|Yellow perch caught on Lake Erie off Sturgeon Point in Derby. (Photo courtesy of NYSDEC)|
CHAUTAUQUA COUNTY, N.Y. - Last week’s unusually warm weather really boosted the fishing conditions. Well I assume that is what brought the smallmouth bass in to the tributaries so early.
During a normal year, smallmouths don’t come in to the streams until May. I am curious to see if they retreat back into the lake now that the water in the creeks has gotten colder again. As long as the weather keeps changing wildly the fishing is going to be unpredictable.
That’s not really a bad thing; being unpredictable just makes the fishing more fun. I hear they’re starting to catch a few catfish in the Cattaraugus Creek. Guys have done well on the crappie at Chautauqua Lake for the past few days. Crappies are sensitive to the water temperature so I wouldn’t be surprised if they turn off for a while.
I am still hearing about some steelhead being caught here and there. The occasional brown trout can still be caught out of the Dunkirk Harbor. Although the bass are already being caught in and around the harbor.
Also in the harbor at this time of the year are the bullheads. Bullheads are a relative of the catfish and even have whiskers like a catfish. They are more active at night so most fishermen who want to catch bullheads usually fish at night.
I expect that any time Lake Erie is flat enough, there will be boats out fishing for perch. There is a ton of fishing opportunities available right now, so the hardest part might be deciding where to go.
After this Sunday there will be even more options because trout season opens for the entire state on April 1.
I personally have never done too much trout fishing in the inland streams. I am more of a Lake Erie and its tributaries fisherman. Some guys I know are avid stream fishermen and they usually take time off of work around early April. I am pretty excited to get out there this week end and see what I can catch.