LAKE ERIE AND TRIBUTARIES
The eastern basin of Lake Erie in mid-July means one thing-monster walleyes.
At 40-65 feet in Dunkirk Harbor, running stick baits and worm harnesses will keep rods bending. One of the keys to trolling is keeping worm harnesses or stickbaits close to structure and the bottom, or bottom bouncing with worm harnesses.
Trolling is the main program off Barcelona, where anglers are picking up good catches in 70 feet of water. Walleye are hanging just off the bottom and stickbaits have been favored over worm harnesses.
Anglers should not overlook shallower reef areas when searching for walleye. Anglers typically catch walleye around the deeper edges of reefs by casting and retrieving weight-forward spinners tipped with a nightcrawler or by bottom bouncing with worm harnesses.
Anglers are still catching channel catfish in the lower section of Cattaraugus Creek.
A couple of 20-pound catfish were caught just yesterday. Nightcrawlers, raw shrimp, chicken livers or cut bait fished on the bottom works well.
In clearer water conditions, the catfish bite is better at night.
UPPER NIAGARA REGION
Smallmouth bass are available throughout the upper river.
Concentrate on areas outside weed edges in 10-20 feet of water. Traditionally productive spots include the east side of Strawberry and Motor Islands, and the west bank of Grand Island near Beaver Island State Park.
When fishing the west side of Grand Island, be aware that the international line runs quite close to the island.
Drifting with a three-way bottom bouncing rig and live crayfish or shiners works well. Anglers can target muskellunge by drifting along weed edges with large 8-10 inch tube jigs.
Either side of Strawberry Island and Thompson’s Hole on the Canadian side can be productive. Fishing has been fair from Buffalo area shore sites. Along the wall extending to the north from the Ontario Street boat launch, anglers are catching a few decent sized yellow perch on emerald shiners, with some rock bass mixed in.
At Broderick Park, emeralds are producing mostly catches of white bass with some rock bass mixed in. Emerald shiners are available for dipping at Broderick Park.
Muskie hunters are picking up good numbers of muskie by casting bucktail and stick baits over weed beds in Dewittville and Bemus Bays. Trolling for big muskies has been working in 15-35 feet.
Targeting areas with weed edges and deep drop-offs has been producing reel-clicking action.
Anglers are still picking up walleyes in the southern basin along weed edges in Burtis and Lakewood Bays. Walleye are still being caught in the north basin trolling along weed edges between Prendergast and the Bell Tower from 12-30 feet.
Baits of choice on Chautauqua Lake have been jointed stick baits and worm harnesses, or drifting and jigging with jigs tipped off with night crawlers or leeches.