Active anglers this time of year could use a clone system to get to all the good (hot) fishing spots around Western New York.
Great Lakes, inland lakes and the bigger streams all offer bountiful catches at the right time of day or night. Whenever and wherever, it would be nice to be at four or five fishing hot spots right now.
Nighttime walleye runs have been so-so, but the bass bite has been so good. Drifters out of Buffalo Harbor use emerald shiners for good numbers of smallmouths; artificials (mainly tube jigs) have pulled better sizes.
The perch presence is out deeper off Sturgeon Point and Cattaraugus Creek. Not every day is a 50-fish limit, but good numbers and sizes are showing from many sites out there.
Erie Perch Derby results
Boaters had good access to perch schools on Saturday and the 270 entrants brought in reams of ringbacks for the awards dinner held after the Southtowns Walleye Associations Perch Derby.
Entrants could weigh in their five top fish, and many averaged more than one pound at the weigh-in ceremony.
Fred Scrabucha of West Seneca took home $300 for his 7.34-pound perch that won top prize. Second place and $200 went to Jim Senick of Elma with a 6.5-pound total. Joe Jemiola III of Boston got $100 for his 6.28-pound perch.
Southtowners are now setting up lines for the annual Southtowns Walleye Association Walleye Tournament slated for June 7 to 14 this year. For details, go to southtownswalleye.org.
Lower Niagara River
The lower-river smelt run is almost done. Drifters can still stick steelies, and bass have moved into the same lanes taken up by lake trout.
The Niagara Bar alternately draws lake trout and surface-working coho salmon. Trollers from the bar to Oak Orchard Point have found better king salmon action, with mornings being more productive than later in the day.
Off Oak Orchard, most of the trolling has been at 50- to 80-foot depths for browns, cohos, steelies and king salmon. Stickbaits and mid-sized spoons have worked best.
Crappie seekers often hit into nicer bluegill and perch, walleye workers have done fairly well at 12-foot depths along emerging weed edges in the South Basin. “But the walleye bite is better casting after dark,” said Mike Sperry at Chautauqua Reel Outdoors in Lakewood.
A few 25-fish limits have come in on either live minnows or tube jigs. Sperry recommends trying either a black, pearl or chartreuse tube.
One- or two-angler teams can register for the Chautauqua Lake Crappie Team Tournament 2014 held out of the Lakewood Boat Launch on Saturday. Registration starts at 5 a.m. that morning; competition goes from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. For tournament rules and entry forms, go to chaut-lakebassmasters.com.
Walleye successes have mainly been a night bite, and crappie numbers rise during evening hours most days. Last week’s deluge raised water levels that removed many docks and stained the lake well into this week.
Most panfish spawning has peaked, and the bluegill bite could be good along shoreline shallows for at least another week. Look for a detailed account of Honeoye along with Conesus, Canadice and Hemlock Lake in an Outdoors Page Sunday column.
Boaters using the state launch at the southeast corner of the lake will not see a gate attendant starting this season. Stony Brook State Park manages the Honeoye launch and has begun a new payment system. The $7 fee remains; entrants can use either an Empire Pass, a senior’s pass weekdays, or pay cash for admission. For details, call (585) 335-8111.
Captain Bob’s Rudd Derby finalists brought in sizable rudd, and the top three winners measured all within an inch. First place went to Dan Brudz of Amherst with a 17 7/16-inch entry. Jay Brudz (Dan’s son) from Cheektowaga finished second with a 17≤ incher. Joseph “California Joe” Pavalonis of Buffalo took third place with a 17-inch rudd.
This week is National Safe Boating Week and the start of a yearlong ‘Wear It!’ national campaign to promote safe boating, a reminder to wear a life preserver before going boating this upcoming Memorial Day Weekend and thereafter.
For Wear It! campaign details, visit safeboatingcampaign.com.
Randolph Hatchery trucks have delivered yearling and 2-year-old brown trout and brook trout this past week to these locations in time for weekend outings:
Allegany County – Genesee River (Wellsville), 1,130 brown trout; Rushford Lake (Caneadea), 1,550 9-inch yearling brown trout; and Rushford Camp Pond (New Hudson), 200 brook trout.
Cattaraugus County – Red House Lake (Red House), 645 brown trout; Quaker Lake (Elko), 3,615 9-inch yearling brown trout; Cattaraugus County Pond A (Randolph), 200 brook trout; Cattaraugus County Pond B (Randolph), 200 brook trout; and Red House Brook (Red House), 685 brown trout.