A record wave of heat slammed into Western New York waters and warmed things up a bit for a couple of weeks. While it may have impacted salmon returns off Lake Ontario a bit, it hasn’t done anything to affect the excellent fishing on Lake Erie. The tributaries, well that’s another story. We need a cool rain and some cooler temperatures. They may be coming.
Lake Erie and tributaries
Craig Sleeman of Victor was fishing Monday straight out of Dunkirk in 90 to 100 feet of water using a mix of worm harnesses and stickbaits. His hottest set up was on a black diver running a Hybrid Lures Chicken Wing pattern Colorado blade harness. When the worms slowed down, they found that a Yaleye-Lure Custom painted thunderstick worked well and it actually took some of their bigger fish holding tight to the bottom. Trolling speed was 1.5 to 1.8 miles per hour. With the weather pattern holding steady the fishing should continue to be hot! Even with a cold front coming through on Thursday, fishermen should still see some good numbers of fish well into October according to Sleeman. Capt. Tom Marks of Gr8 Lakes Fishing Adventures is also bragging about how good the fishing has been. Fishing with George Drescher of Tonawanda, they hit some great bass over the weekend. Crawfish were in short supply at the local bait shops, but they managed a dozen. It didn't matter. Berkley Gulp! worked just a well. They fished rocky humps in 32 to 36 feet of water, connecting with some really nice bass in the 4- to 5-pound range. Marks also took mother and son, Judy and Paul Wagner from Pittsburgh, Pa. out for walleye Monday, bouncing worm harnesses in 80 to 85 feet of water. They limited out in just a few hours. The graph was just loaded with fish. Paul Wagner landed a bonus steelhead caught on a worm harness. Nice catches of perch are coming in, too. Schools are in 60 to 70 feet of water off Evangola State Park. You have to hunt for them with your electronics but when you find them they are very willing to take a minnow. Bruce Cavage of Marilla had a similar story on a limit of walleye in 80 feet of water off Cattaraugus Creek relatively early, using a worm harness with purple beads and fire tiger blades. Then he went searching for perch. He went to his waypoints from a few weeks ago and sure enough he found some nice ones. They are out there, but you have to work for them. Most were in the 9- to 12-inch range. Remember that the Richard Brauer/DB Memorial Perch Contest is set for Oct. 7, with a fish fry and awards to take place the following day at Brauer’s Restaurant located on Campbell Boulevard in Pendleton.
Warming water temperatures have had an adverse impact on salmon moving into the lower river system. With rain and cooler temperatures in the forecast, it could trigger another run of fish – probably a slug of Coho salmon in addition to some kings. Capt. Matt Yablonsky of Wet Net Charters was catching more Cohos than kings on the Niagara Bar right now, fish that are staging and getting ready to run up the river. Treated egg skein is still the ticket for the boater. In addition to picking up some salmon, there have been bass, walleye and even sturgeon being reported on the ends of lines up in Devil’s Hole. Shore anglers are picking up a few, too, but it’s been tougher. Ricardo Davila of Wheatfield has been hitting the water early in Devil’s Hole area to take some salmon by casting glow-in-the-dark spoons.
We mentioned about the Niagara Bar action for mature kings at the drop off. Magnum spoons, flasher-fly, and flasher-cut bait are all working on the bottom right at the drop in 70 to 80 feet of water. Over in Wilson, Capt. Alan Sauerland and Joe Gallo headed out deep for some salmon and trout action over the weekend. They headed north to 450 feet of water, fishing roughly the 28 to 30 line. They ran spoons 65 to 80 feet down on the riggers. Every line had a slider on it (a free-floating lure attached by a snap and 5-6 foot piece of fishing line to the main line). It would end up approximately half way down the line. The sliders caught steelhead primarily. Divers ran flasher-flies back 230 to 250 feet on a No. 2 setting. Copper lines 300 feet and 400 feet back ran meat rigs to entice mature kings to hit. Everything else caught kings to 15 pounds. Speaking of mature kings, Capt. Vince Pierleoni of Thrillseeker II continues to target staging salmon off the piers in Olcott. They have been finicky, but they are there in good numbers. Look for a good run of fish up to Burt Dam when we receive our next weather event. Speaking of Burt Dam, Scott Scheffler, Town of Newfane marina manager, reported that Fisherman’s Park is ready to go after some improvements needed following some high-water issues. All they are waiting for now are the fish.
Surface temp is up to 75 degrees. There are a ton of floating weeds on the south basin according to Mike Sperry at Chautauqua Reel Outdoors. In part it’s because of a lack of wind. It certainly makes trolling tough. They did pick up a few muskies over the weekend. Trolling small musky crankbaits is working if you're willing to deal with the floating weed situation. Walleye has slowed down some in the past week. That should pick back up again as the water cools next week. The deep water jigging bite has yet to really get started. Perch are hitting minnows but you have to weed through the smaller ones.