Cold-water species get the nod -- and shivers -- this holiday week.
An early panfish run, including some nice starts for the bullhead bite, has slowed to a walk. But trout anglers along Great Lakes feeders and inland streams see continued activity for both stocked and wild trout movement.
Here is a listing of fish -- by county, location, numbers, and species -- that have been placed in water bodies in time for weekend fishing (all species are yearling stock unless otherwise noted):
Allegany County: Rushford Lake (Caneadea), 3,800 rainbow trout.
Cattaraugus County: Quaker Run (Cold Spring), 170; Red House Brook (trib 17), 590 brown trout; Science Lake (Red House), 420 brown trout; and Red House Brook, 760 brown trout, and 1,030 brook trout.
Wyoming County: Cattaraugus Creek (Java), 1,100 brown trout, and 400 2-year-old brown trout; and East Koy Creek (Gainesville), 2,880 brown trout, and 550 2-year-old brown trout.
This could be a good Friday for smelt dipping in the lower Niagara River. By Tuesday afternoon the entire Lake Erie open-water area was ice free, the upper river was jammed with ice and the lower river saw floes jamming shorelines down wind.
But area observers look for ice masses -- those huge clumps that spook rainbow smelt from shore edges -- to be out into Lake Ontario later this week.
All reports were promising for a good smelt run this year. Angler catches earlier and pre-Ice Boom forays had nice numbers and sizes showing close to shore at Lewiston Landing and Artpark.
Ron Hutcheson at A1 Bait & Tackle said, "I saw big schools (of smelt) moving close to shore just before the Boom ice and got a good quarter bucket." That dip trip was a week ago and most experts look for the flow of Boom floes to go for on about a week.
>Bay and pond prospects
It would only take a degree or two of warming to rekindle that panfish start seen along Lake Ontario shoreline bays and ponds. Braddock Bay saw a good perch spurt. Irondequoit and Sodus Bay both offered a nice start along deeper sides of drop-off edges at depths of 15 feet at Sodus and 25 feet at Irondequoit.
>Lake Erie perch prospects
A few boaters headed out of Cattaraugus Creek before the latest confrontation of cold. Only one boat had a catch report -- one perch. Schooling under ice closer to Buffalo resulted in many nice catches on ice.
Ice anglers out of Sturgeon Point hit into perch as far west as they could run this past season; however, no good reports have come in from waters west of Point Breeze.
For now, accesses are getting set for the season. Rick Miller saw work started at the Hanover Ramp. No other ramp projects were begun.
The better bite bet could be all feeder streams along Erie and Ontario. Cold waters keep trout up feeder streams. Waders able to endure cold winds have as good a run of browns as rainbow/steelhead trout at both Oak Orchard and Eighteen Mile Creek.
Lower Niagara River charter boaters have been hitting into good numbers of browns, and stream waders from the mouth of the river to the Genesee River often see more spotted than steelie strikers on their outings.
Cattaraugus Creek water levels have been up as high as four feet above normal, according to Alan Wojda at Hidden Harbor Marina at the lower end of the creek.
But stream flow has dropped the big creek to better fishing-worthy levels. Outing could be good this weekend for both the Catt and smaller feeders between Buffalo and Barcelona.
At Eighteen Mile Creek, work crews are busy at the Route 5 Bridge, which often sends muddied water down to the mouth. But Dave Watts at Dave's Bait & Tackle in Derby gets good reports of trout hitting close to the creek mouth.
Flow fluctuations see similar fish movement at feeders west of Eighteen Mile right now.
For bait, Watts has good reports of a small jig tipped with either a minnow or waxworm. For minnows, he has done some salted emeralds in food coloring and his customers have done well and often better on the dyed minnows. Best color preference? Green.