> Lake Erie
"Walleye work best. Perch are spotty," say bait dealers from Buffalo to Barcelona.
'Eye schools that normally head back to Ohio waters in early September hold solidly around massive bait schools near bottom west of Cattaraugus Creek and east of Dunkirk Harbor.
Most good schools of fish and bait show close to bottom eight miles from shore. A few boaters found walleye in patches closer to shore west of the creek.
Worm harnesses top all lure choices, but spoons and body baits also get hit. So many of those smaller '03 class walleye move with the bigger fish that it would be good to check each trolling line every 10-15 minutes. These teen-sized, one-pound 'eyes rarely set off a down-rig or Dipsy Diver release, and few move a lead core line far enough to show a hit on a rod tip.
A few good perch catches came from 45-foot depths off Cattaraugus Creek earlier this week.
Rainbow/steelhead trout, despite 80-degree days, have begun moving into feeder streams, showing mainly in the lower stretches of Cattaraugus Creek. "They (creek waders) are starting to get smaller (under five pounds) trout in the lower sections of Cattaraugus Creek on just about everything -- spinners, egg sacks, and spoons," said Rick Miller at Irving.
Load up on crayfish -- at least 3-4 dozen -- for the best bass action in 25-foot depths around all the popular reefs, such as Myers, Seneca Shoals, Point Breeze, Eagle Bay, Van Buren Point and Brockton Shoals.
> Lake Ontario/Lower Niagara
Lower Niagara River remains a warm-water fishery from Devils Hole down to Fort Niagara.
Walleye drifters hooked into nice-sized perch along eddies at Lewiston and often anchor over ringbacks in surprising numbers, said Kim Quarantillo at Down River Bait & Tackle.
Trollers have seen a few good fish off the Niagara Bar, but major boat concentration holds off Wilson eastward to Point Breeze. A few salmon have moved into harbor areas near piers, but boaters still see more action over depths of 50-100 feet and over the edges to deeper drop-offs.
Roberta Redick, 33, of New Castle, Pa., fishing with her husband, Harold Jr., caught a birthday surprise Aug. 28. Her 32-pound, 9-ounce salmon, caught off the Salmon River, gave her the $20,000 first prize in the Lake Ontario Derbies.
Buffalo angler Gary Plaza trolled 60 feet down over 70-foot depths off Olcott Harbor to take the Salmon Division with a 31.5-pound king.
Trolling conditions look similar for entrants in the Greater Niagara 2005 Fish Odyssey for salmon anglers competing Sept. 17-25. Divisions will be open for both adults and youths going for salmon, trout, walleye, bass, carp and panfish caught in Erie, Niagara and Orleans counties. For details, go to: www.fishodyssey.net.