Bass and musky seasons open at midnight on Friday for anglers in New York State.
Boaters on Lake Erie or Lake Ontario must be careful of boundary waters not only for border crossing, but also for bass-fishing concerns. Bass season does not open in the Province of Ontario until next Saturday, June 22.
Tourney tune-ups and a Southtowns Walleye Association contest in progress keep boaters active on the Great Lakes. Inland lakes and streams are seeing a warming trend more typical of late-spring fishing this season. Shore casters still have a good number of options; boaters might hit bass, muskies, walleye and assorted panfish successfully in shallow and deeper waters at the same time right now. Move around, check tackle options and vary depths. Fish can be actively feeding at many depths as summer is about to start.
With all this activity, veteran anglers should consider taking young/first-time anglers to one or more of the scheduled kids fishing derby/clinics set up for coming weekends. All anglers can learn a bit more about the area’s fishery during a workshop presentation at Woodlawn Beach State Park on Thursday evening.
Walleyes are beginning to show, but the better bite still comes from perch prospecting.
The open-water perch fishery remains deep, but schools of ringbacks make renegade runs into shallow areas at times. Shore anglers got some surprise perch presence in Dunkirk Harbor this past week. Breakwater edges around Buffalo Harbor often draws perch packs that come and go with the bait presence.
But for consistent perch activity, the 54- to 62-foot depths have been most productive as surface waters finally sneak into the lower 60s.
Walleye trollers are finding ‘eyes in shallows and at suspended depths. Side planers and lead-core lines set at 20-foot depths could pick off yellow pike at depths as shallow as 30 feet during early-morning and late-evening hours in areas where smallmouth bass should dominate. The worm harness gets more mention than most other lures so far.
If you want to catch a big fish from shore without a ton of tackle and tactics, head for Cattaraugus Creek and fish for cats. Rick Miller at Miller’s Bait & Tackle in Irving talks with perch and walleye anglers regularly but gives a greater accolade to catfish catches, which should be tapering off. Some of the Catt’s cats weigh in well above the 20-pound mark.
Boaters have hit waters heavily off Buffalo Harbor during the early bass season. With the Southtowns Walleye Tourney in progress, good-though-scattered walleye and perch schooling a regular draw and high winds that change temperature ranges in the water column, the bass bite has been spectacular.
A 30-foot depth might be a good starting point for the Saturday bass opener. Bigger smallies move up and onto rock crops from Seneca Shoals to Brocton Shoals as shallow as 10 feet before the sun gets directly overhead.
Crayfish and live minnows work well at all depths; darker colors (grays, browns and greens) on jigs connect at most depths but seem to do better as when working deeper waters.
Kids fish outings
• As part of the Buffalo Riverfest, the Valley Community Association at Riverfront Park on Ohio Street will hold a Youth and Family Event on Saturday. For more details, call Peg Overdorf at 553-8350.
• The Erie County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs and Department of Environmental Conservation partner to present a Kids Fishing Clinic at Chestnut Ridge Park Lake from 9:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. on June 22. For details, call 597-4081; to register, call 652-4180.
The 18th Annual Wagon Wheel Restaurant Bass Contest has anglers seeking the biggest smallmouth bass for the top three prizes in this opening-day competition. Entrants compete from sunrise until 4 p.m. along the Niagara River and Lake Ontario and can weigh in two fish at the weigh station from 3 to 4 p.m.
Robin MacKenzie will cook the prepared fish during a dinner after the awards presentations at 7201 Niagara Falls Blvd. in Niagara Falls. For complete details call 283-9861 (after 2 p.m.)
The Department of Environmental Conservation will hold its Second Annual Fish Management Workshop at Woodlawn Beach State Park from 6:30 to 9 p.m. on Thursday at S-3580 Lake Shore Road in Blasdell. DEC biologists will discuss fisheries management of Lake Erie’s steelhead trout, walleye and other species, habitat improvements and fish-passage concerns on the Niagara River and Springville Dam.