Veterans Day Friday is a free fishing day. There was a record Great Lakes Lake Erie caught on the Canadian side of Lake Ohio last week. Heavy rains are expected.
Ohio angler catches 10-pound smallmouth
A week ago, Gregg Gallagher and his son Grant got a gift when fog canceled a school day (they’re both teachers) and made for more time on Lake Erie. From Ohio, they headed for Canadian waters, an area that looked promising. His goal was to catch a smallmouth bass of 7 pounds or better. They landed an Ontario provincial record smallmouth bass at 10.15 pounds, the largest ever caught in the Great Lakes. Check out Scattershots on Sunday for the rest of the story.
Lake Erie and tributaries
Fishing has been up and down in the tributaries according to Danny Colville of Colville Outfitters in Hamburg. The fish are found in specific exploitation areas. The water was low and clear except in Cattaraugus Creek, but the recent rain helped a little. Colville reports that DEC has recently stockpiled the Catt and is under heavy pressure.
The bridge area of Routes 5 and 20 has become filled with livestock, making it impossible to fish there without affecting the smaller fish. These breeders are so aggressive that they leave the hatchery, anglers should avoid this area until they disperse. Steelhead are moving into Cattaraugus Creek according to Shub Stevens at Catt. Creek Bait and Tackle. Lots of great reports from Gowanda in Zoar Valley. The early hours of the morning are the best. Pink and chartreuse egg sacs under a float work best.
Guide Andy Full of Tonawanda reports that some of the creeks were muddy earlier in the week. Small creeks will fish well mid week before they get too clear. Cattaraugus Creek was muddy and should be good again by the weekend. However, that will change if we see the inch of rain that is forecast. Look for the action to be affected for a few days, if not longer. Fishing has been amazing for Full with egg sacks. He reported double digit hookups with recent clients and there were plenty of fish around.
In the lake, perch are being caught in 50 to 70 feet of water from the Catt, according to Stevens. Perch are scattered but can be caught in good numbers using emerald or gold shiners.
Capt. Brent Snyder of Day Five Sport Fishing reports good perch action between Buffalo and Sturgeon Point. 46 to 47 feet of water was the magic depth. Structure is key this time of year and once he identified the structure he wanted, he had to find the fish with his electronics. As soon as he identified the fish, he put his trolling motor on the spot to hold it in place. In 3 1/2 hours, 179 perches were placed in the refrigerator to be cleaned.
The fish were up to 14 1/2 inches long with numerous double heads and two triple heads. If the fish turned off because the walleye moved, Snyder moved until he found them again, never more than 20 or 30 yards away. One of the reasons he fished these waters was because of a daily fishing log he keeps. Know where fish can be found based on temperature and water conditions from April to December.
Capt. Chris Cinelli of Grand Island has been targeting musky at his base and on Saturday, Vanessa Antone of Sanborn caught a 40-inch net fish with Capt. Chris and his fast sucker rig.
On Sunday, Cinelli’s son Parker, fishing with Blake Kenney of Grand Island, hit a 47-inch muskie with the same setup. Water temps were in the mid 50’s and the best is yet to come. At the Niagara Musky Association’s Tim Wittek Memorial Tournament last Sunday, the fish did not cooperate for the NMA members.
The winner was Sean Leary with fish of 39 and 37 inches. I was fishing with Mike Rowan of Lockport. The close-but-no-cigar award went to NMA President Scott McKee, who snagged a big one and brought it close to the boat. When McKee tried to net the fish, the fish, about 50 inches long, escaped his grasp and then disappeared.
The Niagara River action below Niagara Falls and into Lake Ontario continues to provide consistent action for a variety of species. Trout action has been good overall, with a mix of lake trout and lake trout according to Lisa Drabczyk of Creek Road Bait and Tackle in Lewiston.
Remember that lake trout are not in season until December 1st. Brown trout are being caught occasionally. There are also a few salmon swimming around. The best trout baits are 10mm beads, egg sacks, spinners no. 4 and no. 5, Kwikfish and MagLips whether you are fishing from a boat or from shore.
Tommy Holycross of Wheatfield reports that he’s still picking up salmon from the NYPA fishing rig, but right now they’re looking more like zombies. Steelhead are being caught in decent numbers and size on egg sacks or peach or pink pearls. Holycross noted that browns are rare off the rig and no lucid have been caught in the past week.
Capt. Frank Campbell of Lewiston reports good success for a mixed bag of fish in the lower river. Earlier this week I was fishing with Jeff Samsel from Georgia and Todd Ceisner from Depew and they caught seven species of fish in one morning.
Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls picked up a few trout along Artpark (visibility was 5-6 feet this week) but has seen better success upriver from the boat docks. Their mixed bag included pike, bass and muskie.
Lake Ontario and tributaries
Guide Scott Feltrinelli with Ontario Fly Outfitters reports that water flows in key tributaries are excellent thanks to water releases from the Erie Canal. Releases are now “limited” to shut down streams when it rains, so much better orchestration with weather changes, Feltrinelli says.
With more than an inch of rain in the forecast for Friday, smaller streams will receive a lot of water heading into the weekend. You may have to wait a few days to catch them. Brown trout size and numbers remain on the bottom and Feltrinelli has been seeing mostly 2- and 3-year-old fish.
All in all, there is decent fishing. Fishing pressure has been low. On the Oak Orchard River, brown trout hookups are happening daily and that action is heating up as the fresh salmon action starts to cool off, reports Ron Bierstine with Oak Orchard Tackle in Kent. The kings are still there, but they are on the move.
Anglers should watch carefully for spots where browns shadow kings. Once pressed, the browns may move some distance from the salmon, but will likely be in the nearest broken water downstream according to Bierstine. There is also the possibility of fishing for Atlantic salmon, coho salmon or steelhead.
In the Burt Dam/18 Mile Creek area, Matt Vogt of Newfane reported decent success with salmon. A few trout and brown trout are being caught at the dam and the cooler weather seems to be making a difference. This weekend should be good. Egg sacks and skein have worked best for Vogt. Egg imitations will work, but the best course of action has been to use real eggs.
Lake trout fishing has been excellent in Cayuga Lake, according to Capt. John Gaulke with the Finger Lakes Fishing Area. The post-spawn fish have been hungry and in a positive feeding mode with consistent sunny weather. Targeting in 100 to 130 feet of water has been good on an assortment of paddle-tail swimbaits with 1 1/2-ounce heads.
Keuka Lake is producing good numbers of lake trout around the spawning grounds, Gaulke says.
Expect good pike and minnow action on overcast days with a bit of wind or early morning or evening on clearer days. Weed growth is still green and abundant throughout the region. Seneca Lake is being activated. Expect all Finger Lakes with pike and pike to fish well.
Perch fishing should be very good on Cayuga, Owasco, Canandaigua and Skaneateles lakes. Gaulke expects the fish to be from shallow water (less than 10 feet) to about 25 feet. Look deeper if you don’t find them shallow.
According to Capt. Mike Sperry, with Chautauqua Reel Outdoors, walleye fishing is good with most of the fish being caught vertical jigging with rod and reel combos in the North Basin. 35 to 50 feet of water around the deepest holes are the best areas to find them.
The best baits have been No. 7 and No. 9 Jigging Raps, 1¼- to 2-ounce Gotchas and Snap Raps. The water is clear so the fluorocarbon leader line helps.
Sperry advises bringing hooked fish to the surface slowly to avoid air bladder problems, especially with undersized fish or any fish that break free. Fishing in the mix has been good, but trolling and cover water is working better this fall. Short line trolling lures like Llungen 22 Longs, Tuff Shads and Leo Mojos are working in shallow water, tight to the remaining weeds. Stalkers and Wiley’s will also collect fish. Don’t be afraid to keep trolling speeds around 4-5 mph.