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Lake Erie Fishing Hotline

May 22 to May 29, 2015

Free Learn to Catch a Fish Clinic: Saturday, May 23rd at Letchworth State Park's Trout Pond and Trailside Lodge from 11AM to 4PM. Enjoy games, activities, educational workshops and FISHING! No fishing license required by event participants. Fishing poles available to borrow or bring your own. Bait provided.

Cayuga Creek Trout Stocking

DEC has added Cayuga Creek as a new trout stocking site for 2015, offering another trout fishing option for anglers in the greater Buffalo area. Over two stocking increments on April 13th and April 22nd, Caledonia Fish Hatchery stocked 3,150 yearling rainbow trout over a one-and-a-half mile stretch of Cayuga Creek within Como Lake County Park in Lancaster. Trout were stocked in 5 locations from just above Como Lake, upstream to the park pavilion on Bowen Road. This section of stream has unlimited public access on both sides of the creek.

Lake Erie

Angler holding steelhead caught from Cattaraugus Creek.
Steelhead caught from Cattaraugus Creek in
the upper end of Zoar Valley.

Up through last weekend, perch anglers were still doing well. However, some searching was required to find scattered schools. Best area has been between Cattaraugus Creek and Sturgeon Point in 50-60 feet of water. Live emerald shiners fished just off the bottom works great.

The best walleye action has been at night on the shallow nearshore shoals. Good spots to try include Shorehaven Reef, Bournes Beach, Green Hills, Van Buren Bay, Evans Bar, off Hoak's Restaurant (Hamburg) and near the mouth of Smokes Creek. Trolling minnow-type stickbaits at around 2 mph over rocky areas in 6-15 feet of water is a good bet.

Anglers continue to see excellent smallmouth bass action in the harbors at Buffalo, Dunkirk and Barcelona. Open lake bass fishing had been a little slow on the popular reefs. However, the bass bite should heat up with rising water temperatures. Traditionally good spring bass spots include Seneca Shoal, Myers Reef, Evans Bar and Van Buren Reef. Many smaller reefs, rock piles and humps along Erie's shoreline will hold bass as well. Tube jigs, jigs with twister tails, deep diving stickbaits, live minnows and crayfish are good bass baits. For more information see the Smallmouth Bass Fishing on Lake Erie page.

Lake Erie Tributaries

The tributaries offer good smallmouth bass fishing opportunity, especially in Cattaraugus and Eighteenmile Creeks. Anglers can find bass in Cattaraugus Creek from mid-Seneca Reservation down to the mouth (need license issue by Seneca Nation to fish on Seneca lands); on Chautauqua, Canadaway and Eighteenmile Creeks from thruway down to the mouths; and below the confluence of Buffalo and Cayuga Creeks. Woolly buggers and minnow imitation patterns are good bass offerings for fly anglers, and spinning anglers generally do well with stickbaits, natural baits or jigs with grubs fished under a float. The lower section of Cattaraugus Creek is also a good spot to target channel catfish. Nightcrawlers, chicken livers, raw shrimp or cut bait fished on the bottom works well, especially at night. The deeper holes in the other tribs hold some catfish as well. Anglers can also catch catfish along the Lake Erie shoreline on calm nights, especially near stream inlets.

Upper Niagara River

With river temperatures now in the mid-50s, a variety of warmwater species are showing in shallower nearshore areas throughout the river. Depending on your bait or lure you could catch smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, yellow perch, northern pike, sheepshead and a variety of sunfish. Remember that bass fishing is by catch and release only, artificial lures only in Niagara River north of the Peace Bridge, until the regular season opens on third Saturday in June. Anglers are also catching some walleye along Squaw Island, upriver of the international railroad bridge.

Chautauqua Lake

Anglers are still catching some crappie around reefs, sunken islands, emerging weeds and docks. Small jigs (1/32 and 1/64 ounce) with a small minnow, one inch tube or other small plastic and fished under a pencil float works well. The nearshore bass bite slowed a bit with the cooler temperatures. When lake waters start to warm up again, look for bass in the shallows and around docks. As a reminder, bass fishing in Chautauqua Lake is by catch and release only, artificial lures only until the regular season opens on third Saturday of June. No new walleye news, however nighttime trollers were previously catching some walleye along weed edges in 8-15 feet of water with stickbaits or worm harnesses. During the day, concentrate efforts at depths over 20 feet. Shore anglers can target walleye at night by casting and retrieving stickbaits near points and stream inlets.

Inland Trout Fishing

The region's trout streams are great fishing shape for the holiday weekend. There are plenty of fly hatches happening, including caddisflies, March browns, grey fox and sulphurs. Fly anglers do well with the appropriate imitation dry flies in the afternoon or sub-surface nymphs early in the day. Productive offerings for spinning anglers include worms, salted minnows and small inline spinners. If you are a catch-and-release angler and use spinners, it is a good practice to outfit your spinners with a single hook rather than a treble hook.

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.

Spring Trout Stocking

DEC Fish Hatchery staff have stocked thousands of yearling brown, brook and rainbow trout throughout western New York, as well as two-year-old brown trout in many waters. All of the region's trout stocked waters have now received at least one stocking increment. For complete County lists of stocked waters and numbers of trout stocked, check the 2015 Spring Trout Stocking page. Hatchery staff are now stocking select waters with additional stocking increments. Call the Randolph Hatchery Fish Stocking Hotline at (716) 358-4950 or check back here for weekly stocking updates. The following waters received an additional trout stocking between 5/18 and 5/22:

Cattaraugus County: Red House Brook (Red House), Quaker Run (Cold Spring), County Ponds A&B (Randolph).

Wyoming County: Cattaraugus Creek (Java), Oatka Creek (Warsaw), Letchworth Park Pond (Genesee Falls).

Wiscoy Creek Angler Diary Program

DEC Region 9 Fisheries Unit will be running an angler diary program for Wiscoy Creek in Allegany and Wyoming Counties during 2015, and is currently looking for anglers to keep diaries. If you fish Wiscoy Creek (even once) and would like to keep a diary, please call DEC Fisheries at (716) 372-0645 or email at fwfish9@dec.ny.gov. The program will run March 1st through October 31st. This program duplicates one run in 2012 (2012 survey summary) and will be used in conjunction with a late-summer electrofishing survey to evaluate the fishery's overall quality.

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.