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Waters are open everywhere, but depths and distances vary for each lake, river and stream anglers choose to fish.

Lake Ontario’s shoreline offers some good trout prospects and feeder streams have good water levels. Lake Erie’s feeders have shown similar plusses, with an arrival of spawning suckers, which draw and hold trout on Cattaraugus Creek and nearby streams.

Along with incoming suckers, bullhead activity offers another sign of spring. Leech sales from Irondequoit to western Finger Lakes areas signal the start of the bullhead run.

Early panfish

Boaters began heading out to Lake Erie’s deeps in search of perch. Most boaters could find only a few ringbacks; some catches included bigger fish. But 34- to 36-degree surface temperatures have perch on a slow bite.

Ron Gatz at S&R Bait & Tackle in Rochester sees similar deep-water runs for perch. The better bite at Irondequoit Bay has been the deep drops around the Route 104 Bridge.

Lake Erie Lore

Lake Erie boaters have headed out for the perch run and look forward to season openers for walleye and then bass, but all anglers interested in what is going on and catch-worthy on this lake can learn additional aspects about the fishery on Thursday evening at the State of Lake Erie Meeting.

Four expert presentations, with question and answer sessions, will be given from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Southtowns Walleye Association Club House at 5895 Southwestern Blvd. in Hamburg. Topics range from fish-community concerns to updates on invasive species and on fisheries agencies’ programs. For details and directions call Helen Domske with NY Sea Grant at 645-3610.

Boating safety

A boating mishap on Lake Ontario last weekend calls attention to the need for watching weather patterns and upgrading communication gear.

Fishing trips on open waters of the Great Lakes often call for runs well off shore. Before even heading to an outing, let contacts on shore know a destination and an estimated return time.

Modern electronics could be valuable out there. Along with carrying a working cell phone, knowing how to use a GPS unit can help rescuers pinpoint the location of a disabled or capsized boat. Consider using a PLB (Personal Locator Beacon) (most models priced below $400) on your boat.

Youth fish derby

The Town of Clarence Annual Youth Fishing Derby, a free event open to kids ages 15 and younger, will go from 9 a.m. to noon in the Clarence Town Park Pond on Saturday.

Fishing for bass, bluegill, sunfish, coy, trout, suckers any other species is entirely catch and release; trophies will be presented for the smallest, largest, and most fish caught.

Captain Bob’s Outdoors, 10295 Main Street in Clarence, is donating redworms to the first 100 entrants. For more details on this derby, call 407-3021.

Annual fish die-off

Observers have noticed dead fish afloat in Buffalo Harbor and in the upper Niagara River waters as well some open-water areas of Lake Erie. This phenomenon happens every spring; some years these fish carcasses may be most visible just after ice-off on Lake Erie. Most of the dying fish are gizzard shad.

Trout stocking sites

The Randolph Hatchery has stocked area streams with brown trout, brook trout and rainbow trout. Alon with spring yearlings, anglers can also hook into two-year-old brown trout stock. Here is a listing of locations by county of stockings made this week in time for weekend angling:

Allegany County: Black (West Almond) 1,020 brown trout; Canaseraga Creek (Burns) 1,380 brown trout and 200 2-year-old brown trout; California Hw Brook (Bolivar) 360 brown trout; Hunt Creek (Alma) 180 brown trout; Root Creek (Bolivar) 730 brown trout.

Cattaraugus County: Five Mile Creek (Allegany) 2,110 brook trout; Cattaraugus Perrysburg Conservation Club Pond (Dayton) 100 brook trout; Lake Flavia (Dayton) 2,000 brook trout; Elton Creek (Freedom) 950 brown trout and 200 2-year-old brown trout and 150 brook trout; and Haskell Creek (Hinsdale) 700 brook trout.

Chautauqua County: Bear Lake Outlet (Stockton) 650 brown trout; Cassadaga Creek (Stockton) 220 brown trout and 200 2-year-old brown trout; Conewango Creek – West Branch (Villenova) 470 brown trout; Farrington Hw Brook (Cherry Creek) 220 brown trout; Canadaway Creek (Arkwright) 250 brook trout and 50 2-year-old brown trout; and Mill Creek (Gerry) 800 brook trout and 100 2-year-old brown trout.

Wyoming County: Oatka Creek (Warsaw) 1,700 brook trout; Perry Park Pond (Perry), 100 Brook trout; Cattaraugus Creek (Java) 1,750 brown trout and 600 2-year-old brown; and Letchworth Park Pond (Genesee Falls) 300 brook trout.

email: odrswill@gmail.com