Lake Ontario and tributaries: Salmon fishing on Eighteen Mile Creek was starting to pick up from the piers to the dam at Burt. Casting the piers with spoons or deep diving stick baits in firetiger or chartreuse was working morning and early evening; glow-in-the-dark works at night. Egg skein is another approach that has been getting fish to hit. In addition, brown trout are being caught off the piers at Wilson and Olcott. Some of those browns have been caught at the dam, too. While Twelve Mile Creek in Wilson was in need of a good rain, Four Mile Creek was filled with water from a blockage at the mouth. Thanks to local angler Chuck Booker of Amherst, he was able to open the creek back up so that it is flowing again. Boat trollers were hitting the pier heads and a bit deeper with J-plugs and large J13 Rapalas. In the 100- to 200-foot range, target the top 60 feet for a mix of cohos, kings and steelhead. Steelhead were still hitting out deep, too. Remember that a new license year started up on Oct. 1 for sporting licenses. Also, the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge is closed until further notice – whenever Washington, D.C. gets its act straight.
Lake Erie and tributaries: The yellow perch bite was still the hottest thing going on the lake, with good fishing being reported from Sturgeon Point to Dunkirk in 60 to 70 feet of water. The best depth seems to change daily, but once you find the sweet spot, limit catches are the norm. Live minnows or emerald shiners have been the best baits to use. No reports of walleye, but the bass fishing was slowly changing to shallower areas. Reports coming in show that 15 to 35 feet of water around structure is the place to be for bass. All of the tributaries were back to low and clear at last look, so your best bet for a steelhead is Cattaraugus Creek. Rain was needed to for the other tributaries. Casting or trolling the creek mouths with spoons or stick baits are good options for trout, too.
Upper Niagara River: Bass fishing has been the hottest action for anglers drifting live bait around weed edges in the west river, as well as around Strawberry and Motor islands. Also, try the head of the river. Shiners, crayfish or tube jigs work best. A recent electroshocking survey by DEC revealed good numbers of northern pike just east of the southern tip of Grand Island along the weed edges there. Yellow perch have been hitting around Buffalo at places like Ontario Street and off Broderick Park. Muskie action should improve as waters start to cool, but the recent nice weather has not contributed much to lowering temperatures. Try using large (8- to 10-inch tubes) to entice a muskie to hit.
Lower Niagara River: Local fishermen will have to suffer the consequences of the actions of a few people when the New York Power Authority announced that the fishing platform in the gorge will be closed weekdays through the remainder of the fall. After a few close calls with construction trucks by fishermen anxious to get to the platform, it was announced that the platform will only be open on weekends for the next month. The stairs to the shoreline are also closed at the South Access Road. Salmon fishing continues to be good in Devil’s Hole and produced some big ones in the 30-pound class. Treated egg skein seems to be the ticket. A midday bite was working for some (in the 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. range), so don’t go in too early if it’s been a slow morning. Bass action continued to be decent at the lower drifts as well as on the Niagara Bar. Perch fishing off the corner of the Lewiston Landing area has been very good.
Chautauqua Lake: Perch action has started to pick back up again all around the lake on small minnows. Walleye were also starting to show up in some of the deeper holes. Try vertical jigging with spoons, jigging Rapalas, shiners or hair jigs tipped with a crawler. Bass, both largemouth and smallmouth, can be caught along weed edges. Some muskie catches have been reported around those same weed edges by casters in 10-16 feet or water or by trollers seeking out suspended fishing over 25- to 35-foot depths. Use large (6- to 8-inch) stick baits .
Orleans County: Rain earlier this month gave the tributaries within Orleans County increased water flow and slightly stained water. Those conditions spurred the migration of salmon to the upper reaches of Oak Orchard and introduced Chinooks into Sandy, Marsh and Johnson creeks. Some fishermen were reporting a fair number of hook-ups on both brown and steelhead/rainbow trout on all of the tributaries. Surprisingly, there were still a good number of fish being taken on Lake Ontario in the 50-foot range. With regular rainfall, good to great fishing opportunities should continue.
On Lake Alice, a good number of smaller bluegill and crappie were being caught and released, which means the future of both these species looks good. Northern pike and catfish were being reported in the catches on The Oak, along with some perch. The popular St. Mary’s Archer Club catch-and-release derby ends Oct. 18.