Monster perch exist out in Lake Erie’s deeps, but the really big ones travel in small packs. That was the read Kenmore angler Bob Hollingsworth made while fishing 52- to 54-foot depths off Point Breeze during the Southtowns Walleye Association’s Annual Perch Tournament on Saturday.
Hollingsworth, fishing with partner Morris Fried of Cheektowaga, brought up a 14.7-inch female and four males all over 13 inches for a total weigh of 6.84 pounds. The top finishers all weighed in a five-fish total of more than 5.5 pounds.
Look for a more detailed summation of the perch tourney and Erie perch fishing in general on the Sunday Outdoors Page.
Walleye trollers await a solid run of western fish off shore, but night trollers have done better than usual for the week prior to Memorial Day weekend. Minnow-type baits started connecting last week the way they should have a week or two earlier.
Perch prospects remain deeper and wider, with smaller pockets of both bigger and dense schools than had been seen in previous years. One sure sign the perch packs have moved on is when round gobies come around.
Bass action heats up as waters warm around every significant rock pile from Buffalo to Barcelona. For jig bodies, white and yellow/chartreuse plastic bodies connect along structure tops; gray/smoke, brown and crawdad colors work better down deeper and along drop-off edges and ledges.
Free Kids’ Clinic
Trout Pond at Trailside Lodge in Letchworth State Park will be the gathering point for a “Free Learn To Catch a Fish Family Picnic” from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. This event includes lunches, snacks and door prizes for all. The DEC grants license-free fishing to adults accompanying youths for this event at the Letchworth Trout pond. An entrance fee of $8 is charged per car entering the park. For more details, call Roland Beck at (585) 493-3600.
The smelt population is gone from the lower Niagara River, but hefty schools of emerald shiners in the upper and lower river have boaters working nice schools of perch and bass in the upper and a lingering population of lake trout in the lower.
The bass bite is virtually everywhere from the head of the river to the north end of Grand Island.
Wes Walker at Slippery Sinker Bait & Tackle in Olcott notes that trollers still can connect with brown trout along the shoreline while running a spoon or stickbaitsetup. Slightly deeper, lake trout with some king salmon in the mix have been hitting at 40- to 80-foot depths.
Bass activity has been heavy around the Fort Niagara shoreline, Wilson Harbor, Eighteen Mile Creek, Golden Hill State Park and Oak Orchard. Perch have been plentiful.
• Western Finger Lakes — Silver Lake and Conesus Lake vie for pike-catching honors. Northern Pike have haunted the post-spawn panfish along shorelines of both lakes; a big chub under a bobber floated over weed beds awakens northernsright now. Bluegill and crappie schools have moved away from shore but still hold around emerging weed beds.
• Seneca Lake — The National Lake Trout Derby is set for this weekend. Roy’s Marina on Route 14 is a registration site. Rozalyn Japp at Roy’s sees more lake trout anglers than perchers this week. For details go to laketroutderby.org.
May Stocking Sites
The Randolph Hatchery have stocked area waters with assortments of trout last week.
Allegany County – Little Genesee Creek (Bolivar) 1,090 brown trout; and Genesee River (Wellsville) 950 brown trout.
Cattaraugus County – Ischua Creek (Franklinville) 550 brown trout and 150 brook trout; Red House Lake (Red House) 550 brown trout; Quaker Lake (Elko) 3,050 brown trout; Little Conewango Creek (Conewango) 350 brown trout; County Pond A (Randolph) 100 brook trout; County Pond B (Randolph) 100 brook trout; and Paisley Pond (Randolph) 50 brook trout.
Wyoming County – East Koy Creek (Gainesville) 6,470 brown trout; Cattaraugus Creek (Java) 1,240 brown trout; and Oatka Creek (Warsaw) 800 brown trout.