Lake Erie DEC Fisheries meeting is Wednesday

Photo by Ashton Laird Anglers are enjoying the strong Lake Erie yellow perch fishing off the Chautauqua County shoreline right now, with Emerald Shiner minnows the best bait.

The fishing on Lake Erie has never been better since those old days when I started dropping lines into the lake in the 1950s. Walleye, smallmouth bass, steelhead and yellow perch are among the most popular species for anglers, and every angler is always looking for more information on how, when, where and what. This coming Wednesday the NYSDEC is inviting anglers and the interested public to learn more about the status of Lake Erie and Upper Niagara River fisheries at a public meeting set for Woodlawn Beach State Park’s lodge in Blasdell (Erie County), from 6:30-9:30 p.m. This annual meeting is sponsored by DEC’s Lake Erie Fisheries Research Unit and Region 9 Fisheries offices.

The meeting will begin with an informal discussion followed by presentations on Lake Erie and Niagara River fisheries management, including updates on assessment activities and research for prominent recreational and restoration species such as walleye, smallmouth bass, yellow perch, steelhead, lake whitefish, lake trout, cisco, and prey fish. All are welcome to attend this free event; registration is not required. DEC Chief of Fisheries Steve Hurst said, “Anglers look forward to this event every spring because it provides an excellent opportunity to engage directly with the DEC biologists who manage the Lake Erie fishery. DEC is committed to the sound, science-based management of Lake Erie and Upper Niagara River fisheries and the world-class freshwater fishing opportunities they support.”

Lake Erie and the Upper Niagara River rank among New York State’s top fishing destinations, especially for walleye, smallmouth bass, and steelhead. More than 900,000 angler days are spent on these waters, and the local New York economy is estimated to be worth more than $17 million.

The spring walleye season will open on May 1, and with the warm winter season this year, there will be some unique nearshore walleye fishing opportunities along our Chautauqua County shoreline. Nighttime trolling and casting in these areas is effective once the water temperatures hit the 50’s. The most popular areas for this type of fishing are along the shore areas between Dunkirk and Barcelona Harbors, where gravel shoals and rocky bottom areas are shared. Shorewood Shoal is a famous fishing area that can be found easily, with boats trolling and casting in that area near Van Buren Point regularly in May and early June.

The DEC reports that the rainstorms have all the Lake Erie tributaries running high and turbid, but the yellow perch bite is still strong on Lake Erie near Cattaraugus Creek. After the big winds of last weekend, the fish have been roaming in small pods in 50 to 60 feet of water depth. Emerald shiners fished off two-hook bottom rigs are the key. Charter Guide Daryl Glasner (716-462-8632) says, “Emeralds are best, but fathead minnows work, too. I had two outdoor media gentlemen from Ohio fish with me last week; we harvested several perch at and above the 15-inch mark. The fish were in a light bite mood with the water temperature between 42 and 44 degrees, but the guys went home very happy with two coolers of tasty fish.”

The Town of Hanover boat launch is open with launch docks in, the Sunset Bay Marine Park launch is open without launch docks, and Hidden Harbor Marina just opened their launch this week. Sturgeon Point launch is closed until dredging of the mouth occurs.

Outdoors Calendar:

Apr. 20: One-Day Lake Erie yellow perch derby, Southtowns Walleye Association, 716-796-5372 for information.

Apr. 20-21: NYS Youth Turkey Hunt Weekend, for ages 12-15, must be accompanied with an adult licensed mentor. Visit www.dec.ny.gov.

Apr. 29: Chautauqua County Federation of Sportsmen annual banquet. Lakewood Rod and Gun, doors open at 5 p.m., dinner at 6 p.m. Contact Zen Olow for information: 716-640-2776.

May 1-31: NYS spring turkey season.

May 1- Mar. 15: NYS walleye season.

NOTE: Submit calendar items to forrestfisher35@yahoo.com.


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