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FISHING LINE

Lake Erie

Trout: Lake Erie feeder stream trout trekkers are thankful that deer season opened on Monday, taking some pressure off fishing in creeks and streams from Buffalo to northeast Ohio this holiday weekend.

Streams, big and small, got just enough rain and runoff last week to keep rainbow trout running upstream. A slight stain was all it took for Cattaraugus Creek to draw trout into its mouth and up open stretches of the creek.

Angler numbers are down slightly, but waders keep showing in good numbers all along the Cat, according to Rick Miller at Millers Bait & Tackle in Irving. "There must be less guys out deer hunting, because they've been lining the creek on both days of the deer opener," Miller said late Tuesday morning.

Lure offerings vary from spinners and spoons -- Vibrax Spinners get much mention -- to live or meat-type bait, especially sacks and skein. When waters become clear, smaller sacks get more attention.

Perch: Promised snowfall and high-winds predictions may end open-water perch patrolling, but a few boaters got out this past week. Numbers and sizes were down, but catches averaged six to 18 fish per outing off Sturgeon Point and Cattaraugus Creek. Schools held deep throughout the fall. The last depth mentioned often had been 53 feet -- possibly a good starting point for ice choppers if Erie freezes over this winter.

Niagara River/Lake Ontario

Muskellunge: Musky diehards keep trolling the upper river, head of the river, Buffalo Harbor and out onto open-waters off the harbor for last season runs of feeding fish.

The Legend, a long, minnow-type lure, gets most mention among trollers of late. Late day and evening hours have proved most productive among hardy hangers on, fishing in dank weather for that last hard hit.

Musky season ends in Lake Erie, the upper Niagara River and their New York State tributaries on Tuesday. Lower river and Lake Ontario waters go to Dec. 15 for musky fishing.

Trout: Lower Niagara River drifts have settled into a steelhead and brown trout hunt, with some nice catches during morning run up to Devil's Hole and along lower drifts.

Fort Niagara, Jackson along the Canadian shoreline and Artpark drifts all show at times each morning. Artpark gets the most boat and shore-casting traffic each day. Egg sacks and skein have been the mainstay baits, along with yarn balls and flies. Some drifters have gone with single eggs when clarity improves.

Shore casters can reach trout at Artpark. Sacks, spinners, spoons and jigs all work well on cast-and-drift presentations along the bank.

Olcott Harbor pier casters, when north winds subside, can connect with incoming steelies. Waders upstream in Eighteen Mile Creek send out egg offerings and an occasional jig to hook up with steelies and a few nice coho salmon. These salmon average 7-10 pounds now, said Wes Walker at Slipper Sinker Bait & Tackle in Olcott.

Oak Orchard Creek activity slowed, but smaller feeders nearby have seen good steelie action. Johnson's Creek and Marsh Creek both see fresh runs of silver-sided steelies. Eggs get the most mention at Narbie's Superette in Kent.

Oneida Lake

Walleye: The 'eyes have it at and after sunset along much of the west shoreline of Oneida, reports Capt. Tony Buffa. He has been taking clients out for evening casting runs to shoals and shoreline structures just before dark. Some outings have ended with a 3-fish limit by 7 p.m..
e-mail: wille@pce.net

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