LAKE ERIE AND TRIBUTARIES
Most walleye have been “eater” sized, between 16 to 20 inches long with the occasional larger walleye or sub-legal throwback.
Slow trolling with electric motors around 1 mph with a bottom-bouncing rig and small worm harness works well in 30 to 40 feet. Traditional trolling or simply drifting and bottom bouncing have also been producing catches.
Barcelona anglers have been catching fair numbers of larger walleye west of the harbor in 50 to 67 feet of water.
Walleye have been suspended at different depths and stickbaits have outproduced worm harnesses. Anglers have also been catching suspended walleye in 65 feet of water between Cattaraugus Creek and St. Columbans. Stickbaits have been the top lure there as well.
Yellow perch schools are scattered over deeper water of 55 to 72 feet, between Cattaraugus Creek and Sturgeon Point. It may take some searching, but once a school is located, action can be non-stop. Live emerald shiners can’t be beat, but live fathead minnows or smaller golden shiners will also work. Anglers have not had much luck with salted minnows lately.
Decent perch catches have also been reported just east of the Dunkirk departure buoy (red) in 48 to 50 feet of water.
Smallmouth bass are available in 20 to 35 feet of water, along the Chautauqua County border. Bass stick tight to structures, so key in on areas with dropoffs, reefs or rock piles. Anchoring over structures or drifting along a dropoff with live bait or plastics is a good bet.
A drop-shot rig combined with live minnows, crayfish, tube jigs or other plastic creature baits is working well.
Some smallmouth bass are still hanging around Barcelona and Dunkirk harbors by the breakwalls
Bass are being found inside 10 feet of water and continue to provide good action for large and smallmouth. Stickbaits, tube jigs, wacky rigged senkos and minnows work well for largemouth bass, and worms or grubs get plenty of sunfish attention.
For larger smallmouth bass, try outside weedlines in 10 to 15 feet of water in Dewittville and Warners Bay.
Trolling for walleye with worm harnesses near dawn ordusk is a standard approach. However, drifting and jigging with a hair jig and nightcrawler or leech can also produce good bites during the daytime.
Anglers can also work weedlines for musky by casting large stickbaits and bucktail jigs or by trolling with bucktail spinners and over size stickbaits.
UPPER NIAGARA RIVER
Anglers at Broderick Park (foot of Ferry Street) were catching good numbers of smaller yellow perch with the occasional keeper. Decent numbers of rock bass and smallmouth bass were also part of the catches. Worms and minnows worked well for perch.
The bite was slower at other shore sites at the foot of Ontario Street and Niawanda Park, where anglers saw fair catches of rock bass, smallmouth bass and a few largemouth bass. Boaters target smallmouth bass outside of weedlines often over a rocky bottom. Try around Strawberry Island and along the southwest side of Grand Island for smallmouth bass.
Watch your drift if fishing along the southwest side of Grand Island as the international border (Canada) runs pretty close in that area.
Live crayfish work great for smallmouth bass.
As a sidenote, a recent DEC electrofishing survey showed good numbers of muskellunge and northern pike along Grand Island in the east river, in the vicinity of the Holiday Inn and Spicer Creek. Key on weed edges.
INLAND TROUT STREAMS
The area’s inland trout streams are in great shape for this time of year with moderate, cool flows. Isolated rainstorms may influence some streams this weekend. Last week’s heavy fly hatches have been tapering off.
Currently there are lighter or sporadic hatches of isonychia, cahills and caddieflies. Fly anglers can also see surface action on terrestrials such as ants, beetles and grasshoppers. If no visible hatches are occurring, drifting nymphs (hare’s ear, pheasant tail, golden stonefly) are a good bet. Productive offerings for spinning anglers include worms, salted minnows and small inline spinners.
If you are a catch-and-release angler and use spinners, it is good practice to outfit your spinners with a single hook rather than a treble hook