By Craig Robbins
LAKE ERIE, LAKE ERIE HARBORS AND TRIBUTARIES
This past weekend's warm temperature and Monday's rain have increased stream levels. Creek levels have peaked and are now beginning to fall to good spring-time fishable conditions.
Cattaraugus Creek was running high as of week's end at 2,100 cubic feet per second, but warmer temperatures this past weekend have brought that level down. This week looks to be good as spring temperatures stabilize along with the flows.
Spring run steelhead hit a variety of baits including egg sacs, egg pattern flies, trout beads, jigs with grubs (fished under a float), minnows, nightcrawlers, streamer patterns and bugger patterns.
When fishing murky conditions, brightly colored baits and flies are good bets.
Anglers are still doing well off the Dunkirk City Pier, catching steelhead and brown trout on minnows fished under a slip bobber. Spoons, spinners, stickbaits or jigs with grubs under a float will also catch trout.
Trout will begin to show up in Barcelona Harbor as the ice moves out of the Harbor.
Chautauqua Lake is finally opened up and is ice free. Crappie fishing on Chautauqua Lake is best just after ice-out.
Congregations of crappie are traditionally found around Rock and Grass Islands, just outside the buoys, on Lakewood Bar, along the narrows between the bridge and the ferry, at Mayville flats and in the canals.
Try 1/32 and 1/64 ounce jig heads with 1-inch tubes in hot colors and tipped with a minnow.
Bullhead are available in the canals and from shore at night. Worms, leeches or chicken livers fished on the bottom work well for bullhead.
UPPER NIAGARA RIVER
Harbor, bay and inlet areas are opening up in the upper river. Look for yellow perch and sunfish to move into these areas along Grand Island and the Tonawandas.
These areas warm quicker than the main river channel, attracting both bait and panfish. Anglers usually catch some rainbow trout at this time of year from Bird Island Pier and Broderick Park.
Target trout by drifting egg sacs and minnows or by casting spoons and spinners
INLAND TROUT FISHING
Area streams are running high due to recent rain and runoffs. The smaller streams are the best bet for fishable conditions this weekend.
With the cold water temperatures there has not been any surface activity yet.
Nymphs, streamer and bugger patterns are best bets for fly anglers at present.
Productive offerings for spinning anglers include worms, salted minnows and small inline spinners.
If you are a catch-and-release angler and use spinners, it is a good practice to outfit your spinners with a single hook rather than a treble hook.