Thursday is the last day of the Great Lakes muskie fishing season. As the saying goes, make hay while the sun shines. Regardless of the weather we’re having, there’s time to take advantage of the Niagara River’s fishing conditions above and below the mighty Niagara Falls. The weather for the weekend does not look favorable.
Lake Erie and tributaries
Small and medium-sized creeks have been fishing well, reports local guide Vince Tobia with Cattaraugus Creek Outfitters. The Catt just took shape. But storms with lake-effect snow are now forecast to negatively affect streams. Tobia says the fresh fish comes in the tributaries of Lake Erie. Egg patterns like sucker spawn work well. Some anglers are using streamers and catching trout.
Not many anglers have ventured into Lake Erie. One who did was Captain Ryan Shea of Brookdog Fishing Company. On Monday, walleye and bass did well with casting rigs in 40+ feet of water. If the winds cooperate, you can still do well. With storms headed our way, it may not be until next week.
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The walleye season ends Thursday in New York’s Great Lakes waters, and action has been good upriver and in Buffalo Harbor when conditions cooperate. Capt. Hans Mann of Buffalo Harbor Outfitters caught a 53-inch, 26-inch harbor fish a few days ago. Greg Tilley of Pembroke reeled in the fish, caught on one of Mann’s Poly Carver homemade lures with a fire tiger. Believing in the Solunar tables, Mann found the fish in the waning minutes of an important afternoon phase. He also caught another 46-inch muskie on Monday for an impressive fall season so far. River fishing has been good for boat and shore anglers in the lower river. Capt. Joe Srouji of Angler’s Edge Outdoors enjoyed a great morning on the water with Jim Kelly (not that Jim Kelly) and his son, Aidan of Elma. It was a short trip, but they scored early, landing seven trout and losing a few others while pulling pearls and eggs from the three-way rigs. The water was a little stained, perfect for Captain Joe. Meanwhile, Capt. Arnie Jonathan of the AJ Guide Service did well on Sunday using Kwikfish, paddletails, chartreuse pearls and egg sacks from Artpark to Niagara Bar. The river was full of boats taking advantage of the conditions. Lisa Drabczyk of Creek Road Bait and Tackle reports that steelhead action has been good along Artpark, with some lake trout also cooperating. Ground casters are using egg sacks, egg fakes, spinners and jigs. Brown trout are being caught off the docks at Fort Niagara. Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls found a spot in the gorge where casts up to 70 yards produced some rainbows on KO Wobbler spoons. Visibility was about 6 feet. He admits that getting down into the gorge is tough on old knees, so he’s mostly been fishing some easier spots to catch lake trout with spinners and jigs.
Lake Ontario and tributaries
Oak Orchard River action has slowed as flows have dropped to mid to slightly high and are less spotted according to Ron Bierstine with Oak Orchard Tackle. Flows in other tributaries to the east and west appear to be rising. It’s unknown how much longer the channel drainage flows will last, but it likely won’t be that long. Recent rainfall at the moment is probably not enough to keep flows higher than low when the Erie Canal runs out of water. According to the schedule released by the Canal Corporation, water releases will be interrupted on Thursday and it will be up to Mother Nature for water flow in 18 Mile Creek, Johnson Creek, Oak Orchard River and Sandy Creek. According to Bierstine, there is a chance for a mix of lake-effect snow and rain over the weekend, but it shouldn’t affect the Lake Ontario plains as much. Fishing pressure has been light. Most anglers should go low and slow to get a few hookups in the fast water below the dam and a little more action in the flat water downstream due to some trout action bream coming down and a cooler steelhead. Olcott fishing action has also seen limited pressure, but Newfane’s Logan Noon, 12, has been working Burt Dam and 18 Mile Creek and has been doing well on a mix of beads and egg sacks. Steelhead and brown trout are available.
Skimmed ice has been forming in Sodus and Port bays in Wayne County and boaters are off after Chris Kenyon of Wolcott reported perch. It has been a good fall and anglers are spreading out to hit the hard water. You’ll have to wait a while before there’s ice for sure, but with the cold weather, it should be sooner rather than later. Prepare your ice fishing equipment.
Seneca Lake is producing fair landlocked salmon fishing with occasional reports of brown trout, Capt. John Gaulke with the Finger Lakes Fishing Area. Expect fair to good pike fishing in the main pike areas. Water levels are low according to Gaulke.
Cayuga Lake is producing good lake trout action in 120 to 150 feet of water. A few lake trout roam shallow along with some young brown trout. The water level is also low. Expect good bass fishing on Cayuga, Owasco and Skaneateles lakes. Launching can be a problem depending on water levels and launch closures.
There’s not much going on in Chautauqua except for a little perch fishing from shore, reports Capt. Mike Sperry with Chautauqua Reel Outdoors. Sperry noted that they didn’t have a big crappy run this fall as usual. I didn’t know why because there are a lot of fish in the system. There are probably still a few anglers on the lake chasing parrotfish, but reports have been limited. If this pattern of cold weather continues, there will be some ice soon.
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