As hunting seasons slowly grab hold of anglers (big game archery season is on, pheasant season opens Saturday and waterfowl seasons up on Oct. 27), there are less people fishing … so there are more fish to catch. The cold weather could be that trigger that really turns things on in the streams.
Lake Erie and tributaries
Action is the lake is still good to very good if Mother Nature lets you on the water. According to Capt. Joe Fonzi of Thumbs Up Charters, the walleye bite has moved to structure areas from Buffalo to Point Abino. Blade baits and jigging spoons are working well. The trolling bite is still good from Sturgeon Point to the Pennsylvania state line. Schools of ‘eyes are smaller so locate fish before you start. Target 70 to 100 foot depths. Fish are on the bottom up to 50 feet down. Worm harnesses and stickbaits are both producing. Perch action has been day to day. He reports lots of 60 fish days. Settled water conditions will set this up soon. A few calmer days and water in the low to mid-50’s will make it a more consistent bite. In the bass department, Robert Geiger and Dave Stahura, Jr., both of Lackawanna, teamed up to win the find WNY Bassmaster event of the year last Sunday. They fought some rough conditions at Myers Reef to take a tournament limit of 5 fish that totaled 21.87 pounds. They also earned big fish for the contest, with two bass that weighed 4.88 pounds. Targeting 30 to 35 feet of water, they used drop shot rigs outfitted with Strike King KVD Candy Craw Dream Shot plastics. In the streams, there are some steelhead available, but most are staging off the creek mouths waiting for that special trigger. According to local guide Scott Feltrinelli of Rochester, that could be this weekend with the way things are setting up with cold rain and temperatures. Adam McInerney of Cattaraugus hit some nice steelies over the weekend using small white jigs to entice them to hit. Check out the Catches of the Week gallery this week for Scott and Adam.
There are still a good number of salmon around, but signs are indicating a gradual slowing of the salmon run as trout start to move in and take their place. From boats, treated egg skein and fish from a three-way rig is the way to go. Shoreline fishermen are tossing hardware or drifting eggs under a float to take salmon and trout. Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls reported that the bite was pretty good off the NYPA fishing platform the last few days. He caught 4 species of fish tossing No. 4 spinners off the platform.
Lake Ontario and tributaries
Big waters continue to have good runs of fish (Genesee, Niagara, Salmon River, Oak Orchard Creek), according to guide Scott Feltrinelli with Ontario Fly Outfitters, while the smaller tributaries continue to wait for rain. Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctors has heard mixed reports from area streams with the best right now probably being the Oak Orchard River. Speaking of the Oak, it will probably be a little crazy Oct. 17-19 for the Sportsmen’s Archers Club of St. Mary’s fly fishing only catch and release tournament going on. If you have any questions, contact Ron Bierstine at 585-682-4546. Pier action at Olcott and Wilson continues to be spotty but salmon, brown trout and steelhead are all being caught by spoon and spinner casters. Small boaters working the harbors or fishing the holes of 18 Mile Creek can still pick up salmon by trolling large stickbaits or fishing treated egg skein under a float. Out in the lake, Capt. Vince Pierleoni of Newfane took his final run of the season on his big boat and he did well off-shore in 300-400 feet of water using spoons and flasher-fly rigs. Staging fish closer to the shoreline have been limited so far.
Cooler temperatures could be perfect for turning on the musky action in the lake. Mike Sperry has been fishing the south basin more than up north for musky recently. The fish Saturday were caught trolling and the fish on Sunday were caught casting. Livingston Lures crankbaits in 8 feet of water was one approach that worked. The water temperature is now in the upper 50’s but still warmer than normal for this time of year. Walleye are still being landed by vertical jigging in the north basin. Focus on 30 to 50 feet of water. Ice jigging Rapalas and Gotchas are working.