November 3 to November 17, 2023
Lake Erie, Harbors & Tributaries
Cattaraugus Creek has been in good fishing shape on most days this fall and anglers have enjoyed consistently solid steelhead action. Steelhead are spread throughout the system, with anglers reporting lots of fish in the 24″-28″ range. At report time the Catt is in prime shape with medium flow. Fishing on the other tributaries had been very slow for a period up through last weekend, due to ultra-low flows and fewer skittish fish around. However, rains gave all creeks a bump in flow at the start of this week, and the creeks have been in good shape the past few days. Snowmelt should help to sustain flows on the Chautauqua County streams into the weekend. Look for fresh steelhead to have moved up. Steelhead commonly hit natural baits like egg sacs or worms, flies including egg imitations, black stoneflies, nymphs, streamer and bugger patterns, and lures such as minnow-type stickbaits, in-line spinners and spoons. For those new to steelhead fishing see the Steelhead Fishing in Lake Erie Tributaries page.
Be aware there have been recent stockings of yearling domestic rainbow trout in Chautauqua, Canadaway, Cattaraugus and Eighteenmile Creeks. These are “put and grow” stockings to supplement the fishery in future years, and are smaller than the minimum keeper size of 12 inches. Please handle with care.
The open lake season is winding down and rough conditions limit outings. When conditions permit, anglers are still catching yellow perch between Cattaraugus Creek and Sturgeon Point in 50-60 feet of water. Walleye are showing around the outer Buffalo Harbor breakwalls and gaps at night. Launch docks remain in place at Buffalo Harbor launch all year. Launch docks have been removed at most other Lake Erie launches, but the launch ramps remain open.
Broderick Park anglers are catching some rainbow trout and walleye. The walleye bite is better during low light periods. There are no specific areas identified, but there appears to be pretty good fall muskellunge fishing in the river for the muskie regulars. Target muskie by casting large stickbaits or drifting and jigging large tube jigs (8″-10″). Trolling around the outer Buffalo Harbor breakwalls and gaps produces muskie catches as well.
The lower river trout bite has heated up as water temperatures have dropped into the 50s, while king salmon numbers are dwindling. Steelhead are moving up in earnest and are being caught in good numbers by shore anglers at the NYPA platform and Whirlpool State Park and by boaters in the upper drifts. Boaters can target steelhead by controlled drifting and bottom-bouncing with egg sacs, trout beads or shiners. Good trout offerings for shore anglers include drifted egg sacs, trout beads, egg flies, shiners or jigs fished under a float, and casted spoons and spinners. Incidental lake trout and the occasional brown trout have been part of the trout mix. Be aware lake trout season is closed on the lower river until December 1st. Incidentally caught lake trout should be promptly released. Some brown trout are showing between Lewiston and the river mouth, while smallmouth bass and walleye are available from Devils Hole to the Niagara Bar. For fishing access maps and lower river fishing information, see Fishing the Lower Niagara River.
Attention anglers: The Artpark State Park Fourth Street entrance and Parking Lot D (lower lot) are closed until mid-May 2024 for a site improvement project. The lower park and shoreline are still accessible to pedestrians who park in the upper lots and walk down.
Lake Ontario, Tributaries, Harbors & Piers
As king salmon numbers are dropping off, brown trout numbers surge in the Lake Ontario tributaries. Fish and fishing effort is mostly spread between the creeks receiving supplemental Erie Canal release waters, including Eighteenmile, Oak Orchard, Johnson and Sandy Creeks. Those streams are in great shape with medium flows and range from clear to slightly stained. Recent rains did not help the smaller streams which remain too low to pass fish. Eighteenmile Creek anglers report excellent brown trout catches and fair numbers of kings hanging around. There are better numbers of king salmon at Oak Orchard Creek, along with solid numbers of brown trout. The Oak is also a good bet for Atlantic Salmon with multiple hook-ups happening daily. There is a decent mix of kings and brown trout pushing up at Johnson Creek. The same goes for Sandy Creek, along with some Atlantic salmon catches. There are still a bunch of salmon below the falls at the Genesee River and steelhead are starting to show too. Note the trout and salmon daily limit of 3 in combination in the Lake Ontario tributaries is not to include more than 1 brown trout. See the Fall Fishing Program for more detail. For those new to salmon fishing, see the Pacific Salmon Fishing in Lake Ontario Tributaries page for more information.
Walleye fishing has been consistent in the north basin at depths over 40 feet and around the rims of the deep holes. Vertical jigging programs have worked well. Walleye are also available to shore anglers at night. Try casting shallow-diving stickbaits. Fall is a top time to target muskellunge and the Chautauqua Lake bite has been decent as of late. Casting or trolling outside weed edges with large stickbaits and crankbaits is a typical tactic. Muskie seem to prefer a faster troll of around 3-4 mph. For tips on how to catch and properly handle muskellunge, visit the Muskie 101 page. Visit the Chautauqua Lake page for more information.
Surplus Broodstock Trout Stocking
DEC Randolph Fish Hatchery completed the fall stocking of broodstock trout between October 6 and October 30. All broodstock trout are over 2 years old. The following waters were stocked. Quaker Lake received 250 rainbow trout (14″-30″) and 400 brown trout (12″-24″); Red House Lake received 30 rainbow trout (30″) and 450 brown trout (12″-18″); Case Lake received 800 brook trout (12″-18″), 75 brown trout (12″-24″) and 50 rainbow trout (12″-24″); Harwood Lake received 390 brook trout (14″-18″); Allen Lake received 325 brook trout (14″-18″) and 50 rainbow trout (14″); Lake Flavia received 50 brook trout (14″) and 125 brown trout (18″-24″); Genesee River received 400 brown trout (18″-24″) and 450 rainbow trout (14″-30″); Cattaraugus Creek received 465 brown trout (12″-24″); East Koy Creek received 825 brown trout (12″-24″). Call the Randolph Hatchery Stocking Hotline at (716) 358-2050 for updates.
If you need more fishing information or would like to contribute to the fishing report, please call or e-mail Mike Todd (716-851-7010; firstname.lastname@example.org). Good Luck Fishing!