Days on the Water: 6
Who we fished with: friends/clients
Where we fished: Lake Erie, Upper Niagara, Lower Niagara, Lake Ontario
Tactics: neds, live bait, worm harnesses (orange, chartreuse, red devil, and pink – all worked equally), spoons
Commentary for the Week of 08/15/2022 – 08/21/2022
Here’s our latest Buffalo NY fishing report: We spent a lot of time on the water this past week. From the kids fishing camp which went from Monday – Friday, plus a double on Saturday, we covered a ton of water. Keep reading for more details on what we saw out there.
Episode 22 is live. We discuss current conditions and patterns we’ve noticed here in the WNY fishery as well as the forecast for this upcoming week. We also discuss the importance of making sure you take a break from fishing every once in awhile. From maintenance to getting out of your head for a bit, a little time off the water will help ensure more productive outings.
Daily Conditions Analysis
Monday – Kids camp day 1 – fished Lake Erie out of Buffalo, NY. Slight east and north winds made it tough to fish in most places. It was slowish but we picked apart rock piles and shoals and caught fish.
Tuesday – Kids camp day 2 – fished Lake Erie out of Buffalo, NY. Same kind of wind pattern as Monday. Dedicated some time to fishing for walleyes. Didn’t hammer by any means but we caught fish. Picked away at some more rock piles and shoals again for bass and drum later in the day.
Wednesday – Kids camp day 3 – made a quick trip into the Upper Niagara. Super slow so we returned to Lake Erie. Little to no wind again. Followed the same program as Monday and Tuesday.
Thursday – Kids camp day 4 – 3 boats fished Lake Ontario at the 30 line – picked up a few steelhead, cohos, and immature kings. 1 boat fished the lower Niagara – caught bass, drum, and channel catfish.
Friday – Kids camp day 5 – 3 boats fished Lake Ontario at the 30 line – picked up a few steelhead, cohos, and immature kings. 1 boat fished the lower Niagara – caught bass and drum
Saturday – worked a double on Lake Erie out of Buffalo, NY. Super slow on both shifts. Didn’t have much wind. Pulled bass and drum off of structure like we did earlier in the week. Close the evening off with some walleye fishing. Picked up a couple as soon as the sun set.
Sunday – big rain and thunderstorms were the forecast, so I rescheduled. Didn’t quite work out that way though.
Seasonal Assessment/General Observations
Kids Camp Commentary
This past week was a good test of my recovery from that random sickness a few weeks ago. Spending all that time with the kids reinvigorated me. It was awesome seeing all the kids we hosted last year and how much they’ve grown. From body hair to mustaches to deeper voices to increased machismo, spending time with them and seeing how they’ve matured brought back a lot of those middle school memories. It was an exciting and awkward time for me, and I can see that in them.
Nearly all of the boys play multiple sports and have hectic schedules, so the camp serves as quality bonding time as well as a little bit of relaxation for them. It was also great welcoming some new kids into the mix. For me, the most fun is watching how all of them interact. We shuffle the boat assignments daily so the kids fish with different captains and different kids every day. All the captains are great but very different…and so are the kids, which made for a new dynamic every day. Sometimes, it was wildly entertaining. Other times, it was difficult to get the vibe on the boat to flow. That’s life – and the boys got a solid dose of it.
There seems to be a lot of interest in this kids camp from parents outside of the current crew. I’m open to expansion but not to the detriment of what we already have going. Protecting the integrity of the original crew of campers is the priority but I have some ideas that would allow for new participants to join. If you’re interested in signing up your kids for next year’s iteration, give me a call to discuss.
One final note – I want to thank the parents of all the kids that participated in this iteration. You’re raising some great boys – disciplined, patient, able to find fun amidst adversity, adaptable at every turn – that’s a solid foundation for becoming a healthy adult. THANK YOU VERY MUCH!
Observations About the Angling on Lake Erie (Around Buffalo, NY)
These are the dog days of summer my friends. Although we always had a good time on every outing, it was certainly grindy out there this past week. Sure, the water is super warm right now but it’s in line with historical averages for this time of year, so I don’t think that’s the cause for lethargy. My take – the total lack of wind lately has made it tough to cover water effectively. I’ve mentioned this hundreds of times at this point but it’s worth repeating – fishing is tough on Lake Erie without wind.
When it’s windless, you have 3 options:
- Option 1 – sit on rock piles, stare at your graph, and try to pick off individual fish. Staring at a rectangle all day just isn’t an option for me – it’s painful, mind numbing, and most summertime clients (tourists and families) generally don’t have the finesse skill set to make it work.
- Option 2 – find current. Getting into current is my preferred option on windless days but many of those areas are choked up with weeds right now. Again, if you’ve a skilled angler, the weeds don’t pose much of a problem…but that’s not the typical summer client.
- Option 3 – troll. Walleyes are the only fish I’m willing to troll for this time of year and there aren’t enough around Buffalo, NY right now for me to commit a day to fishing for them as that would be a SUPER grind. If you really want walleyes in good size and numbers, you need to head south to fish out of the Catt, Dunkirk, or Barcelona, NY. That’s too much of a commute for me. A solid family fish fry worth of walleyes is certainly doable out of Buffalo, NY right now but the best way to accomplish that is to fish the first couple hours of daylight or the last couple hours of daylight. They are around in good numbers on or near the prominent shoals in the eastern basin.
Given what I saw this past week, there are certainly some biggies around – both walleyes and smallmouth bass – you’ll see in the pics below. The numbers were low simply due to the inability to effectively cover water. That’ll change before too long, we just need a shift in this weather pattern.
Looking Forward to the Week of 08/22/2022 – 08/28/2022
Fishing Conditions Looking Forward
Other than Monday (tomorrow), the forecast for this upcoming week looks great. Tomorrow looks like it could be potentially hostile with rain and thunderstorms but that was supposed to be the case for today and that’s not at all what happened so…Beyond Monday, the weather looks nice but, on most days, there will be a lack of wind. Hopefully it won’t be as stagnant as it was this past week. These douses of rain could liven things up a bit. I’m going to spend more of my time poking around the Upper and Lower Niagara River – maybe even working multiple fishery programs to keep it interesting.
It’s always with a lot of reservation that I describe grindy conditions because if clients that are booked with me in the near term read this, they may be a little concerned or put off. Let me put this little nugget of assurance out there – fish will get caught. When I describe grindy conditions, my frame of reference is the fall and spring – the prime periods where the fishing is fantastic/consistent/easy. Phrased a little differently – feeding or breeding is the main focus of the fish during these seasons, so they are super active and often very concentrated = catch rates and size are high.
Over the years, I’ve noticed that the folks who book trips in the summer are more concerned about the weather than they are about the fishing. They just want to enjoy the outdoors without having to worry about wind, waves, wetness, or getting cold. I get that but, in the back of my mind I’m always thinking that the right clothing would alleviate those concerns, giving these folks the opportunity to experience something truly magical. There I go again – treating something as subjective as “magic” like it’s factual. Bottom line, I’m here for ya – any time of the year. We live in a bountiful place that always produces something memorable.
Stay healthy my friends – mentally and physically,
Tap any image below to swipe through the gallery.