Following the Labor Day weekend and student ranks headed back to school, local fishing folk keep seeing the same curriculum as summer schooling.
Trout and salmon schools move closer to shore, but the bass, walleye, and panfish bite holds in midsummer patterns.
Erie's family of fish species is moving up. Walleye, bass, and trout show in shallower waters. Perch persist in holding deeper.
Walleye trollers found fair numbers slightly west of Cattaraugus Creek, with the main school still holding well west of Dunkirk Harbor. Closer to Buffalo, some nice numbers of 'eyes bit well along the outer rim of Myers Reef during the nice days of Labor Day Weekend.
Black and purple or watermelon blades on worm harnesses got the main mention for Myers Reef runners. A 5-inch Renosky drew the most nods for outings over deeper water west of the Catt.
Bass offer the best bite at the most sites in open-water areas and around the breakwaters and channels in the Buffalo Harbor area. Crayfish and larger bass chubs (golden shiners) have been best for live-bait bites, says Dave Watts at Dave's Bait & Tackle in Derby. Word along the shore is that minnow supplies will be better before the weekend.
During the past weekend, minnows (golden shiners and salted emerald shiners) did well on perch in deeper water off many ports. Sturgeon Point boaters have made the run west, stopping first at Point Breeze before hitting the Evangola State Park and Cattaraugus Creek hot holes.
Things heat up best at 70-foot depths off Point Breeze to Dunkirk Harbor. On relatively calm mornings, ringback runners set up with bottom rigs and drift over areas that showed perch presence on the sonar screen. No specific spot remains hot from day to day. Bait schools, often well off bottom, attract perch to not only leave bottom but leave locations. Once pinpointed, an anchor with a long rope might do. But movement seems to be a better tactic than waiting them out at spots where they were hot and might return.
Despite the warm days and nights, reduced periods of daylight have drawn rainbow trout to the mouth of Eighteen Mile Creek and Cattaraugus Creek. Waders have taken a few fish at Eighteen Mile. Shore casters walking the breakwater wall at Cattaraugus Creek have done better on incoming rainbow/steelies. Red or orange casting spoons worked tight to the shoreline rocks do best.
Lake Ontario Derby results have most of the leaders in the rainbow trout and brown trout taken from western (Niagara and Orleans County) ports. A detailed report on leading catches will appear on the Sunday Outdoors Page.
Trollers began derby competition over 450-foot depths on Aug. 21 and continued that deep-water run until the Labor Day awards ceremony. Good numbers and sizes began showing at 200-foot depths from Irondequoit Bay to the Niagara Bar, but a Saturday night turnover pushed cold water tight to shore.
Salmon seekers often come in as close as 30 feet for kings making their shoreward run. "Some Chinook taken from 100 feet show signs of rubbing the bottom with their bellies," said Wes Walker at Slipper Sinker Bait & Tackle in Olcott Harbor.
Disturbed water-temperature levels have moved trout and salmon species around. Steelie runners still head out to deeper water, but cold shoreline waters have kings close enough to reach from piers at Wilson, Olcott on Oak Orchard.
The chilly turnover water also pushed perch schools into the harbor at Olcott and Wilson. Wilson also offers a variety of 'gills and some crappies.
Frank Malone at Mack's Boat Livery sold out of all live baits early on Labor Day Weekend and should have a good supply in by Friday.
The perch and walleye has been good, bass have been the best bite (for numbers rather than sizes) and northern pike have been the surprise best bite of the late summer, according to Leaha Malone at Mack's.
Good pike numbers and sizes began showing around weed patches and openings at the north and south ends of Silver. Casting spinners, spoons, and body baits can be good, but a big shiner or sucker under a bobber has been the way to spike pike.
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