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Back on the water for yellow perch

Submitted Photo Pictured, from left, Kody Shamrock and James Steckman display some nice trout caught out of Cattaraugus Creek.

Trout and yellow perch continue to be the species of choice for most of the local outdoors people, and there are plenty of both to go around.

This columnist had a chance to get out on Lake Erie and try his luck for some yellow perch. Due to some health issues, I had to sit on the sidelines all year, but after a recent successful surgery, my brother Ray and friend Brian felt comfortable taking me out. We set out of Cattaraugus Creek, launching at Hanover Bay, and that was a smooth operation. There were already more than 50 trailers in the parking lot by 7:15 a.m. We headed straight out to 55 feet without much luck and headed deeper. Finding active fish was a chore and, after a couple hours, we had a handful of ring backs, but it was great to be back on the water.

After 1 p.m., we decided to head back towards the mouth and spotted several anglers “lifting a rod.” Without crowding them, we dropped our offerings and in no time we had action settling for a couple dozen nice-sized perch. It felt great to be back in action.

Rick Miller in Irving reported that on Thursday there were at least 100 boats launched out of the “Catt.” There were some reports of limit catches and others who caught enough to keep them happy. Target zones include 52 feet off the mouth out to 68 feet. Other anglers opted to head east off Evans, close to the state park. Thus far, Miller and Stevens at Catt Creek Bait & Tackle have been able to keep up with the supply of minnows for the demand.

This time of year it’s a catch when you can due to the weather. The forecast for the weekend doesn’t look promising, but you should be able to find perch action off the Catt. until the lake ices up. One of our best outings was the day before Thanksgiving about eight years ago. It was a blue bird day and only one other boat was barely visible on the horizon. We had a limit of perch in less than an hour.

Trout are reportedly in all the local streams and some nice sized ones, too, according to Gerri Beiger at Bill’s Hooks. Eggs and egg imitations are a good starting point. Some anglers reported using eggs from fish they had previously caught. Egg imitations, like sucker spawn and woolly buggers or tiny jigs tipped with mousies or mealy worms, will also produce. Smaller sized spinners will produce in shallower water, and tossing spoons like Cleo’s Johnson sprites and KO wobblers will do the trick closer to the mouth of the streams.

One angler commented that over the weekend he tried trolling with spoons at the mouth of the creek with bass hanging out in the 6- to 8-foot zone. A friend confided that the trout were hanging further out in the 20-foot mark. Temperature might make a difference for the fish location. A couple weeks ago, Captain Larry Jones commented that anglers were doing well after dark long-line trolling stick baits near the outer break wall of the Buffalo Small Boat Harbor.

This is the time of year when the walleye will start to move into the shallows to feed for the winter. Many of the popular fishing publications will tell you that the walleye return to their spring time haunts all the way up to when the lake freezes. If you take a midnight cruise, you just might see some of these night bite anglers returning from a nocturnal trip. Check it out.

Zach over at Hogan’s Hut /Stow reports that the perch bite is still active on Chautauqua Lake with anglers catching ring backs in the 10- to 13-inch range in good numbers. The lake temperature is still reportedly around 65 degrees, but anglers targeting the 6- to 8-foot weedline at the north end are picking perch and occasionally finding a walleye or two while trolling the weed edges with a worm harness in 10 to 14 feet of water. Jigging in the deeper holes near Dewittville is also productive for walleye at 35 to 40 feet.

Muskie action has also started to pick up for anglers trolling the weed edges near the Bell Tower. Daytime trolling for walleye on Lake Erie has been a very slow pick for many anglers lately.

Not a lot of action reported from the bow hunters with all the warm weather and foliage. Wait for the next cold snap to change that.

CALENDAR

— There will be a pistol course at the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club on Oct. 23 from 2:30-7:30 p.m. There is an $80 fee. Call Gary Dudek at 366- 3397 for details. There will also be free Monday night fly-tying courses with all materials and devices provided at the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club from 6:30-8 p.m. It is open to the public with no registration required.

If you have a story or photo you would like to share, or your club or organization has an upcoming outdoors-themed event like a turkey shoot or sighting call-in day, call 366-1772, 785-3659 or 366-3000 ext. 1 after 6 p.m. and ask for sports. Leave a name, a number and a time you can be reached and I will contact you.

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