By Craig Robbins
LAKE ERIE AND TRIBUTARIES
The Lake Erie walleye bite has been picking up just east of Dunkirk Harbor in 30-45 feet of water. Trolling with worm harnesses just off the bottom or slow trolling and bouncing A worm harness off the bottom has been producing limits of 20-26 inch limits.
The larger walleyes are being taken out of Barcelona by trollers. While “eyes” have been coming out of Barcelona, there have been few limits reported. The best bite is coming in 70 feet with the suspended fish in 15-20 feet.
Smallmouth are still being picked up out of Dunkirk Harbor and off Van Buren Bar with tube jigs, jigs with twister tails still working well. But bigger smallies are being caught on deep diving stick baits and drop-shot rigs.
The yellow perch bite has good from Dunkirk Harbor to Cattaraugus Creek. Anglers are catching perch in close at around 40 feet of water and over deeper water of 55-60 feet. Emerald shiners fished at or just off the bottom is usually the ticket.
Smallmouth bass are still available in the lower sections of the tributaries. Fly anglers catch bass with woolly buggers and minnow patterns. Spinning anglers do well with stickbaits, marabou jigs with grubs (under a float) and natural baits such as minnows, crayfish or worms.
UPPER NIAGARA RIVER
Daytime anglers at Broderick Park (foot of Ferry Street) are catching a mix of white bass, white perch and sheepshead on emerald shiners. After dark, Broderick Park anglers are picking up some walleye on emerald shiners. Some walleye have also been caught from Bird Island Pier south of the Peace Bridge by casting spinnerbaits. Shore anglers are catching yellow perch at the Ontario Street boat launch and along the wall to the north.
Smallmouth bass fishing in the upper river is a better bet by boat. Try around Strawberry Island, Motor Island and along the southwest side of Grand Island.
Watch your drift if fishing along the southwest side of Grand Island, as the international border (Canada) runs pretty close in that area.
Anglers report a good walleye bite along weed edges in the south basin, in Ashville and lower Bemus bays. Working jointed stickbaits and worm harnesses or by drifting bottom-bouncing drop shot rigs tip off with a night crawler or leech.
The largemouth bass is hot and heavy around docks in Warners and Lakewood Bays. Tossing spinner baits and 3-inch tube baits are working good.
The rocky shoals off Lakewood Bar and Rock Island are great places to start for smallmouth bass. As a reminder, fishing for bass in Chautauqua Lake is by catch and release only, artificial lures only, until the third Saturday in June.
With muskie season opening on June 21, casting buck tails and jerk baits over the outside of the weed edges in Bemus and Dewittville Bays are traditional good opening season hot spots.