With waters heating almost as fair as air temperatures, expanded sunlight daily and only the occasional stiffening breezes, boaters, shore casters and anyone with angling gear in hand can have enjoyable, accessible fun taking mom fishing this weekend.
The big lakes, Erie and Ontario, have open-water options in all directions; feeder streams still hold fair numbers of trout; inland lakes have seen surface water temperatures above 60 degrees.
All fish, spawners and metabolism addled feeders, are moving in or into shallower waters on most waterways, the air is comfy for day, evening and nighttime outings and anglers seeking a fish fight or a filleting foray should have fun this Mother’s Day weekend.
Perch prevail and walleye are showing a “sort-of” start. Night trollers along the Hamburg-to-Buffalo shoreline did not see much movement last week, but warming waters should have post-spawn ’eyes in sight this coming week.
Open-water perch prospectors boast hot spots between Sturgeon Point and Cattaraugus Creek, with others who swear the school of ringbacks just east of the Evangola State Park wall at 52 feet is the best.
The trick to this fishery is to get over fish, and the big breeders basically hold near bottom at depths generally beyond 40 feet. Some years, a few schools of hefty monsters will climb the steps to less than 30 feet of the Evans-Angola Bar, but for now it is a 54-footer off the Catt, 2-foot off Evangola, and 44- to 48-foot hot patches either side of Sturgeon.
Bass busters are doing the same thing – hunting. The top of Myers Reef was warm a few days earlier; the slap piles off the old steel plant are better now in open water.
That Lackawanna lane, from the Buffalo Harbor South Gap almost to Hamburg, has drawn bass into 12- to 20-foot depths at all hours of the day. An occasional walleye hits a bass bait, but the mainstay is a nice mix of 2- to 5-pound smallies, with the odd 5- to 6-pounder showing at times.
Upper river perch activity has been spotty; emerald shiner schools have been spottier. Most of the boater and shore-casting action so far has been the lower river.
Clear-as-gin waters have all line miners dropping to smaller baits and lighter leaders. One charter captain noted a 6-pound-test fluorocarbon might do better.
The smallest egg sacks and even a single-egg or bead can up the strike and catch count. Many steelies hang along shore in a spawning mode and make it difficult to draw hits. Trout running currents are a better shot for hookups right now.
Devil’s Hole is busy, despite water clarity that shows every rock to depths of 20 feet in the hole.
The LOC (Lake Ontario Counties) Derby goes to Sunday and boaters are doing some running to find kings.
Lake trout have cooperated at depths of less than 100 feet from the Niagara Bar to well east of Oak Orchard Point, with many high-teeners weighed in at stations in Niagara and Orleans counties.
Streams draw a fair number of bass, but the steelie run is still on at Oak Orchard, Eighteen Mile and Wilson Harbor. Pier casters have to work the weather and waves for trout, but numbers have improved and some bait casters have picked up a few perch at Wilson and Olcott.
Check the current standings for the Lake Ontario Counties Derby for late-entry prospects at loc.org.
A fair number of walleye have shown and Mayville still draws the most attention for crappie cravers. Waters have warmed and bass species have moved close to shore in both basins of the lake. Waters have warmed enough for panfishing with small artificials as well as live bait. A small, white grub-like plastic might be a good bluegill and crappie magnet this weekend.
Wally “Mr. Crappie” Marshall, professional tourney winner seen on the Outdoor Channel visited Western New York this past week and fished for crappie in area hot spots. Look for a detailed column on Marshall’s outings on the Outdoors Page this Sunday.
The Randolph Hatchery has stocked these sites this past week in time for weekend angler outings:
Bone Run (South Valley) 260 yearling brown trout; Cassadaga Creek (Stockton) 430 yearling old browns; Goose Creek (North Harmony/Harmony) 440 yearling brown trout and 100 2-year-old browns; New Albion Lake (New Albion) 2,400 yearling browns; Allen Lake (Allen) 2,450 brook trout; Case Lake (Franklinville) 1,540 yearling browns; Springville Field & Stream (Concord) 180 brook trout; Quaker Lake (Elko) 3,600 yearling browns; Red House Lake (Red House) 640 yearling browns; Rushford Lake (Caneadea) 3,800 rainbow trout; and Dodge Creek (Clarksville) 1,280 yearling browns.