Lake Erie Trout: Smaller feeders got big this past week, with good water levels showing in Eighteen Mile and Silver creeks.
Chautauqua and Canadaway creeks could still use a bit more water, says Bill Begier at Bill's Hooks in Dunkirk. Cattaraugus Creek has enough water and could use a dry spell to settle out, says Rick Miller at Miller Bait & Tackle in Irving. Muddied waters around the breakwater at Cattaraugus Creek slowed action there, but trout continue to enter and move up that creek.
Shore casters and boaters in Cattaraugus Creek fishing mouth waters above the breakwater should have in hand a Seneca Nation of Indians license along with a New York State license. Most of the creek from Irving up to Gowanda courses through Seneca lands.
New York State fishing licenses had to be renewed Oct. 1; Seneca licenses expire Dec. 31.
Bass: Few boaters are on the water, but bass hug shoreline structures on the New York State and Ontario side of Lake Erie.
New York State Outdoor Writers Association holds its fall conference at Dunkirk starting today and continuing until Sunday morning.
If winds and waves allow, look for a few extra boats drifting off Van Buren Point west of Dunkirk Harbor on Friday and possibly Saturday. Bass numbers have been good there at 20-foot depths around the point and over the rock shoals east of the point. A big minnow tipped on a jig (tube, twister or bucktail) adds to the hit parade, says Bill Culligan, unit leader at the Lake Erie Unit in Dunkirk.
Launch facilities at the mouth of Cattaraugus Creek remained open to access as of Wednesday, according to Miller. Side docks at the Hanover Ramp should remain in place until about Nov. 1.
Lower Niagara River
Salmon: King drifters struggle to get into fish in Devil's Hole, but salmon keep moving in and nice fish continue to hit. Shore casters have been doing as well and sometimes better than drifting boaters this past week, said Kim Quarantillo at Down River Bait & Tackle. Egg sacks, skein, spoons and Vibrax spinners work well from shore. Steelhead trout continue to put in an early showing, hitting along the same drifts and shoreline accesses as king salmon.
Weeds work wonders for anglers seeking big or smaller species on Chautauqua Lake.
Competitors in 50 boats measured and released a record number of entries -- 41 -- in the Professional Musky Tournament Trail held Saturday and Sunday. Saturday entrants logged 35, and a remarkable number -- six -- were officially entered in strong winds and waves Sunday.
Weed edges in the South Basin, around the cribs and Lakewood, has been good for smallmouth bass. Crayfish, chubs and 3-inch Git-Zit tube jigs are big for smallies. Most boaters anchor or run electric motors along 8-foot depths.
Perch fishing at Irwins Bay has been productive tight to outside weed edges. Either night minnows or crawlers connect.