If you follow Postletown Woods and Water, you know that we love Autumn in Western New York. It brings about countless opportunities for the Western New York outdoorsman, but unfortunately it does come to an end when old man winter plagues our region. Since there is so much to do and so little time, we are here to help you decide which game-chasing activities you should be partaking in so that you feel like you took full advantage of this outstanding season that will be upon us before you blink. In no particular order, here are 5 ways to enjoy your time in Western New York as the concord grapes waft through the autumn air:
#1 Catch a Steelhead
If you live in WNY and haven’t tried this, you are truly missing out on some of the best fishing in the country. Steelhead fishing in WNY has always been a treasure, but it is growing even more in popularity among WNY anglers and we know why. Steelhead provide a beautiful challenge when they are attached to the other end of your fishing rod, but what might be even better are the views that the Lake Erie Tributaries provide while you wade upstream to the solemn areas that many Western New Yorkers don’t even know exist. These days, steelhead fishing can look intimidating because of the new trends that we are seeing on social media such as centerpins, fly fishing, etc; but if you want to catch a steelhead, just stick to the basics. Grab your spinning rod, a float, a hook, and some bait and go have some fun. Heck, I do well with just my spinning rod/reel, a Woolybugger and a couple split shots. An even easier tactic is to cast or troll spoons around piers, break walls, or creeks. You don’t need all the fancy new gear that is out there to be successful.
#2 Hunt the Whitetail Archery Season
Through my teenage years, I have always had interest in archery hunting because of my brother Tom and my Uncle Dave. My father and I would hunt the fall turkey season while Tom and Uncle Dave would archery hunt. My dad and I would constantly watch monster bucks walk by and we couldn’t do anything about it. I continued to put off getting my archery safety course. It just seemed like a big hassle and more money to spend. Well, five years ago, I finally did it and it was the best decision I’ve ever made. Do I miss spending those cool autumn days with my father chasing turkeys? Yes, I do, but we make up for it during the regular whitetail season and I’ve seen and harvested more bucks with my bow than I have during my regular seasons combined.
These days, getting started with archery hunting isn’t as big of a task as it seems. The safety course goes by quick and it is very informative. Today’s bows are very reasonably priced and many of them come ready to shoot right out of the box with very minimal adjustments that you can do yourself. The hardest part about getting ready to bow hunt is building the practice and confidence that you need in order to ethically harvest a WNY whitetail, but the process of learning is extremely fun. So, stop saying “maybe next year”, and sign up for your safety course today!
#3 Go Duck Hunting
Although getting started with duck hunting takes a bit more effort than archery hunting, you definitely won’t regret it. Duck hunting is one of our favorites and I look forward to it every fall. The fast-paced action that duck hunting provides on a good day is what every outdoorsman longs for; however, duck hunting is not easy and we get our fair share of slow days. When a slow day of duck hunting hits us, it’s different than a slow day of hunting other game because you are typically surrounded by some of your best friends and family members. Duck boat conversations are some of the best you’ll ever have and you never know when that huge flock of mallards is going to drop in on your set up. Western New York is a challenging area to duck hunt, but there are plenty of prime locations that are open to the public. Spend a lot of time scouting and doing your research and you’ll be sure to enjoy some delicious duck at the dinner table.
#4 Go Goose Hunting
There is a point in the season when ducks and geese can be hunted at the same time, but many hunters overlook the September Canadian Goose season in New York; including myself. Not to make excuses, but the September season comes up really quick and we still have walleye on our minds; however, I am making it a goal to get out there this year. Many hunters have great success in the early season and are able to hunt unpressed birds that are more likely to drop in on the decoys. There’s something exciting about a flock of honkers setting wing while you wait to call the shot.
#5 Catch Some Lake Erie Perch
Some of the best perch fishing on Lake Erie’s Eastern Basin takes place in the autumn months. The perch gather in large schools and go into serious feeding frenzies. It is not uncommon to pull up some hefty 15+” fish from one school. Once you find these schools, they are fairly easy to catch and people of all ages can enjoy them. Autumn is a great time to fill up your freezer so you can have fish fries all winter long.
Autumn in Western New York is a profound season that brings joy to every outdoorsman in our area. It is a time of new hunting seasons and new beginnings, which sounds pretty odd since Spring is the season with that cliche tagline, but in our eyes we can already see the memories that will be made in the upcoming months. So, get your boat fired up, your bow in tune, and your finger on the trigger because its going to get busy after Labor Day!
Written By Chris Postle of Postletown Woods and Water.