Anglers have no superstitions about fishing for trout this Halloween week. Perch fishermen have no goblins to fear either.
Water levels have returned to “normal” along most Great Lakes feeders, giving fish and fishermen greater access to activity up stream. Some of the smaller streams may be a bit shy of water passing by, but the last round of rain has put good numbers of trout in the bigger creeks and rivers.
Biggest feeder-stream news this past week has been a solid presence of bait fish in some Lake Erie creeks and the big feeders along Lake Ontario that have dams as their point of impasse. Some see them as emerald shiners or spot-tailed shiners. Round gobies have been known to make it all the way up to dam outflows.
This minnow presence has anglers trying alternative baits to compensate for the unusual number of baitfish. Longer streamers, willow-leaf spinner blades and even long, light-colored rubber worms have done well on trout that usually go for smaller stuff right now.
Perch prospects prosper. Boaters on Lake Erie and shore casters along Lake Ontario’s bays and creek banks have been hooking into the jumbos on many an outing that need not start right at sunrise.
Relatively warm lake and stream waters have kept other fish species on the move. Musky minders and bass devotees have another month of open season, and both species are cooperating in both sizes and numbers through this stretch of mild fall weather.
Rain and winds may haunt anglers and spook fish this coming weekend. The end of Daylight Savings Time might trick afternoon anglers but treat fishermen up early on Sunday. Frost has not held long on pumpkins during recent morning perch searches and trout treks. The biggest horror would be staying in during some peak mid- to late-morning fishing periods this coming weekend.
Waters finally leveled somewhat and boaters have returned to the deep-water perch fishery found between Sturgeon Point and Cattaraugus Creek. Staining, sometimes heavy, continues out past 50-foot depths, but that discoloration has not slowed the perch bite for boaters able to find and anchor over feeder ringbacks.
The magic — or at least most-mentioned — depth since the wind storms has been 50 feet. Boaters head west out of Sturgeon Point and mainly east out of Cattaraugus Creek to find feeding fish. The same can be said for 45- to 50-foot depths off the windmills at Buffalo Harbor.
Good perch schools can be found deeper, but many of the catches include many runt perch, as well as white (silver bass) and white perch.
Stream anglers are having a better year, according to Rick Miller at Miller’s Bait & Tackle in Irving. Miller has customers coming back from all access points along the Catt as far upstream as the Springville Dam.
Bait selection changes each day. Skein, egg sacks and nightcrawlers work one day; spinners and spoons are the only terminal tackle they will take the next day. Take both.
Lower river anglers complain about the stain. Upper river perchers, and a few trout takers, have been having fun in the river’s tinged waters.
Shore casters connect with perch at the Squaw Island access and the foot of Ferry Street, says Bill Van Camp at Big Catch Bait & Tackle. Between passing schools of perch, casters often stick a steelie in the same casting area.
Musky drifters and casters have seen just enough clarity to catch and release some monsters. Capt. Chris Cinelli boated one Tuesday that was in the 30-pound range.
Waters have cooled to just about normal, with mid-50s readings at the head of the river down current to Fort Niagara.
The bigger feeders are better, but most streams have enough water to draw salmon, steelies and increasing numbers of brown trout.
Sharon Narburgh at Narby’s Superette and Bait & Tackle suggests either nightcrawlers or wax worms for trout and some salmon in the bait-filled waters of Oak Orchard Creek. Some anglers can still pull a three-fish limit of salmon.
Bass University deadline
Anglers interested in registering for the Bass University in Niagara Falls Jan. 25 and 26 only have until Thursday to sign up at a 20 percent discount. Held in the Greater Niagara Conference and Event Center, sessions include six nationally known bass professionals as presenters both days. These classes will be part of the Greater Niagara Fishing and Outdoor Expo Jan. 24 to 26. For details on the Expo and Bass University registration information, go to thebassuniversity.com.