Buffalo NY Fishing Report – Observations from 10/09/2023 – 10/15/2023
Here’s our latest Buffalo NY fishing report: Although the weather this past week was forbidding (to put it mildly), I had some hardcore anglers in town that wanted to put in work. So, that’s what we did, and it worked out very well. It’s a testament to our fishery that even when conditions are hostile, you can still find little pockets to limit the effects of the elements and still make a day of it. Keep reading for more details.
Days on the Water: 5
Who we fished with: friends/clients
Where we fished: Lake Erie, Upper Niagara, Lower Niagara, Lake Ontario
What we caught: smallmouth bass, walleye, steelhead, brown trout, lake trout
Tactics: 3-way rig with live bait, crankbaits, beads
Episode 67 of Two Angles on Angling: I had to cancel this week’s podcast due to personal commitments that I couldn’t reschedule. However, if you’re not up to date, please check out our previous recordings at this link – https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/two-angles-on-angling
Detailed Reporting/Daily Observations
Monday – Has a last minute cancellation that I wasn’t able to fill. Took the day off.
Tuesday – Had perfect conditions to do just about anything, so we decided to try our hands on the Lower Niagara. After spending a couple hours in Devil’s Hole with only one lake trout and a steelhead to show for it (first of the season btw), we went downstream and fished for smallmouth. Decent bite…a little slow for this time of year.
Wednesday – Lake Erie was a little bigger than forecasted but we gave it a shot anyway. Did very well right away, with some giants coming to the net. However, as the day progressed, things got grindy. Still, we got into decent numbers throughout the day and boated some personal bests.
Thursday – Had some big winds coming out of the SW so Lake Erie was rolling with 1-3’ waves. We gave it a try anyway and got into a couple fish right away. However, seasickness became an issue before long. So, we went in and fished the upper Niagara instead. The current was ripping due to the wind and in turn, the bite was picky. Still, we managed to boat a couple biggies.
Friday – The forecast called for consistent rain plus big winds out of the south. I’ve mentioned this more than a handful of times over the years, but it’s worth repeating. A south wind is perfect for fishing the Lower Niagara and Lake Ontario. So, that’s what we did. Magical day – boated 5 species (smallmouth bass, lake trout, steelhead, walleye, brown trout) and ridiculous numbers of smallmouth bass to include 5 doubles.
Saturday – Mother Nature didn’t want us to have another relaxing day. So, she gave us some big NW winds and more rain. As I’ve stated numerous times over the years, a NW is the worst possible wind for fishing the big water here in the Buffalo Niagara Region. NW winds are almost always big, they kick up big waves on both Erie and Ontario, and they counter the flow of the river making it difficult to drift. However, as I stated in the intro, my clients were hardcore and weren’t about to stay inside. We went back to the Lower Niagara and put together a day.
Sunday – Had a last minute cancellation. It was just as well though, the big NW winds continued so I was happy to stay home and prepare for the upcoming week.
Seasonal Assessment/General Observations
On the Conditions
Although Mother Nature was quite pissed off near daily this past week, she provided captivating imagery throughout. The quick drop in temperatures plus some rain throughout the week caused the leaves to change rapidly. If we’re not at peak foliage now, we will be in a matter of days. It’s gorgeous out there folks – get outside and check it out. Oh yeah, the fishing is getting better by the day.
The smallmouth bass bite is kind of a mystery to me right now. With all the crazy wind days this past week, I feel like I didn’t get a good chance to explore Lake Erie enough to provide an accurate assessment of things. Big wind = big current – although I boated a decent number of bass on the river this past week, numbers were far below historical norms. I’m guessing that’s because nearly every drift was running at 2mph or more. At drift speeds that fast, catch rates are often lackluster.
At this point in the season, I’m betting most of the fish are moving deeper and onto the sand flats. The couple of times I fished Lake Erie this past week, I saw a ridiculous amount of bait. No exaggeration, there were times that I had clouds of bait on my screen over 20’ thick lasting a couple of minutes. There’s no doubt that the bass are gorging themselves – find bait and you’ll find fish.
Although there are plenty of king salmon in the system still, most are mudsharks/zobies at this point. If you’re just dying to get a king, head to the dams and make it happen. I’m sure some of the smaller Lake Ontario tribs are still loaded with them, but the Niagara isn’t the place to go at this point in the season.
Although it’s very early, I’m encouraged by the number of steelhead getting boated lately. I only managed a couple this past week, but other boats that hunkered in Devil’s Hole and Artpark managed to catch more than a handful. Fingers crossed that this will be a good fall for these chrome beauties.
Brown trout are starting to make an appearance too. Although I only boated one on the Lower Niagara this past week, I talked to a few folks that got into them in decent numbers on the smaller Lake Ontario tribs. It’s only a matter of time before they load up in the Lower.
Buffalo NY Fishing Report – Forecast for 10/23/2023 – 10/29/2023
The forecast for this upcoming week looks promising. Although every day will be fishable, big wind will take Lake Erie off the table for all but the most adventurous anglers on a couple of the days. That’s not a huge problem though, the trout are moving in, so the Lower is a great option.
I will spend as many days as possible on Lake Erie this upcoming week in search of giant smallmouth. My late October and early November waypoints are calling for validation. As I mentioned earlier, I’m betting sand flats are where to find them so that’s where I’ll start most of my days.
On the windiest of days, I’ll hunker down in the Lower Niagara in pursuit of trout and biggie smalls. It looks like there will be a couple SSW and W wind days that will make that program an appealing option. That’s what I love about the fall here in WNY, there’s almost always an option to get on the water and make a solid day happen. Stay tuned.
Stay healthy my friends – mentally and physically,