We have a touch of some wintery weather now and for the mid week period with below freezing temps. No serious lake effect snow expected here on the WNY big Lake Ontario south shore — greatest accumulations are SW of here off Lake Erie. Chance of only a dusting thru Wednesday as winds and lake bands shift and then warming back up for the end of week and weekend. No icing conditions expected in the Oak, but chance of some icing conditions in the smaller waterways like Sandy with daytime and night time temps below freezing or with any snow.
Fishing pressure is only moderate at the Oak and overall, with most guys reporting good action on mostly browns. Steelhead are more numerous though on select days and there have been a few cohos reported. Some days are better then others for steelhead hook-ups and its hard to say for sure what drives that. Browns are spread thru the Oak, guys at the dam had good action yesterday. Drifts are more slow and low and dead drift style now thanks to colder water, so float presentations, like at the dam, are usually effective. Jigs and tipped jigs coming on but eggs and egg patterns still productive with the right dead drift presentation. Streamers and buggers also can be good especially as a second presentation or in downstream slower water for post spawn browns or the fresher steelhead you might intercept.
Flows are slightly high and mostly clear in the Oak with lower moderate flows in the other area smaller waterways. For the anglers still out there drifting/swinging like at the Oak and by late in the Fall standards the fish numbers and action are still pretty good. Lower and clearer and temp shocked smaller tribs will be a little tougher.
Some rain expected today on the order of 3/4+ inch. If that much or more rain is realized, then look for a bump up in flows in the area smaller waterways like Marsh, Johnson and Sandy. Still not expecting something like a blow out event, but those low flows could rise to medium or slightly high with stained water color. Any bump up in flows could freshen up the action in those smaller waterways with the chance at some fresh fish migrations and a change from what's been lower and clearer flows and corresponding tougher action. Weather ahead thru mid week looks OK and just slightly cooler for the end of the week. Earlier forecasts of chance of lake effect snow were changed.
I laid eyes on flows in the Oak yesterday and they are about the same as its been most of this fall season at medium or by most anglers consideration slightly high by fall standards. If there was more color to the water it would look like good later winter steelhead conditions. And – we may get some color or bump up in flows from the latest precipitation.
Fishing pressure not as intense as a few weeks ago and guys are spread out now on the Oak. Thanks to colder nights the water temps are down now so its more of a get-the-drift or swing down and slow kind of a scenario. Anglers making that switch and even getting into more natural colors are still having good success on mostly browns. Still some “I think I can live” Kings around with both greener and whiter fish in the mix. Reports of a big steelhead here and there and still Atlantic salmon hook ups. Any slow down in action in the Oak probably not necessarily a result of that many less fish, just harder drifting conditions of the high-ish and colder flows. Any post spawn brown back on the feed can be a relative push over for a baitfish presentation. Look for drop back fish in the holes or the downstream slower, flat, frog water.
Seems like we are settling into the “second season” trib action now with the focus mostly on trout and an overall lessening of fishing pressure. And by most any measure the good fall action continues, especially for browns with now some steelhead in the mix and still Atlantics too. Kings are not concentrated any longer, but at select spots and times you still might encounter some greener fish. The less fresh zombies are on patrol too. So for brown trout – they are spread thru the waterways, and you’ll probably find pods of fresh fish moving upstream in the lower reaches like early or late day and then spreading out upstream. The off and on crowds like on weekends work over those fish and then by weekday times the pressure is less and the fish get less harried.
Lower and clearer flows in the smaller waterways means that guys are gearing down to smaller presentations and lighter leaders. Some exceptional nice big fish are definitely in the mix now too. Check out the hawg brown below Mike K. got with those downsizing techniques from a smaller waterway. Fish of a lifetime for some!
On the Oak the flows are still cranking pretty good at close to slightly high. Lighter leaders there at your own risk! Lots of water cover for fish to be most any place they want to be. Fishing pressure seems less so far this week and guys are able to move around and cover some different drift spots. It's a mix of pre, spawning and some post spawn browns. Steelhead are a wildcard anytime. Look for a lessening of fishing pressure now around the Archers Club, so good chance the legit hook ups will come easier there now by guys walking in from the other access points. Fishing is still allowed adjacent to the Archers Club grounds but no more access or parking on Club property.
Weather is a peach, warming nicely thru this mid week with a chance at precipitation Friday and then only cooling down to seasonable temps for the weekend.
Now getting into the “second season” action on the Oak and other area smaller tribs. The second season is when anglers focus on brown trout primarily and some steelhead with the Kings waning. Fishing pressure usually is not as intense as earlier in the season as well. This year it seems an exciting opportunity to get into some Atlantic salmon action too with reasonable water conditions thanks to the Erie Canal water feed. Guys on the Oak have consistently hooked up on Atlantics this year and in Sandy too. Also ahead we can look for winter drainage events from the Canal that will push spates of water thru the waterways that could bring on more migrations.
Decent weather is hanging in and with any luck that will continue giving us a good fishing window into December. Look for that drop off in angling pressure ahead with holidays and big game seasons coming on. Chance of rain or showers tonight and thru some part of tomorrow with only 0.25 inch expected. Chance of a breezy day tomorrow and the weekend forecast looks clear with moderate temps.
For this mid week period on the Oak anyway it looks like the fishing pressure has eased some. Other waterways like at Burt or the popular pull offs like on Sandy might still be crowded. Brown trout action is good and anyone that moves around to different spots is remarking they are seeing more fish then they have seen in years. There is good opportunity for multiple hook-ups by fly or spin or float for anglers making a good drift. Holding tight to one spot can work for hook-ups too but you’ll be at the mercy of the fish turning on and off in that spot or new fish moving in. Trying different drift spots will inevitably lead to showing different fish and different presentations which is usually what is going to get them to bite! There have been some big male browns caught and now guys are remarking more egg laden females are in the mix and in some spots browns are actively spawning.