Fall officially arrives Saturday, but anglers - boaters and shore casters alike - still have summer-like water conditions. Weed growths hold at normal densities, but warm surface-water temperatures keep fish moving into and out of weed edges the way they are seen in mid summer.
Reduced daylight have trout and salmon moving closer to shore on the big lakes.
Water lows woes
The DEC announced an opening day postponement for the Lower Fly Fishing Area below the Salmon River Hatchery in Oswego County.Similar low levels along area feeders on Lake Erie and Lake Ontario have trout trekkers looking at rocky, shoreline channels and checking out the bigger feeders for trout and salmon (in Lake Ontario) and trout species (in Lake Erie) to make their first showings. Tuesday's rainfall did little to increase water levels in popular trout streams.
Perch prevail as the go-to fish in terms of boat hulls hitting open-water waves. Boaters out of Sturgeon Point and Cattaraugus Creek head out to depths in the lower 60s for schools of ringbacks.
When a hefty school of feeding ringbacks gather under an anchored boat, the action can be non-stop. Yet boaters often come back to that same spot the next day - or even later in a successful day - and find the area void of fish life.
Sunday morning, before the big blow, boaters out of both ports had sizeable fish in near-limit or limit counts.
When the fish are biting, salted minnows, perch eyes, and rubber/vinyl minnow-type jig bodies (Twisters, Power Baits, Gulp minnows, etc.) all might get the bite.
Bass anglers continue to see bigger fish moving onto shallower shoals early mornings and often later into the day. Most boaters can start at 10-foot depths and rarely reach 25-foot readings before getting the hit. Seneca Shoals has been good, but Myers Reef can be even more productive in either sunny or overcast skies.
Walleye trollers this past week have headed even farther west of Cattaraugus Creek in search of 'eye action. Numbers have slowed, but the few boaters who have made the long runs often come in with three to six fish after doing some searching and lure testing.
Cattaraugus Creek water levels are slow, but Rick Miller at Miller's Bait & Tackle in Irving has some fair reports of steelies showing in the lower part of the waterway up to and just above the Routes 5 and 20 Bridge. "It's not like it should be, but at least some fish are showing," Miller said.
The upper river bass bite remains solid. Charter Capt. Chris Cinelli would like to head down to the lower river, but smallmouths cruising above Strawberry Island are just too plentiful. "They're in that early-fall bit and taking crayfish like crazy," Cinelli said.
The lower river bass bite is alright, but the main excitement keys on the power plant fishing platform. Casters there have seen a kingly presence of salmon. Boaters have yet to see a good presence of Chinook salmon along the usual drifts at Devil's Hole, Artpark, and down current.
Salmon movements around feeder streams and harbor piers are affected by the continued heat. Olcott Harbor pier casters connect early mornings and just before evening darkness. Olcott Harbor and Point Breeze have seen substantial perch schooling, but reports of bigger fish in greater numbers have come from Wilson Harbor this past week.