Lake temperatures are dropping and some tributary action is slowly starting to occur, but look for an uptick after Tuesday night's rains. Lower Niagara River salmon fishing has been good from boats and both Lake Erie and Lake Ontario still has good fishing to take advantage of, be it for walleye and bass on Erie or salmon and trout on Ontario. The Olcott piers have salmon stacked up off the end and the east pier is now open, too.
Lake Erie and tributaries
Walleye fishing in the lake continues to be good to very good, depending on who you talk to and what day.
Out of Dunkirk, Capt. Lance Ehrhardt of Sassafras Charters ran his final trip of the year on Sunday. Not because there aren’t fish around, but because he has to put his boat away. He reported catching 24 walleyes in just 2 hours and 20 minutes and they hooked into another five fish bringing their baits to the boat, all stickbaits. Walleyes were from the surface down 50 feet over 75 to 100 feet of water. They were using a north-south troll, made one round trip and they were finished for the day.
Out of Cattaraugus Creek, Capt. Don Ruppert of Wave Tamer Sportfishing reports that walleye action continues to be insane out front, setting riggers at 40 feet down, 8 colors of lead core and dipsy divers getting their lures into the fish zone. Ruppert likes using stickbaits, too. His favorites are classic colors like purple-pink and dolphin, as well as new patterns like Fruity Crush, Wave Tamer Sunset and Cedar Point, all from Bay Rat lures. Steelhead have started to show up in their trolls, which usually signifies the end of summer. He hopes there should be at least three more weeks of good fishing on the lake.
Drew Nisbet, fishing manager with the Orvis Shop at Williamsville, reports that a few opportunistic fly anglers have caught the season’s first jack steelhead on the larger Lake Erie tributaries but a substantial push of adult fish has yet to happen. The Lake Erie tributaries are receiving a good shot of rain over the next couple days and the near shore Lake Erie surface water temperatures are dropping to around 68 degrees. This combination of events usually triggers the first runs of staging adult steelhead into the tributaries says Nisbet. Look for solid action in the lower half of creek systems once the runoff has dropped and cleared. Olive over white streamers and soft hackles are great early season fly choices for steelhead fresh from the lake. If you’d rather chuck hardware, cast the creek mouths with spoons and spinners.
Boaters have been doing well the past week for some good to very good early season salmon action in the Devil’s Hole area. Many boats are averaging three to six fish, but there are other factors that come into play, like how good the anglers are with the sticks. The charter fishermen are using clumps of treated salmon egg skein fished off three way rigs. Shore anglers are catching a few fish, but that action should improve if there is some rain and the water becomes a bit more stained than what it is right now. In fact, a Wednesday morning report early from Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls stated he was three for five on kings from shore after the rain Tuesday night.
The NYPA fishing platform is still producing some fish, too. Along Artpark, there are still some walleye being caught. Bruce Blakelock of Tennessee returned to Western New York to quench his bass cravings and managed to catch some nice ones in the lower river despite poor weather conditions.
In the upper river, both walleye and bass are still being caught with regularity, according to Capt. Chris Cinelli of Grand Island. Check out some of the fish in this week’s Catches of the Week online.
Lake Ontario and tributaries
The big news this week is that the salmon are stacked up off the Olcott piers and fish were snapping pretty good on Tuesday. In addition, the east pier is now open for business according to Karen Evarts at the Boat Doctors in Olcott. Little Cleos and Lil Gems in firetiger and orange patterns are rocking. There are a few salmon and brown trout hanging around Burt Dam area of 18 Mile Creek, too, but it will take a good slug of rain to clean the weeds out and bring greater numbers of fish into the dam area.
Out in the lake, the pier head trollers are using a lot of meat with flashers and orange-gold, green-silver spoons. J-plugs work, too. There is still a bite out in 300 to 400 feet of water for a mix of salmon and trout, but winds have kept boats from venturing out too far. Spoons and flasher-fly combos are the way to go out deep.
Ditto for off the Oak Orchard River at Point Breeze. They’ve not seen a big slug of fish according to Ron Bierstine with Oak Orchard Tackle and Lodge. However, fishing pressure has been moderate and some salmon are being caught.
After the Saturday cold front slowed things down, Monday walleye action picked back up. For Capt. Mike Sperry with Chautauqua Reel Outdoors, his trip boated 14 walleyes, but only three were keepers. Rapala jigging raps were the ticket in No. 7 and No. 9 sizes. Perch color was the hot pattern in 24 feet of water. The water clarity on the north basin was better than last week, but still dark. Cooler temperatures should help knock out the algae and clear it up. White and yellow perch are abundant.