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Lucky Craft Man

Buffalo, NY / Lake Erie - Chautauqua Smallmouth Fishing

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I am planning a trip in October to Buffalo, NY to fish Lake Erie for Smallmouth (I plan on launching out of Buffalo Boat Harbor). I am going to see if Smallmouth fishing out of Buffalo is any better than out of Erie, PA (I figure, since most TV shows and tournaments launch out of Buffalo, NY, there must be some good action there). My question is how far out from Buffalo Harbor does one have to traditional go to find smallmouth? Also, if the winds kick up on the main lake, how good is fishing in the Niagara River? Sorry for all the questions, but I have never been up in this area and I am having trouble finding information, which will hopefully make the trip run a little smoother. Thanks in advance.

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Your right about the TV shows and turnies seem to be from the NY side of the lake. Every show I have watched you can see the skyline or power plants in the background. My guess is that you don't have to go too far out on the lake. The guys that do go out far are following the bait fish. If the wind kicks up I would fish inside the breakwalls or the river unless your boat can handle the big water. Lake Erie can get really rough in a wink of an eye.

Be safe and good luck.

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I can't say if it's any better than out of PA. Here's my take on why the big tourneys launch out of NY or OH. The limit in those 2 states is 5 fish, just like the tourney limit of BASS and FLW. PA has a 4 fish limit for bass on Lake Erie.

A little closer than Buffalo is Dunkirk. Deep water there isn't too far off shore like the PA waters of Erie. I planned to take a trip to Dunkirk while on vacation in June, but the lake never settled enough to go. It rained and blew 7 of the 9 days I was there.

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I only know Erie from the Buffalo end. The NFTA smallboat harbor is an exellant launch and you'll be on prime spots within minutes of rounding the outer breakwall. One good place to start is in front of the windmills, you'll know what I am talking about when you get there. Idle around in 30-35 fow till you see a change in the bottom (humps,shoals, rockpiles, ditchs, etc) some may be only a few yards in size, some may be 1000's. Toss out a marker where you first notice the change, and then again, when it drops back off. Then drift over this spot with either a tube jig, or a dropshot rig. If this spot produces drift it several times, if not find another, there are millions of them. If it's calm and you are marking fish on your graph on any of these spots, it's a blast to lower a dropshot rig down to each fish and watch the arch come up and bite it. I have a buddy who is great at this, and I have done it some.

If it's rough on the lake, forget the river, if you were coming in the spring I would say just fish in side the break walls, as they often hold good fish, but I have no idea in the fall. But like I said forget the river, it's not that great for SM, some OK LM in spots, but I don't know it well. My first choice if it's too rough to fish Erie is to drive either the hour SW on the thruway to Chautauqua Lake, or an hour east too Conesus Lake, one of the western most finger lakes, and IMHO the best bass lake of the fingers.

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Chautauqua Lake

x2 ;)

I am taking your guys advice and giving Chautauqua a try mid September.  Just one question, if you don't mind.  Is the North better for Smallmouth than the South?  From a map I have, it looks like it would be, but experience is usually better than a map.  Thanks!

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