ironfish

Western NY steelhead

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On 1/7/2020 at 2:50 PM, vanburenboys said:

Reviving this older thread hoping for a little info on the Lake Erie tribs in late winter. I'll be in Buffalo for the end of January into early February visiting my fiance's family and was wondering if the Cat or other waters stay fishable this time of year. I know the weather can be miserable but would be willing to tough it out if there's an opportunity to get away for the day and catch some steelhead. 

 

I know the nigara river right where your staying can be very good in the winter. It also has some of the largest steel this time of year. You will likley have to get a jet boat guide or fish whirlpool park on the candian side.

 

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On 1/7/2020 at 2:50 PM, vanburenboys said:

Reviving this older thread hoping for a little info on the Lake Erie tribs in late winter. I'll be in Buffalo for the end of January into early February visiting my fiance's family and was wondering if the Cat or other waters stay fishable this time of year. I know the weather can be miserable but would be willing to tough it out if there's an opportunity to get away for the day and catch some steelhead. 

 

 

Fishing was slow to get started this fall due to a lack of rain but we've got it in spades now and the fishing's been good.

Ice will be your biggest problem,hope for a warm-up.It takes 3-5 days for a locked up trib to thaw if it gets into the 40's but there will still be ice rimming the pools and runs.

What I do this time of year is go late morning and walk upstream or down and break all the ice off the pools/runs I want to fish,sit down and have a cup of coffee, and come back and fish them as it warms up.Thick slush ice is often a problem even if it's not completely frozen over and that happens when it's below freezing.

In the town of Silver Creek just S of Buffalo is a trib that has sewage flowing into it.It's treated so it's not like there's chunks floating but it does have "that smell" but the upside is that it is slow to freeze up

You'll often have to use chapstick on your guides and line to keep it from freezing.

Catt is likely blown out for the season but will clear if it freezes(no good for you).

18 mile creek has good access all along it's length but close to Buffalo means no shortage of competition.

All the tribs along the shoreline have steel in them this time of year so you can pick any one you like,even the Buffalo River has them.

Look up "lake erie steelhead fishing" on YT,no shortage of info on them.It's not that hard,no need for a guide.They like any darker,deeper slots and pockets,not just pools and will hold in fast water as long as there is some structure to hold behind.Go light on your tackle,6-8lb leaders/tippets are

the norm...most ppl use too heavy tackle when they first start out but that's gonna work against you...think crappie gear but a longer rod.

Braid is useless,put a top shot of 100' of 10lb flouro on your reel so you don't freeze solid,tie off to a #12 swivel and then your tippet/leader.

Std ,short spinning rods can work but will work against you as they suck for line control and for keeping fish hooked as they will throw a hook quick as you can set it if you're using a fast action rod...long,slow action rods are best for keeping fish hooked long enough to land them.If you're going to use std spinning gear expect many losses and fewer fish landed.I just came back from several days up there w/ a buddy who,on his first trip for them, said his current bass rod would be fine,he'd make it work.He did...sort of. But the first thing he did when we got back was order a "proper" steelhead rod.Not a fast action, west coast plug rod but a long,flexible rod meant to throw bobbers and bait/yarn for steelhead.

A crappie pole from Cabelas will work fine till you get a nicer rod,they're inexpensive and they'll help you land more fish than using a short,fast action bass rod...at least 9' and 10 is better.My two favs are 11' and 12 1/2',shorter costs you fish.

As a newbie you can use small jigs,crappie jigs in wht,pink or chart/green under a float set just short of the bottom.Thin,sensitive floats are neccesary,preferrably a clear float such as a drennan or sheffield.Good luck!

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Suggest you hire a guide. The fishing in that area depends heavily on temperature changes and rainfall (or lack thereof). Without first hand knowledge of runoff rates, good access points and fish movements, your chances are slim. Also can we please not name specific creeks on public forums? The crowding situation has gotten out of control in recent years. Combine that with poor runs of fish vs prior year and you have a bad combo.

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4 hours ago, slip n slide said:

Fishing was slow to get started this fall due to a lack of rain but we've got it in spades now and the fishing's been good.

Ice will be your biggest problem,hope for a warm-up.It takes 3-5 days for a locked up trib to thaw if it gets into the 40's but there will still be ice rimming the pools and runs.

What I do this time of year is go late morning and walk upstream or down and break all the ice off the pools/runs I want to fish,sit down and have a cup of coffee, and come back and fish them as it warms up.Thick slush ice is often a problem even if it's not completely frozen over and that happens when it's below freezing.

In the town of Silver Creek just S of Buffalo is a trib that has sewage flowing into it.It's treated so it's not like there's chunks floating but it does have "that smell" but the upside is that it is slow to freeze up

You'll often have to use chapstick on your guides and line to keep it from freezing.

Catt is likely blown out for the season but will clear if it freezes(no good for you).

18 mile creek has good access all along it's length but close to Buffalo means no shortage of competition.

All the tribs along the shoreline have steel in them this time of year so you can pick any one you like,even the Buffalo River has them.

Look up "lake erie steelhead fishing" on YT,no shortage of info on them.It's not that hard,no need for a guide.They like any darker,deeper slots and pockets,not just pools and will hold in fast water as long as there is some structure to hold behind.Go light on your tackle,6-8lb leaders/tippets are

the norm...most ppl use too heavy tackle when they first start out but that's gonna work against you...think crappie gear but a longer rod.

Braid is useless,put a top shot of 100' of 10lb flouro on your reel so you don't freeze solid,tie off to a #12 swivel and then your tippet/leader.

Std ,short spinning rods can work but will work against you as they suck for line control and for keeping fish hooked as they will throw a hook quick as you can set it if you're using a fast action rod...long,slow action rods are best for keeping fish hooked long enough to land them.If you're going to use std spinning gear expect many losses and fewer fish landed.I just came back from several days up there w/ a buddy who,on his first trip for them, said his current bass rod would be fine,he'd make it work.He did...sort of. But the first thing he did when we got back was order a "proper" steelhead rod.Not a fast action, west coast plug rod but a long,flexible rod meant to throw bobbers and bait/yarn for steelhead.

A crappie pole from Cabelas will work fine till you get a nicer rod,they're inexpensive and they'll help you land more fish than using a short,fast action bass rod...at least 9' and 10 is better.My two favs are 11' and 12 1/2',shorter costs you fish.

As a newbie you can use small jigs,crappie jigs in wht,pink or chart/green under a float set just short of the bottom.Thin,sensitive floats are neccesary,preferrably a clear float such as a drennan or sheffield.Good luck!

This is great, thanks for the info. The "sewage trib" sounds intriguing but I'll probably try to avoid that one. I'm actually somewhat familiar with 18 mile (assuming you're talking about the Lake Erie one) after a half day I spent there around Thanksgiving.  Never been to Catt and was hoping to try it but sounds like I should just wait until next fall. Thanks for the info on spin but was planning on sticking to fly, it's the only equipment I have. 

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17 hours ago, vanburenboys said:

This is great, thanks for the info. The "sewage trib" sounds intriguing but I'll probably try to avoid that one. I'm actually somewhat familiar with 18 mile (assuming you're talking about the Lake Erie one) after a half day I spent there around Thanksgiving.  Never been to Catt and was hoping to try it but sounds like I should just wait until next fall. Thanks for the info on spin but was planning on sticking to fly, it's the only equipment I have. 

Catt has a huge area of drainage and by end of Nov it's usually done till spring.

Yarn flies such as sucker spawn,glo-bugs,nuke eggs and meth flies are always good.Don't tie them too big,Erie fish like small stuff,#'s 12-14 are typical but I have a couple rows of #16-18's in my box for clear water.Chartreuse has been particularly good this year.

The reason I mention jigs is the minnow bite on Erie tribs is good but it's gonna be too cold to swing but dead-drifted has been working well.Bead head buggers and small rabbit strip streamers are good too.I don't fish store bought jigs but I do tie some streamers/buggers w/ tungsten beads on a #8-10 jig hook.

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9 hours ago, slip n slide said:

Catt has a huge area of drainage and by end of Nov it's usually done till spring.

Yarn flies such as sucker spawn,glo-bugs,nuke eggs and meth flies are always good.Don't tie them too big,Erie fish like small stuff,#'s 12-14 are typical but I have a couple rows of #16-18's in my box for clear water.Chartreuse has been particularly good this year.

The reason I mention jigs is the minnow bite on Erie tribs is good but it's gonna be too cold to swing but dead-drifted has been working well.Bead head buggers and small rabbit strip streamers are good too.I don't fish store bought jigs but I do tie some streamers/buggers w/ tungsten beads on a #8-10 jig hook.

Thanks, I'll avoid Catt then. Good to know about dead drifting streamers. I haven't done much of that but will certainly give it a shot. I have some meth eggs and sucker spawns from my last trip so I should be good there. Thanks for all the great info, now just hoping the weather holds up.

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