The walleye bite continues to be outstanding in Lake Erie. Find the fish and you will put plenty of fillets into the freezer.
Lake Ontario – The weather hasn’t helped matters in the lake or the tributaries. In the lake, Capt. Matt Yablonsky of Wet Net Charters tried hitting the Niagara Bar this week but northeast winds created a weedy mess that hampered trolling efforts. There are fish there though. He opted to head off-shore to 400-plus feet of water to target steelhead. There was a good bite for silver bullets. Silver Streak UV Magnum spoons, Dreamweaver standard Lazer Spook spoons and Forty-second spoons did the trick in the top 80 feet of water. Some fish came as high as 40 feet down. Over in Olcott, Capt. Vince Pierleoni with the Thrillseeker II boat was pounding the pier heads in 10 to 60 feet of water and managed to take two mature Pacific salmon – one king and one Coho – on Monday. They hit a Dreamweaver plug and a J-plug. Off shore, it’s a spoon bite on steelies and immature salmon. Pier action has been slow, too. These rains could be what the doctor ordered. Not too much at the Burt Dam. The King of the Creek salmon contest is now underway, run by All in the Same Boat Tackle in Newfane through Nov. 6. There is a boat and a shore category. Call 638-4158 for more info.
Niagara River – Action still hasn’t improved all that much for salmon in the river although some fish were caught Tuesday. The NYPA fishing platform in Devil’s Hole still affords your best opportunity for hooking into a king, casting spoons. Bass and walleye can also be caught from shore in the gorge area. In-line spinners have been popular. Better bass fishing can be found down river from Joseph Davis State Park to the Niagara Bar. Shiners will catch fish on three-way rigs like they did for Capt. Arnie Jonathan of AJ Guide Service on Sunday. He also used a tube off a three-way set-up with no weight on it. Not only did he take a few nice bass on that set-up, he also hooked into a couple of walleyes. Sept. 30 is the final day for lake trout season in Lake Ontario and the Niagara River, so if you do catch a lake trout, please release it as quickly as possible back into the water unharmed. A few sturgeon have been reported by some anglers, too. Remember that this is a threatened species. Don’t take it out of the water if you can help it, never hold it vertical to the water and never put a fish hook for holding it up through the gills. In the upper river, water temperatures still need to come down. Ryan Shea with Brookdog Fishing Company was fly casting for muskies and he had some follows but nothing hooked up. He did better on bass.
Lake Erie and tributaries – The walleye bite has been outstanding the past three weeks. Capt. Don Ruppert with Wave Tamer Charters was scoring big time by focusing on 68 to 71 feet of water out of Cattaraugus Creek. Go deep for success. Riggers down 60 feet with 60 foot leads; 10 colors of lead core will get you into the fish zone. If you like pulling worm harnesses, keep your speed 1.7 to 2.0 mph; 2.1 to 2.3 mph if you prefer to fish with body baits. Best body bait colors have been “mixed vegetables” – green and orange. Cotton candy – blue and pink – has been a good color pattern for the harnesses. A call from Walt Zebker of Grand Island confirmed all
of that when he reported his best fishing day of the year while fishing in 74 feet of water, 60 to 74 feet down with buddies Rich Hiam and Mike Knowles. The walleye seemed to be spread out from Cattaraugus Creek to Dunkirk and everything they tried caught fish. Renosky stickbaits were the preferred enticements in black and silver, perch and purple glow. Riggers did well. Dipsy divers worked, too, catching them on wire 130 feet back on a No. 1.5. setting; and 180 feet back on No. 3 setting using Power Pro line. No word on the perch other than a bunch of complaints. Some perch are starting to grab hold of emerald shiners (if you can find that bait) in 68 to 70 feet of water between the Catt and Sturgeon Point. Don’t be afraid the venture out as deep at 77 feet of water based on recent DEC netting studies. The Richard Brauer Memorial Perch Contest is still a go for Oct. 1 as of Wednesday morning. Contact Eric at 698-4505 for further details. Capt. Jim Hanley reported that some nice bass are starting to turn on in 25 to 40 feet of water for the fall bite. Crayfish are the best live bait if you can find them. He caught fish to 5 pounds his last two times out. In the tributaries, the rains from earlier in the week could pull some new trout in. Some reports over the weekend from Ryan Shea with Brookdog Fishing Company revealed a few smaller trout were caught in the Catt. It depends on when the rain lets up as to when anglers will be able to get out there and take a few casts.
Chautauqua Lake – The big bite on the lake continues to be with walleyes according to local guide Craig Robbins. Try trolling the weed edges in Ashville and Bemus bays under low light conditions (morning and eveing) with perch color No. 11 jointed stickbaits like Rapalas. During the day, try casting a black hair jig tipped with a nightcrawler off Long Point and in Warners Bay. Off Long Point, start in 18 feet of water and move toward the rocky point. At Warners, hit the weed edges in 10 to 14 feet of water.