By BILL HILTS
Niagara Gazette —
1. Lake Ontario and tributaries
Fishing action in area tributaries continues to be slow for one reason or another, leaving many anglers chomping at the bit to hook into a nice trout or salmon. Some fish have been reported at Burt Dam, according to Wes Walker at The Slippery Sinker in Olcott, but the water has been muddy since the weekend, contributing to the problems. Egg skein or egg sacs fished under a float is the best approach, but anything smaller will be difficult to see until the waters clear.
Some fish are also being caught off the piers and in the lake, but the big run of fish still hasn’t started. Pier fishermen can use spoons, stickbaits or fish egg skein under a float. Trollers are using J-plugs, J-13 Rapalas or any deep diving stickbaits.
At mid-week, large numbers of salmon were seen jumping near the mouth of 18 Mile Creek so it’s just a matter of time before they succumb to their natural urges.
Keg Creek is low and the mouth appears to be closed off. Both Twelve Mile Creeks in Wilson are low and muddy right now and four mile creek was not holding many fish, either – but the mouth is still open. Perch have been hitting in the clean water on the lake side of the pier in Olcott. The rain in the forecast should help.
2. Lower Niagara River
The lower river is going the opposite way for the salmon as the run is slowing down. However, the trout are starting to move in. Small Kwikfish or egg sacs are the way to go right now. However, bass and walleye can still be caught down river toward the mouth.
Monday is the annual meeting of the Niagara River Anglers Association. Because of a conflict in dates, the Monday meeting has been moved from the Jetport Restaurant to the Sanborn Area Farm Museum Meeting Hall, 2660 Saunders Settlement Rd. in Sanborn for this meeting only. The guest speaker will be 90-year-old ice fishing expert Joe Montgomery from Southern Ontario. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. sharp.
NRAA member Bill Mayes and some of his member friends send word that something spooky is happening at the NRAA Nature Preserve in the Town of Porter on Balmer Road. The last weekend of the month the NRAA clan will be hosting its first annual Haunted Hay Ride. Check out the website at www.niagarariveranglers.com.
3. Upper Niagara River
Bass action is still the hottest ticket on the upper river with live bait the best opportunity to hook up. The head of the river, Strawberry Island, the Huntley plant … all good spots to give it a go. As waters cool, the musky should start to turn on, too. Large tubes at weedline edges are good spots to try, but don’t rule out trolling large body baits.
4. Lake Erie and tributaries
Perch action can be good … or it can be slow. Schools have been moving around so you need to seek out suspended bait schools and schools of perch predators. The past week produced mixed results in 60 to 70 feet of water from Sturgeon Point to Cattaraugus Creek. While boats can be a good sign, they aren’t a requirement for success. Speaking of the Catt, that was the best tributary for trout last week. With the rain, look for the smaller streams to attract fish and the Catt to slow a bit with turbid conditions. Find clear water and you will catch fish. Casting the mouth with spoons or spinners should be a good technique, too.
5. Chautauqua Lake
The weedlines have been a good spot for musky casters and trollers. Try casting large bucktail spinners or trolling large jointed stickbaits to connect. Perch or firetiger have been good colors. The same areas with live bait is working on bass, too. Crappie action was good last week and should continue as waters start to cool. Perch were hitting in six to 12 feet of water but many smaller ones were being reported.
6. Finger Lakes-Inland Waters
Surplus Trout Stocking – DEC announced that some surplus brood stock have been planted in Southern Tier waters where year-round angling is an option such as Allen Lake, Case Lake, and Birch Run Pond. These breeder trout are over two years old so they are much bigger in size. Call the Randolph hatchery stocking hotline at 358-4950 for the full report.
Oneida Lake – Not much improvement with the evening walleye bite for shoreline casters. With cooling temperatures and rain, that could improve in the near future. Right now your best bet is to chase yellow perch in 10-20 feet of water with live bait like minnows and worms, or using jigs – clean or tipped with live bait.
Bill Hilts Jr. is an outdoor writer with the Niagara Tourism and Convention Corporation. Contact him at email@example.com.