Seasons change - not all species change with it.
Stream anglers can find all kinds of actions where water depths allow trout and salmon to head up current. Perch school near weed edges on many inland lakes, but bass and walleye generally hold in their summer haunts and feeding patterns.
Take along an extra layer of clothing for the morning chill, but hold on to summer tackle items (jigs, light spoons and spinners, surface plugs, shallow-running body baits) while fishing the first weekend of the fall season.
Trout and salmon have taken over as walleye schools move west.
Unusually large numbers of bigger salmon have shown at the mouth of Cattaraugus Creek and have now moved upstream as far as Gowanda. Casters use Little Cleo spoons to reach fish moving near the breakwater. Trollers have taken 20-pound salmon with floating minnow-type baits trolled between the mouth and rail bridge. Up stream, salmon and steelhead trout appear daily in pools following nightly runs through lower riffles just two or three inches deep. Smaller spinners, egg sacks and nightcrawlers alternate as best bait. Recent rains have helped, but smaller feeder streams along Lake Erie remain low.
Boaters still head west of Dunkirk Harbor and find fair numbers of walleye at 100-foot depths between Van Buren Point and Barcelona Harbor. Many trollers have connected with body baits (Renosky, Rippl-N-Red Fin, Thundersticks, Rapala) along with the reliable worm harnesses. This past week, steelies have hit both harnesses and body baits as often as have walleyes. On Sunday, boaters averaged 3-4 walleye and some caught that many trout.
Niagara River/Lake Ontario
Bass contend with salmonids for major excitement at the mouth of the Niagara River. Drifters can jig for bass over the Niagara Bar as salmon and trout move into the lower river. Sacks and skein can take both trout and salmon in the river. Steelhead mix with the incoming Chinook in 20- to 40-foot depths along the shoreline edges (50-100 feet) near large feeder streams.
Trollers in New York waters can keep lake trout measuring under 25 inches and above 30 inches until Sept. 30. Laker season reopens Jan. 1.
Good numbers of big fish were caught in both the Fall Lake Ontario Counties Derby and the Greater Niagara Fall Classic.
LOC Derby -- Eleven salmon weighed in above the 40-pound mark, a record for fall salmon derby fishing. Travis Kolasienski, 17, of Belchertown, Mass., reeled in the top Chinook while fishing with his uncle, Richard Carey, at Oswego. Kolasienski's 42-pound, 11-ounce king earned him the $20,000 grand prize.
Two division winners went in as leaders from the start. Capt. Bob Cinelli won the rainbow/steelhead prize with a 22.75-pound steelie he caught early in the contest. Andy Brunell of Rochester got his 17-pound, 15-ounce brown trout at 7 a.m. on opening day to win that division. David Hogestyn of Ontario got the biggest lake trout, a 25.5-pound fish. All division winners took home $4,000 prizes. Ryan Rogers, 11, of Liverpool took the Grand Prize Youth Contest award with a 40-pound, 6-ounce salmon he caught while fishing with his dad off Catfish Creek in eastern Lake Ontario waters.
Cut bait led all terminal tackle as the most successful lure in the LOC Derby.
Fall Classic -- A 10.16-pound walleye got Jim Gordon III of Appleton the grand prize in this year's Greater Niagara Fall Classic. Gordon won a drawing of the six division leaders to take the $2,500 prize and $283 in Cash Bash awards. Other division leaders were: Salmon, 37.15 pounds, Roy Letcher of Olcott; brown trout, 13.12 pounds, Will Bucci of Niagara Falls; Rainbow/steelhead, 20.65 pounds, Richard Phillips of New Kensington; lake trout, 18.54 pounds, Roy Nick of Thorold, Ont.; bass, 6.10 pounds, John Walaszek of Niagara Falls; and walleye, 10.08 pounds, George Rager of Lewiston. Winners in the Junior Division were: Carp, 9.68, Derek Froebel of North Tonawanda; Panfish, 1.62-pound silver bass, Brandi Danielwicz of Sanborn; bass, 4.62 pounds, Joe Huber of Niagara Falls; salmon, 30.55, Thomas Demillion of Pittsburgh; trout -- 15.25-pound rainbow, Stephanie Ramming of Lockport, and 17.06-pound lake, Brian Kelley of Sanborn; bullhead/sucker, 2.7 pounds, Megan Lipp of Northfield, N.J.; and walleye, 5.14 pounds, Jim Gordon IV.
Chautauqua -- Walleye jigging remains hit or miss, depending on bait movements. Perch have begun schooling along weed edges but bait can be hard to find.
Canandaigua -- This lake led all western Finger Lakes for both trout and panfish in last week's DEC Region 8 survey. Rainbows and lakers hold in 40-60 feet over 70- to 100-foot depths. Perch school best at the north end in 12-14 feet. Small jigs tipped with spikes or minnows take perch; tipped jigs also hook big bluegills moving close to weed edges.
Oneida -- Like other inland lakes, walleye seem to be in transition but weed-relating perch school in 12- to 14-foot depths lakewide. Minnows account for most of the 50-fish limits taken so far.