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The Fishing Beat (Nov. 6, 2019)

After a devastating storm riled up the waters of Western New York’s Great Lakes and the Niagara River, hopefully things will settle down by the weekend. The Niagara Musky Association’s Tim Wittek Memorial Musky Tournament was rescheduled from last weekend to Sunday. Monday is a Free Fishing Day in the state, in honor of Veterans Day.

Lake Erie and tributaries

Adam Schroeder of the Orvis Store in Clarence reports that most Lake Erie tributaries were blown out as of Tuesday. There have been reports that 18 Mile Creek (Hamburg) has had a decent amount of fish and should fish well when water levels come down. Cattaraugus Creek has been good on and off for most anglers. The fish are spread throughout the entire system, but the Seneca Reservation waters have been the best. You need a special fishing license for fishing that stretch of water. As far as the lake is concerned, no reports have come in since the storm. It will probably be a few more days before things settle down. In the meantime, you might be able to pick up some steelhead by casting the creek mouths with spoons or spinners. It appears all of the streams of both Erie and Ontario are seeing more fishing pressure from out of state anglers than we have ever seen, according to Schroeder.

Niagara River

“The Niagara has been seeing some lakers, steelhead and browns along with an occasional late king as per usual and not much boat traffic,” says Schroeder. Lower river fishing has been better for shore casters than boaters with the water conditions since the storm. Lisa Drabczyk with Creek Road Bait and Tackle says that the shoreline usually clears first when you have conditions like this, allowing for better fishing close to the rocks. Egg sacs or imitations, spoons, spinners will work. It should continue to improve the closer we get to the weekend, barring further wind events. If we see some snow and ice, there’s a good chance that the New York Power Authority fishing platform will close temporarily. Call 796-0135, Ext. 45 to find out if it’s open. In the upper Niagara River and Buffalo Harbor, musky fishermen are champing at the bit to get out and target these toothy fish. The season ends there on Nov. 30. Hans Mann of Buffalo Harbor Outfitters reports that we need some green water for fish to turn on, and they should be hungry. Fishing was good in the river prior to the storm. When the water finally clears, it should be game on in Buffalo Harbor, just in time for the rescheduled Tim Wittek Memorial Musky Tournament on Sunday.

Lake Ontario and tributaries

Lots of rain late last week and part of Saturday reports Scott Feltrinelli with Ontario Fly Outfitters. Waters are turbid in bigger creeks. Smaller creeks have fished decent the last couple of days. Egg patterns and streamers work well, says Feltrinelli. Eaters are taking egg patterns in orange and natural color buggers. It’s been mostly browns and steelhead. Many fish are spawning on the redds right now, so those fish have had lockjaw. Ron Bierstine with Oak Orchard Tackle and Lodge reports retreating waters with 1 to 2 feet of visibility. Water is a bit high, but action for steelhead, browns and even an occasional Atlantic has been fair. Karen Evarts at the Boat Doctors in Olcott reports good action on egg sacs, artificial eggs, marshmallows, beads and wooly buggers. Pier action has been slow, primarily due to the winds keeping people off. There will be a meeting hosted by DEC to discuss the Lake Ontario forage base starting at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 13. The meeting will take place at Cornell Cooperative Extension Niagara, 4487 Lake Ave., Lockport, and it is free and open to the public.

Chautauqua Lake

According to Capt. Mike Sperry at Chautauqua Reel Outdoors, walleye are still going strong on vertical jigs around the deeper holes in the north basin. Use No. 9 jigging raps, Snap Raps, Flat raps and Gotchas in 30 to 50 feet of water. Water temperatures are in the low 50s. Musky is good casting jerkbaits tight to the weedlines. There are crappie and perch in some of the canals. Sperry is hearing good crappie reports, especially early in the morning. Minnows and jigs under a bobber are working.

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