Summer officially arrives Friday, but summer-like fish phases have shown in varying forms everywhere from the larger lakes to the smaller streams in the area.
Cooler Great Lakes waters have kept Ontario’s trout and salmon moving high and relatively close to shore. Erie’s walleye schools have put on moves that have boaters going in ovals and circles in search of the prize species. On either lake, getting over actively feeding fish can be highly productive, while other boaters within shouting range may go fishless for hours.
Warming inland lakes and ponds activate post-spawn bass and walleye at all hours of the day. The bass bite has been good since early spring in some areas, but this latest hitch into the 60-degree range could increase the bass bustle even more than before.
While most of the attention focuses on bass, the pike and musky bite has been good and steady in weeded and sheltered areas around docks and piers throughout the spring.
So many recent reports have been on great Great Lakes fishing; this week more attention will be paid to larger inland lakes.
Wind kept walleye and perch anglers off the water most of the past week. Perch depths and movements remain the same; walleye schooling and migrations remain a puzzle for boaters. Perhaps results from the Southtowns Walleye Tournament might make charting a bit easier to read.
Danny Colville at Colville Outfitters and Custom Tackle in Hamburg gets mixed reports on walleye activity in the Buffalo and Erie County area of the lake. Trollers have not had to drop to more than 50-foot depths in waters less than 100 feet deep for the walleye seen so far.
North winds move thermal layers up and down, but trollers able to get over working schools of king salmon often do well during morning hours. Dropping less than 100 feet over depths of 200 to 250 could be regal.
Teach Me to Fish Outing
The Erie County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs and Department of Environmental Conservation will co-sponsor a Teach-Me-To-Fish fishing clinic for ages 15 and younger at Chestnut Ridge Park Lake from 9:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Saturday.
Rods and reels will be provided during this catch-and-release gathering at which accompanying adults will not need a fishing license while assisting kids at fishing. Kids can visit learning stations on knot tying, casting, basic techniques, and aquatic and fauna identification.
After the fishing and clinics, all will be treated to lunch and drawing prizes. To register a youth for this clinic, call the East Aurora Boys and Girls Club at 652-4180.
• Chautauqua Lake: Bass season got off to a great start. Smallmouths put on the better showing, with top-water baits and live baits working well at depths of less than 12 feet lakewide.
Stacy Sandburg at Fluvanna Outdoors sold out of bass minnows and most of the crayfish supply on opening weekend. Even larger suckers for musky and pike outings saw considerable use.
Capt. Larry Jones has put together a musky tournament set for Saturday, June 29 at Chautauqua. For details, go to mostlymusky.com.
• Conesus Lake: The pike bite continues along weed-edge shallows, but schools of smaller bass outnumber all fish species. Perch have been scarce; smaller bluegill schools still hold close to shore.
• Honeoye Lake: For decades bull-sized bluegills have been the leading panfish species, but super-sized sunfish have taken over along the Honeoye shallows. A float/bobber set to keep a bait close to bottom in 6- to 8-foot depths has been the rig to pull big sunnies from weed-edge shallows around the lake. Some outings result in a few 11- to 12-inch perch, but the catch count will be mainly those “pumpkinseeds.”
• Canandaigua Lake: Perch dominate the lake’s fishery. Even bass fishermen hook into ringbacks while flipping larger plastics and hard baits.
• Seneca Lake: Larry Japp at Roy’s Marina sees a good perch run in the early-morning shallows and at depths of less than 30 feet throughout the day. Big sunfish light up lines at depths as shallow as 4 feet. Live bait is good, but several casters have gone with small plastics (Twister Tails, Finesse baits, Gulp, etc.) in the gray-brown colorations; that “motor oil” coloration has gotten major mention.
Trollers work spoons deep for lake trout, generally at 90 to 100 feet. But side planers running less than 20 feet deep have connected on a great combination of brown trout, landlocked salmon and the occasional rainbow trout.
Japp hears Michigan Stinger spoons have been most effective on the shallow-water troll.