THE FIRST week of open season for bass and muskellunge in New York State kicked off a panoply of events:
In addition to the ongoing Red Man/All-American bass tournament and the Southtowns Walleye Association Walleye Tournament, there was a 23-pound muskie taken from shore, numerous largemouth bass caught in the Buffalo River, weather extremes (flat-calm waters alternating with 6- to 8-foot waves on Lake Erie), water temperature increases of 10 or more degrees in many area fishing waters and reports of numerous fishing violations.
Conservation Officers patrolling in one of two boats on Lake Erie between Sturgeon Point and Dunkirk last weekend cited 17 violations for angling with more than two lines per person.
DEC enforcement officers remind fishermen that no more than two lines per licensed angler may be in the water at one time while fishing in New York State. When alternative rods are in use, be sure that the working line (for example, one with a fish on) is removed from the water before the alternative line is placed in the water.
Smallmouth bass season opened with much movement. Post-spawn fish have been subject to rapid weather changes, working over rock shoals and along shoreline structures during ripple or choppy-water conditions. When the lake becomes flat calm, bass move down to depths of 20 feet or more.
Walleye catches have improved from Buffalo to Barcelona. Anthony Orsini Jr. of Springville currently leads the Southtowns Walleye Association Tournament with a 10.34-pound entry. Orsini's fish was taken on a spinner-and-worm combination bumped along the bottom in 19 feet of water off Sturgeon Point Tuesday evening.
Catch numbers have been good in the Dunkirk area, but even greater numbers of walleye have been taken this week from waters east of Barcelona Harbor. In walleye waters, trollers have taken most fish with lines run off side planers. Smaller lures have generally worked better. West of Cattaraugus Creek, most planer board trollers have run 150-foot lines without weight over depths of 60-80 feet.
Walleye (4-9 pounds) and smaller bass (1-pound size) have been taken from shore along Bird Island Pier and other shore casting sites during the morning and evening hours.
Rasheen Alston of Buffalo brought in a 23-pound muskellunge Monday from the foot of Ferry Street. Alston's monster muskie hit a rock bass as it was taking a minnow.
Most trollers have quit looking for king salmon and have gone over over 300-foot depths in search of coho and steelhead feeding in the top 25 feet of water off Wilson and Olcott.
Lake trout offer the easier targets, moving 40- to 60-foot down over 100-foot depths. Catchable salmonids have been taking spoons in either white, chartreuse or yellow.
Warm-water fishery reports are mixed. Poor yellow perch fishing has been augmented with great bass responses for trollers running Shad Raps and other deep-diving crankbaits at 15-foot depths along shore between Two Mill and Four Mile Creeks.
The west branch of Twelve Mile Creek offers both crappie and northern pike prospects, while Smallmouth bass on the Niagara Bar have shown good numbers but small fish.
Weed edges thickened and both largemouth and smallmouth bass came in during the opener. Leeches and jig-and-minnows draw much attention. Walleye continue to be strong in the shallows in the south basin and on drop-offs in the north basin.