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FISHING LINE

Lake Erie

Trout: "Fishing is really spectacular," said Bill Begier at Bill's Hooks on Route 5 west of Dunkirk.

Cattaraugus, Canadaway and Chautauqua creeks have settled to ideal fishing levels, and fresh runs of rainbow/steelhead trout enter these bigger -- and nearby smaller -- streams daily.

Begier is also impressed with numbers of nice brown trout, which make up about 10 percent of trout hitting right now.

"They're mostly male browns with a few females, but their colors right now are amazing," he said.

Begier said artificial flies such as sucker spawn, prince or rabbit-hair in light colors (pinks and whites) go well when waters are clear. Brown or black wooly buggers also get the hits. "Don't go with hook sizes any larger than 8; size 12 is best for most fly hooks," he suggests.

Eighteen Mile Creek has seen heavy fishing pressure, forcing waders to move upstream to find 'bows in either the north or south branch of the creek. Dave Watts at Dave's Bait & Tackle in Derby has mainly sold egg sacks, wax worms and minnows to trout trekkers this past week.

Niagara River/Lake Ontario

Steelheads, a few browns and an occasional lake trout hit along Devil's Hole drifts. Waters remained slightly stained Wednesday morning but should be good by the weekend, said Capt. Frank Campbell.

Campbell has been running either egg sacks or Qwikfish for trout, and these baits have also connected with a few bass and walleye along the way.

"We've been getting walleye and bass at Devil's Hole and along drifts down current to the mouth of the river," he noted. Water clarity has been key for all species in the lower river. Go below Burt Dam with red netting on tied egg sacks, suggests Karen Evarts at the Boat Doctor in Olcott. A few salmon still hold in deeper pockets in Olcott Harbor, but browns now outnumber either steelies or salmon running up Eighteen Mile Creek to the dam.

Upper river musky guides and devotees have begun drifting sucker chubs for musky to augment the big-lure trolling runs.

Chautauqua Lake

Musky trollers are few and hits are irregular, but South Basin waters have cooled what should be good conditions for weed-edge trolling, said Mike Sperry, president of Chautauqua Lake Musky Hunters.

Sperry has seen more boat activity in the North Basin, where walleye jiggers work deeper holes off Long Point, Warner Bar and Prendergast Point.
e-mail: wille@pce.net