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The Fishing Beat (Oct. 19)

Lake Ontario and tributaries

The Oak is fishing very well, but is also receiving a lot of pressure according to Bryant Abbuhl of Rochester. The dam is shoulder to shoulder, but the fish are being caught consistently. There are good numbers of kings from top to bottom.  More and more browns and steelhead are showing up daily. Some very big 15-plus-pound browns are in the system; there are not many cohos to report. Fish are being taken by bottom bouncing and floating egg-sacks and marabou jigs tipped with wax worms in the deeper and slower pools.  In the fast water, fly fisherman are doing well swinging wooly buggers and soft hackles for a mixed bag of trout and salmon.  Centerpin fisherman with egg flies and beads are also proving them to be effective. Remember a life vest is required if you are fishing the river down from the dam.

Over in 18 Mile Creek and Burt Dam, the salmon and trout are making it to the dam but more water flow is needed to really give it a more concentrated push. There are some kings and browns at the dam and anglers that know what they are doing are reeling in fish. The better action has been in the harbor and off the piers. In the harbor and in the lower sections of the creek, boats have been using treated egg skein fished under a float to take good numbers of salmon. The pier fishing at Olcott is often predicated on winds. With high winds, getting out on the pier can be difficult. When it’s calm, there is some float fishing going on. Anglers will often use an egg sinker with some type of a float (birdy drifter or corkie for example) near the hook to get the eggs slightly off the bottom. Casting spoons, spinners or Rat-L-Traps will also catch fish – salmon and browns with an occasional steelhead. Some brown trout action is being reported off the beaches at Olcott, as well. Perch have been hitting in Wilson and Olcott harbors as well as the lower stretches of the Oak. Pike are hitting in those waters, too.


Niagara River


Chuck Yauch of Tonawanda with a Lower Niagara salmon caught while fishing with Capt. Ryan Shea.

The Lower Niagara River salmon run is starting to slow down as it normally does this time of year. Even though many of the guides have already put away their salmon rods for this fall, there are some fish still available if you want to give it a go in the Devil’s Hole area. Capt. Frank Campbell of Niagara Region Charters hit the “hole” earlier this week and managed to box three kings and lost a couple more on one trip. Treated egg skein is still the ticket for boat drifters. Many of the salmon caught were still fresh. From shore, Glenn Strzelczyk of Niagara Falls has been using some hair jigs dressed up with some flashaboo to imitate the baitfish in the river. Natural color is best. He’ll also toss inline spinners and spoons in green, pink, blue and silver colors. Yellow can be a good color, too. Some anglers will try and drift eggs under a float. Use a bigger float and seek out some of the back eddy areas where the current isn’t as strong. In the upper Niagara River, the walleye bite has turned on at night at the head of the river and in Buffalo Harbor on floating No. 11 and 13 Rapalas and Husky Jerks. Casting the shoreline can also work for shore bound anglers at dusk and into the night off Broderick Park and Bird Island Pier. Bass action has also been good as fish are starting to go into their fall feed. Capt. Larry Jones reports that with the full moon being bright, the best time for trolling for muskies has been early morning when it is still dark but with the moon dropping low to trees. With the clear water conditions and bright nights, the muskies have been a tough bite. He did manage a nice 47-inch muskie trolling near Black Creek Tuesday morning at 4:35 a.m. Weeds are still a problem and water temps are still very warm for mid-October at 63 degrees. Look for the muskie action to start to pick up around the new moon or dark side coming soon.

Lake Erie and tributaries


Eric Klink of Kentucky shows off a Buffalo Harbor Bass while fishing with Capt. Jim Hanley.


Catches of the Week (Oct. 19)

Bill Hilts' Jr.'s Outdoors column (Oct. 19)

Scattershot: Outdoors news & notes

While there are a few trout in places like Cattaraugus Creek and Canadaway Creek, water levels are still low in many of the streams. We need some rain! A stealthy approach is recommended for the low, clear conditions but fish are being caught. In the meantime, perch action is starting to turn on off Sturgeon Point, Cattaraugus Creek and Dunkirk. Off Dunkirk, head northwest to 70 feet of water where they are catching big jumbo perch according to Capt. Larry Jones. They are about a foot off bottom so the top hook on a pan fish rig is catching most of the fish. Red hooks were producing more fish as well. Those using salted minnows are getting their fair share, but live emerald shiners can mean an easy limit of 50 –  if you can find both the bait … and the perch. Perch schools have been showing up off Sturgeon Point in 46-50 feet of water according to Dave Muir of North Tonawanda.  Drifting with crappie rigs baited with golden shiners work best as the schools are moving around quite a bit.  Perch up to 1 pound, 10 ounces were caught by Muir. Not too much has changed for bass. Capt. Jim Hanley is still catching bronzebacks in 25 to 40 feet of water when he can get out on the lake. Live bait and drop shot rigs. Hanley noted that 65 feet was also a good depth off Sturgeon Point for perch.

Chautauqua Lake

Walleye fishing has been very good this fall according to Mike Sperry at Chautauqua Reel Outdoors. Many keeper-sized fish are being reported with several undersized mixed in. Trolling lead core in the south basin and vertical jigging the north basin are both working. In the north basin, focus on 30 to 50 feet of water.  Gotchas, ice jigging Rapalas and Shiver minnows are working. Walleye can be found at night along the shoreline in the southern basin. Try casting with small stickbaits. Musky fishing has picked up in the last 10 days. Both trolling and casting are working. Sperry has boated eight fish in the last couple of days. Water temp was 62 degrees on Tuesday in the north basin. Perch are literally everywhere.  They can be caught near the weedlines or out in deep water. Minnows under a slip bobber or jigging vibes will work according to Sperry.

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