Stained waters have trout trekkers switching to egg offerings right now. Recent rains muddied Cattaraugus Creek heavily, and smaller feeders saw some staining.
Casters doing well with spoons and spinners last week now work either sacks or skein to tease trout entering Erie feeders.
Water levels vary. While the Catt is just settling down to clear waters, smaller feeders have dropped to where fish might not be able to enter at the mouth of creeks and streams. With no good promise of rain until after the weekend, a quick check on water clarity and level would be good for all streams between Buffalo and Barcelona.
Few boaters set up for walleye; the big push is for perch. North winds on Monday and Tuesday could not cool the ardor for perch in the larder. Perch prospectors headed out of Sturgeon Point and Cattaraugus Creek Tuesday in a mild breeze. It seems that anglers at each port recommend a go-west test.
At Sturgeon, the flotilla starts searching between the water pumping station (the blue-green breakwall) and Evangola State Park, with 62-foot locations getting major mention.
At Cattaraugus Creek, boat brigades head to Eagle Bay and points west, if the second drop-off at Foxes Point does not produce. A 65-foot depth has been consistently good, but some ventures have found bigger ringbacks at 78- to 85-foot depths west of Sturgeon and east of the Catt.
As with trout stream conditions, bait species and availability vary each day. Emerald shiners sometimes can be found; golden shiners are in most bait shops when emeralds won’t shine. Call ahead to make sure a bait shop is stocked near your planned perch trip.
While Lake Erie perch schools remain deep, many upper river perch packs feed within reach of shore casters. Minnows work best at LaSalle Park and the foot of Ferry and Ontario Streets.
Big minnows work best for musky drifters. Capt. Chris Cinelli began his fall musky program Tuesday with a 36-incher.
Drifters can do well on bass with smaller shiners. Bigger shiners attract muskellunge along many of the same drifts around Strawberry Island.
The lower river king salmon run improves daily. Bass still show the most activity, but the Devils Hole king bite is getting better. Frank Campbell has seen many mature salmon taken in the hole. Last year’s salmon run was mainly two-year-old “teeners” this year the three-year-olds often break 20 pounds and nudge 30 pounds.
For good lower-river bass action, most boaters head down current from Lewiston and drift shoreline structures for good numbers of smallmouths.
Boaters still have a solid fishery at 100 feet or less. Side planer run along shore can connect with kings and brown trout feeding in the shallows. Trolling faster with lures that move well at higher speeds, such as J-Plugs, has been most effective. Most colors do well on the backs of stickbaits with a glo finish on the sides.
Water levels in all major Lake Ontario feeder streams are high enough to draw trout and salmon. At Olcott, steelhead and brown trout have been in and kings are becoming more dominant. Sacks and skein do best for feeder-stream fish. Slipper Sinker Bait & Tackle has six different colors; each work at different times of the day.
Every port still has a fair to fantastic bass fishery. Either minnows or crayfish draw solid strikes from smallmouth bass.
New Conesus Lake shop
Ted Decker at Ted’s Tackle in Lakeville is making the big move from his shop on Route 15 to the new location at 5772 Route 20. Veteran western Finger Lakes anglers will know this shop as the site where the late Bob Coykendall ran Bob’s Bait & Tackle.
Decker will be between both shops, about a half block apart, this weekend. Starting in October and through the ice-fishing season, he plans to be open at 6 a.m. from Friday to Sunday. For updates, check with Decker at (585) 429-0587.
Western Finger Lakes
The early-autumn fishery is falling into place.
The shoreline panfish bite has been exceptional. Silver Lake shallows offer both bluegill and crappie; Canandaigua Lake sees a variety of panfish but perch predominate; Honeoye ‘gills are showing in larger sizes; Conesus has a good ‘gill fishery and a fair perch presence. The phone number for Dave Washburn’s new bait shop in Honeoye is (585) 337-1526.
But Conesus now has a northern pike bite that often beats bass for explosive rod bending. Large clubs under a bobber take a good number of pike, but since cool evenings kicked in, spoons, spinners and spinner baits tossed around weed beds at the north end of Conesus have been more effective.