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Lake Erie perch bite remains hot in about 58 feet of water

Lake Erie perch bite remains hot in about 58 feet of water

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Noah Barlow Buffalo Niagara River steelhead

Noah Barlow of Buffalo with a lower Niagara River steelhead caught on an orange bead with Capt. Ryan Shea of Tonawanda. 

Yellow perch are still snapping in Lake Erie, some impressive bullheads were caught in the Niagara County Bullhead Tournament and Lake Ontario trolling action is slowly starting to turn on. Here's a look at this week's fishing report.

Lake Erie and tributaries

Justin “Shub” Stevens with Catt. Creek Bait and Tackle reports that smallmouth bass are biting just about anything at Cattaraugus Creek. Spoons and spinners are working best. Trout are being caught on white egg sacs in the Zoar Valley area, although they are few and far between, according to Stevens. However, with heavy rain in the forecast for early Friday, look for trib action to slow for a few days. The perch bite has been hot with most boats heading east around 58 feet of water. Catfish are being caught in most tributaries and along the Lake Erie shoreline. Bottom rigs with nightcrawlers are working best. Staying mobile and finding different holes is the key to success, says Stevens. The shop will host a Catfish Tournament on May 29. Stop into the Irving tackle shop for details. Greg Becker of Buffalo and his wife, Melissa, caught 100 perch in about three hours, fishing just west of Sturgeon Point. They caught a nice mix of males and females. Justin Wekenmann of Farnham and Mike Ebert of North Boston were fishing off Cattaraugus Creek in 54 to 56 feet of water and caught a limit of yellow perch in less than two hours last weekend. Remember that Sturgeon Point is currently not an option for accessing the lake. Capt. Ryan O’Neill of Orchard Park had his 4-year-old son Talon on the lake, and they did well on smallmouth bass in 26 to 30 feet of water. The water is still cold, so bass are not very active. Shiners and Ned rigs worked best. There was a report of submerged trees as you leave the Sun Life Marina at Buffalo Harbor, so be aware.

Niagara River

Capt. Chris Cinelli of Grand Island reports that the lower Niagara River is loaded with smelt, so drifts are slow. Lots of warm water species are showing up on any back eddy. The Niagara Bar has been hit or miss, with boats mostly catching big browns. Cinelli says that Devil’s Hole has been good for lakers and steelhead. Light colored sacs and perch minnows are working best. Some bead action is being reported, too. Shore guys are hooking up regularly for steelhead, according to Lisa Drabczyk of Creek Road Bait and Tackle. Try using spinners, egg sacs or beads. Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls caught a nice brown trout off Youngstown on a jig, as well as some smallmouth bass. He found smallmouth bass active in the NYPA Reservoir. Fishing off Upper Mountain Road, he used small jigs to catch and release smallmouth bass on a regular basis. Capt. Ryan Shea of Tonawanda reports that he had some success on smallmouth bass in the upper river using Ned rigs with John Jarosz of Lake View and his son Matt from Hamburg. Orange beads worked on steelhead in the lower river on a couple of trips. They also took fish on 3-inch Mr. Twisters. Around the corner on the Niagara Bar, Shea tried chartreuse spoons in 80 feet of water with downriggers and he found constant action from 4 Mile Creek to 12 Mile Creek.

Lake Ontario and tributaries

Capt. Joe Oakes of Newfane was fishing off Olcott this week and picked up lake trout with an occasional king salmon. With the lack of rain and no north wind to create a mud line, the brown trout bite had been tough. That should improve with recent rains and more on the way. The lake bite is from 60 to 120 feet of water, according to Oakes. Lakers can be caught on anything from spoons to flasher-fly combos. The water is warming up and is now 42 degrees. With the warming trend, a few kings are starting to show up. With Canada under a stay-at-home order, not many kings will be caught in Canadian waters. Karen Evarts at the Boat Doctors in Olcott reports that yellow perch fishing in Olcott Harbor is good. People were bucketing up last weekend. Bullhead fishing was good in Olcott and Wilson. In the Niagara County Bullhead Tournament last weekend, Matt Bedient of Lockport earned first place for the adults with a two-fish total of 4.49 pounds. His secret bait was shrimp. In the youth division, Chloe Weaver of Ransomville caught two fish weighing in at 3.06 pounds. For a complete wrap-up, check out Scattershots on Sunday. A few browns are being caught off the piers in Wilson and Olcott on minnows. The Lake Ontario Counties Derby Newspaper is now available at registration outlets. The first event is May 7-16. Get ready to rumble at Ron Bierstine with Oak Orchard Tackle reports that flows in the Oak are slightly high and stained with about 2 feet of visibility. Other area smaller tributaries have high and dirty flows. Smallmouth bass have moved into the lower creek and river stretches. Off Point Breeze, Capt. Chris Vogt of Albion reports good lake trout success in 70 to 90 feet of water using EvilEye spoons and Elmer Riggs. In the Genesee River, Wade Rowcliffe of Rochester managed to sneak out along the piers and catch some nice brown trout and coho salmon over the weekend. Then he came into the river and caught catfish and sheepshead using Berkeley Gulp minnows with a 1/8-ounce Mooneye glow jig. He works his bait off the bottom in 14- to 22-foot depths. Chris Kenyon of Wolcott reports that a few kings have been caught in deeper water off Sodus, while the browns are close to shore. Fishing has been rough because of clear water, but the rains should help for this weekend. Try and find some temperature breaks for browns. Troll in front of Port Bay where the channel is open. The same with Sodus.

Chautauqua Lake

Capt. Mike Sperry reports that we needed this rain to help with fishing. The lake level has been below normal. Crappies are still hitting in the canals. Not much public access right now, however, according to Sperry. Small 1/32- to 1/16-ounce jigs tipped with a minnow or soft plastic tail are working. Cubby Mini Mites are a great choice, too. Not much happening on the lake except for some yellow perch action. With more rain and a week of warmer temperatures on the way, things should get rolling. Many anglers are gearing up for the walleye opener on May 1.

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