By BILL HILTS
Niagara Gazette — 1. Lake Ontario and tributaries
For the Summer Lake Ontario Counties Derby, a new Grand Prize leader showed up over the weekend out of Olcott – a 33 pound, two ounce king salmon reeled in by John Scalise of Franklinville using a flasher-fly out in 200 feet of water while fishing with Capt. Darryl Roate of Water Wolf. Wednesday saw a 31-pound, eight-ounce king come to the scales in Wilson, courtesy of Malcolm Bennett of Plano, Texas while fishing with Capt. Vince Pierleoni of Thrillseeker II. That fish is first place in the salmon division now. There was also a new leader in the Rainbow-steelhead category, a 15-pound, nine-ounce fish weighed in by Carol Comerford of East Aurora while fishing out of Wilson.
Fishing in the lake is slowly starting to pick back up again but as of this report there was fog and cold water after a recent northeast blow. Wes Walker at the Slippery Sinker reports some warmer water has been found out deep for salmon and trout at the 28-30 line. As a result of the cold water near shore, bass have turned on in the harbors of Wilson and Olcott as those fish have sought out the warmer creek waters.
The Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Association will be holding their next meeting on July 11. Capt. Don Ruppert will be giving a seminar on Lake Erie walleye fishing starting at 7 p.m. at Cornell Cooperative Extension Niagara in Lockport.
LOTSA’s in-club tournament is Saturday, July 13 and the deadline to register is Sunday, July 7. Sign up on the website at www.lotsa.org. Friday July 12 is the Curt Meddaugh Memorial event for registered members. Check out the website for details.
2. Lower Niagara River
The lower Niagara River moss problem seems to be lessening. However, bass fishing has been tough, probably due to the cooler water temperatures relating to weather – some bass are still on the beds. The action should get better as the summer progresses. A few silver bass are still being caught off the New York Power Authority fishing platform and you can also cast the shoreline up into the gorge for bass with jigs tipped with plastics. If you are in a boat, make sure you call in to the Canadian Border Services Agency if you cross the international line. Border agents have been cracking down.
3. Upper Niagara River
The 23rd Annual Erie Canal Fishing Derby is underway and will continue through July 14th. Eligible waters are from Albion to the Niagara River at North Tonawanda. Seven divisions include bass, walleye, northern pike, bullhead, carp, sheepshead and catfish. Register at any one of the seven weigh stations along the canal, including Les Allen Live Bait located at 350 Hawley Street in Lockport. Over $20,000 in cash and prizes are up for grabs, including a nice little boat and motor package for the Grand Prize winner. For more information contact 830-8434 or visit www.eriecanalderby.com.
In the Gateway Harbor Hooked on Fishing Tournament last weekend, the winning catches included a 6.44 pound largemouth bass reeled in by Shawn Krull of Williamsville; Matt Steffan of North Tonawanda with a 14.92 pound carp; Sean Olejniczak of West Seneca with a 2.7 pound northern pike; and Michael Richbart of Sanborn with a 0.4 pound perch. Nearly 200 anglers competed for cash prizes and money was raised for Mercy Flight.
Water in the canal was still pretty stained from all the rain last weekend. In the upper river, bass action has been good for smallmouth bass with crayfish from the head of the river to Strawberry Island. Shorefishing from Broderick Park to Niawanda Park has been good for a mix of bass, perch and panfish. A recent DEC shocking study showed good numbers of pike and musky in the east river near the Holiday Inn and Spicer Creek around weed edges.
4. Lake Erie and tributaries
Decent walleye action is taking place off the Windmills in Lake Erie on worm harnesses in 35 to 45 feet of water. Jim Perri and John Supple of Lewiston picked up a half-dozen fish in 36 to 42 feet of water there dragging worm harnesses near the bottom earlier this week. Also off Cattaraugus Creek in 65 feet of water and off Barcelona in 50-70 feet of water. Yellow perch schools are still spread out from Cattaraugus Creek to Sturgeon Point. Fish the bottom with emerald shiners in 55 to 72 feet of water – wherever you can find the schools of fish. Bass fishing has been good all along the lake from 20 to 35 feet of water from Buffalo to Barcelona. Tubes, drop shot rigs, minnows, shiners and crabs will all catch fish
5. Chautauqua Lake
Some musky action is being reported by casters working the weedlines in the northern basin with large stickbaits or bucktail jigs. Trollers can use Hot-N-Tots or bucktail spinners to take a fish or two, as well. Those same weedline areas are good for walleye at dusk and first thing in the morning at first light. Both largemouth and smallmouth bass have been hitting inside 10 feet of water. A few smallies have been hitting in 10-15 foot, too. Use crayfish, minnows, wacky worms, tubes or stickbaits.
6. Finger Lakes – Inland Waters
Oneida Lake – Walleye fishing continues to be very good in 10 to 30 feet of water, with some of the best fishing taking place in 20 to 30 foot depths jigs tipped with crawlers, worm harnesses, spinner-worm rigs, blade baits and stickbaits. Pickerel and bass fishing has also been good all around the lake, especially around weed edges and off rocky points.
Keuka Lake – Lake trout are hitting plastics on jigs in 65 to 85 feet of water off the bluffs. Use fluke style or tube plastics. Trollers are also doing well on trout in 130 to 150 feet of water. Use spoons or flasher-fly combinations 80 to 125 feet down.Bill Hilts Jr. is an outdoor writer with the Niagara Tourism and Convention Corporation. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.