Great Lakes fishing in Erie and Ontario continue to move forward into fall patterns, but some good fishing is still available for those willing to put a little time in to locate fish. National Hunting and Fishing Day is Sept. 22 and it’s a free fishing day around the state.
While maturing salmon have found their way closer to the piers in Wilson and Olcott, deep water prospects are still an option for trollers hitting the open water. Capt. Joe Gallo of Two Bulls and Capt. Alan Sauerland of Instigator charters sought out stable water conditions in 350 feet of water and connected with a mix of steelhead and salmon. They were 20 for 26, catching numerous steelhead over 10 pounds as they used a mix of spoons, meat and flashers to catch-and-release their fish. Most of the bites came 50 to 75 feet down using riggers, divers and copper line set-ups. Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctors in Olcott reports that there were more fishermen than fish on Tuesday morning off the piers. Casting spoons with anything blue has been working when salmon are available, but a few nice pike have been taken in the same waters. Ditto over in Wilson off the piers. Speaking of pike, Joel Spring of Ransomville nailed a couple bomber pike on X-raps while fishing from his kayak in Wilson Harbor Tuesday. Out in the lake off Olcott, steelhead and a few salmon were biting in 300 to 400 feet of water with blue, purple and white variations of spoons working. The water is still a bit weird out there. Try early in the morning for staging kings off the pierheads with meat or J-plugs. It was the same program over off the Oak at Point Breeze. Some staging fish off the mouth at first light, but a much better bite for big steelies and kings out deep in that same 300-400 foot area. Hardly any action at Burt Dam, a few salmon being reported at Waterport Dam. We need some cooler temperatures.
More salmon are making it up into the lower river system but water temperatures are still too warm for them for any sustained survival. Gianni Etopio of Youngstown reeled in a couple nice king salmon off the New York Power Authority fishing platform over the weekend and they still put up a great fight when those fish are fresh. He noted that he’s seen pods of 10 to 50 salmon migrating up into the gorge. A few boats caught as many as 4 salmon in Devil’s Hole, but numbers of fish have been slow in coming and they don’t hang around long. If you didn’t see “A Sportswoman’s Tale” in last Sunday’s paper, check it out online at www.buffalonews.com/section/sports/outdoors. Ashley Dobbs of Ocala, Fla. was drifting a worm harness on the Stella Drift trying to catch a walleye. She ended up hooking a 20-pound salmon that gave her the ride of her life … for her first fish ever! Great story. Walleye and bass are still available for anglers who want to target them downriver.
Lake Erie walleye action can still be very good if you can find the schools of fish swimming around. Joe Yaeger of Amherst hit the waters off Buffalo near the International line in 58 to 62 feet of water. It was all Torpedo divers with worm harnesses 40 feet down to the bottom to take their limits of ‘eyes. Off Sturgeon Point we received a note from Nate Diegelman who reported that last week’s Fishing Beat was right on as they hit suspended fish around 40 down over 60 to 65-foot depths. He was using in-line weights off boards with orange, green or chartreuse harnesses. They were not marking many fish on their electronics, but they still caught a limit. Anglers fishing out of Cattaraugus Creek were also seeing some great walleye fishing, too. Capt. Jim Skoczylas of Ultimate Outdoors of WNY has been fishing east of the Catt towards Evans Bar in 65 to 75 feet of water. When the lake flipped around Sept. 9, it pushed the fish up. It's pretty much back to normal water temperatures now. They had been fishing the top 40 feet of water using 3 to 7 colors of lead core, dipsy divers in size 1 at a No. 2 setting 60 to 100 feet back and riggers 30 to 40 feet down. Best baits are Bay Rat stickbaits in the Ultimate Aurora, flashy muff and black mamba; Renosky's in rainbow trout, black and silver, and copper color; Bombers in lemonade crush and northern lights. They caught 170 walleyes last week alone. Capt. Frank Schoenacker of Infinity Charters did well last weekend by focusing his efforts off Dunkirk in 75 to 95 feet of water. He was using a variety of angling tactics – divers, lead core line and downriggers – to take fish. They were reeled in by Charlie Krause of Sherman who brought his boys along for some consistent action, ending up with their limits of tasty yellows. Check out the online Catches of the Week gallery for some of these fish. There were some reports of perch being caught out of Cattaraugus Creek in 55 feet of water. Try trolling the creek mouths with stickbaits or spoons to take steelhead or cast the mouths with spoons or spinners.
Fishing was decent for walleye and musky through last Saturday according to Capt. Mike Sperry with Chautauqua Reel Outdoors. Walleye were hitting No. 9 Jigging Raps in 20 to 30 feet of water in black-silver, perch and brown-yellow colors. The key to get them to hit was smacking the bottom with them. Musky action was good both casting and trolling. Long line trolling Leo Mojoes and Tuff Shads was working at 4.5 mph in 14 to 30 feet of water. Leo jerkbaits (8 inches) and 22 longs (crank baits) were the ticket casting. In the northern basin of the lake, target 12 to 14 feet of water. The bite has slowed the last couple of days. East/southeast wind pushed an algae bloom to the north end and messed things up for a few days.