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The Fishing Beat (Sept. 25)

It’s a free fishing day in New York State on Saturday. Take advantage of a variety of fishing options and celebrate National Hunting and Fishing Day festivities around WNY that same day, too.

Lake Erie and tributaries

Danny Colville at Colville Outfitters in Hamburg reports that some early trout have been found at the mouth of some of the creeks. The water is high, so the low ends of the streams are not flowing as well as usual. Small scouts are poking their heads in with some larger fish mixed in. A few Pacific salmon have been seen as well, Colville said. Atlantic salmon that were caught in the spring and summer in the upper Niagara should make their way into the Erie tributaries. Colville asks anglers to release these bonus fish so that they can fight another day. Best baits have been soft beads and float rigs. Jigs under floats are also producing well. Some anglers are fishing the break walls and mouths with hardware with limited success. Out in the lake, Rob Oram of Franklinville hit a few areas hard for walleyes. He caught fish in front of Cattaraugus Creek in 73 feet of water, straight out of Dunkirk in 75 to 90 feet of water, and off Barcelona, where he did his best in 70-plus feet of water straight out of the harbor all the way to the red roof. It appeared the larger groups of walleyes have moved west, with smaller groups remaining. Perch are in small groups off the Catt and around Sturgeon Point, but you must work for them. Best spot we’ve heard has been off Sturgeon Point in 62 feet of water. Mike Fox of Lewiston was fishing between Sturgeon Point and the Catt in 73 to 75 feet of water, 10 to 15 feet off the bottom, and picking up perch incidentally while catching walleyes on worm harnesses.

Niagara River

Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls reports it’s been a slow run on kings so far with the lack of rain and warm water temperatures. To make up for it, he’s taken a few good-sized browns on artificial eggs. The water was clear and warm. On Tuesday, he tried for walleyes in the gorge and stuck four nice ones on plugs. Bass fishing has been good to help make up for the lack of salmon. Mike McGrath and Brendan Walsh, both of Niagara Falls, recently won the Safe Harbor Open Bass Tournament with a five-fish bag that totaled 25.31 pounds. It also included at 5.75 lunker. The amazing thing was that Lake Ontario was off-limits and all the contestants were required to fish in the river because of high winds. When the winds cooperate, the Niagara Bar can be decent around the green buoy marker, Capt. Ned Librock of Pendleton said. He was fishing with Roy Larson of Wheatfield and Anthony Karam of West Seneca to take smallmouth bass to 5 pounds last Friday morning. Salmon fishing has been tough from boats in the river, too. Capt. Nick Calandrelli of Lewiston says it’s been a tough go in Devil’s Hole. A few fish have been caught. Local captains are starting to theorize that the high water of 2017 in the lake and terrible pen project production that year could be playing a negative role this year. In the upper Niagara River, Capt. Mike Capizzi of Niagara Falls used crayfish to take some big smallmouth (and some sheepshead) around Strawberry Island in 15 to 20 feet of water with Robbie Burgio of Pendleton.

Brendan Walsh, left, and Mike McGrath, both of Niagara Falls, show off four of the bass they caught in the lower Niagara River en route to a Safe Harbor Open Bass Tournament win weighing in 25.31 pounds of bass for 5 fish. (Photo courtesy Patrick Schlosser)

Lake Ontario and tributaries

Action on the lake for salmon and trout has been spotty. Capt. Alan Sauerland of Newfane ran straight out of Wilson to deep water (he turned around at the Canadian border) and caught a mix of fish on spoons. Some fish are staging off Olcott, but numbers seem to be down. Salmon are jumping near the piers but not coming into the creek. If you can find a pocket of fish in the lake and stay on them, you can do well. Capt. Vince Pierleoni of Newfane says he found them in 100 feet of water one day and then they were gone the next. Pike fishing off the piers and in the harbors at Wilson and Olcott has been decent. Try casting large J13 Rapalas or spinnerbaits. Some browns were being caught off the Wilson pier. A couple of salmon have been reported at Burt Dam, but nothing of any significance.

Brad Brodnicki of Buffalo finished second place in NYS Bass Federation contest last weekend out of Henderson Harbor with a 23-pound bag. The lake was very rough with 4-5 footers, so he decided to fish inside Henderson Harbor. He had found some fish in practice on a sharp break in 20 to 25 feet of water. The wind was positioning the fish on the dropoff on that break. The break was about 200 yards long. He used a drop shot rig (with a Berkley flat worm) and tube jigs to mimic gobies. The winner was Thomas Hughes of Oneida, who won by 2 ounces. He was fishing the same stretch as Brodnicki, about 50 yards away. There were 102 anglers competing.

Chautauqua Lake

Not too much changed from last week, Capt. Mike Sperry of Chautauqua Reel Outdoors says. Trolling and jigging for walleye on the north and south basins is working. In the north basin, the walleyes seem to be in 25 to 30 feet of water. South basin is still under an algae bloom but is clearer than it was a month ago. The north basin is clear. Musky is still hit-and-miss by casting and trolling. This is the transitional time of year with the water temperatures. It will only take one or two frosts to get the water temp dropping and the musky bite will pick up.

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