Temperatures can have anglers steaming at the same time that they have been turned cold by changes in degrees.
Lake Erie nearly hit 60 degrees and dropped to 53 after two nights of near-frost cold. Honeoye Lake jumped from 61 degrees to a sweltering 72 degrees before that frost. Water temperatures, moving much slower than changes in air temperatures, have a stunning effect on fish movement and feeding.
Look for another hitch in fish activity during the coming warm spell, but vary trolling and retrieval speeds to draw the better bite/strike count in this yo-yo late-spring temperature cycle.
Open-water perch seekers share one depth for their successes – 54 feet. On the Canadian side and the shore from Sturgeon Point to Barcelona Harbor, the most mentioned depth for sizes and numbers of ringbacks has been at or near 54-foot depths.
Movement is essential. Some spots have been consistent for a decent catch; most limits and big-box catches have been the result of a few pulls on the anchor between gangbuster catches.
Closer to Buffalo, some perch schools have been solid at depths as shallow as 20 feet, but finding and holding over these fish can be a daunting duty rather than an enjoyable outing.
Bait, larger emerald shiners, that is, might become more difficult to find. Lake waters have yet to reach 60 degrees, but bait schools have begun moving out of reach for shoreline netting.
Dayside trollers and drifters have started picking up walleyes in fair numbers. Trollers work 30- to 50-foot depths. Drifters at the head of the Niagara River have been using mono worm harnesses and working the start of river currents at depths of less than 30 feet most days.
Boaters can still motor up to Devil’s Hole and drift for lake trout and steelhead trout along shore. Lake Erie temperatures dropped more than five degrees in the recent nighttime cold snap, and the salmonid species are comfortable enough in 53-degree water to feed on the abundance of emerald shiners holding in the lower river.
Upper-river bait presence continues, but the catch sizes have gone down to mainly mini-sized minnows. Generally, bigger (bait-sized) emerald shiners hold in river shallows until sometime at and after mid-June.
Trollers have moved slightly deeper, but the open-water action is still fairly close to shore for kings, coho, browns and steelies.
Cold air and the occasional upwelling of chill water have held brown trout closer to shore than normal in late May. Coho and Chinook salmon hover at 30 to 80 feet over 80- to 150-foot depths throughout the day. With the right kind of flashy spoon, a rig set in these depths can take both of the salmon species, cohos higher and Chinook deeper.
Along with cohos up high, metallic spoons also attract steelhead trout.
LAKE LANE EVENTS
This weekend, Lake Lane on Windfall Road in Olean holds its annual Fishing and Hunting Getaway. No fishing license is required when fishing at the two Lake Lane ponds. Kids have free fishing derbies both days.
Other events include bow shooting, a turkey-calling contest, kayaking and many other family-oriented events and activities.
For details, call 373-2080.
KIDS FISHING DERBY
East Aurora Fish and Game Club offers youths a free Kids Fishing Derby at the club pond on Luther Road Saturday. The fishing goes from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., with lunch and prizes provided. To register in advance, call 597-4081 or 949-9483.
Walleye are few but crappies are a solid number source for Chautauqua waters, according to Stacy Sandberg at Fluvanna Outdoors. Minnow sales have been steady and anglers continue to work the shallows for crappies schooling in a post-spawn feed. Sandberg has heard good reports of panfishing along Chautauqua Lake and north to Cassadaga Lake throughout the spring season. Check with him for updates at 488-3192.
Jarod Hughes of Skaneateles used a jig to win the National Lake Trout Derby on Seneca Lake during the Memorial Day weekend with a 14.01-pound entry.
The lake trout run continues, but the shoreline panfish presence draws more boaters to Seneca’s shore for a good mix of perch into the shallows enough to mix with big bluegill and sizeable sunfish. Minnows have been the mainstay bait offering, but a section of nightcrawler often can perk up panfish.
MAY STOCKING SITES
The Randolph Hatchery May stocking schedule ends with two counties receiving fish stocks in time for weekend outings.
Allegany County – Rushford Lake (Caneadea), 1,310 9-inch brown trout; and Rushford Camp Pond (New Hudson), 200 brook trout.
Wyoming County – Letchworth State Park Pond (Genesee Falls), 300 brook trout.