Commentary for the Week of 09/26/2022 – 10/02/2022
Here’s our latest Buffalo NY fishing report: Incredible week! I managed to fish all 7 days and there’s a lot going on. In last week’s report, I mentioned that it seemed like it was going to be a slow crescendo into the fall insanity. Well, I was off in that assessment…wildly off. Keep reading for more details.
Episode 27 is live: Jordan and I fished together 3x this past week so we have some shared notes to discuss. Plus, as I mentioned above, I fished every day so my observations take up some time. Next week’s forecast is looking excellent as well so both of us discuss our plans. We get deep creek walking/fishing etiquette, why people do weird stuff in tournaments that they wouldn’t do if they were fishing for fun, and more…
Daily Conditions Analysis
Monday – lots of rain throughout the day plus big SW winds/waves – had to reschedule the trip. Decided to put in a few hours on the Lower Niagara with Jordan. Tried for kings – didn’t get one. Diverted to bass – picked up a few in every drift. Called it early.
Tuesday – another windy and rainy day – big SW winds/waves – had to reschedule the trip. Jordan and I got out for a couple hours on the upper Niagara. The plan was to focus on the wind protected zones of the Upper Niagara. That plan went to crap when we launched and made it to the river – she was muddy/visibility was less than a couple feet due to all the rain/flooding from the 2 days prior. We found a pocked of clearish stuff and made it work catching bass on swim baits, neds, and stick baits.
Wednesday – Had NW winds gusting into the teens. Lake Erie was still big but not too big (only 3′ rollers) and although the color in the river was still off, the lake was getting clear. Decided to make a lake session happen – I had the right crew to do it. Magical day – one of the best bass days in memory – size and numbers were incredible.
Thursday – Had slight N and NE winds but enough to give us a good push. Fished Lake Erie for bass – another awesome day for size and numbers.
Friday – fished Lake Erie for smallmouth bass for a few hours with Mike Trifiletti – focus was recon. Wind was light and out of the east, so the lake was calm. When we had the breeze, it moved us at a good clip, and we caught fish…biggies too. Ended up slow trolling with the trolling motor when we lost the breeze and that worked too.
Saturday – fished Lake Erie for smallmouth bass. Winds were from the NNE – it started off calm but increased quickly by mid-morning. We fished the current for the first hour until the wind kicked up and then moved off-shore. The lake got big and so did the numbers and size of the fish. Another incredible outing.
Sunday – NE winds grew over night making Lake Erie borderline big. Ended up rescheduling and poking around the upper Niagara with Jordan – we picked up a few.
Seasonal Assessment/General Observations
Fall insanity is here!!! Well, let me modify that a bit and say that the fall smallmouth insanity just kicked in and there are some kings to be caught if you put in a lot of work. I get a huge smile on my face every time in think about this past week and what’s in store for the upcoming weeks – lots of action, comfortable temperatures, and gorgeous scenery.
Yep – it’s that time of year where I have to do species breakdowns. I’ve spent a lot of time discussing this on our podcast and fishing reports but it’s worth repeating as it was the rule this past week – BIG WAVES = BIG FISH…and lots of them. All days, minus Thursday, had 1-3′ waves on Lake Erie and the smallmouth bass fishing was awesome. Lots of big fish in big numbers. We boated at least one 6lb bass on most days…sometimes more than one. 5+lb fish were…dare I say, common…to the point where I was just releasing them without taking photos in the interest of catching another one right away. Good times!
It was more than the wind that triggered this frenzy. The recent and dramatic decrease in air temperatures plus something close to, if not more than, 3″ of rain that fell between Sunday and Tuesday, dropped the water temperatures by around 4-5 degrees in as many days. Allow me to anthropomorphize a fishy perspective – that would be like walking into an air-conditioned gym on a hot summer day – time to crush it. That sudden drop in temps triggered a feeding pattern that had the biggies chewing all week long.
From what I hear from my colleagues, catchable numbers of kings moved into the lower Niagara toward the end of the week. As I’ve mentioned before, we don’t get big runs of kings nowadays. However, if you time it right and fish the lower when the water temps get into the 60s following a series of N wind days, you could get lucky and boat a couple kings. All those ingredients came together this past week.
All of the major Lake Ontario tributaries are holding some kings right now. All received a huge bump in flows due to the rain from earlier this week. North winds and cool water temps helped out as well. Let the shoulder-to-shoulder action begin.
All the Lake Erie tribs received a huge bump in flows due to all the rain at the beginning of the week and the steelhead took advantage of it. I’ve heard from a few of my buddies/colleagues that fish have made it way upstream over the past few days. Reports of shoulder-to-shoulder action are rampant throughout the system.
Other Random Strands
What I love most about this time of year is how frantic it feels. The sky is rarely cloudless but when it is, the foliage becomes vibrant and flashes in the wind like thousands of little beacons. Maybe it’s because the preceding months are sunny, hot, and near windless but I swear the clouds and the water are particularly beautiful and chaotic in the fall (look at the backgrounds of the photos).
This year’s entrance into autumn was interesting in that we went from seemingly endless heat to what is now a persistent cool to cold in a matter of a few days – it was a shock that gave everything a kick in the butt. I keep reminding myself…this is just the beginning. If this past week was an indicator of what we can expect from this fall, it’s going to be incredible.
Looking Forward to the Week of 10/03/2022 – 10/09/2022
Fishing Forecast for Next Week
The forecast for this upcoming week looks excellent – I’ll be on the water every day. Unless something changes, which it often does, neither wind nor precipitation, nor water color will be a problem throughout. The entire fishery will be in play all week.
I’ll likely spend time on Lake Erie, the Upper Niagara, and the Lower Niagara throughout the week. I’ll give kings another shot up in Devils Hole and I’ll fish the Lower Niagara for bass. Lake Erie is a must as is the Upper. Decisions…decisions…decisions. That’s fall fishing here in the Buffalo Niagara Region.
If you want to experience this first-hand instead of reading about it, give me a call. Availability is limited but I’m sure I can find you a spot if you call soon.
Stay healthy my friends – mentally and physically,
Tap any image below to swipe through the gallery.