Adverse weather conditions will have a negative effect this week on fishing, affecting the next few days, too. Hopefully things will settle down by the weekend. With bucks shifting into “rut” mode for bowhunters (including crossbow on Saturday), it should free up some shoreline real estate in the tributaries.
Lake Erie and tributaries
Having enough water in the streams was the key before the storms arrived. Now it’s a problem with too much. Nick Sagnibene of Ellicottville with Adventure Bound on the Fly reported that the lower Cattaraugus was really fishing well from Zoar Valley to the Reservation with plenty of fish in the creek. There was a fair amount of fishing pressure so he took the extra effort to seek out more secluded areas. There have been some mid-day hatches of blue winged olives that brought some fish to the surface, using flies in 16 and 18 sizes. Smaller nymphs have worked in the clear water. That tact will have to change with the arrival of the rain. Use an assortment of buggers and streamers with the stained water. As of right now the Catt is high and muddy. You may have to look around for clear water by heading inland. The upper Catt (above the dam) was starting to clear but the rain/snow mix may stain things up again according to Sagnibene. Try around Ellicottville. Use a bright and flashy nymph, buggers or streamers. With the colder waters, be sure to slow your presentation down. Again, prior to the storm, perch were available off Cattaraugus Creek in the lake. Steve Brzuszkiewicz of Marilla reported that he caught a limit of fish in 56 to 60 feet of water using emerald shiners he dipped from the Niagara River. Of course, that was before there were waves as big as 11 feet in Lake Erie. There was supposed to be more wind this week. Casting the creek mouth with nickel/blue Little Cleo spoons was producing some nice steelhead. If the waters clear and things settle down in the lake, you can also try to troll for trout with spoons or stickbaits.
Lake Ontario and tributaries
Mixed reports are coming in from anglers targeting the streams and rivers. Water flow continues to be limited as not as much rain was received below the escarpment. It is also clear, making fishing a bit tougher. Hot creeks right now have been 18 Mile Creek, Johnson Creek and the Oak Orchard River for both salmon and trout. Smaller creeks like Keg and 12 Mile will hold trout if there is good water flow. Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctors in Olcott reports that chunks of skein fished under a float has been working at Burt Dam and in the harbor for salmon. Pink and chartreuse have been hot colors for egg sacs. Single eggs are also working with the clear conditions. There are some browns and steelie at Burt, too. A few trout are being caught in 12 Mile at Wilson by fishermen using nightcrawlers and red worms. If you need a license, Evarts is usually in the shop every day by 5 a.m.
Water conditions were marginal after several days of severe winds. Charters cancelled trips on Tuesday in the lower river. At the top of the list is crunch time for musky chasers. In the upper river, we’re into the final month of the season, closing on Nov. 30. Lower river musky season extends to Dec. 15. To help celebrate the final month of the season above Niagara Falls, members of the Niagara Musky Association will be gathering on Nov. 5 to compete in the annual Tim Wittek Memorial Musky Tournament from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. To get your blood circulating again, there will be a post-tourney chili fest at the foot of Sheridan in Tonawanda. Cost is $25 to enter this catch-and-release “iron man” tournament. Call Scott McKee at 225-3816 for more information. If you just want to find our more information about fall musky fishing in the Niagara, stop in at the NMA monthly meeting at the Eldredge Club, 17 Broad St., Tonawanda on Tuesday night (Nov. 7) starting at 7 p.m. Getting back to the lower river, there are still fresh salmon coming into the system and steelhead are becoming more plentiful. A few lake trout have been caught incidentally. Up in the gorge, the trio of Rich Pisa of Kenmore, Richard Pisa of Tonawanda and Tyler Dannhauser of Wilson were doing on damage on an impressive mix of salmon and trout this past week using treated egg skein under a float, primarily up toward the whirlpool. Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls was picking off some steelhead and salmon on a No. 4 spinner while casting the New York Power Authority Fishing Platform before he was chased off due to high water levels (probably due to the high winds). If you want to check whether or not the platform is open, call 796-0135 Ext. 45.
Not too much to report with the recent weather patterns. Musky action should continue to improve as we move into November. Try casting a jerk bait. Jigging the deep holes for walleye in the northern basin with Gotchas or jigging Rapalas is another option when things settle down. Blade baits will also work.