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Will Elliott’s Fishing line

Chill weather has not slowed the in-shore movement of bass, movement usually seen later in the spring. Bass, smallmouths in particular, are showing up near feeder-stream mouths with trout, suckers and other pre-spawners or egg eaters headed to spawning sites.

Inland, a present but not exceptional largemouth bite has been seen along shoreline shallows where the smaller sunfish species begin showing for pre-spawn procedures.

Stocked trout streams and ponds provide ideal fishing for anglers dressed well for weather conditions. Great Lakes trout runs get better as this gradual spring warming continues. Open-water trout and salmon activity picks up each time boaters can get out and set lines.

Lake Erie boaters find nice pockets of perch whenever breezes allow for a perch outing. The shallow-water panfish run shows improvement, with prospects for a prolonged shoreline run of sunfishes well into the weed-growth stages this spring. Look for a continued discussion of panfishing with live baits on the Sunday Outdoors page.

Lake Erie

Feeder streams still hold trout, but temperatures above 42 degrees have drawn a mix of smallmouths, suckers and a slow start to a catfish run in the larger creeks. Cattaraugus Creek has seen alternating bites – trout at times, warm-water species at other times. Bait (minnows and nightcrawlers) have been more alluring than artificials of late.

Boaters have had few opportunities to make perch runs last week. Schools show in pockets rather than scattered over the depths between Sturgeon Point and Cattaraugus Creek. Last perch word was “shallower,” which means at least 30 but less than 50 feet during the spring season.

Niagara River

Smelt dippers keep working the Artpark shallows but the only catch reports come from bellies of filleted trout. Smelt schools show on the sonar screen in the lower river and around the Niagara Bar, but so far this spring those schools remain over the rainbow trout and away from shoreline dip nets.

Rainbow/steelhead trout slightly dominate lake trout in catch numbers, notes Capt. Frank Campbell. Catches vary and waters have cooled in the last week, but the steelie run is solid.

Campbell also noted the shoreline bite has shifted to artificials, with a jig under a bobber getting the most attention.

Capt. Chris Cinelli has seen good numbers of steelies, but the program changes. “Last week it was all minnows; this week it’s mainly egg sacks,” Cinelli said after a successful Tuesday morning run.

Lake Ontario

Trout and salmon continue their run to shoreline shallows and up feeder streams despite that temperature drop in the last week. Wes Walker at Slipper Sinker Bait & Tackle in Olcott has reports of silver steelies showing below Burt Dam. Similar sightings have been made along feeder streams either side of Olcott.

“Pre-spawn fish mainly go for a small jig and a grub (wax worm, spike or mousy grub). Spawned-out trout prefer an egg sack,” Walker suggests.

Boaters are seeing good numbers and mixed catches. The Niagara Bar is loaded with bait. Lake trout show in fair numbers, and then the bite turns off. Bigger problem for bar drifters is getting good wind direction and lower speeds to make the right drifts.

Farther east, the laker bite can be found along much of the shore, but a brown trout run takes over closer to Olcott and Oak Orchard. Trolling speeds have not altered with the temperature drop. Trout that have moved into shoreline shallows are aggressive enough to chase a speeding stickbait.

Coho salmon have begun showing among schools of browns. Boaters cannot expect to see a solid run of these feisty fighters, but trollers running smaller baits have pulled a coho or two.

Perch schools perk up and disappear, depending on runs of trout and pike. Irondequoit Bay saw the best numbers but sizes vary depending on the day.

Trout stockings

Randolph Hatchery this week has stocked trout at sites around Western New York in time for fishing this weekend. All brook and brown trout stocks are yearlings unless noted as 2-year-olds.

Allegany County: Caneadea Creek (Rushford), 1,120 brown trout; Caneadea Creek (Almond, Alfred), 1,080 brown trout; Belmont Rod & Gun Club Pond (West Almond) 1,590 brook trout; Vandermark Creek (Scio, Ward) 1,310 brown trout; Chenunda Creek (Willing) 260 brown trout; and Genesee River (Wellsville) 1,290 brown trout.

Cattaraugus County: Ischua Creek (Franklinville) 2,870 brown trout, 1,500 2-year-old brown trout and 2,650 brook trout; Franklinville Retention Pond (Franklinville) 320 brook trout; Lake Flavia (Dayton) 1,590 brook trout; Perrysburg Conservation Club Pond (Dayton) 80 brook trout; Maples Club Pond (Otto) 240 brook trout; Crandall Pond (Ashford) 240 brook trout; Quaker Lake (Elko) 3,620 brown trout; and New Albion Lake (New Albion) 2,230 brook trout.

Wyoming County: Perry Park Pond (Perry) 80 brook trout; and Letchworth Park Pond (Genesee Falls) 240 brook trout.