I Love NY Fishing!
That was the theme of a recent sportfishing familiarization tour involving four German dignitaries who shared an interest in what the Empire State had to offer as it related to fish and fishing opportunities. Working with Markly Wilson, director of international marketing for I Love NY, and Lori Solomon, I Love NY project manager, for the trip through Van Tourism Specialists, a group was put together with the help of Wolfgang Wekwert, Germany’s I Love NY representative. Included in the group were Olaf Jochmann and Jan Hrdlicka, both writers with the popular German fishing magazine Am Haken; and Andreas Quenstedt with Deutscher Reisering, a tour operator who was hoping to package New York fishing trips for interested German anglers.
After a visit to Montauk Point on Long Island catching stripers, they flew into Buffalo with a plan to fish the lower Niagara River. Cold, windy, rainy weather greeted them but it wasn’t long before Hrdlicka kicked things off with Capt. Frank Campbell by casting for a nice salmon with a rattlebait. Capt. Joe Marra, meanwhile, took two of the guys along Artpark to catch both steelhead and lake trout before the weather got the best of everyone. The following day they repeated their actions with local guides Jeff Draper and Arnie Jonathan and caught more trout using Kwikfish. Then it was on to Oswego and the St. Lawrence River to complete their whirlwind fishing tour.
The lower river salmon action is barely holding on but a few fish are still showing up for those boaters using treated egg skein off three-way rigs. A few lake trout, steelhead and bass are hitting those same offerings. Shoreline casters are using rattlebaits, spoons, spinners or jigs and will take both salmon and trout, as well. Eggs under a float if you are in the right area will also work. Artpark shore anglers have been taking both steelhead and lake trout primarily.
Remember that lake trout season is closed until the end of the year. If you catch one, release it unharmed. Upper river musky action has picked up according to Capt. Chris Cinelli of Grand Island. He managed to catch several the past week. However, as the saying goes – like father, like son – young Connor Cinelli took his friend Denise Colon of Grand Island out for an afternoon trip and the result was a dandy 44-inch musky for her first muskellunge ever. Exciting … but scary. There are a lot of teeth in those fish. It was released quickly to fight another day.
Breezy weather conditions have kept people off the lake most days. Last Friday, Mark Lewandowski managed to launch his boat and troll the mouth of 18 Mile Creek in 10 to 25 feet of water for steelhead staging to enter the creek. Using spoons and small stickbaits, he managed to boat 6 steelies, 1 walleye, 16 bass and – the icing on the cake – a 48-inch musky that tipped the scales around 28 pounds. The big fish hit a green-glow 3-inch stickbait. Best colors for the trout were chartreuse, orange, pink, green and, depending on water clarity, natural colors. Meanwhile up the creek at 18 Mile, Cody Smith of Hamburg managed to catch a large Chinook salmon while fishing for trout. What a surprise. Where it came from is anyone’s guess – naturally reproduced, through the Welland Canal from Lake Ontario or from the upper Great Lakes. The other tributaries have trout in them and the focus is on steelhead. Smaller streams are low and clear right now. According to Ryan Shea of Grand Island, those smaller tribs could use a good flush to attract more fish. The best creeks right now are Cattaraugus and 18 Mile. All methods of tackle are producing, from swing flies to eggs. Damon Newpher, lead guide for Adventure Bound on the Fly out of Ellicottville, says that Canadaway and Chautauqua creeks also have fish throughout the system. With more rain in the forecast, that can only mean good things for the rest of the month. No perch reports. Bruce Cavage of Marilla ran out a few days ago between winds and managed to catch four (including his biggest of the season at 15 inches, weighing 1 pound, 11 ounces) and according to the DEC census takers that day, he was the only one successful. He checked out favorite areas from 40 to 78 foot depths and could not find the schools. Change that. Just when this report was finalized, Capt. Joe Fonzi of Thumbs Up Charters sent a text that a nice bite for perch was on. He did well in 62 feet of water more toward Buffalo. They caught 70 fish. He also did well on walleye at night between Waverly Shoal, the departure buoy and the round house – Husky Jerks and Thundersticks. He believes these fish are following bait schools heading back to the river. Don’t forget the 2016 Fly Fishing Film Tour at Holiday Valley Ski Resort, 6557 Holiday Valley Road, Ellicottville on Nov. 5 from 6-9 p.m. Pre-sale $25; $30 at the door. Call 217-4047 for more info. http://flyfilmtour.ticketfly.com/event/1328531-2016-fly-fishing-film-tour-ellicottville
The musky bite on the lake has picked up again according to Craig Robbins. Over-sized crankbaits are being trolled from Long Point to lower Dewittville Bay. Keep your baits in 18-to-26 feet of water. Perch color is working best. Walleye action continues to be good in the northern basin according to Mike Sperry at Chautauqua Reel Outdoors. Using Gotcha lures or ice jigging Rapalas in 30-to-60 feet of water was entice ‘eyes to hit. Some crappie action is being reported in the canals at night and perch are everywhere. Sperry also had some success casting for muskies in the southern basin in 11 to 14 feet of water casting small, jointed hard baits.
Lake Ontario and tribs
The top areas that have attracted the most fish have been 18 Mile Creek and the Oak Orchard River. Salmon are still running strong and many of the eggs in the females are still tight. Some fresh fish are being reported at Burt Dam according to Wes Walker at The Slippery Sinker in Olcott. Eggs or egg imitations are working well under floats. If you are wondering if the salmon are around, three poachers took 70 at the Dam Wednesday morning. Fortunately, conservation officers were there to greet them. Call 844-DEC ECOs if you see a violator. These are 70 fish no legal anglers can catch. Remember that the King of the Creek contest ends on Nov. 6 out of All in the Same Boat Tackle Shop in Newfane. Some of the best fishing has been for brown trout off the piers casting spoons, spinners or small stickbaits … if you can get out there. North winds have kept people off those structures on a regular basis. The harbors in Wilson and Olcott have been showing off a fair amount of perch, pike and bass, too.