The Premier Fishing Lake in the Northeastern United States


Many anglers recognize Chautauqua Lake, New York, as one of the Premier Fishing Lakes in the Northeastern United States. Whether you are fishing for panfish or the elusive Muskellunge, Chautauqua Lake has something to offer for every type of fisherman. Bass and Walleye fisherman alike will tell you that the fishing continues to keep improving as each year passes. Based on the quantity of fish caught over the last several trips, we have high expectations for this upcoming season.

My father and I, as well as ten of our close fishing friends, have been staying at We Wan Chu Cottages for the past ten years now. The accommodations that We Wan Chu Cottages offers, are the Best on the lake for many reasons. The Cottages are located centrally on Chautauqua, which allows easy access to the best fishing waters on both ends of the lake. Their cottages are also equipped with all the necessities required for a week long adventure and are perfect for a Fishing or Family Vacation. The docking facilities remain lit well through out the entire night for convenience and safety. Over the past several years, we have discovered a number of beautiful and challenging golf courses that are located within a short drive of We Wan Chu Cottages. An individual who enjoys both fishing and golfing could not ask for anything better.

As a result of our Walleye Fishing Success over the last couple of years, we now normally schedule several trips to We Wan Chu Cottages each fishing season. In the Spring, our trip is usually planned during late May or early June. From daybreak until sunset, we have most of our luck walleye fishing using a 1/8th-ounce lead head jig tipped with either a nightcrawler or a leach. The secret is to locate the weed beds, which have a noticeable change in depth, right off the edge of the weeds or deeper water within the vicinity of the weeds. Walleyes will relate to this type of structure throughout the year. A bullet shape lead headed jig will allow the bait to work through the weeds with a little more ease than a standard round headed jig. In addition, sometimes we will add a 3" Mister Twister grub to the jig head for added flash, as well as tipping the hook with a nightcrawler or a leach. On some days, this presentation is a ticket for success. Many questions are asked on how to work this presentation properly. My philosophy is simple. "Slower is better". We have had tremendous success by simply pitching the bait into weed pockets or right on the edge of the weed beds. A secret is to let the bait fall all the way to the bottom of the lake. Always pull the rod tip back slowly. This will allow you to feel the fish before he feels you. Speaking from experience, this will help catch more fish the majority of the time.

As soon as the Sun sets during the Spring, our strategy changes. A # 9 or # 11 Rapala is extremely effective for walleye when worked properly. Usually, more strikes will occur when the bait is worked slowly with a stop and go retrieve. However, strategies can change each night. In our opinion, the most productive fishing waters at night lie from the weed beds that exist in depths of 6 - 8 feet all the way to the shorelines. We prefer the North end of the lake around the Bell Tower and across the lake, near Dewittville Bay and of course, right in front of We Wan Chu Cottages' Dock.

During Late Summer and the Fall of the Year, we still concentrate on the weed edges, although we will switch over to using spoons and vibrating lures. We prefer a blade bait that closely resembles a "Heddon Sonar." These baits can either be vertically jigged or steady retrieved back. Once again, it is extremely important to be on the bottom, or within a few feet because walleyes are bottom feeders the majority of the time. Both ends of lake can provide excellent walleye fishing in the fall. Most of the Walleyes caught will range from 15 to 22 inches. This is the best size for the frying pan. However, there were many instances where we caught walleyes that exceeded five pounds, including a few that weighed over eight.

Barcelona, New York is located on Lake Erie and is less than a 15-mile drive from We Wan Chu Cottages. At certain times of the year, the Bass and Walleye fishing can be phenomenal just a few miles from the docking facility at Barcelona. One day last year, we caught over eighty smallmouths in less than four hours with the majority weighing more than two pounds. Most of our success came from using tube jigs and Rattle Traps in depths from 15 to 24 feet.

We Wan Chu Cottages & Chautauqua Lake have so much to offer it is hard to experience everything during a week's time. That is why we schedule several trips a year to Chautauqua Lake. Each year is a new learning experience and I am very excited about what this upcoming season is about to bring.

Darren Dossi
North Canton, Ohio