By Craig Robbins
LAKE ERIE AND TRIBS
Trolling with worm harnesses or stick baits near the bottom or bottom bouncing with worm harnesses is producing good limits of walleyes in Lake Erie. Trolling the main area off Barcelona is where anglers are picking up good catches in 70 feet of water.
Walleye are hanging just off the bottom and stick baits have been favored over worm harnesses.
Barcelona anglers are picking up some bonus lake or brown trout using this program.
Yellow perch fishing slowed off Cattaraugus Creek this week. Perch are still between depths of 50 and 60 feet, but searching around for perch schools on the bottom is important to success. Live emerald shiners fished just off the bottom in 40 feet are working best for perch. If emeralds are scarce, try other small minnows/shiners or salted minnows.
The smallmouth bass bite also cooled a bit this week. The better bites transitioned to a little deeper water, around 20-40 feet.
Bass stick tight to structure, so key on areas like drop-offs, reefs, rock piles and humps. A drop-shot rig with live crayfish or golden shiners has been working on Van Buren Point. A drop-shot with tube jigs or plastic creature baits (especially round goby imitation) also works well. The breakwalls around Barcelona and Dunkirk Harbors also are producing smaller fish.
Anglers are still catching channel catfish in the lower section of Cattaraugus Creek.
A couple of 20 pound catfish were caught just yesterday. Nightcrawlers, raw shrimp, chicken livers or cut bait fished on the bottom works well. In clearer water conditions, the catfish bite is better at night.
ABA Weekend BASS Series angler Brad Brodnicki of Amherst New York took first place this past weekend with a five bass limit of 20.92 pounds. With only one keeper bass coming out of the shallow docks.
The majority of his bass came in deep water near weed edges. While some anglers are also catching good numbers, around docks or in open pockets within the weed beds. Productive methods include fishing with live bait (minnows, crayfish, leeches) outside the weed edge or dropping jig and pig combination in the pockets.
Anglers continue to see some decent walleye fishing in the south basin along weed edges.
Walleye are still being caught in the north basin along weed edges between Prendergast and the Bell Tower. Target walleye by trolling with jointed stick baits and worm harnesses or by drifting and jigging with blade baits (cicada, silver buddy) or jigs with night crawlers or leeches.
Weed edges are also a good bet for muskellunge. Large stick baits, crank baits and buck tail trolling spinners work well for musky.
UPPER NIAGARA RIVER
Smallmouth bass are available throughout the upper river. Concentrate on areas outside weed edges in 10-20 feet of water.
Traditionally productive spots include the east side of Strawberry and Motor Islands, and the west bank of Grand Island (near Beaver Island State Park).
When fishing the west side of Grand Island, be aware that the international line runs quite close to the island. Drifting with a three-way bottom bouncing rig and live crayfish or shiner works well.
Anglers can target muskellunge by drifting along weed edges with large 8-10 inch tube jigs. Either side of Strawberry Island and Thompsons Hole (on the Canadian side) can be productive.
Fishing has been fair from Buffalo area shore sites. Along the wall extending to the north from the Ontario Street boat launch, anglers are catching a few decent sized yellow perch on emerald shiners, with some rock bass mixed in.
At Broderick Park, emeralds are producing mostly catches of white bass with some rock bass mixed in.
Emerald shiners are available for dipping at Broderick Park