Few destinations offer the quality and variety of fall fishing options like the Niagara / Buffalo region in western New York. Within a 20 mile radius one can enjoy world class smallmouth bass action, a delicious frozen cake with opportunities for king salmon, rainbow trout, muskellunge, walleye and largemouth bass.
“Smallmouth bass will be linked to the steeper breaks along the bumps right now,” says guide Terry Jones, describing the location of brown bass in the offshore areas of eastern Lake Erie, near from Buffalo. Jones says places like Myers Point, Seneca Shoal, Windmill Point and Point Avenue will be productive.
Jones says he expects an average of three to three and a half pounds during the small fall bite of eastern Lake Erie. The four and the five are common. And there is a very real chance of fishing in the 6 to 7 pound range.
While the best shot for true bruiser bass may be offshore, good smallmouth fishing can be found near Buffalo. Buffalo Harbor, a protected haven formed by a vast system of breakwaters, is home to smallmouth bass year-round.
According to guide Tim Braun, the wind influences the location of the bass in relation to the walls. Braun favors fishing in the corners of the walls, starting inside the protected leeward area, then working around the corner facing the wind.
A short distance from the harbor protection, Braun says the edges of the Emerald Channel, where the lake narrows as it empties into the headwaters of the Niagara River, now attracts large numbers of people. bass.
“He has it all,” Braun says. “Weeds, patches of sand, rocks, stream. The bass really came together there in the fall.
The headwaters of the Niagara River are home to a large population of muskellunge. Jones says the most productive areas are the slower backwaters found between the Peace and International Bridges. Muskellunge also migrate into Buffalo Harbor in late fall, triggering a spike in activity among trollers before the season closes in late November.
The many side canals and navigation basins of the upper part of Niagara provide excellent habitat for Largemouth Bass. While there are larger fish, expect the average green bass to be a 1 ½ to 2 pound chunk.
Despite its geographic proximity, lower Niagara provides a different fishery. The cold water resource of Lake Ontario feeds the lower reaches of the river with a salmon run that warms up shortly after Labor Day.
“As a general rule, our king salmon run starts in mid-September and begins to decline in mid-October,” notes guide Frank Campbell. “About the time the salmon run ceases, the rainbow trout run begins. Steelhead will remain in the lower reaches of the river all winter.
Campbell says a great experience awaits anglers who catch the very first part of the Royal Race. While there are fewer fish in the river, there are also far fewer boats at hot spots like Devil’s Hole. He adds that the lower reaches of the river contain obese muskellunge in areas of low-current currents, fish that get fat on a diet of high-protein trout.
Niagara Bar, a prominent school formed in Lake Ontario at the mouth of Niagara, is a staging area for king salmon, providing some of the biggest fish of the year in late summer. It also has good fishing for smallmouth bass and walleye.
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