DEC’s Randolph Fish Hatchery has been conducting its annual fall stocking of broodstock trout in Allegany and Cattaraugus counties. All breeder trout stocked are over 2 years old and are stocked in waters where trout fishing is permitted year round. The following waters were stocked earlier this month: Quaker Lake received 100 brown trout (24 inches); Red House Lake received 190 brown trout (18-24 inches); Birch Run Ponds received 25 brook trout (18 inches); Case Lake received 150 brook trout (14 inches) and 75 rainbow trout (22 inches). Call the Randolph hatchery’s stocking hotline at (716) 358-4950 for updates.
Lake Ontario and tributaries: As far as the salmon run in the tributaries, there’s been some improvement. A modest increase was realized earlier this month Eighteen Mile Creek and other tribs were starting to see some more fish with the influx of fall weather. The best fishing has been for brown trout at Burt Dam, with a few salmon and steelhead mixed in. Better fishing for salmon has not been at the dam but down the creek in the lower sections from boat or off the piers at night. Things could very well be red hot by now. Some night fishing has also been taking place out in the lake by anglers casting glow-in-the-dark spoons or rattlebaits – anything that can get their attention. Trolling large J-13 Rapalas in the harbor early morning or just before dark is another good approach, as is drifting treated egg skein in some of the deeper holes. Smaller egg sacs or egg imitations will work on the trout, too.
Lake Erie and tributaries: Bass, walleye and perch were all on fire at last report. Best bass action was from 28 to 45 feet of water; best perch was 60- to 70-foot depths between Cattaraugus Creek and Sturgeon Point; walleye could still be caught in those same general areas off Sturgeon Point and the Catt. In the tributaries, Cattaraugus Creek was still the best bet, all the way up to the dam in Springville. Other tributaries were low and clear at last check. Casting the creek mouths at the lake with spoons or spinners should also catch you a few trout. Small stick baits will also work.
Upper Niagara River: Bass fishing was still going strong in the upper river and muskie action was starting to pick up a notch, too. For bass, live bait like shiners, crayfish and worm harnesses will all catch fish. Tubes, spinnerbaits, crankbaits and plastics will all catch fish as well. Local fly-fishing expert Rick Kustich has been picking up a few muskies up to 42 inches long on the fly by targeting the outside weed edges where the bottom drops off. Large tubes or body baits can also produce some fish this time of year. Some perch were being caught off Broderick Park and around the Ontario Street boat launch area on shiners.
Lower Niagara River: The lower river run seemed to be slowing down a little but some good fishing still exists. Options were available from boat and shore for salmon, with a few trout also being reported. From shore, hiking into the gorge at the Whirlpool or Devil’s Hole were great options for those who like to rough it. The New York Power Authority fishing platform was another easier option to deal with thanks to a shuttle service that runs daily from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Lot C at the Visitor’s Center up above off Lewiston Road adjacent to Niagara University. Access is also available along Artpark, but most of that area is best for trout. Boaters can work the Devil’s Hole area for the best salmon options, drifting treated egg skein off three-way rigs. Just ask 16-year-old Ben Bailey of Youngstown, who was fishing with his dad Stephen last earlier this month. Using some “magic eggs” from Creek Road Bait and Tackle, the young angler reeled in his first salmon – a 20-something pound king. With fishing pressure down from boats in Devil’s Hole, action has actually improved. Downriver, bass action was still an option – especially around Fort Niagara and the Coast Guard station. Live bait, spinnerbaits or tubes will all catch fish this time of year.
Chautauqua Lake: Muskie fishing on the lake continued to be some of the best in recent memory, according to local guide Craig Robbins. Trolling outside weed edges with large perch-pattern stick baits was the top approach right now but you can also catch these fish by drifting or casting. Walleye were hitting in the deeper holes around Chautauqua Institution’s Bell Tower and Upper Dewittville Bay. Jig with spoons, shiners or jigging Rapalas. You can also drift the weed edges with shiners to pick up some ’eyes. Smallmouth bass fishing has improved at Warner’s Bar, Maples Springs and Long Point, as well as around Lakewood Bar. Largemouth can still be found around the docks and in other shallow water areas. Use topwaters, tube jigs or other plastics.
Orleans County: The Waterport Bridge was set to re-open to traffic after being closed most of the summer for repairs. Rain brought water levels in all of the tributaries within Orleans County to an average to slightly above average level and created slightly stained water conditions. The runs of fresh chinooks still seemed to be very strong on all of the tribs and it looks like it should continue for awhile yet. Brown trout numbers were on the increase also, with some big fish being taken. Steelhead/rainbow trout were just starting to pick up somewhat and those numbers will increase as colder weather approaches. On Lake Alice, decent numbers of both largemouth and smallmouth bass were being taken, mostly in the upper reaches of the lake.