September 15 – November 30 (Fall Fishing)
Crisp air, beautiful foliage and fishing opportunities abound! Autumn/Fall in Western New York is rivaled by few other places in the country for beauty and quality of fishing. Fall fishing is THE time to pursue the BIG ONE! Salmon, steelhead, massive lake run brown trout, muskies putting on the feedbag in preparation for winter, smallmouth bass moving back to shallow water, and big inland trout that lose their coy demeanor as they fatten up for the winter ahead.
Starting in mid-September, Steelhead begin to funnel into the Lake Erie and Lake Ontario tributaries as they migrate to spawning gravel up river. These early ascenders have a certain affection for streamers and they are some of the hottest fish you will hook all year. These bright chrome fish will show you your backing in a hurry and usually display some impressive acrobatics.
With over 13 tributaries within an hour’s drive from Buffalo, the possibilities are endless and a great day of fishing is highly probable. We tend to pick which tributaries to fish based on flows and water color. Tributaries with a good head of water and a light to moderate stain will usually result in willing fish. As the season progresses, additional runs of fish enter the tributaries and become available throughout the river systems upstream to the first impassable barriers. We continue to target these fish with streamers, but egg flies and nymphs become more important as fall progresses and into the winter months.
In addition to the steelhead, trophy lake run brown trout enter the tributaries on spawning runs as well. The earlier running fish follow the salmon in to gorge on their eggs. These fish are most readily taken on egg flies and nymphs prior to spawning; however, the post spawn fish will eat swung and stripped streamers with enthusiasm. This provides excellent opportunities to catch the brown trout of a lifetime. Few other places in the world provide the opportunity to catch browns of this size.
As the leaves begin to turn and fall and the water temps cool, the muskies begin to pack on weight. If catching a huge musky on the fly is a dream of yours (or a morbid curiosity), you MUST visit WNY during this time of year. Late fall is when we catch the biggest fish in the largest numbers. Break out the big flies, fast sink/intermediate sink lines and keep on stripping… good things will happen! Both the Niagara River and the inland creeks/lakes really shine during the WNY autumn.
Because steelhead, salmon, and musky tend to steal the fall spotlight, many anglers miss out on other hot fishing opportunities. Smallmouth Bass concentrate into shallow waters, providing easier access to anglers and fast-paced fishing. In addition, streamer fishing for trophy inland trout can yield awesome results when the weather and water conditions cooperate.
Check out our Fall Fishing video to see what this region has to offer:
Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall, book a trip with us for the best way to experience every season in Buffalo Niagara.