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The fishing word for the week is transition.

Call most bait, tackle or resort folk and you will hear about the changes from cold- to warm water fisheries -- from ice to open water and from bigger to smaller flies and lures on feeder streams.

Ice has disappeared from Chautauqua Lake's surface, but solid crappie catch reports have yet to arrive. Lower river steelie and lake trout numbers have lessened, but a drift in Devil's Hole, along Artpark or on the Niagara Bar can still result in trout taking either a silver Kwikfish or live minnow.

Feeder lines

Lake Erie's smaller feeders have risen to ideal fishing levels.

"Just about all of the smaller feeders are producing: Delaware, Big and Little Sister, Eighteen Mile, Silver and Walnut Creeks," said Bill Boneberg at Woods & Waters in Derby.

Most fish have been the dark-colored holdovers in the 5- to 7-pound range, with few fresh fish -- silver-sided -- steelies moving into the streams. Boneberg suggests trying an egg sack first, followed by either orange or green Power Baits or Nuggets.

On Lake Ontario, Don David of Lockport took a 17-pound steelie Saturday from Eighteen Mile Creek below Burt Dam with hardware more common to an ice fishing trip. A 1/1 6-ounce black jig enticed David's soon-to-be-wall mounted trophy trout.

At Oak Orchard, fly anglers are getting larger fish using a Frammus fly, a chenille body with glo-bug wings tied on a tiny (No. 12) hook.

Steelies recently started to bed up in nests called redds. At this stage of spawning, a baby rainbow streamer fly on a No. 6 hook works well.

Ice winners

American Sportsman issued first-place awards Thursday:

Walleye -- Ralph Burtch, City of Tonawanda, 10.56 pounds, Bay of Quinte, with a Swedish Pimple.

Perch -- Dave Kish of Kenmore, 1.69 pounds, Cuba Lake, with a teardrop jig and mousie grub.

Bluegill -- Richard Jones of Niagara Falls, .98 pound, Cuba Lake, with teardrop jig and mousie grub.

Northern Pike -- Mark Monnett, City of Tonawanda, 7.58 pounds, Silver Lake, with a sucker chub.

Crappie -- Stephen Bars of North Tonawanda, 1.1 pound, taken at Dann Lake with a minnow.

Ling -- Klaus Maurer, City of Tonawanda, 7.57 pounds, Simcoe Lake, with a teardrop and minnow.

Readers have been calling and writing to find the location of that pond where big panfish have been taken for entry in the contest. Todd Therian describes it as a small pond with limited public access. Some parking can be found on Dann Road in East Amherst. The pint-sized pond is between that road and Millersport Highway.

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