Steelhead are trickling into Cattaraugus Creek and some have been caught as far upstream as the mouth of Clear Creek. Most of the fish have been smaller jack steelhead, with some larger fish in the mid-20 inch range showing as well. Targeting steelhead in the lowest section of Cattaraugus Creek or from the breakwall are the best bets. Some of the other tributaries have been low, but with the rain this past weekend steelhead should be running up all Chautauqua County tribs. With rain in the forecast, creek levels will rise over the weekend, likely drawing in steelhead. Anglers have been catching steelhead off the mouth of Chautauqua Creek this week. Wading and casting spoons and spinners off creek mouths works well for steelhead that are staging in those areas. Boaters can target steelhead off major tributary mouths by trolling with spoons between 2-2.5 mph.
Lake Erie anglers have enjoyed excellent yellow perch catches this week, including many limits. Anglers are catching perch in 60 to 69 feet of water between Cattaraugus Creek and Sturgeon Point, although the hottest action has been in 60 to 62 feet of water. Waters straight off the Catt, Foxes Point, Evangola State Park and Point Breeze have all been productive. Pay attention to the thermocline as it has been moving in and out with the wind, and the perch are on the move with it, hanging along the edge where it intersects the lake bottom. Good perch schools and catches have also been reported just west of Battery Point in 60 feet of water and off Dunkirk in 52 to 53 feet of water.
Fall is a good time to target muskellunge on Chautauqua Lake, and with muskie hunters reporting better catches this past weekend, it looks to be another good fall muskie season. Muskie casters are doing well along the deeper weed edges in 10 to16 feet of water in the northern basin off Warners Bar and Upper Dewittville Bay. Trollers are picking up suspended muskies in depths 25 to 35 feet. Trolling with large (up to 8 inch minnow) type stick baits is a good bet.
Weed edges are also the perfect place to catch some fish for dinner, with bluegills, perch and a few crappie being picked up under a bobber and minnows.
UPPER NIAGARA RIVER
The head of the river remains a good spot to target smallmouth bass or walleye. As waters continue to cool, look for muskellunge and smallmouth bass fishing to pick up in the river. Emerald shiners are a good bet for yellow perch and panfish from City of Buffalo shore fishing sites
INLAND TROUT STREAMS
The area’s trout streams are running low and clear, although water temperatures are OK. Saturday’s rain should boost levels. Fly hatches remain small and sporadic, with some tricos, isonychia and blue-winged olives hatching in the area. Terrestrials such as ants, beetles and grasshoppers are good options, especially in areas with overhanging vegetation. 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.