Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

Lake Erie Fishing Hotline

April 21 to April 28, 2017

Attention Anglers: New black bass regulations in effect on Lake Erie and Tributaries (to first impassible barrier) as of April 1, 2017. From December 1 through Friday preceding 3rd Saturday in June, there is a daily limit of one bass, with a minimum length of 20 inches. Natural baits are permitted for use.

Lake Erie and Harbors

Angler holding steelhead caught from Canadaway Creek.
Spring run steelhead caught on Canadaway
Creek.

Anxious Lake Erie boaters have been launching out of some sites, while others launches remain closed. There is limited boat launching at Buffalo Boat Harbor. Launch docks are in at the ramp near the restaurant, but the newly constructed launch ramps remain fenced off. Sturgeon Point is closed until a dredging project removes the sand bar at harbor mouth. At Cattaraugus Creek, Town of Hanover launch is open and launch docks are in. The State launch is also open, but launch docks are not in place. Dunkirk and Barcelona boat launches are open with launch docks in.

Anglers report a good yellow perch bite between Cattaraugus Creek and Sturgeon Point in 52-62 feet of water, with some limit catches. The hot spot has been off Evangola State Park. In other areas, there are reportedly smaller roving perch schools, so being mobile helps. Live emerald shiners are the top perch bait and have been available for dipping around the upper Niagara River.

Cooler water temperatures in Dunkirk Harbor have made for modest catches of smallmouth bass so far. Look for the bass bite to pick up with rising water temps. Some bullhead catches have been reported in Dunkirk Harbor. Yellow perch are still biting well in Buffalo Boat Harbor, but most have been small lately.

Lake Erie Tributaries

Heavy rains have all Lake Erie tributaries running at very high and muddy levels. Chautauqua County received less rain than the Buffalo area, so look for those creeks to drop back first. Steelhead catches were tapering off prior to the storm event. Look for smallmouth bass numbers in the creeks to be on the rise.

Upper Niagara River

Due to muddy creek outflows, waters are turbid along the upper Niagara River's east shoreline. This may slow the yellow perch bite which was previously good along City of Buffalo shore sites. Perch have also been biting well in many upper river harbors and marinas. Live emerald shiners are the top perch bait and have been available for dipping in many spots.

Chautauqua Lake

The open water crappie bite has been relatively slow lately. Good sized yellow perch and bluegill have been biting well in the shallow zone, especially near weed beds. Anglers are catching good numbers of bullhead along shorelines. Low light periods are typically best, but anglers are catching them during the day as well. Worms, leeches, raw shrimp or chicken livers fished on the bottom work well for bullhead.

Inland Trout Streams

Inland trout fishing is on hold due to high water conditions, with many creeks over their banks. When creeks drop back to fishable levels, look for hatches of blue-winged olives, stoneflies and hendricksons on the streams that have them. Productive offerings for spinning angers include worms, salted minnows and small inline spinners. 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, equipment and fishing techniques.

Spring Trout Stocking

All of Region 9's trout stocking waters have been stocked with at least one stocking increment. For County lists of stocked waters check the Spring Trout Stocking 2017 page. Hatchery staff are now delivering additional stocking increments for the larger or more popular waters. The following waters are scheduled an additional stocking between 4/24 and 4/28.

Cattaraugus County: Bone Run (South Valley), Harwood Lake (Farmersville).

Genesee River Angler Diary Program

DEC Region 9 Fisheries Unit will be running an angler diary program for the Genesee River during 2017, and is currently looking for anglers to keep diaries. The diarist program aims to record data for trout and bass fishing trips on the Genesee River from the Pennsylvania line downstream through Letchworth State Park from March 1st through October 31st, 2017. If you fish the Genesee River (even once) and would like to contribute your observations by keeping a diary, please call DEC Fisheries at (716) 379-6372 or email fwfish9@dec.ny.gov.

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.