Rod, Gun & Game: When rabbits and fish go Brrr!
When April comes around every year, we know the weather can be inconsistent. Nature is like that, but overall everything is going in the right direction. Forget that snow earlier in the week. Windy days cause Lake Erie yellow perch anglers to stay ashore, also at Lake Chautauqua, where the crappie bite for these tasty fish is underway. The action in the Chautauqua canals can be non-stop fun even for anglers and especially in the Asheville Bay marina canals where parking fees are still only $3. In boats, the weed edge holds the majority of the larger fish in the many bays along Chautauqua’s shore. Live minnows and tiny plastic 1/32 tail jigs and a feather bobber work.
When the wind allowed access to Lake Erie last week, the parking lot at the Sunset Bay boat launch on Cattaraugus Creek in Irving was very busy. Ken Bittner said: “I was there at 6.45am and there were five boats ahead of me. In a very short time, there were 15 boats behind me! The fishing was good, we caught our limit of yellow perch using emerald minnows that I dove at Ferry Street on the Upper Niagara River. We found the fish in 58 feet of water off the Catt. Bittner fished with the standard 2-hook bottom fishing rigs with the sinker on the bottom end.
To catch some really big fish when the winds are high, there is a spot to fish from the shore that can put a smile on any angler’s face. It’s a hike there, about 450 steps, but the lower Niagara River escarpment is home to rainbow trout, brown trout, lake trout and huge smallmouth bass this time of year. ‘year. Even occasionally musky. According to my old friend, Charter Captain Frank Campbell of Lewiston, the best bite has been with lake trout, both in the river from shore and from the boats on the Niagara Bar when the wind allows. Campbell said: “Much of the ice bridge broke off last weekend and once the ice clears the water temperatures should start to warm up.”
Anglers on the lower Niagara River scoop trout from the gorge. Mike Ziehm of Niagara Falls reported catching lake trout in Devil’s Hole, where trout were cooperating with smallmouth bass. His 5/16th white jigs worked best for him. With the breaking of the ice bridge and the wind storms from Lake Erie, the color of the water is finally stained. This, after months of clear water above the power plant. Visibility is eventually reduced to about 3 feet. Ziehm also reported that the Niagara Falls Ice Bridge eventually disappeared as well. Another successful angler is Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls. He cast his homemade jigs and spinners to hook on rainbow trout for every day he fished the gorge from shore. One hotspot is the New York Power Authority fishing rig in the corner, where Rzucidlo reported seeing 10 to 15 dark arcs jumping out.
In the Lake Erie tribes, the action has been hot and not. Some days the fish are heading upstream, other days you can see them heading downstream. Local rainbow trout fishing expert Matt Nardolillo uses a precision bobber (5 gram Raven float) with 6mm Creek Candy hard beads as bait to catch the mighty rainbow trout -sky. White suckers, redhorse suckers and smallmouth bass are also beginning to move into the tributaries of Lake Erie. Nardolillo fishes from chest-high waders and uses a Riverside rod (11ft 3in) and a Colville Dream-Catcher 535 reel loaded with 100 yards of 20-pound braided grab line attached to 100 yards of fishing line. 10 pound trial buoyant monofilament. Next is a two to four foot piece of 4 to 5 lb fluorocarbon leader to provide adequate line strength with durability while often dragging the presentation (and line) across the creek bottom around WNY. The floating monofilament leader connection is made with a micro-swivel. This prevents line twists and missed shots. His casts measure only 20 to 30 feet. He therefore remains very discreet when presenting his lure. Now that you know how, go get them!
Enjoy the outdoors.
Outdoor calendar: (Area code 716)
April 23-24 – NYS Spring Youth Turkey Hunting Weekend, for licensed hunters ages 12-15 with a licensed mentor. To visit www.dec.ny.gov for information.
April 25 – Learn-To-Shoot Archery for Adults, West Falls Conservation, 55 Bridge St., $5 fee, open to the public, call Bryan Zeller at 826-4621 for information.
April 26 – Youth Archery Program (JOAD), West Falls Conservation Society, 55 Bridge St., on-site registration, 6 p.m. departure, $5 fee, contact Pat Nash at 481-0539 for more information.
April 30: Southtowns Walleye Harry A. Smith Annual Installation and Awards Dinner, 5895 Southwestern Blvd., Hamburg, 5:30 p.m. start, live music, $35 ticket, call 639-9180 for information .
May 1: Opening day of New York State’s spring turkey season, ends May 31.
NOTE: Submit calendar items to [email protected] at least 2 weeks in advance.