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Fishing Line /

Trout opener

Rainfall on Friday may raise stream levels for the inland trout opener Saturday. Stream levels have been "perfect" for stocking trout out of the DEC Randolph and Caledonia Hatcheries, according the Rich Borner, assistant hatchery manager at Randolph.

Borner, his staff and volunteers, finished two days of stocking the Genesee River system and headed west to Chautauqua County sites Wednesday. All sites will be stocked in time for the opener. For a rundown of all sites and fish stocked from March 13 to today, call 358-4950.

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Lake Erie

Boaters make initial searches for perches earlier this week. Docks are not in place at Sturgeon Point Marina, said Dave Watts at Dave's Bait & Tackle in Derby.

Rick Miller talked with some perch boaters who got out Tuesday. Surface temperatures hold at about 35 degrees and the few fish caught bottomed out at 50-foot depths. "The best I'd heard was seven fish on Tuesday," Miller said.

Trout remain the big draw at Cattaraugus Creek. Shore casters have not seen good numbers from the breakwater at the mouth, but stream waters from the Route 5 and 20 bridge up to Springville hold at ideal levels and produce resident and incoming rainbow/steelhead trout.

Waters had dropped and cleared in all Lake Erie feeder streams; light gear -- fly, spinning or casting -- and smaller flies and baits have done best as temperatures rise.

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Lake Ont. / Lower Niagara River

Lower river drifts steadily produce steelies, says Ron Hutcheson at A-1 Bait & Tackle in Lewiston. "They're getting a few lakers and some browns on the (Niagara) Bar, but the salmon run has not started on the lake," he said.

Warming waters perked perch schools in the lower river, with some nice catches in eddy waters around Lewiston and even better in harbors at Wilson, Olcott and Oak Orchard Creek, he noted.

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Asking access

Access to all streams in New York State and Seneca Nation of Indians is either public or private property. Anglers, like hunters, must know the land and water on which they pursue their sport. Determine if a fishing site is a DEC PFR (public fishing rights) access area or lands held by a private owner.

A court decision on Salmon River fishing and trespass access a few years ago determined that land owners not only own stream banks, but they also own the land under waters that can be both waded and navigated, unless that water body is a designated navigation area.

Respect posted signs along creek, stream and riverbeds. Find and politely ask landowners for permission to fish areas that are not clearly marked as public-access fishing sites.

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Time check

Inland trout season opens at midnight Saturday morning. A check with Environmental Conservation Officer Michael Phelps at Region 9 headquarters in Buffalo confirmed that during the closed season (Oct. 1 - March 31), trout anglers in Great Lakes tributaries can fish from a half hour before sunrise to a half hour after sunset daily. Once the inland trout season begins, anglers can fish trout streams all hours of the day or night.

e-mail: wille@pce.net

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