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Fishing Line by Will Elliott (May 17)

This past weekend’s high winds and waves plus low temperatures and some Ides of May snowfall kept boaters off all but smaller inland lakes with wind protection along west shorelines.

We had another confirmation of that old saw “fishing is least in a wind from the east.” Toss in winds from the north when monitoring the hit and catch rate when winds change.

Prospects looked good when longtime fishing partner Bob Hauser and I took our new PolarKraft on its maiden fishing voyage last Wednesday afternoon at Honeoye Lake. Boaters coming off the water had all kinds of successes with both bass and panfish.

We locked into similar results right at the start, with a couple nice crappie and a good assortment of bull bluegill and sizeable sunfish showing in scattered numbers at hotspots around the lake.

But somewhere just before suppertime the light westerly winds shifted to an easterly northeast breeze that shut things down for an hour or so. Two hours later we resumed the run-and-gun shots at these scattered but good-sized fish.

Granted, fish will bite and some can be caught, but the rate is not that great when winds shift and come in from the north or east.

Lake Erie

Perch and walleye should be the going fishery, but smallmouth bass offer a better promise for a more promising turn on this coming week. With lake waters moving above the smallie’s 55-degree spawning temperature core, the bass bite at 15- to 25-foot depths could be good.

Walleye numbers are up and that fishery, day and night side, could be good.

After a winter allowing boat access and early spring reports of great perch catches, perch numbers have tumbled on days when wind, waves and extreme cold fronts are not in the way.

Hope is that yellow perch are spawning and a good yardstick is that most other panfish (white perch, white bass, sheepshead, etc.) counts are down as well as perch for more than a week.

Perch tourney

Southtowns Walleye Association holds its 2016 Annual Perch Tournament on Lake Erie waters from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

The tourney requires a membership in SWA, which can be made with an entry. Prizes are based on a five-fish entry by weight, with an eight-inch minimum length requirement.

The weigh-ins and award presentations are followed with a perch fish fry. For more details, call the club office at 649-8202.

Family outing

Bison City Rod & Gun Club at 511 Ohio St. will be the setting Sunday for the 12th Annual Jimmy Griffin Teach Me to Fish gathering from 2 to 5 p.m.

Kids ages 15 and younger can learn about fishing with a variety of activities and free handouts during this event. For more details on this event, call 597-4081.

Niagara River

Continued access closings are the main reports for river anglers.

Upper river anglers have to wait or continue taking the long walk to fish or dip bait at the Ferry Street access, where repairs were targeted for completion May 1. Word has it that the opening might be June 1.

At Whirlpool State Park on the lower river, the gorge stairs anglers use for access remain closed while repairs continues on the 200 feet of trail stairs. For details on progress at this site, call 284-5778.

Reports tell of a robust white bass bite on the lower river early this week.

Lake Ontario

Temperatures have kept king salmon and trout out deeper under surface waters holding at about 50 degrees. Kings show better at 120- to 170-foot depths closer to bottom, with a fair run of brown trout and coho salmon in the 3-to 5-pound class up closer to the surface.

The 32nd Annual Skip Hartman Memorial Lake Ontario Pro-Am Salmon Team Tournament is on from Friday to Sunday out of ports at Wilson and Olcott. The tourney goes to a three-day, one-weekend format with a change in the Amateur Divison.

This year, amateur boats must all be amateur anglers; no licensed charter captains or guides can sign on in an Amateur Division boat entry. For details, call (877) Falls US or visit

Chautauqua Lake

Bigger perch are the biggest draw for boaters either side of the Route 86 bridge. Depths vary for schools of sizeable ringbacks, but most catches are at less than 10 feet.

The walleye bite has been slow, with an odd catch around the lake. Panfish anglers are poking more ’eyes than guys trying for walleyes.

Trout stockings

The Randolph and Caledonia DEC hatcheries this week have stocked trout at sites around Western New York in time for fishing this weekend. All stockings are yearling unless noted as 2-year-olds.

Allegany County: Dyke Creek (Andover) 1,030 brown trout; Cryder Creek (Independence) 950 brown trout; California Brook (Bolivar) 260 brown trout; and Little Genesee Creek (Bolivar) 1,290 brown trout.

Cattaraugus County: Elton Creek (Freedom) 1,860 brown trout.

Wyoming County: East Koy Creek (Gainesville) 6,720 brown trout.

All stocking deliveries are subject to change due to water conditions.