Trout anglers have had to wade and ply through drought-caused low waters, above-average summer and early-fall water temperatures and episodic rainfalls that have yet to bring stream levels up to fishable levels in many Great Lakes feeder streams.
Nonetheless, area rainbow/steelhead trout trekkers are seeing an impressive presence of fish movement in Lake Ontario’s open waters and Lake Erie’s larger feeder streams.
Years ago, the Department of Environmental Conservation abandoned stocking Chinook (king) salmon in New York State waters of Lake Erie. The Lake Ontario king fishery remains regal, but the steelie reigns supreme in most creeks and streams flowing into Erie between Buffalo and Barcelona Harbor.
Other states that continued a strong salmon program have yet to see a steelhead presence akin to what can be found in Erie’s New York waters.
Early this fall, states in the upper Great Lakes announced sharp cuts in salmon stocking. Michigan anglers will see the largest reduction, a 67 percent drop in Chinook stock as a result of declining populations of alewives, a once-abundant baitfish in Lake Michigan’s deeper waters.
While the steelie numbers have dropped off in Cattaraugus Creek and water levels in local streams remain low, trout have begun showing in greater numbers in streams that fish can access and head up stream.
Reports this past week had steelies of mixed sizes seen and caught in the Catt from the mouth at Irving well up to Gowanda. This fish movement is just in time for the Third Annual Gowanda Area Chamber of Commerce Fishing Tournament.
Competition begins with registration at 5 a.m. Saturday in the Moose Hall on Aldrich Street. For entry details, call 532-2834.

Tasty geese

Early goose season was productive for many hunters and the regular season opens in Western New York areas Saturday, Oct. 27.
Harvesting Canada geese has gotten easier in recent years, but when it comes to serving palatable portions, many chefs find their goose is cooked.
Hunting partner Mark Whitmore sends along a tried-and-proven receipt he calls “Goose Wings.”
This is one of those preparations that can be used on any game meat that might seem strong to those who have yet to hone a taste for meats taken from the wilds.
Whitmore writes: Clean and slice goose breasts one-quarter inch thick (sprinkle with meat tenderizer if older bird), marinade in Italian salad dressing for a few hours.
Remove from the marinade, wrap in bacon strips held in place with toothpicks. Cook on a charcoal grill until the bacon is done. Coat the wings with a mixture of half French dressing and half Frank’s Hot Sauce.
If you have a proven goose or other wild game prepping procedure you would be willing to share with fellow chef/sportsmen and women, forward it to the email address below.

Turkey virus

Some turkey hunters have seen a drop-off in bird numbers and DEC officials are now studying the effects of a lymphoproliferative disease virus discovered in New York last spring.
Fall hunters who see turkeys with skin lesions should contact a regional DEC wildlife office for instructions on how to submit a sample for testing.
For details, go to or call (518) 402-8924.