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Fishing Line

Winds blew away just about every open-water option in WNY, but stream waders and lower Niagara River boaters had some fun this past week.

>Lake Erie

The last word on perch: High winds blocked all but landing barges from getting over the 70-foot depths ringbacks still favor. Reduced daylight spans and mild chilling did nothing to move perch closer to shore.

After this latest round of breezes, the deep-water action should be good well off Foxes Point east of Cattaraugus Creek.

Better fishing, at least for safer footing, can be found along most feeder streams from Eighteen Mile Creek in Hamburg to Chautauqua Creek at Barcelona Harbor. Rainfall muddied most streams, but good numbers of rainbow/steelhead headed up stream two to three weeks ago, and trout still hang out above and below Gowanda and below the Scoby Dam spillway.

For walleye, check out Waverly Shoals morning and evenings. Better odds come from the Canadian side of Waverly most days.

>Niagara River

The salmon run has begun, but so have high waters and strong currents in the lower Niagara River.

Most kings hooked along lower river drifts are matures somewhere on either side of 20 pounds. This round of wind and rain has brought more strong currents than heavily stained waters that deter boaters.

Shore casters can move up the bank and reach incoming salmon, but drifters will have to wait out the strong currents before heading up into Devils Hole. Capt. Frank Campbell looks for more settled and clearing waters in time for weekend runs. "When we [he and clients] get in to fish they're the big ones -- few jacks [yearlings] so far this season." Campbell has done best on drifts with varying sizes of skein.

>Lake Ontario

Trout and salmon dominate Ontario fish talk, but nice schools of bigger smallmouth bass hold and feed around the Niagara Bar. Drifters have had fun on smallies up to six pounds. Best bait has been larger golden shiners.

Pier casters and shoreline trollers have mixed responses from incoming salmon at Wilson, Olcott, and Oak Orchard. When the kings are moving, a J-Plug trolled at 4 mph or more can be deadly. Capt. Vince Perlioni had one set of clients working five kings at one pass. On other mornings, trolling time might be taken up with watching the sun rise over the power plant.

>Chautauqua Lake

Wait out the winds, watch water surfaces for algae bloom and move around weed edges at mid-lake. Walleye have been active during those morning and evening change-of-light periods. Trollers run minnow-type baits at 15- to 20-foot depths.
Perch seekers find good numbers and fair sizes along those same mid-lake edges. Either side of Tom's Point and Long Point have had nice ringback runs when weather allows access.

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>License considerations

Today is the last day for current fishing and other sporting licenses in New York. The typical caution to weekend anglers this time of year is a reminder to renew that license before heading out to fish.

This year, license-buying options call for some serious deliberations. At the close of license sales today, anglers, hunters, and other sporting folk required to obtain a renewed license will no longer have the option to purchase a lifetime license at former fee levels.

Seniors ages 65-70 have the most serious considerations in lifetime license purchase costs. The Department of Environmental Conservation raised the status of seniors from 65 to 70 years of age for all license holders hereafter.

Today, those seniors, and all other sportsmen and women interested in obtaining a lifetime license have to decide before the day's end. Seniors in the 65-70 age slot pay $75 now. Tomorrow, that fee will be more than the $600 previously paid by younger folk.

Decisions, decisions, decisions.

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>Post those fish photos

Anglers with good shots of great catches can have their trophy photos displayed on the Fishing Page of the News' Web site (buffalonews.com/fishing). To get your photo published, e-mail it along with a brief description of the catch, including the name and home (city, town or village) of the angler, the location of the catch and how the fish was caught to the email address listed below.

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>Short casts

* Anglers Choice Team Bass Fishing Trail competition, Dunkirk Harbor, Sunday. For format and entry information, go to: www.anglerschoice.com.

* The annual Fall Stag Party will be held at the Tonawanda Sportsmen's Club, Killian Road in Pendleton, on Saturday at noon. Call Steve Carnduff at 481-3419.

e-mail: willodrs@gmail.com

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