October has arrived and summer is still holding on in the weather department. However, on the calendar, many sportsmen are already shifting gear to big and small game hunting – giving diehard fishermen and women a little more room to maneuver when it comes to casting or drifting.
Lake Erie and tributaries
Water temperatures are slowly coming back down again. The storm and cold front last week shook the walleye action up a bit but that doesn’t mean those fish aren’t out there. You just have to work a little bit harder with worm harnesses or stickbaits. You just have to fish a little deeper, too. Capt. Joe Fonzi of Gasport reports that the better walleye fishing for him was near the international line. If you are looking for perch, he found them as shallow as 58 feet of water and as deep as 88 foot depths, all out of Cattaraugus Creek. Steve Brzuszkiewicz of Marilla hit some perch between 77 and 81 feet of water out of the Catt, but he didn't have his fish finder. He still managed to catch some perch and a nice walleye moving around blindly. Remember that the 7th Annual Richard Brauer/DB Charity Gala and Perch Tournament is set for Saturday, Oct. 7 with the awards and dinner to follow on Oct. 8 starting at 3 p.m. Stop in at Brauer’s, 6612 Campbell Blvd., Pendleton to enter ($10). Bass chasers will be motoring around for the Canadian Tire Lake Erie Open hosted by the St. Catharines Bassmasters on Saturday, Oct. 7. The 75 boat field is already full for this two-angler team event. Some big bass have been reported the past week. Capt. Jim Hanley of Angola checked in with some slob smallmouth with customers up to 6 pounds. Golden shiners fished off three-way rigs in 32 to 38 feet of water between Sturgeon Point and Cattaraugus Creek has been a good spot but other spots like Seneca Shoal, Myers Reef and Evans Bar are holding some bass that are starting to bulk up for the winter. A few steelhead have started to show up in the streams. Casting the mouth of streams with spoons or spinners is a great trout option, as is trolling the mouth with spoons or stickbaits.
Lake Ontario and tributaries
Fish are still available in the lake proper, but with last Friday’s blow they are a little more scattered according to Capt. Alan Sauerland with Instigator Charters out of Wilson. Best temperature for the fish was deep, sending riggers down 75 to 110 feet over 450-plus feet of water. Divers were sent back 280 and 300 feet and 500 feet of copper took some salmon and trout, too. Pier head trolling is still an option with meat or flies behind a flasher. J-plugs and spoons work, too. Some smaller boats have been anchoring up in the lake and the harbor area to cast plugs, rattlebaits and spoons. The same will work off the piers for salmon and trout both, but numbers have been light. That could change with another front coming through and some winds out of the north according to Wes Walker at The Slippery Sinker. Up at Burt Dam and 18 Mile Creek, there are some fish available but the major run hasn’t come in yet. Salmon and trout numbers saw an increase last weekend with the cooler temperatures, but with another warming trend, things have slowed back down again according to Scott Scheffler, manager of Fisherman’s Park in Burt. Over at the Oak Orchard River, it was the same story. There was an increase going into the weekend, but the trend reversed. Remember that the Archers Club catch and release fly fishing derby will be held Oct. 18-20.
In the lower Niagara River, there seem to be good numbers of fish available. It seems to come down to how good you are with your stick. Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls uses his improvised fly rod with a spinning reel on it and he was 3 for 8 on salmon Tuesday in the Whirlpool area of the gorge. Casting glow in the dark spoons under low light conditions did it for him. While he lost more than he landed, he did fight all of the fish for a while. Rich Pisa from Kenmore scored on some nice kings from shore, drifting egg skein under a float. From boats, the action has been up and down. Getting on the fish early bouncing bottom with Pautzke-cured eggs has been the ticket in Devil’s Hole. Bass action has been good from shore along Artpark according to Rzucidlo. When those water temperatures start to come back down, lake trout will probably start to show up. Remember that lake trout season is now closed. If you do catch a laker, make sure you release it unharmed back into the water. Lake trout season will re-open on January 1. At the Schoellkopf Site near the Discovery Center, a new fishing access is being worked on. That area will be closed on Oct. 11 and 12. In the upper river, bass and walleye are still available at the head of the river and around Strawberry Island.
Not too much to report there. The cold front that came through last week hurt the fishing and it hasn’t picked back up yet. There are some walleye around and you can usually find some perch. Musky action has been tough and so has the bass busting.