Bass provided the best fireworks over the Fourth and continue to move forth at 30-foot depths from Barcelona to Buffalo Harbor.
Walleye and perch keep boaters busy at selected spots either side of 50-foot depths, but smallmouth bass provide both numbers and highest hit numbers for anglers seeking quick and easier fishing fun.
Water temperatures above 70 degrees along off-shore areas pushed bass off shallow reefs and onto drop-off edges where bottom forage (crayfish, round gobies and bait schools) congregate. Buffalo Harbor breakwater gaps still provide a few good bass bites and hits from other species: Perch (white and yellow), sheepshead, and the occasional walleye and musky.
Seneca Shoals, Myers Reef, Evans-Angola Bar, Eagle Bay (west of Cattaraugus Creek), Van Buren Point (west of Dunkirk Harbor), Brockton Shoals (east of Barcelona) and drop-off points west of Barcelona Harbor all have been good sloping structures for bass.
That Eighteen Mile Creek to Myers Reefs stretch, so popular during the Southtowns Walleye Tourney, continues to draw fish and fishermen at depths of 45 to 60 feet.
Barcelona also draws good, eastward-moving walleye schools. Boaters out of Dunkirk Harbor head east; trollers trekking out of Cattaraugus Creek head west.
Both converge on mixed schools of '03 class and larger marble-eyed pike often hitting upwards to 20 feet below the surface over 50- to 70-foot depths.
Both worm harnesses and minnow-shaped lures surprise 'eyes at all trolling depths.
Perch have been picky. A recent study of perch concentrations over the past dozen years show schooling has been deeper off Cattaraugus Creek to Sturgeon Point during the past three years. Most good ringback responses, especially this year, have come from 50-foot depths and greater.
"The best place for shallower perch (30-40 feet) has been east of Cattaraugus Creek," said Rick Miller at Miller's Bait & Tackle in Irving.
"I weighed in a 24-pound king this morning," said Wes Walker at Slipper Sinker Bait & Tackle in Olcott. That salmon hit a spoon set at 35 feet over 85 feet east of Olcott Harbor.
Walker notes big brown trout have been taken at 40-foot depths and steelhead trout can hit anywhere above 50-foot depths out to 400 feet off Olcott right now.
The Niagara River's suspended moss keeps anglers away from lower-river drifts and warmed waters have sent trout and salmon seekers well away from Niagara Bar drop-offs. Lake trout, holding tight to bottom at 70- to 90-foot depths along ledges between the fort and Wilson Harbor, have been the biggest salmonid strike since a strong northwest wind held warm water close to shore structures this past week.
Silver Lake has been golden for bluegill, yellow perch and walleye. A lakewide turnover last week stabilized water levels, with gills holding on weed edges, perch schooling at 19-foot depths, and walleye feeding well into the day.
Bigger bluegills hit grubs, bugs and small flies set 5-8 feet under a float. Perch like small minnows on fine hooks tied to light lines. Walleye go for small worm harnesses trolled or drifted in 15- to 25-foot depths or a jig and either a minnow or leech cast at the same depths. Hits have come all morning and well into early afternoons.
Best action has been at either side of the south end, below the golf course.