Buffalo NY Fishing Report – 09/03/2023

by | Sep 3, 2023

Buffalo NY Fishing Report – Observations from 08/28/2023 – 09/03/2023

Here’s our latest Buffalo NY fishing report:  What a gorgeous week!  Other than one day when wind and rain were problematic (more to come on that), the weather was wonderful throughout.  With the sun out and the temperatures feeling like autumn, I heard, “Man, the weather is perfect right now…what a day,” more than a handful of times on the water.  I managed to fish 4 days this past week so I have a few observations to discuss.  Keep reading for more details.

Days on the Water: 4

Who we fished with: friends/clients

Where we fishedLake Erie

What we caught:  smallmouth bass, freshwater drum

Tactics: 3-way rig with live bait, worm harnesses

Episode 61 of Two Angles on Angling:  Jordan and I managed to spend a lot of time on the water this past week – both together and individually – so we have much to discuss.  Topics include observations from this past week, an angling forecast for this upcoming week, predictions about the fall, the fall pattern in general (by species breakdown), and more.   We hope you enjoy it.  Tap this link or subscribe wherever you listen to your podcasts:   https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/two-angles-on-angling

Detailed Reporting/Daily Observations

Weather Breakdown

Monday – Fished Lake Erie.  Beautiful day but it started with little to no wind so we ran the “warm water spread” and trolled for a few hours.  The smallmouth bass bite was excellent.  We converted to drifting crawfish when a little breeze kicked up late morning…and boated more biggies.  

Tuesday – Did some recon work with Jordan.  Covered a lot of ground but didn’t find a new zone that was reliable.  More work required.  We managed to do OK in some of my traditional early fall haunts.  

Wednesday – Fished Lake Erie through a small craft advisory and had an incredible day.  When reviewing the marine forecast with my clients the evening prior, NOAA was predicting winds out of the west between 15-25mph and 2-4’ waves.  I explained that those conditions are rough and intimidating, but safe if we take it slow.  I also explained that the action in those big waves is almost always incredible because of the feeding frenzy that occurs.  These guys have been fishing with me since year 1 so they know what to expect and decided to go for it.

Well, overnight, the forecast got worse and NOAA ended up putting out a small craft advisory (tap this link for the definition  (NOAA’s National Weather Service – Glossary).  When we arrived, she was huge with consistent 3-5′ waves.  We went for it anyway – and all of us were happy that we did.  We had the lake to ourselves and absolutely hammered out there.  I didn’t take many pictures due to all the rolling around but wow – good times.

Only a few of the folks reading this can picture what this session was like having had similar experiences with me on Lake Erie.  Those that have not had such a day likely think I’m irresponsible and would’ve stayed off the water.  OK – it ain’t for everyone – but just ask those folks that have fished with me on these kinds of days if they want to do it again.  All will say YES!  It’s safe my friends – so long as you have the right craft, a lot of experience, and you take it slow.

Thursday – Fished Lake Erie.  Conditions were the opposite of the day prior.  The lake laid down overnight as the wind shifted to the NE.  We had enough breeze to push us just shy of 1mph so we drifted crawfish over rock piles all morning and did VERY well.

After the morning trip, I picked up a college student who is studying micro-plastics in our regional waters – confirming/denying their presence as well as trying to determine if/how fish are absorbing them.  We took water samples and harvested a few drum to examine their gut and brain.

This wasn’t the first time I worked with this gentleman – we’ve taken samples twice before.  Bottom line – there are A LOT of microplastics in our fish.  More to come on this research.        

Friday – Day off

Saturday – Day off

Sunday Day off

Seasonal Assessment/General Observations

On the Conditions

I don’t know, my memory is likely flawed, but the action has been unseasonably excellent of late.  Don’t get me wrong, you can always boat fish throughout August, but the last month of summer is usually known for stable conditions, hot weather, and just kinda coasting out there.  That just hasn’t been the case lately.  I’ve said this countless times by now but the past couple of weeks have felt more like fall than summer.  By “like fall” I mean, waves/wind, big fish, and big numbers.  As you can probably imagine, my clients and I are happy.

Although rock piles and structure continue to be the places where I’ve been finding most of the fish, things are starting to change.  I’ve made it a point to continue some of the drifts about 100 yards or so past structure and onto sand and gravel bottom.  We’ve caught fish there – not many – but on average, they’ve been a bit bigger than those hunting around the rocks.  Sometime soon, usually by early October, increasing numbers of fish will move away from structure and opt for the “ambush fields” of the “underwater desert/savanna.”  That’s probably worth explaining a little bit.

What’s Different About the Fall

The eastern basin of Lake Erie is littered with rock piles, reefs, and shoals.  However, as you head south out of the Buffalo Safe Harbor, you enter a vast zone of 40 – 60’ of water where the bottom is sand, gravel, and bedrock.  Picture rolling hills and sand dunes…but underwater…maybe a “moonscape” is a better descriptor.  Sparsely dotted throughout this landscape are a handful of large reefs/shoals/rock piles.  I call these spots “oases in the desert” because that’s where predators concentrate in search of food – mainly crawfish and gobies.

As summer turns to fall and the water gets colder, the metabolisms of rock-based forage slow down, so they don’t move around as much/tend toward staying put in crevasses and under rocks.  In turn, the predators must adopt a different strategy to pack on the pounds before winter.  So, they head out into the desert where they can lay near the bottom and get a 360 view of their surroundings for vast distances. From this vantage point, they can see schools of bait (which become increasingly prevalent with the drop in water temperature) and blast through them at will to fill their stomachs.

This pattern is what I call the fall feeding frenzy.  Throughout the fall, you’ll always be able to find fish near structure, but the numbers and size of fish near the rocks will wane with the hours of daylight.  As it gets colder, venture into the desert and look around – it might take you awhile to find the fish but when you do, there will be A LOT of them.  Oh yeah, walleyes and jumbo perch will be in the mix too.

Buffalo NY Fishing Report – Forecast for 09/04/2023 – 09/10/2023

Weather Breakdown

    Other than what will likely end up being a small craft advisory tomorrow, the rest of the week looks excellent.  I’m not too stoked about the reversion to close to 90-degree temperatures, but that’s tough to complain about while the rest of the country bakes.  Besides, it looks like it’ll only stay that hot for a couple days, followed by a more fall-like pattern.      

    I’m going to stay off the water for a couple more days – it’s my last small stretch of open days before fall insanity.  The plan is to do a little more recon, exercise, eat well, sleep, and in general – relax.  The calm before the storm.  After that, for about a 3 month stretch, only Mother Nature can give me a day off.

    Thank you to all those clients that booked far in advance for this fall – the calendar is packed with what I’m optimistic will be an incredible fall.  If you waited til the last minute to book your fall trip, call soon.  I have a handful of prime spots available.    

    Stay healthy my friends – mentally and physically,