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The Fishing Beat: The steelies are coming

The leaves are starting to fly and more and more hunting seasons are falling into place. Tough decisions need to be made. Salmon fishing in the Niagara River is becoming more of a challenge but Lake Ontario tributaries are still seeing good numbers of fish including some trout. Lake Erie tributaries, while lacking in salmon (although a few are being caught), are seeing plenty of steelhead around.

Niagara River

Salmon action is starting to slow down in the lower Niagara River – at least for the boaters. It’s become more of a grind, with many captains catching a mixed bag of kings, Cohos and steelhead. Treated egg skein bounced off three-way rigs is producing the fish. From shore, casters are still picking up a fair number of kings using spoons and spinners. Treated egg skein under a float is also a proven tactic. Alyson Thomas of Johnstown, Pa., caught her first salmon ever while fishing with Michael Marisa of Johnstown, Pa. and Josh Bee of Mexico, N.Y. They caught 14 salmon in the Whirlpool area on a variety of hardware. Some fish were caught off the NYPA platform this week, too. In the upper Niagara River, musky are starting to cooperate. Ask Tyler Belter from the Town of Wheatfield who was fishing with Capt. Chris Cinelli of Grand Island. He caught a 47-inch fish this week, releasing it after a quick photo. Check out the gallery this week online to see it.

Lake Erie

Perch fishing has been a hit or miss proposition. Steve Brzuszkiewicz of Marilla reported that he caught a limit heading into the weekend, but he dipped his emerald shiners first from the Niagara River before he went fishing. Paying close attention to his electronics, he found fish in 57 to 58 feet of water off Cattaraugus Creek. Some were suspended off the bottom, but the active fish were right on the bottom and a spreader rig worked better than a Fonzi rig. Capt. Tom Marks with Gr8 Lakes Fishing Adventures confirmed that same 55 to 62 feet of water was holding perch, but it’s been a tough bite. Best catches were coming from Evangola to the Catt with catches of 20 to 30 fish about average. If you don’t have emeralds but you have goldens, Marks likes to tail hook them for something different. The best launch has been out of the Catt. Sturgeon Point is starting to fill in with sand at the mouth again. And if conditions are good in the evening, try trolling the shallows for walleye off rocky points. Some guys have been picking up fish in as shallow as 5 feet of water. Tributary action is on very good right now. According to Danny Colville at Colville Outfitters in Hamburg, it’s the best he’s seen in 10 years. There are a wide variety of baits working. Eggs, egg imitatiyns, streamers, wooly buggers, jigs and soft plastic beads. Colville likes the Death Roe and Clear Drift Tackle products. Christopher Finitz with Hold the Line Outfitters also reports excellent fishing at Cattaraugus Creek. Plenty of fish with many hookups including fresh steelhead, as well as the occasional spawned out male steelie, brown trout or Coho salmon. Try swinging white or olive zonkers or dead drifting a tandem of smaller egg patterns and small Teeny nymphs in olive or Sparrow nymphs in natural color patterns. Orvis Guide Alberto Rey from Fredonia reports that smaller streams have been low and clear, pushing steelhead into the upper reaches. The rain expected this week should bring more fish into the system

Lake Ontario and tributaries

Good numbers of fish are around in the streams with decent water flow like 18 Mile Creek, Johnson Creek and the Oak Orchard River. Casting the piers (when there isn’t a north wind) is still an option in Wilson and Olcott, as is fishing the harbors. Olcott has a good number of salmon and trout swimming around. Up at Burt Dam, loads of fishermen are catching lots of fish. The primary catches are salmon, but brown trout and steelhead are also being caught. Egg sacs or egg imitations top the list of enticements there. Capt. Joe Gallo of Clarence took his Two Bulls Sportfishing boat out on the weekend for his final trip of the year. Heading out to 400 to 425 feet of water, they managed to catch 20 out of 22 salmon and trout that included one Coho salmon, three steelhead and the rest kings up to 20 pounds using cut bait and flashers.

Chautauqua Lake

Capt. Frank Schoenacker of Infinity Charters reports that there was a good snap jigging bite this week in the south basin in 16 to 18 feet of water. Use a basic drift and jig pattern. Capt. Mike Sperry at Chautauqua Reel Outdoors notes that the musky bite is pretty good right now for casters. Jerk baits and shallow diving crankbaits are working around weedbeds in 7 to 10 feet of water. Water is now under 60 degrees.

DEC Law Enforcement

There have been some complaints of illegal activity in the tributaries off the Great Lakes. If you don’t like what you see, give enforcement a call at 844-DEC ECOS and report the violation. You can remain anonymous.


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