Deer hunters are out with their bows and boaters have some nice, near-shore prospects, but stream anglers now have more options than time to get to all the hot spots.
Lake Ontario offers more stream openings than Lake Erie feeders. The Western Finger Lakes can be fun in places where there is access.
Cooler weather has triggered good trout and salmon movement, but a number of anglers focusing mainly on bass or perch have had good outings.
Bundle up and gear up for rain; many fisheries are on fire right now.
> Lake Erie
Sunday was the last day perch prospectors could get on deeper waters, but the bite remains just right.
Several boaters out of Cattaraugus Creek came in with the 50-fish limit Sunday, said Rick Miller of Miller's Bait & Tackle in Irving. Boaters out of Sturgeon Point also can reach good perch grounds west of the point.
Reports vary. Boaters working closer to shore swear by the 45-foot depths off Point Breeze and just east of Foxes Point. Others like the 61-foot flats directly off Foxes. Yet another pack of anchored anglers hold tightly over the 71-foot depths between Point Breeze and Evangola State Park.
Running and gunning the sonar out of points from Pinehurst to Dunkirk Harbor might produce a good screen of bottom-holding ringbacks. More depends on favorable winds and waves than perch presence right now.
In all settings, the emerald shiner minnow is a must. Since the bait-transport regulations were eased earlier this year, perch anglers have done better, and the word is out.
Access at Sturgeon Point will be available as long as good weather holds, according to Pat Conrad, the launch facility manager.
Access along Cattaraugus Creek is available. The state launch remains open, but the side docks were removed after the Columbus Day weekend. The Town of Hanover launch ramp still has docks in place and the launch is open, but that could change. For now, Hanover is a go.
Feeder streams continue to draw fish. Anglers, look for more movement. Cattaraugus Creek has shown a spurt in steelie numbers. Fish hit all the way past Gowanda, but casters are working harder to catch fish right now.
Casters working along the breakwater at the mouth of the Catt have seen a few more fish, but, Miller said, the fishing is not what it has been in past years.
> Niagara River
Lower river salmon action is better for shore-casters than drifting boaters. Drifters hook into the odd king and a mix of steelies and lake trout; shore anglers have a better shot at king salmon.
Best access of late has been the Power Vista platform at and below Devil's Hole. Continued above-average water temperatures have kept bass schooling in the river and along the Niagara Bar at the mouth of the river. Earlier, crayfish were key; now, bass minnows are a must.
> Lake Ontario
Anglers interested in catching a fish from shore or over a gunwale can have some fun on Lake Ontario this fall.
Stream levels rose with just enough rainfall for big and small feeder streams. Catches abound at Burt Dam in Eighteen Mile Creek and below Waterport Dam in Oak Orchard Creek.
Timing arrivals at Burt and Waterport are as important as lure offerings. In all Ontario feeders, eggs or egg imitations lead the list of lures. For flies, a basic black or black tied with either green or pink will draw strikes from salmon and a nice mix of browns and steelies.
Boaters trolling close to shore with minnow-type baits will have success nearly any hour of the day; pier-casters connect mainly at change-of-light hours during sunrise and sunset, but warmly dressed night-casters do well on many evening outings.
Warm water species have been seen in spurts. Perch numbers depend on big-fish presence at Wilson, Olcott and Oak Orchard. In all three harbors, shore anglers report an exceptional number of nice-sized northern pike working around schools of panfish.
> Purist Salmon Tourney
Some purist anglers key on precise tackle items, but one organization places a focus on purifying stream areas.
More than 50 anglers collected a ton of trash last year during the Lake Ontario Tributaries Council's first "Catch and Clean Tournament" on the Salmon River.
This year's tournament, again headquartered at Fox Hollow Lodge in Altmar, requires that contestants gather litter as well as lunkers for prizes.
The tourney is Nov. 5. For details, go to www.lotac.org.