Last Wednesday, my buddy Ryan and I had an incredible day fishing for muskies on the UN with flies. We caught 3 muskies from 43-44", each one coming from different spots in the river. 1 in UN6 in the morning, 1 in UN3 around noon, and 1 in UN13 late afternoon. The largest of the day was 44" and was missing an eye. It looked to be a very old wound that healed over well. We dubbed this fish "The General" as it was obviously seasoned and battle tested veteran. The crazy part was the fish was caught in water with maybe 20" of visibility, ate the fly boat side on the figure 8, and turned to eat the fly on it's blind-side. The tiger musky below also ate the fly boat-side just as I was about to go into the figure 8. To date, I have caught 3 Tigers in the UN over the last 3 years and every one of them has been 43"... crazy coincidence I guess. I'm still looking for a 50"er but I'll never forget this awesome 3 fish day.
Nate...have you ever fished inside the City Ship Canal? Muskies were caught in there this year (not by me, though) and farther into it there are a lot of old wooden pilings from the coal-fired freighter days. When I was a kid people used to catch muskies from shore in the canal. Just don't take the boat too far in. It's been made shallow with stumps, brush & vegetation put in for aquatic habitat.
That place is on my list for next season!
Nate...yep, that's the one. It splits off to the right from the Bflo River at the grain elevator that they now light up. Up where the marina's are, the water gets deep quickly away from shore but farther in you'll see the old wharves & wooden pilings where the freighters used to tie up. The BN Riverkeepers had the end of that canal made shallow last year & it's only, I think 7 ft deep now, but only closer to the end. They also dropped logs & brush along with submergent vegetation to turn it into fish habitat. Some of the logs are just underwater & you'll hit them if you're not careful.
I have a copy of an old Hydrographic and Railroad Chart showing the waterways and railroads of old Buffalo that shows that that canal was, at one time, connected to Tifft farms.
The bay at the foot of Tifft St (Bouquard's) has nice weed growth with a deep drop-off next to it.
BTW, I talked with DEC's Mike Clancy today & the DEC just ordered a seine net to do YOY musky seining next year. Should be interesting.
It looks interesting John, let's give it a try together next year!
Nate...sounds like a plan!! I'm already ready! I love fishing the harbor & have been doing that (mainly for 'eyes) for a lot of years so I know where the weeds beds, dropoffs, & edges, etc. A lot has changed since the steel plant & coke ovens shut down but the habitat is still there.
I live in Lake View so Bouquard's at the South Gap is like a 12 minute drive for me. You could just drive there & meet me.
If you haven't already, read the Oct 2015 newsletter when you have a chance. Tony Scime & I gave Chris Legard, the DEC fish biologist, a tour of Bflo Harbor. Once you get past my Charles Dickens prologue (it's a little "cheesy"), there are descriptions of the various possible habitat improvement areas in the Harbor. When we did YOY seining this year, the two biggest & healthiest musky young-of-year netted were inside the harbor.
...and, on top of all that, I have a good reliable 4 stroke Yamaha that works & a 6 hp, 4 stroke Yammi kicker. Having fished L. Erie a lot, reliability is #1.
John...with the weeds, wood & shallow water that was put in, hopefully it's only going to get better.
When Tony & I gave Chris the tour, we ran the boat right up onto a stump. Almost threw us over the bow. Had to stand in the stern to raise the bow & get off the stump. It might be time to think about getting my 12' jon out there! I've already had two people fly fishing off it.
It was a jackass move to call you by the wrong name........Apologies...Anyway, thanks again for the info. I am not a fly guy but cool to hear your results. Happy Holidays!
John, Is there a source of water flowing into the shipping canal to keep it from becoming stagnant?
Steve...no, there is no source of H2O that I know of. It entrance to the canal does see a lot of wave action & raised H2O when the winds are high & the right direction.
The only outlet that I know of out of Tifft is the small culvert that empties into SBH. D.r Kevin K & the DEC all agree that it would be great if a much larger culvert could be installed to allow free passage of fish. They said that Tifft is ideal musky spawning & nursery habitat.
The Corps of Eng has a program to install large culverts to help fish passage. I got the guy's email & phone yesterday to talk with him.
...and like I said, many years ago that canal was connected to Tifft farms but was filled in maybe for Rte 5? I'll try to scan a section of that old map I have.
I wanted to mention that at the Oct. meeting, I was talking to a guy who fishes the Buffalo river further upstream. I didn't get his name. He may be a newer member. The way he was talking led me to believe that muskies are not that uncommon up there. He was saying that it would be nice if they would put a boat launch in up there. It sounded like he spends a lot of time fishing in there in a small boat.