> Lake Erie
High winds and muddied creek waters delay open-water runs and feeder forays, but the bite is right.
Boaters report varying stages of perch spawning, shown in catches at 50-foot depths between Cattaraugus Creek eastward to Sturgeon Point. Officials at the Sturgeon Point Marina have posted a targeted May 15 for opening the facility to boat-trailer access.
Off the Catt, boaters have been trying to get out on days when waves lie down to less than three feet. The "shelf" bite, ledges along 30- and 50-foot depths, often produce fewer but bigger ringbacks.
For great numbers, the run has been to depths of 54, 56, and just over 60 feet east of Foxes Point.
Creek waters are heavily stained after that heavy rain and snow fall. But Rick Miller at Miller's Bait & Tackle in Irving sees this muddied runoff as another good round of catfish catching.
Bass continue to make early runs up Erie feeders. The regulations allow for catch-and-release fishing until the special bass season for Lake Erie opens May 5 (first Saturday in May each year). Anglers can then keep one bass measuring 20 inches or more from Lake Erie and from its tributaries up to the first impassible barrier. This year, the bass run has been exceptionally early and abundant.
> Niagara River
"It's a 'work' win for smelt," said Jeff Pippard at Niagara Outdoors in Tonawanda about the rainbow smelt run in the lower river.
Dippers are doing well most evenings, but schools move in and out daily and after dark, when catch numbers usually increase. Not all come in with an 8-quart limit, but prospects are good for dipping at Artpark and Lewiston right now. The Annual Lewiston Smelt Dip and Fry is starts at Lewiston Landing at 6 p.m. on May 4.
> Lake Ontario
Trollers enjoy shallow-water runs for exceptional numbers of king and coho salmon along the entire Lake Ontario shoreline.
Boaters run spoons and shore casters go with casting spoons and spinners for a solid presence of trout along piers and below those first impassible barriers -- when waters settle to mildly visible levels.
Trollers working off the Niagara Bar need only drop 25 to 30 feet for a good mix of kings and brown trout, with coho running at or slightly higher than spoons set on Dipsy Divers and other side planers. "I just put out a long line [un-weighted] off the back for coho," Capt. Frank Campbell said of the trolling treks off the Niagara Bar.
Similar shoreline trolling successes have shown either side of Wilson, Olcott and Oak Orchard Creek.
> Inland Lakes
Honeoye: Few boaters got out during the recent snow storm, but the bluegill bite continues strong and some crappie schools still respond along the northeast shoreline around Trident Marina. The big news for boaters at Honeoye is the completion of the launch ramp, with two side docks now in place for launching there. The launch at Canandaigua Lake has a completion date for sometime in June.
Chautauqua: The crappie bite perked up just before the snow-and-blow storm. Boaters and shore casters were seeing a few more "paper mouths" along South Basin shallows.
Even the bluegill bite went slight as rain and snow moved in this past weekend. But panfish prospectors -- for either 'gills or crappies -- often settle for a pail of fair-sized perch. Perch presence can be found from Jamestown to Mayville most days out. Jiggers have done well with tiny pink or chartreuse/green and silver Gulp Baits. Try worms along with live minnows for baits set well off bottom.
> Trout stocking
The Randolph Hatchery has stocked these sites in time for weekend anglers:
Allegany County: Rushford Lake (Caneadea) 3,800 rainbow trout; Genesee River (Amity) 3,980 yearling brown trout and 350 2-year-old brown trout; Genesee River (Wellsville), 850 yearling brown trout, 2,100 rainbow trout and 450 2-year-old brown trout.
Cattaraugus County: Quaker Run (Cold Spring) 1,270 brown trout; Red House Brook (Red House) 590 brown trout; Science Lake (Red House) 420 brown trout and 1,030 brook trout; Ischua Creek (Franklinville) 280 brook trout, 1,4700 brown trout and 200 2-year-old brown trout; and Olean Creek (Town of Olean) 170 brown trout.
Chautauqua County: Bear Lake Outlet (Stockton) 760 brown trout; Cassadaga Creek (Stockton) 250 brown trout; Conewango Creek West Brook (Villenova) 550 brown trout; Farrington Brook (Cherry Creek) 250 brown trout; Mill Creek (Gerry) 1,030 brook trout and 100 2-year-old brown trout; Canadaway Creek (Arkwright) 370 brook trout and 100 2-year-old brown trout; Cassadaga Creek (Stockton) 200 2-year-old brown trout.
Wyoming County: Cattaraugus Creek (Java) 1,100 yearling brown trout and 400 2-year-old brown trout; and East Koy Creek (Gainesville) 2,880 yearling brown trout and 550 2-year-old brown trout.