By Craig Robbins
Water levels have been falling the past few days making the smaller streams your best bet. All creeks except Cattaraugus should be good to go by mid-week with ideal water conditions likely.
Cattaraugus Creek is running high at about 1,700 cubic feet per second and should be down by week’s end.
Anglers continue to report good steelhead action on many creeks. Chautauqua, South Branch Cattaraugus, Eighteenmile are good choices.
Lake Erie steelhead commonly hit natural baits such as egg sacs and worms; flies such as egg imitations, streamers and bugger patterns; and artificial lures like trout beads, minnow-type stickbaits and in-line spinners. I
In cold water conditions, it is best to keep drifted offerings slow and deep as steelhead are more lethargic and hugging the bottom. It is also good to concentrate efforts during the warmest part of the day when chasing winter steelhead
Parts of the lake iced over during the last cold snap. Some thin ice remains in the sheltered bays of the south basin which are not safe and parts of northern basin remains open to boating.
Anglers can find yellow perch and sunfish action in the shallow areas. Small minnows, worms and small ice-fishing jigs tipped with waxworms work well.
Boaters can target walleye below 20-25 feet in the deep holes of the north basin. Vertical jigging just off the bottom with Swedish pimples, jigging Rapalas and hair jigs tipped with worms or minnows are good bets for walleye.
Anglers may still target bass by catch and release only with artificial lures only.
The special bass season runs from Dec.1 until June 20 and allows bass anglers to use artificial baits and immediately release bass back into the Chautauqua Lake.
UPPER NIAGARA RIVER
Shore anglers can target yellow perch from Broderick Park. Emerald shiners are available for dipping at that site and are the best bait for perch.
Anglers also catch the occasional rainbow trout from the park by drifting egg sacs or by casting spoons