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FISHING LINE

Turkey hunters in New York State start Sunday morning, but anglers in search of walleye, northern Pike, chain pickerel and tiger muskellunge must wait until 12:01 a.m. May 7 for their season openers. Also, a special Lake Erie one-fish trophy bass season and a catch-and-release bass season on selected Finger Lakes begins May 7. Season opener dates were incorrect in Sunday's Outdoors Page. Check the 2004-2005 Fishing Regulations Guide for all season openers, size limits and creel numbers.

Lake Erie

High winds and waves kept perch seekers off the water most of last week, with the last good bites showing at 50-foot depths or more, reports Lee Weber of Weber's Bait & Tackle in Evans.

When feeder streams subside, steelies still hold solid from Buffalo to Barcelona, but most waders do better on an upstream trek to more settled waters. Lower Cattaraugus Creek was before the runoff.

Niagara River/Lake Ontario

Stain from rain runoff into the lower Niagara River has moved smelt closer to shore where dippers do well at Lewiston Landing or at the Artpark access, said Ron Hutcheson at A-1 Bait & Tackle in Lewiston.

With the smelt moving up river, steelies show better than lake trout on drifts in Devils Hole and down current to Fort Niagara.

A few good kings showed at first light well west of the Welland Canal, with a few cohos and browns hitting in New York State waters. Trollers scrape shore at 15- to 20-foot depths on both sides.

The Niagara Bar has drawn some lake trout to the red can some four miles out, with a few showing at the green can near the fort.

Chautauqua Lake

Crappie action has moved south. Burtis Bay shows the most numbers and a few good sizes. Stained water and warming shallow areas have drawn schools closer to shore. Bluegills come close to these crappie-schooling sites.

Short casts

Scime's Tackle and Variety holds its seasonal opener all day Saturday at 2815 River Road in Tonawanda. Capt. Jim Plinzke and others will answer tackle and techniques for area fishing. Call 444-1704.

Capt. Joe Fonzi will present a seminar "The Early Lake Erie Trophy Bass Season" at Gander Mountain Lodge starting at 6:30 p.m. Saturday. Call 743-2300.

Randolph Hatchery trout stockings will continue until Friday for streams and ponds in Allegany and Cattaraugus County. High waters have slowed access to many of the 2-year-old brown trout that have been stocked in WNY this spring season.
e-mail: wille@pce.net