By BILL HILTS
Niagara Gazette — 1. Lake Ontario and tributaries
Yankee Troller, a team led by Capt. Rick Hajecki of Rochester, put together a couple more solid days of fishing during the Orleans County Pro-Am last weekend to win the Classic West Cup for the salmon and trout fishing series to earn an extra check of $20,000. With his third and fourth place finishes in the Classic and Trophy divisions in Orleans, his two tournament total winnings was $36,000 for his teams consistent fishing action.
Winner of the Orleans County Classic Division was the Vision Quest 4 squad led by Capt. Bob Buck of Waterloo. They became the first team to claim the Orleans title in the eight year history of the event after leading the field after the first day. In the Trophy Division, local team Lone Wolf, led by Capt. Dan Evans of Wilson, was top dog overall. All told, more than $105,000 in cash was handed out in the Niagara and Orleans Pro-Am tournaments.
As long as we are on the subject of Orleans County and titles, the World Fishing Network announced its winners for 2013 for the Ultimate Fishing Town and Point Breeze was named the winner in a recent press release. Last year, it was Olcott Beach winning the title after a nationwide voting process. The community will receive $25,000 for its efforts. Out in Lake Ontario fish are scattered with the recent influx of cold water last weekend. Wes Walker at The Slippery Sinker in Olcott weighed in two 22 pound kings that were caught in 80 feet of water in front of the harbor – one on a spoon and another on a flasher-fly.
Fishing was decent in the 70 to 120 foot range with smaller fish being caught in the top 50 feet of water and mature kings coming from below 60 feet. A few browns have been caught off the piers. At Burt Dam, reports are good for bass, carp and rock bass.
Remember that the Lake Ontario Counties Summer Derby starts this weekend, on Saturday. It is also the opening of bass and musky seasons this weekend. You might want to consider fishing in the Rosemellia’s Burt Hotel Bass Contest on Saturday for the opener. Best two fish – smallmouth or largemouth – takes the top prizes for this inaugural event. Stop in to the Hotel to register. Don’t forget the Wilson Conservation Club’s kids fishing contest on Saturday, June 15. Just be to the club with your catch (by length) by noon located on Route 425, Wilson. Awards will follow at 1 p.m.
2. Lower Niagara River
On the lower river fishing scene, the moss has started to show up in the Niagara River, causing some problems for drifters and casters. There are still a few trout hanging around but mostly it’s warm water species like bass. Emerald shiners and Kwikfish work best for boaters while shore fishermen are using jigs, spoons and spinners. The big Wagon Wheel Open Day Smallmouth Bass Contest is set once again for Saturday and you can register at the restaurant located at 7201 Niagara Falls Blvd. in Niagara Falls. Best two fish wins the kitty. You can fish Lake Erie, Lake Ontario or the Niagara River, in New York waters only. A new change with the Province of Ontario bass season for the lower river and Lake Ontario is that their season opens the same time as New York’s this year.
3. Upper Niagara River
The City of Tonawanda will be holding its 18th Annual Kids Fishing Derby for kids up to age 16 this Saturday, June 15, at Niawanda Park from 9 a.m. to noon. Registration is at 8:30 a.m. at the Band Shell on River Road, Tonawanda. Over $5,000 in prizes. For more info call John or Kate White at 692-6306.
Shore anglers along Broderick Park, Squaw Island and Ontario Street launch area are catching a mix of perch and rock bass. Bass are available from the head of the river to Strawberry Island and should be a good area to target for the opener on Saturday.
Musky season also opens on Saturday and minimum size in the river is 48 inches; 54 inches in Buffalo Harbor and Lake Erie. Catch and release is encouraged with muskellunge as these populations could use a little help in rebuilding. Bass season on the Canadian side of the river opens the fourth Saturday in the upper river and Lake Erie. Musky season opened the first Saturday in June.
4. Lake Erie
Bass and walleye action has picked up nicely in areas like the windmills and around Seneca Shoal in 25 to 40 feet of water. Capt. Ernie Calandrelli of Lewiston was doing well on bass in tight to the walls, with crayfish. You should also do well for the opener anywhere around structure in 10 to 30 feet of water. Myers Reef is another good spot for bass. Walleye were hitting spinners and a worm, again around structure but in the 25-40 foot depth range. Sturgeon Point perch fishing continues to be good in the 50 to 60 foot range; 50 to 65 feet off Cattaraugus Creek.
5. Chautauqua Lake
The northern basin of the lake is still producing some nice crappie due to the cooler water temperatures, according to Craig Robbins of Jamestown. Mayville and Upper Dewittville Bay are good spots with a 1/32 ounce jig and a one inch tube tipped with a minnow under a slip bobber near weed edges. Bass season opens Saturday. Target around shallow structures like boat docks, rocky shoals, lilly pads and break walls. Spinnerbaits, top waters and plastic worms will all catch fish. Live bait is legal starting Saturday.
6. Finger Lakes-Inland Waters
Cassadaga Lake - This is a sleeper for bass fishing for the opener on Saturday. Cassadaga offers three separate basins. The lower basin offers good vegetation for both smallmouth and largemouth bass, with deeper spots being in front of the community beach. The state also has a double launch on the lake. Because of this year’s weather, the bass bite is behind schedule so target these fish in shallower waters. Look for weeds with rocks together and you’ll find fish.
Lake Alice - Bluegill and crappie fishing remains steady according to Mike Waterhouse of Albion. Bass fishing has been fair to good, with the opening of the regular season set for Saturday.Bill Hilts Jr. is the outdoor sports specialist with the Niagara Tourism and Convention Corporation. Contact him at email@example.com.