That so called “transition period” doldrums have faded; anglers willing to fine tune tackle and alter approaches are having some fun now along streams and shoreline shallows.
Boaters are getting ready to set lines and go, but shore casters can connect well on everything from sizeable steelies to a bunch of bullheads.
Lake Erie remains an ice floe funnel, but inland lakes are warming enough to start pre-spawn runs of panfish. The bullhead bite has been good since the Wilson Harbor contest two weeks ago. Some swear by nightcrawlers and look to chicken livers later; savvy bullhead hunters go with both.
Stream anglers have a good variety of stocked and wild fish. Popular inland streams such as Naples Creek and Catharines Creek have slowed somewhat, but an egg sack still beats fly offerings in relatively cool inland stream waters.
The derby/tourney season begins with the LOC (Lake Ontario Counties) Derby on May 2 and a Rudd Derby beginning May 3.
Lake Erie fish forecasts are mainly promising, with what could be a delay in a total ice melt-off before the start of May 3 walleye and trophy bass season. Despite a slow start, Don Einhouse delivered some optimism about warm-water species (walleye, bass and perch) during his presentation at the State of Lake Erie meeting April 10 at the Southtowns Walleye Association clubhouse.
Senior aquatic biologist Jim Markham delivered a cold-water summary during the SWA monthly meeting on Thursday. Prior to his presentation, SWA president Dave Woodworth presented him with the club’s Conservationist of the Year Award.
Markham outlined steelhead trout rearing and stocking programs compared with those of Pennsylvania and Ohio, noting that New York stocks enter streams in smaller sizes than in other states.
Rearing larger stock could improve trout sizes and numbers, but healthy fish that remain upstream develop size, yet may die during warm summer weather.
Emigration and predatory diet studies indicate 13.4 percent of these fish reach the mouth of streams and survive.
Markham reported sea lamprey numbers peaked in 2009, and populations remain about five times what should be in area waters.
Whitefish have been in a decline in Eastern Basin waters since 2007 but are a commercial success in Ohio and Ontario waters, Markham said.
Ohio Wildlife reports offer fishing prospects matching Einhouse’s forecasts. Ohio walleye migrate eastward each summer and Ohio studies have shown good year classes of walleye in the Western Basin in 2003, 2007, 2009 and 2010. Yellow perch saw peaks in 2007, 2008 and 2010. Updates on Ohio waters of Lake Erie are available at wildohio.com or by calling (888) 466-5347.
Randolph Hatchery tanker trucks have delivered trout species the past two weeks to these locations in time for weekend outings:
• Allegany County: Belmont Rod & Gun Club pond (West Almond), 100 brook trout; Vandermark Creek (Scio, Ward), 1,050 brown trout; Chenunda Creek (Willing), 260 brown trout; and Genesee River (Wellsville), 1,320 brown trout.
• Cattaraugus County: Franklinville Retention Creek (Stockton), 400 brook trout; Ischua Creek (Franklinville), 3,330 brook trout, 1,930 yearling brown trout and 1,500 two-year-old brown trout; Maples Club Pond (Otto), 300 brook trout; Crandall Pond (Ashville), 300 brook trout; Quaker Run (Cold Spring), 810 brown trout; Red House Brook, T17 (Red House), 620 brown trout; Science Lake (Red House), 220 brown trout; Red House Brook (Red House), 1,500 brown trout.
• Wyoming County: Cattaraugus Creek (Java), 1,140 brown trout and 400 two-year-old brown trout; Perry Park Pond (Perry), 100 brook trout; and Letchworth Park Pond (Genesee Falls), 200 brook trout.
Capt. Bob’s Outdoors in Clarence is staging Western New York’s first ever Rudd Derby starting May 3.
Rudd, an exotic invasive aquatic species has made a showing in area waters, especially in and along the Erie Canal waterway. When actively feeding, they can be caught in good numbers and sizes.
Steve Hawkins at Capt. Bob’s knows rudd provide tasty fillets and will provide a rudd fry for entrants in the store at 10295 Main St. next to Eon George’s from 1 to 3 p.m. on May 3.
This will be a 100 percent payout for the top three entries based on length; weights will be used to break a tie.
For registration and contest details, call 407-3021.
Niagara River / Lake Ontario
Nasty north winds have kept boaters off the Niagara bar, but the river temperatures remain in the lower 30s and the steelhead bite has been best from shore or in a boat with egg sacks or larger minnows.
The coho run is mainly away from the cold river waters eastward from Wilson Harbor to Oak Orchard Point.
Boaters are trolling shorelines mainly at depths of less than 20 feet; shore casters have good odds from piers, docks and stream banks early mornings and during evening hours.