According to Drew Nisbet of Orvis Buffalo in Williamsville, our inland creeks for catch-and-release trout have been fishing incredibly well over the last two weeks of mild weather. As the creek water temperatures rise the trout become more active, especially the large/mature fish. He has been fishing the upper Cattaraugus and Clear creeks in the NYSPFR sections using a combination of large stonefly patterns and streamers in olive and yellow tied up to 5 inches in length. The fishing has been consistent with fish spread well throughout the system. Walking long distances away from popular access points will reward anglers with their best shot at trophy brown trout. A reminder to those looking to inland fish this time of year is that the regulations are artificial only, catch and release with fishing open only on select waterways. Some trout streams remain closed to all fishing until April 1st. Consult the NYSDEC regulations before heading out.
Lake Erie tributaries
With this unseasonably warm winter, Alberto Rey of Fredonia has witnessed small aggressive runs of steelhead coming in and out of the streams with very little to no pressure from anglers. According to Rey, the last big water event on Feb. 24 and 25 brought in a big push of steelhead into local lake Erie tribs between Buffalo and the Pennsylvania tribs. You might find yourself walking a bit to find the pods but that is usually a good recipe toward finding aggressive fish. The high water from rain and snow meltoff has kept many anglers off the medium to large streams for most of these warm days while the smaller streams have been flowing perfectly except for the peak high-water periods. As is often the case with warm winters, Rey notes that the spring run in March is usually lighter due to the number of fish that have been coming in and out of the streams through January and February. Pressure on the
streams continues to be light even though the steelhead are moving into the streams. As of Tuesday, the streams were high and muddy again but with the predicted forecast, he expects good fishing conditions for Friday and Sunday with sub-par temps for Saturday. Small white and olive streamers have been productive in the smaller tribs with larger darker patterns getting more attention in the medium and large streams. Traditional egg patterns in variations of pink and yellow are also effective in all low angling pressure streams.
It’s the same old story, same old song and dance … to quote an Aerosmith tune. The wind and rain from last week muddied the water up again and it wasn’t really fishable until Monday of this week. Of course, more high winds and rain is in the forecast so the river will be back to where it was last weekend. Capt. Chris Cinelli reported some great fishing action on Tuesday in the Artpark and Devil’s Hole drifts. Retired ECO Bob McNamara of Allegany brought his two grandsons up (Ashton and Kamden Blanton) and they had a blast reeling in 20-plus trout for the day with near perfect conditions. Pink egg sacs were the bait of choice, fished off three-way rigs. Shore anglers were casting spoons, spinners and eggs or egg imitations, but they had to work for them a little harder. In the upper river, there were some reports of some trout on the Canadian side up near the head of the river so that should translate into some trout along the New York side such as along Broderick Park. Egg sacs, spoons, spinners, jigs – what the rainbows want. A new leader came in the Capt. Bob’s Outdoors contest – a 26-3/4-inch walleye reeled in by Jerry Bielicki of Akron. He was using a Voodoo jig tipped with a twister tail on the banks of Tonawanda Creek.
The tributaries continue to be stained and the recent rain events didn’t help matters much. There was about a foot of visibility at Burt Dam on Tuesday and some trout were reported on egg sacs, egg imitations, jigs tipped with a wax worm and fished under a float – all will work but you have to be
patient according to Wes Walker at The Slippery Sinker in Olcott. The high winds this week should clear the piers again of ice. Some suckers were reported at Keg Creek and some bullheads were caught at Wilson. The bigger run is yet to come. The Wilson Bullhead Contest is April 7-9. Check the outdoor calendar for details. Matt Tall of Wilson took over the lead in the ASB catch and release steelhead tournament – a 33-1/2-inch trout. No other details were available. Good reports of a mix of browns and steelies at both the Oak Orchard River and Johnson Creek. Perch, crappies and ‘gills were hitting at Lake Alice above the Waterport Dam.
Mixed reports coming out of Chautauqua. According to Mike Sperry at Chautauqua Reel Outdoors, the canals were frozen over Monday so there wasn’t much catching going on – open water was limited. They were open on Tuesday. Rain and wind will have an effect on what happens this weekend. Remember walleye season closes at the end of the day on March 15. Some boaters were targeting ‘eyes near Long Point and pulling a few fish.