Small feeder streams along both Great Lakes remain a turkey, with little gravy in the way of water levels and flow.
A few smaller streams saw a spurt of runoff last week, but light, misty rainfall, and some snow-melt runoff, has helped lift Johnson's Creek on Lake Ontario and both Chautauqua and Canadaway creeks on Lake Erie. But in general, stream levels remain low and water clarity high for this Thanksgiving weekend.
Promised Erie Canal let-down waters have yet to show in Lake Ontario streams. A Nov. 15 drop date did not occur. Sharon Narburgh, working at Narby's Superette and Tackle Shop for decades, said, "This is the lowest I've ever seen the [Oak Orchard] creek."
Clear waters call for stalking-like approaches to pools, light lines, and ultra small lure and fly presentations in all feeder streams.
Oak Orchard Creek draws a fair number of brown trout, but the catching can be challenging. Perch provide a better fishery than trout right now in Oak Orchard. Best schooling has shown at the mouth along breakwaters and around the twin bridges at Kent.
Nearby Johnson's Creek had enough water to draw trout, but most other feeders east and west of Oak Orchard remain impassible for incoming trout.
Eighteen Mile Creek continues to offer good options from the piers at the mouth up to just below Burt Dam. King salmon have left the waterway, but brown trout and steelies continue to increase in numbers. Coho salmon sometimes surprise trout casters who are using lighter trout gear.
Along the Lake Erie shoreline, anglers might work off some Thanksgiving dinner calories with a walk up or down Cattaraugus Creek's banks and breakwater walkway.
Smaller Lake Erie feeders have about the same water levels as last week, despite some rain. "It just seems to soak into the ground as soon as it falls," Dave Watts said of recent rain along the Erie shoreline near his bait and tackle shop in Derby.
Silver Creek, Chautauqua Creek and Canadaway Creek all have water, but passage to good fishing depends on open, undisturbed waters and cautious approaches to even the deepest of pools along the way.
Steelhead trout steal the show throughout the lower Niagara River.
Either an egg sack or yarn-ball fly can stick steelies from Devil's Hole down current to Fort Niagara. The occasional lake trout shows up in the mix, but steelies hit well along drifts at Artpark-at-the-Church, Stella Niagara and just above the fort along the New York shoreline.
Water temperatures had dropped into the high 40s, normal for this time of the season, and salmonids rather than bass now dominate the lower river fishery.
>Western Finger Lakes
Panfish prospects prevail on smaller Finger Lakes west of Seneca Lake. Schools of perch, bluegill, and assorted other small-game fish have moved deeper in cooling waters. Silver Lake shoreline temperatures, in the low 40s, have 'gills on the run. Same goes for shoreline drop-offs at Conesus and Honeoye lakes.
Small baits, light lines and short moves over deeper drops, often down to 30 feet, could up the take on a Finger Lake this holiday weekend.