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from Bill Hilts
The Fishing Beat - October 9, 2019
The cold front coming through this weekend could be the trigger to bring in trout and salmon into the streams off Lake Ontario and steelhead into the Lake Erie tributaries. Keep your fingers crossed!
Lake Ontario and Tributaries
Mixed reports coming from the piers, the tributaries and the lake. Burt Dam and 18 Mile Creek had decent action over the weekend on browns, with steelhead and salmon mixed in according to Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctors in Olcott. Egg sacs were hot over the weekend, with pink being the best color. There are fish in the creek if you want to paddle around with a kayak or small boat, fishing the deeper holes. The piers have been inconsistent according to Evarts. Firetiger J13 Rapalas have been working best, but spoons, spinners and rattlebaits will catch fish, too. Rain and cooler temperatures are expected this weekend and that should help.
Lake Erie and tributaries
Steve Brzuszkiewicz of Marilla got out Saturday between the rains and decided on Cattaraugus Creek instead of Sturgeon Point due to the morning winds. Good thing. Capt. Jim Hanley of Angola sends word that the Sturgeon Point launch is closed due to siltation at the opening. Brzuszkiewicz found a small pod of perch at 57 feet of water where he boated a quick dozen until the DEC ECO came over to check for license and life preserver. By that time, the pod was gone, and he could not relocate it.
Capt. Chris Cinelli of Grand Island is reporting some of the best smallmouth bass fishing of the year in the upper Niagara River on big shiners. While that's all well and good, Cinelli normally would be fixated on the lower Niagara River for salmon season this time of year. The salmon action in Devil's Hole and the gorge continues to be very slow, but a few fish are being caught, according to Lisa Drabczyk at Creek Road Bait and Tackle in Lewiston. Shore fishermen are casting spoons and spinners or drifting egg sacs and skein. Boaters are strictly fishing treated egg skein off 3-way rigs. It is important to take advantage of your hits. Missing one could mean a donut for the day. There are some rainbows and browns around, too.
Bill Hilts Jr. is a past president of the New York State Outdoor Writers Association. Hilts is an avid outdoorsman, an outdoor writer who has contributed articles to numerous national and local magazines, newspapers, and other publications. Hilts is also responsible for Niagara County Tourism Sportfishing Programs. He freelances from his home in Sanborn N.Y. Hilts was inducted in the New York State Outdoorsmen Hall of Fame in the Spring of 2007!
NYSDEC Fishing Report
October 11 to October 18, 2019
Lake trout season is closed on the lower Niagara River as of October 1st and will reopen on January 1st. There are some king salmon around the lower river, however salmon fishing is slower than usual for this time of year. Devils Hole drift is the best option for boaters. Expect to work hard and make every bite count to put a couple in the boat. Controlled drifting with a three-way rig with cured salmon skein is the top technique. Shore anglers are picking up the occasional king salmon from the NYPA platform, Devils Hole and Whirlpool State Parks. Large spoons, Vibrax spinners and cured salmon skein are good offerings.
Lake Erie, Tributaries & Harbors
There is a sandbar forming at the mouth of Sturgeon Point Marina, but boats were still successfully launching out of the harbor at report time. The DEC creel survey indicates that fishing effort has drastically dropped off in October, yet excellent walleye and improving yellow perch prospects remain. Good numbers of walleye are available from Cattaraugus Creek to the PA line in 50-90 feet of water. Worm harnesses and stickbaits run 45-65 feet down have been productive. The Lake Erie Unit sends word that there is a high concentration of 3-year-old walleye (17"-19") in around 60 feet of water off Brocton.
Cattaraugus Creek remained the best steelhead option this week and will remain so until the area receives significant rain. The Catt currently has a flow of 180 cubic feet per second with about 2 feet of visibility. The best fishing has been on Seneca territory and around Gowanda. There has not been much steelhead action closer to the mouth lately. All of the other Lake Erie tributaries have very low flow and are crystal clear. Rain is badly needed to get something going on those creeks.
Fishing for staging king salmon has been slow and spotty off Olcott. There have been some better catches for boats that located pods of salmon. In general, fishing is typically best at dawn for staging salmon, but the bite near dusk can be productive too. Boaters target staging king salmon by trolling with J-Plugs, J-13 Rapalas, flasher-fly combos and large spoons.
King salmon are available in lighter numbers in the medium to larger tributaries, while some smaller streams lack enough water to pass fish. Eighteenmile Creek currently has moderate to lower flow and clear conditions. Brown trout are present in good numbers and are the dominant catch below Burt Dam, with some real lunkers mixed in. Fair numbers of king salmon are in the pool at base of the dam, but quite thin in the section from there to the trestle. Oak Orchard has moderate to slightly low flow with clear water. King salmon are top catch there with decent to good numbers of kings immediately below the dam.
NYS Fishing Reports courtesy New York State Department of Environmental Conservation website. Visit them at NYSDEC
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. Good Luck Fishing!
The fishing hotline can also be heard at (716) 855-FISH.
Taking A Close Look At The Niagara Area Fishing Waters
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