By Bill Hilts Jr.
Niagara Gazette — 1. Lake Ontario and tributaries
With cold weather arriving on the scene a bit more consistently, waters are finally starting to clear in some of the tributaries. Eighteen Mile Creek at Burt Dam was reporting good flow over the dam, but no report of any power generation from water pushing through the turbines. A few salmon are still being caught, but the end is near according to Wes Walker at The Slippery Sinker. Brown trout are still the top target. Catch of the week there was a 19-pound female brown that was hauled in earlier this week, but the angler really didn’t seem to realize how great a catch it really was and wouldn’t give up his name or a picture. Too bad. These fish are deserving of more respect. Egg sacks or egg imitations are still the way to go and as the waters clear, downsize both your bait and fishing line. A few more steelhead are starting to arrive on the scene, too. Pier action can be good for casters tossing spoons or spinners when the conditions are right, but high winds have keep fishermen off quite a bit of late. No report of water in Keg or Hopkins creeks. Wilson’s 12 Mile creeks are producing a mix of fish – salmon and trout. Some perch have been reported in the back bay of Wilson Harbor, as well off the inside arm of the pier. Some of the short piers in Wilson are producing trout on spoons. Casting off the mouth of 4 Mile Creek into the lake was producing a few fish recently.
2. Lower Niagara River
The lower Niagara River action was decent last weekend until the gales of November started to blow again. Trout action was good for steelhead and lake trout with an occasion brown trout. Shore fishermen at Artpark are now hampered because of construction on the stairs there – a project that will not be completed until May of 2014. You can still follow the lower Artpark hiking trail to the shoreline and try to work your way back along the river, but be careful. Water is still muddy and charter guys have been canceling trips until the weekend. That said, the long range was calling for some more wind going into the weekend — again.
3. Upper Niagara River
Musky season closes down on the upper river Nov. 30 and if the waters clear up you might want to try and give it a go. Jim Hanley of Angola reported that he had some buds out fishing on Sunday and Stan Skotnicki of Eden was the lucky angler reeling in a 52-inch musky that weighed over 40 pounds! They were trolling a green watermelon perch body bait over 22 feet of water at 2.8 miles per hour when the lunker hit in Buffalo Harbor. After a quick picture, it was released to fight another day. Most of the week was shut down because of the turbid water conditions. Remember that the regular bass season also closes down on Nov. 30. Bass action can be good still as they go on an aggressive feed just prior to winter. Some trout should be available in the upper rapids or at the head of the river.
4. Lake Erie and tributaries
The small to medium-sized streams like Cayuga, Buffalo, Walnut, Silver, Canadaway, Chautauqua and Eighteenmile have been great this fall for trout. Cattaraugus Creek should be fishable this weekend. Egg sacs or other egg pattern flies are good bets for trout right now. No one we talked to made it out on Lake Erie due to high winds and some more are being forecast for this weekend. If you do make it out, target 40-50-foot depths between Sturgeon Point and Cattaraugus Creek.
5. Chautauqua Lake
Musky anglers are making their last ditch effort to catch a lunker before the season closes on Nov. 30. Look for fish in 8-16 feet of water around weed beds, casting the edges with large bucktail spinners, jerk baits or jointed stickbaits, according to Craig Robbins of Jamestown. Trollers can also do well in the same area, again with large jointed stickbaits or body baits. Not too much else to report with hunting season going on.
6. Finger Lakes-Inland Waters
• Oneida Lake – The shoreline walleye bite is going on right now according to reports from local anglers. Casting smaller stickbaits in blue-silver or black-silver just before and after sunset is the best approach. Some of the best areas include Bridgeport, Oneida Shores, Lower South Bay, Sylvan Beach and Lewis Point to name but a few. Yellow perch are still snapping around the lake for anglers using small jigs, minnows or worms.