Fall officially arrives Sunday, but late-summer outings in relatively warm lake and stream waters have resulted in catches that usually occur after autumn leaves begin falling.
Surface temperatures on the bigger lakes have held in the high 60s, but trout and salmon are making their shoreline runs to either start spawning or to seek available bait school forage.
The mid-fall crappie, bluegill and sunfish run might be a couple weeks away, but trout have hit the mouths of many Lake Erie feeders, and some trout have also begun escorting king salmon up Lake Ontario’s streams much earlier than usual
Reduced sunlight might be stirring the early run of trout. Take along gear usually neededlater in the year. Fall arrived early this year for stream and river anglers.
Trout are in the Catt. Smaller fish began showing two weeks ago, but the run of respectable rainbow/steelhead trout has shown in the lower waters of Cattaraugus Creek.
Egg sacks take a few fish, but regulars rely on sacks later in the fall. Right now, spinners and spoons have seen the most strikes. Rick Miller at Miller’s Bait & Tackle in Irving stocks a good number of Vibrax Blue Fox Spinners.
Spoons work as well. The Little Cleo spinner gets major mention and use when the trout begin moving. During periods of clear waters — and especially when water levels are low — the silver or silver and either green or blue finish connects. When waters become more stained and muddied, the bright oranges or reds become more visible and get more attention.
Walleye trollers still sneak out for a final check on school movement from Cattaraugus Creek to well west of Dunkirk Harbor. A few fish have been caught, but most boaters now focus on perch pursuits.
Boaters have found odd schools at varying depths. Closer to shore, 40-foot depths off Sturgeon Point and Evangola State Park have been productive at times. Deep runners have found ringbacks at 85- to 90-foot depths just east of Dunkirk.
But some consistency has been seen at 60 to 62 feet off both the Catt and Point Breeze. High Winds keep bait schools and perch pack moving, but boaters have gone back to those 60-foot depths and found good percentages of bigger perch after each windstorm has settled.
The entire shoreline has drawn a good number of king salmon. Casters can do well at Wilson Harbor and Olcott Harbor, with a good presence of kings under Burt Dam on Eighteen Mile Creek.
But Oak Orchard Creek has seen an unusual late-summer pattern of fish progress. In spots where casters were hooking warm-water species such as bass and northern pike last week, trout and salmon now appear, says Sharon Narburgh at Narby’s Superette and Bait & Tackle Shop in Kent.
Casters working lines under Waterport Dam have not only connected with Chinook, the above-average water temperatures have not deterred both steelhead and brown trout from showing up amid the king salmon. Live bait, spinners, spoons and flies all have been successful on trout runs at The Oak.
Fishing pressure has been slight; waders have done better on the move or when selecting times when fewer anglers are working feeder-stream waters.
New Honeoye Lake Shop
Dave Washburn, in the towing and repair business for 40 years, has added a bait shop to his Towing Service at 4869 East Lake Road in Honeoye. Washburn offers 24-hour bait service at his shop at the northeast corner of Honeoye Lake.
The shop opened in August. “We have all kinds of bait and will be gearing up for ice fishing season,” Washburn said of his new minnow-tank system designed to filter the specific water in which baitfish are held.
He is setting up to handle request orders for bait and tackle available at his shop. Call him at (585) 377-1526.
New Conesus Shop Site
Ted’s Tackle is planning a move to the Lakeville waterfront at the north end of Conesus Lake. Details on that move will be included in next week’s Fishing Line column.
New Chautauqua Lake Shop
Mike Sperry has been around for some time as a Chautauqua guide and a counter man at bait shops around the lake. Now, Sperry has opened Reel Outdoors Guide and Tackle at 165 West Fairmount Avenue (Suite 3) Lakewood, best known as the Dollar General Plaza.
Sperry has guided anglers on musky, walleye and bass trips. He is a reliable source for fishing updates and gear selection.
“The summer here was busy and we’re still busy on the weekend,” he said of the summer season that saw good outings for muskies and walleye. “We’re gearing up for steelhead and hunting right now, and we will have a full line of ice fishing gear for that season,” he added.
Call Reel Outdoors at 763-2947.