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BigOutdoors
09-24-2010, 07:53 PM
Fishing Line: Sept. 22
Find the best places to drop a line
By Will Elliott
News Outdoors Writer


Summer heat and shortened daylight have anglers sorting tactics to apply for either warm-weather or early-fall catch prospects.

True, the calendar for Thursday logs the first day of autumn and the peak of a full moon, which often results in better fishing times at mid day or around midnight.

But above-average temperatures have kept some panfish species foraging slightly deeper and pushed surface feeders -- bass and trout especially -- closer to the surface.

On one panfish pond outing this past week, we saw bigger bluegill surfacing and even taking shots at emerging fliers an inch or two above the water surface.

The go-deeper pattern seems to be working on Lake Erie perch and walleye and on Lake Ontario trout and salmon.

Plan trips with gear that had worked this summer along with fall tackle items that might draw a bite. This is one of those times the fishing experts deem a period of "transition."

Among other plans, include renewing that New York State fishing license, which comes due next Friday, Oct. 1. Along with a license purchase, consider adding a Habitat/Access Stamp ($5), which helps improve and expand shore-bound and boating anglers places to fish on area waters.

Lake Erie

Don't winterize the boat just yet. The walleye bite is slight, but the perch pack is back. Boaters out of Cattaraugus Creek have a desirable dilemma, with rainbow/steelhead trout heading up stream and hoards of perch schooling directly off the creek mouth.

Rick Miller at Miller's Bait & Tackle in Irving has yet to see the heavy foot traffic along shore, but boaters get in on the perch search each morning. Most Erie feeders still need some water depth to attract fall-run salmonids.

The trout bite improves daily. Casters do well off the breakwater walkway and rainbows run further up the creek with each flow of rainfall runoff. Rains stained and pressured waters last week, but Miller sees good conditions for shore casters this coming week.

Bait remains an issue. On days with a good forage run, perch hit virtually all popular baits: Night crawler sections, salted emerald shiners, fathead minnows, golden shiners, and even assorted artificials such as the minnow-shaped Berkley Power Baits and Gulp Baits. But if you have access to live emerald shiners, your odds improve.

The bass bite -- and a few close perch schools -- have boaters out of Buffalo Harbor happy. Waters have cooled enough to bring smallmouths up onto shallow structures. Early mornings around Myers Reef and Seneca Shoals can be busy over rocky bottoms as shallow as 10 feet.

Niagara River

The lower Niagara River bass bite has been slight, but the salmon run has begun. Capt. Frank Campbell sees the king thing just starting to pick up. Tuesday morning his clients pulled two Chinook in the first hour of a mid-day drift run in Devils Hole.

Big salmon -- rather than high numbers -- have been taken so far from boats adrift and from shore. Nick Custodi at Village Hardware in Lewiston noted anglers have brought in big salmon from the river and out on Lake Ontario waters for Fish Odyssey weigh-in entries. "We've had fish (salmon) 26 to 30 pounds so far," Custodi said. Primary bait for all king salmon seekers has been cut sections of skein.

Custodi also noted a good perch fishery along the Lewiston sand docks. Sales of small minnows have soared this past week.

The Fish Odyssey competition continues until Sept. 26, and anglers can register at various sites before 7 a.m. to enter fish caught that day. For complete details on species divisions, current standings, and registration details, go to fishodyssey.net.

Lake Ontario

Salmon are moving into creeks and river mouths, but the bite has been better after dark.

Trollers set up close to shore at sunrise and work shallow depths at first light. When daylight brightens, the fish move out, but most good catches come from varying depths over less than 150 feet.

Boaters off Fort Niagara, Wilson Harbor, Olcott Harbor, and Oak Orchard River run a variety of terminal tackle and each have done well. Spoons with at least one side in shining silver, J-Plugs, cut bait, flasher-and-fly rigs all get major mention.

Out deeper, a steelie run has begun over depths of 300 feet or so off Olcott. Spoons dominate this fishery.

Chautauqua Lake

"Keep Trolling and checking your baits, and it will finally pay off," West Seneca angler Jason Kazmierczak suggests for successful musky fishing.

Kazmierczak took his family on a vacation at Chautauqua Lake in mid-August and worked 8-inch trolling plugs a couple hours each day and on Aug. 18 he hooked into a "wammo" in Dewittville Bay that took the tape to 51 inches.

Musky numbers tailed in early September, but trollers have measured a few big ones of late.

For most recreational anglers, yellow perch remains the go-to crop to catch/harvest.