Smallmouth bass continue to be the main attraction for anglers fishing Lake Erie, its tributaries and harbors. Lake Erie surface water temperatures have risen to around 52F.
Nearshore reef areas are a good bet for anglers searching for smallmouth bass. Concentrate efforts in 10-25 feet of water (fow) around reefs, shoals, rock piles and other structure. Productive areas include Seneca Shoal, Woodlawn Bar, Myers Reef, Evans Bar and Van Buren Bay. In shallow areas, casting and retrieving of lures such as tube jigs, twister tails and deep-diving stickbaits/crankbaits are productive. A drop shot rig combined with a live minnows or tube jig works well in deeper water. Harbors such as Barcelona, Dunkirk and NFTA Small Boat Harbors are great locations for smallmouth bass as well. For instance, a group caught 25 smallmouth bass inside the breakwall at Small Boat Harbor by slow trolling over a rock hump with F7 Rapalas.
Lake Erie tributary anglers continue to catch smallmouth bass through mid-creek. Fly anglers do well with woolly buggers and minnow imitation patterns, especially emerald shiner imitations. Casting and retrieving stickbaits and crankbaits that imitate minnows also works very well. Cattaraugus Creek is in the best shape, other tributaries are low and clear. Many suckers and large carp are in the tributaries and will readily take woolly buggers or live bait. Hooking into a large carp can be quite exciting, especially on a light or medium-light action fly rod!
Yellow perch anglers report catches in 50-55 fow off Cattaraugus Creek to Evangola State Park and 45-55 fow off Sturgeon Point. Live minnows and shiners or salted shiners are baits of choice. The walleye bite has been slow, however increasing water temperatures should prompt an increase in walleye bites. Early season walleye action is best in nearshore areas at night. Trolling with shallow diving stickbaits or worm harnesses in as little as 6 feet of water over rocky and rubble areas is a good bet. Try to locate areas that have water temperatures in the low to mid 50s and troll around 2 mph. Good early season locations include (from west to east): Shorehaven Reef, Bournes Beach, Green Hills, Van Buren Bay, Evans Bar, off Hoak’s Restaurant (Hamburg) and near the mouth of Smokes Creek.
Upper Niagara River
Anglers are picking up a mixed bag of bass, panfish and perch around the upper river shoreline and harbor sites. Yellow and white perch are hitting minnows with more consistency at the foot of Ontario Street and around Squaw Island. Northern pike catches have been decent on chubs or large shiners between Ferry and Ontario Streets. Smallmouth bass are moving into the shallow areas on the Black Rock Canal side of Bird Island Pier. For those willing to walk from Broderick Park to south of the Peace Bridge, action can be very good.
Anglers are still picking up some crappie in the southern basin, but reports indicate the crappie are nearly spawned out. Dewittville Bay walleye catches have been decent at night, along the weedline in 8-14 fow.
Inland Trout Streams
Water levels are low on almost all inland streams in Western New York, but temperatures seem to be holding. Anglers are having success with little spinners, salted minnows, worms and flies. Fly anglers are seeing good surface activity with trout rising to hatching flies. Depending on the stream, march browns, grey foxes, sulphurs and caddisflies are good flies to tie on.
Trout Stocking 2009
Many of the region’s streams and lakes are stocked each spring (March through May) with thousands of yearling brown, rainbow and brook trout. In addition to the traditional stocking of yearling trout, many waters also receive generous numbers of two-year old brown trout that average 14 inches in length. All of the region’s trout stocking waters have now been stocked, though select waters will receive a second stocking during May. For a complete list of stocked waters by county and number of trout stocked, view the Spring 2009 Trout Stocking pages. Public Fishing Rights Maps are available for many stocked trout streams and wild trout streams in the region.
Wiscoy Creek Angler Diary Program
The DEC Region 9 Fisheries Office will be running an angler diary program for Wiscoy Creek in Allegany and Wyoming Counties during 2009 and is currently looking for anglers to keep diaries. If you fish Wiscoy Creek (even once) and would like to keep a diary for DEC, please call the DEC fisheries office at (716) 372-0645 or email email@example.com. The program will run March 1 through October 31. This program duplicates one run in 2006 and will be used in conjunction with a late-summer electrofishing survey to evaluate the fishery’s overall quality. In 2006, over 115 anglers signed up for the program.
If you need more fishing information or would like to contribute to the fishing report, please call or e-mail Mike Todd (716-851-7010; firstname.lastname@example.org ) or Jim Markham (716-366-0228; email@example.com ). Good Luck Fishing!
The fishing hotline can also be heard at (716) 679-ERIE or (716) 855-FISH.