Boaters head inland as trout and salmon enter Great Lakes feeder streams.
Lingering walleye schools hold in deep water well off Barcelona Harbor, and bass have set up along shoreline structures, but most ardent anglers have gone to waders or stream banks to connect with incoming trout and salmon.
Inland, both gamefish (bass pike and walleye) and panfish (perch, crappie and bluegill) have set up in deeper water. For those species, check outer weed edges before dropping down to inland structures. Early mornings can get busy before sunlight and bait movements push them out to daytime forage spots.
The rise and fall and rise again of feeder streams did not deter a good influx of salmon and fair number of steelies at both big feeders (Eighteen Mile and Cattaraugus creeks) as well as many smaller feeders.
Cattaraugus saw good levels up to the Springville Dam most of this week, and area experts put the creek at or near its fall peak. Eighteen Mile lifted in both branches, affording more fishing areas than just the lower pools near the lake.
Artificial lures with treble hooks require some doctoring to comply with the single-hook rule for lures used in Great Lakes feeders. This regulation has been in effect too long for "excuses." For lures with fixed hook eyes, a simple snipping of two hooks can suffice.
Boaters take out minnows -- but not for perch. Smallmouth bass moved onto rock structures and have been showing best along 20-foot depths anywhere bottom changes afford protection for moving baitfish. A simple three-way tied with light line can be fun. Tie about three feet on the hook leader and 8 to 10 inches for the lead dropper.
Jiggers like crayfish colors along these same rock structures.
Lower river action has been greater for shore casters of late. At Devils Hole, rainbow trout hit Little Cleos; egg sacks do best for salmon from shore.
Lake Ontario meetings
Wednesday evening, Steve Brandt, director of Great Lakes Center at Buffalo State College, presented results from a technical panel of 11 Lake Ontario area experts reviewing current status of salmonid stocking. In 1992, a panel studied predatory demand and suggested about a 50 percent reduction of both lake trout and king salmon. Now, Brandt reports, the panel wants to review new information and recommend stocking for coming years.
Robert Lange, Great Lakes supervisor for the Department of Environmental Conservation, took questions and suggested interested persons should attend the second meeting to be held Tuesday at the Cornell Co-op Building at 249 Highland Ave., Rochester, where current findings for '96 will be presented.
The third area meeting, set for Nov. 13, will offer a summation of fisheries data, and the DEC will be looking for public input. All of these meetings are open to the public and provide a means for anglers to speak with Lake Ontario decision makers before the new stocking numbers are determined. The final meeting will be held at the Cornell Cooperative Extension Building for Niagara County at 4487 Lake Ave., Lockport, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Monday evening, Ron Ditch from Henderson Harbor talks about the invasive cormorant situation in Lake Ontario and Lake Erie waters when the Niagara River Anglers Association meets at the LaSalle Sportsmens Club on Tuscarora Road in Niagara Falls. The meeting begins at 7:30.
Smaller tributaries still need rainfall, but all of the larger feeders have some salmon and at least the first signs of brown trout.
At Oak Orchard, the salmon run has about reached its peak, with kings taking flies. Browns began a solid show, even during bright, sunny days. Browns, say Ann Kustich at the Oak Orchard Fly Shop, move in at night and need cloud cover to begin hitting during the day. She adds, "Salmon go for bright orange or chartreuse wooly buggers, egg patterns or basic nymphs in black or brown. The nymphs also do well on brown trout."
At Wilson Harbor, the major schooling has been crappie -- not salmonids. A minnow and bobber has brought in unusual numbers of big papermouths around docks and piers in the harbor.
Chautauqua's deep walleye schools tightened for vertical jiggers. Only pockets of big perch make the odd showing among panfish. Silver and Conesus mid depths mix panfish, pike and walleye. Slow trolling with small baits can determine which species are most active.
Honeoye crappie and bluegills drop to 8- to 15-foot depths along the southwest shoreline. Waxworms and small minnow take both, with the occasional big perch taking these baits.