Fishing bait is running low

Now that the offshore fishing for yellow perch has ramped up, bait supply is becoming scarce.

It’s that time of year when the amount of anglers starts to decrease, so bait shops have to cut back on their supply of live minnows. Live emerald shiners are fragile and will last under ideal conditions only a few days. Golden shiners are a resilient bait, but command a higher price tag. It’s all down to economics of supply and demand. Call ahead to make sure your bait dealer has bait, including salted minnows before attempting to head out.

The yellow perch bite has been better off Cattaraugus Creek from most reports with this columnist and friends doing limit catches of 50 perch apiece per fisherman per day, almost every day out. I will keep smaller-sized perch because most of the time, the released runts become seagull fodder. There has been a nice size mix of perch to make up the difference. A number of anglers fishing out of the “Cat” found active fish in the 45- to 51-foot depths just west of the mouth of the creek. Others found active fish deeper in 60 to 70 feet of water, just west of the mouth. The weekend saw as many as 150 boats from some accounts fishing out of the “Cat.” On Monday, that number dwindled down to less than a dozen. Returning to one of our productive way points on our GPS put our crew on an active school, with bait purchased on Friday. Note that Darin Stott and Gary Pleva also had good luck resorting to jigging rapalas tipped with a piece of fish belly, when the bait started to dwindle. Locally, anglers found active yellow perch in 51 feet of water off the Dunkirk Light House on Saturday, with roaming fish providing enough action to lure about 20 boats into the vicinity by noon.

Anglers seeking walleye may want to target shallower water with some reports of walleye found in the 20- to 35-foot range. Many of your walleye strategy books report once the water temperature drops, the fish will return to their Springtime haunts. My contacts at the Department of Environmental Conservation Fisheries station confirmed during their near-shore net surveys, the best results were off the bar just west of Barcelona, on the shallow side of the Brocton Shoals and in the 38-foot mark off Warner Bar. These areas will likely yield 16- to 22-inch fish. Strategies for hook-ups can include bottom bouncing, jigging and weight forward spinners like Erie Dearies. If you troll while trying to locate fish, try long lining a deep lipped stick bait like a reef runner, or Bomber Long A. A wide variety of fish will hit that presentation this time of year, including small mouth and trout.

The water levels in area streams have recessed, after the last down pour sending most of the remaining fish to deeper pools. Cattaraugus Creek, with it’s deeper flowage of water, will remain the best bet for consistent trout action until the next substantial rainfall.


New Sporting licenses (fishing ) go into effect on Oct. 1.

Bow season opens up Oct. 1 in Western New York. There is still time to sign up for archery contests, but hurry. Also, the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club will continue their non-perishable food collection “Hunters Helping the Hungry” during the Big Game hunting season. Club members are reminded to bring their canned goods to the club for donation to be distributed during the Christmas holiday season. Thanks!

The Bear Lake Rod & Gun Club will host a 200-yard rifle/gun shoot Sunday, Oct. 6, with registration from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. Classes will be open to sight and scope. Cash prizes will be awarded at the shoot. The format will be timed shooting with three rounds standing, three rounds prone, three rounds kneeling and one round off a bench. The scoring will be based on a point system. Call 485-3773 for more information.

The SAREP Youth Fly Fishing program is open for it’s 15th season, starting on Oct. 7. The program will start at 7 p.m., in the Fredonia Middle School cafeteria. The fly tying/fly fishing classes are every Monday from 7-8:30 p.m., with field trips scheduled throughout the fall and spring. Classes are canceled when school is closed. The classes are open to the public and are free of charge. All materials are provided. Children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult. For more information, call Alberto Rey at 679-7002.

The Ellery Snow Cruisers will present their 22nd annual snowmobile outdoors sport show on Sunday, Oct. 6, at the Village Casino, in Bemus Point, from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. The event will feature a live auction starting at 2 p.m., new vendors, a Chinese auction, and music provided by the Harbor Knights from noon until 2 p.m. There will also be raffles scheduled throughout the day. For more information, go to

Free fly-tying and fly-fishing classes have resumed on Monday evenings at the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club, from 6-8 p.m. Fly tyers at all stages are invited to attend, from beginners to expert. The Monday night tyers will provide fly tying vises and all materials for anyone who would like to learn how to tie a fly or how to start fly fishing. Ken Hollander and Willie Fedrick, along with guest tyers, will provide the know how, in a safe, enjoyable facility located at the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club, on Mullet Street, in Dunkirk. Note: Participants will get to keep what they tie and will receive one-on-one attention. No registration required, so just show up!

The Lake Erie Seaway Trail Center, on Route 5, in Hamburg, will feature guest speaker Cameron Daboin, founder of the Greater Western New York Paranormal Society speaking on “Paranormal Activity” at 7 p.m., on Oct. 24. The event is open to the public and is free.

There will be a gun show at the Frewsburg Firemen’s Rec Hall, 25 Hazzard St., Frewsburg, on Oct. 26 and Oct. 27. Call 569-6810 for more information.

The 48th annual Shooters Committee on Political Education (SCOPE) banquet will be held Oct. 11, at Lucarelli’s Banquet Center, which is located at 1830 Abbott Road, in Lackawanna. For more information on SCOPE, and other events, go to

Gene Pauszek is an OBSERVER outdoors columnist. Send comments to