayfish, minnows, tube jigs or other plastic baits work well. For more information see the Smallmouth Bass Fishing on Lake Erie page. Yellow perch fishing remains slow with little angler effort.

July and August are traditionally the top months to target lake trout in Lake Erie. Head for prime depths over 90 feet deep, northwest of Dunkirk to the PA line. Downriggers with spoons run near the bottom is a productive method, although lakers may also be suspended within water column.

Attention Anglers: Rehabilitation of the Dunkirk Fishing Platform has been completed and it is now open for fishing.

Upper Niagara River

The pros from the Bassmaster Elite Series have been fishing the upper Niagara River since Tuesday. They have been picking up decent numbers of smallmouth bass, with some of the bigger bass taken from deeper sections of the river on drop-shot rigs. Local anglers have also seen decent smallmouth bass action lately along the east river. Target smallmouth bass outside weedlines over rocky/gravel bottom with plastics or live crayfish and shiners. There has been a slight uptick in bass catches by shore anglers at Broderick Park and Black Rock Canal Park (foot of Ontario Street).

Chautauqua Lake

Yellow perch have been biting well almost lake-wide around weed beds. Small minnows work great for perch. Casters are still seeing musky strikes along weed edges on large jerkbaits or bucktail spinners. Trollers are also starting to target suspended musky over deeper waters of 25-30 feet. Largemouth bass catches are common around docks, weedlines and open pockets within the weeds. Live shiners, weedless rigged power worms, wacky rigged senkos and topwater lures are good bass offerings. Anglers are picking up smallmouth bass on the bottom, outside the weeds in 10-20 feet of water.

Inland Trout Fishing

All of the area streams have low flows and many have warm water. Keep in mind that hooking and playing trout in warm waters can be lethal to trout.

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 region'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; Good Luck Fishing!

The fishing hotline can also be heard at (716) 679-ERIE or (716) 855-FISH.