Anglers may find a new route to comfort this Columbus Day weekend, as Indian summer heat keeps waders in warmth as they fish the last weekend of inland trout stream season. Trout streamers have until Wednesday to fling those flies.
Great Lakes feeder stream trout, despite warm days, have had ample runoff water to draw these fish to upstream pools.
Perch continue to offer the best big-catch numbers on many area lakes. Oneida, Simcoe, Chautauqua and many Finger Lakes now provide a good, midfall run on ringbacks.
Cattaraugus Creek has been reliable for rainbows during all but short periods of high, muddy water. Both Canadaway and Chautauqua creeks began drawing good 'bows well upstream after the last rain and runoff.
Boaters have trouble finding perch, when the waters settle down enough to get on the water. Shoreline trout runs come and go fast. Warm temperatures may draw another shoreline run at Cattaraugus similar to the one that showed two weeks ago. If so, get ready for trout action near shore and along the breakwaters.
Bass have just started moving onto shoreline structures in 62-degree waters, but the solid schooling should start once the temperatures drop below 60 degrees, says guide Terry Jones.
Upper river bass activity is greater than musky movement. Jig casters do well along drifts in the upper and lower river. The better musky activity is at the head of the river where, guide Tom Slomka says, "The bite is on."
Slomka caught 20 muskies in six trips this past week, the largest went 41 pounds and measured 51 1/4 inches with a 27-inch girth. The fish, caught Saturday afternoon with an 8-inch sucker-fin-ished DepthRaider by Rob Edwards of Cleveland, could not be revived and will become a wall mount.
The salmon run has peaked and clear waters have made things more difficult for taking big kings at Devils' Hole. Experts hope for another run of fresh kings from the lake.
Boaters still troll the open water, when wave action allows, for steelies and Chinook salmon. This past week's turnovers and warm weather have moved trout and salmon down to 90-foot depths and near the surface just before they enter feeder streams. Trollers go with rigs (mainly spoons) set at various depths to find salmonids' comfort zones.
Shoreline boaters have found solid bass numbers along rocky dropoffs anywhere east of the Niagara River mouth to Oak Orchard. Few monsters can be found, but most fish weight somewhere between 2 1/2 and 3 1/2 pounds.
Chautauqua -- Walleyes can be puzzling but perch are plentiful. Big minnows account for most fish measuring above 10 inches.
Onondaga -- It's a long way to drive for bass fishing, but Nick Honchar of Orchard Park, a member of Bucketmouth BassMasters in Syracuse, entered and won the Onondaga Tourney with a five-fish limit of bass weighing 15 1/4 pounds. Honchar worked pumpkinseed tub jigs along dropoffs in the Seneca River section of the lake. "The pollution scare keeps fishing pressure low on this lake and it produces some big bass, especially along the river structures," he said.
Honeoye -- The locals aren't talking about walleye, but bait dealers have been selling loads of nightcrawlers this past week. Talk has been mainly about the big bluegills, which hold in 22- to 26- foot depths at midlake and go for spikes, waxworms and even small sections of 'crawlers.
Oneida -- It's a long way to drive for perch fishing, but big perch, hardly any walleye, have moved onto eastern shore bottoms ranging from 10 to 27 feet. Minnows do it all.
Simcoe -- The perch run at Pifferlaw began last Saturday, with boats lining the shoreline at 20- to 30-foot depths and most boaters taking a 50-fish limit with minnows. It's near-shore fishing, but trailer the biggest boat possible. Winds can quickly stir storms at Simcoe.
Southern Tier streams got too much rain and Finger Lakes waters were even higher early in the week, but fly casters look for good stream conditions for the final weekend of inland trout stream fishing. Small midges (size 18), Caddis flies (size 16) and blue- winged olives (size 20) all should do well on streams, says Mark Conway at the Orvis Shop.