Stream anglers got a shot of rain, but not the drenching promised. Feeder streams from Barcelona to Braddock Bay saw enough water flow to at least draw trout to their mouths, if not upstream.
Lakeview angler Michael Martinez commented on the lack of rain this fall season. He writes: “Low water in the streams has produced an exceptional near-shore ‘surf’ casting bonanza at the mouths of some smaller streams, but what a peaceful way to enjoy line-rippin’ steelies.”
From panfish pursuits in lakes around the western Finger Lakes and along the Southern Tier to Great Lakes open waters, many fisheries are on full-tilt fire right now.
Following a weekend of 30-plus mph gusts, boaters out of Cattaraugus Creek in sizeable numbers headed out to deeper waters and many returned with a 50-fish or near limit of perch well before noon. Look for a detailed column focused on the Lake Erie fall perch run on the Sunday Outdoors Page.
Each week sees better trout numbers and increased sizes in Cattaraugus Creek waters and in most feeders each side of the Catt. Smaller streams have limited water depths for fall runners, but the trout still gather at and around creek mouths from Chautauqua Creek at Barcelona to Eighteen Mile Creek on the Hamburg/Evans town line.
The walkway on the Cattaraugus Creek break wall is a popular casting site. Many a bright orange or hot-pink red spoon connects there. Mornings have been good; evenings can be just as good if the winds cooperate.
Since the mid-spring rains an entire tree has been lodged just inside the wall that protects the mouth of the Catt. Casters have done best from the tree up to the tip of the wall, with casting sites above the tree producing fish species other than trout. Now, with the right wind and current flow, trout might hit anywhere along the wall where a caster can safely get to the water’s edge and flip a spoon, egg sack, spinner, skein, nightcrawler chunk, or anything that can get out to the edge where incoming rainbow/steelhead trout hug the creek bank on their way up to Gowanda and Springville.
Same goes for every access site up to the Springville Dam. Waders work pools either side of Route 5 and the Aldrich Street Bridge in Gowanda.
Out in open water, as many shoreline trollers as deep-water perch prospectors can be seen most days that allow for boat passage off Cattaraugus Creek. Trollers mainly go with minnow-type baits, but either a casting spoon or a flutter spoon behind a split shot or two can connect at times. For the minnow baits, the standard silver/black Rapala works well, but try those “clown” colors (often called “Wonder Bread” bodies) and the orange/gold pattern. Out deeper, perch schools remain deep, with a 65-foot depth reading showing good numbers directly off the Catt and Evangola State Park.
The Ferry Street access is now a mile walk, but worth it for trout and perch during the day and a walleye fishery well after dark. Lower river kings are mainly darkened and scarce, but the steelhead fishery has flourished for three weeks or more. Most shore casters work tight to shore to pick off structure-hugging steelies, but boaters can do well close to shore or at mid-river in Devils Hole waters. Shore casters have had successes on kings with chartreuse/green plastics; a white plastic does a bit better for attracting steelies.
Western New York waters of Lake Ontario have been so good that out-of-state anglers who usually work Salmon River waters have begun working feeders west of Rochester.
Low waters in all Ontario feeders has slowed but not stopped a good salmon and trout run. Oak Orchard Creek offers the most water depth and salmonid variety.
Waders have access from the Archery Club up to the riffles below Waterport Dam. Along with late-running salmon, a good mix of browns and steelies has shown for trout trekkers.
Perch have schooled well at the Oak as well as the harbors at Wilson and Olcott.