Fish forecasting finally fell into fall-like patterns this past week.
Feeder streams are seeing a good influx of trout and salmon, perch schooling has gotten tighter, bigger smallmouth bass have begun moving onto shallower rock shoals, and the walleye bite has been better during those changes of light hours for inland-lakes waters.
Early fall fishing patterns are all cut out and ready to be sewn for both perch and trout along the Erie shoreline.
Rainbow/steelhead trout began moving up Cattaraugus Creek more than a week ago. Waders well up stream to riffles running through Gowanda have had fun with steelies weighing up to 10 pounds for the past week. All kinds of flies and small spinners have had hard hits in pools and current shift sites from the mouth of the Catt up to Gowanda.
But the best bait has been a well placed spoon cast from the breakwall at the mouth of the creek. Casters have gone with Little Cleo's, Mainliners, and Super Vibrax spinners during evening hours earlier this season. Now, says Rick Miller at Miller's Bait and Tackle in Irving, all hours are good. "They had a few good fish at noon yesterday," Miller said Tuesday morning.
Any good spoon or spinner program might be good along the wall edges. Main trick to getting somewhere over the rainbows is to cast at an angle so the spoon or spinner moves with or against the current instead of just a crossing pattern.
Perch searchers have moved slightly closer to shore off the Catt. Most good schools show well west of Sturgeon Point, but the better depths have been somewhere closer to 60 than the 70-72 feet often cited for good catches off Point Breeze, Evangola State Park, and Foxes Point just east of the Catt mouth.
Bigger golden shiner minnows have been better for the larger ringbacks.
Smallmouth bass are making their moves into shallower water. Rock edges and ledges at Myers Reef, Evans-Angola Bar, and Eagle Bay have produced a few smallies in the 5-pound range. At the same time, drifters working small humps at 50-foot depths have done well with big shiners at all hours of the day from Buffalo Harbor to Sturgeon Point.
The lower Niagara River king salmon run has begun, but the bite has been slight the past few days. Drifters pickup mainly matures when they get a fish or two each morning.
Anglers willing to make the run to the Salmon River will see a much better reign of stream-running kings right now. Boaters drifting close to the mouth and casters up stream are putting hefty tackle to the test with chunky Chinooks moving up Salmon waters.
Trollers off Olcott Harbor run J-Plugs at higher speeds over 30- to 60-foot depths for a mix of kings and brown trout cruising to target entrance up Eighteen Mile Creek. Steelie runners still have to make the 12-13 mile run for the rainbows. Most good numbers come from depths of less than 50 feet for spoon runners.
Along shore, warm water in harbors and bays keeps warm-water species active. Bass and perch dominate Olcott Harbor and a few nice smallies have been taken under Burt Dam. Wes Walker at Slippery Sinker Bait and Tackle weighed in a 6-pound, 9-ounce bass a troller hooked with a J-Plug when trolling over 20 feet just off the harbor mouth.
Fish Odyssey contest goes to Sunday. Entrants can sign on each day before 7 a.m. For details go to fishodyssey.net.
The bass bite bests walleye numbers now. Both smallmouth and largemouth bass have shown along shoreline structures, including piers and boatlifts. The better bite comes on panfish pursuits. Larger bluegill hold at 18-20 feet along most of the center depths of the lake.
Lake trout trollers have been doing well along Belhurst Bar trolling silver spoons at 90-foot depths. Limit catches often come in early enough to work perch schools along 40- to 50-foot edges at the northeast shoreline.
Seneca perchers have been hopping over to Keuka Lake to the west and working drop-offs off Hammondsport.