Fall is here, but anglers still have one more weekend of fishing before license renewal arrives at midnight Sunday.
Inland and Great Lakes feeder streams got needed but excess water with recent cold rains -- both great. Rising, cooling waters draw steelhead trout into feeder streams; chilling air reduces aquatic insect hatches for inland stream fly casters.
Lake Ontario lake trout season ends Sunday night, but stream striders have until Oct. 15 to trek for trout. Inland lake panfish numbers increase around -- or at least closer to -- weed edges as daylight hours diminish and temperatures drop into the lower 60s.
Bass, walleye and muskies go on feeds while many warm-weather anglers get into hunting or ball sports in early fall. Whichever angle you have on angling, be sure to have a 2001-2002 fishing license in hand while fishing Monday morning.
Adult perch and bass samplings look good, from populations Lake Erie Unit officials collected recently from waters between Buffalo and Ripley. Don Einhouse, senior aquatic biologist, found 2-year-old, 9- to 10-inch fish most abundant among bass collected. Perch ages 3 and 5 dominate that species in area waters. Sample nets mainly key on younger walleyes in the 1-year-old size. Those numbers are scarce, Einhouse said.
Lake Ontario/Niagara River
Cut bait: If you've got it, use it. Most trollers have been moving closer to shore to connect with incoming salmon, and cut-bait rigs continue to work in shallower waters. A long line fixed with a deep-diving body bait (Bomber, Cordell or Hot 'N Tot) could scare up a straggler or two when trolling dropoffs close to shore.
Lower Niagara River salmon drifters now work muddied waters and find king salmon gradually building in numbers. Averages still fall below three fish a boat, but some outings can produce near-limit numbers.
Fish Odyssey results
The 2001: A Fish Odyssey logged heavy entries in all categories in both the Senior and Junior Division.
Grand Prize winnings, chosen by drawing of leading entries in the adult division, went to James Hagerman of Lewiston, who brought in the biggest walleye (12.63 pounds). First place in the Walleye Division then went to Donald Woodcock of Niagara Falls with a 12.11-pound entry.
Chet Swlinski Jr., of Ransomville took top place in the Salmon Division with a 33.25-pound king. Mark Bedient of Lockport got the biggest brown trout, a 15.83-pounder. Anne C. Schmid of Potomac, Md., took the top rainbow trout at 20.66 pounds. Dennis Eggert of Alden had the biggest bass, a 5.86-pound smallmouth. Tony Davies-Patrick of Bristol in the UK, weighed in a 41.23 carp to win that division.
Youths did well in the Junior Division: Salmon, Lindsay Yaeger, East Amherst, 26.70 pounds; Brown/Rainbow Trout, Joey Zientara, Lewiston, 15.38 pounds; Bass, Tyler Frost, St. Catharines, Ont., 5.50 pounds; Panfish, Tyler O'Callaghan, Niagara Falls; Sheepshead, David Millers, Orchard Park, 6.73; and Carp, Derek Friable, North Tonawanda, 23.74 pounds.
Fishing classes and schools
Oak Orchard Fly Shop offers two separate fly fishing schools Saturday and Sunday. For complete details, call 626-1323.
SAREP and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Erie County sponsor a SAREP Instruction Certification class held at Tifft Nature Preserve from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. To apply, call 652-5400 ext. 136.
Pleasant late summer weather and the Sept. 11 tragedy put a delay on George Besch's informative Fly Fishing Course held at Clarence Middle School. Clarence Community Education has rescheduled the course for Tuesday evenings beginning Oct. 2. Classes go from 7:30-9 p.m., with a $25 fee for all five sessions. To register, call CCE between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. (759-8331).