Niagara Gazette — 1. Lake Ontario and tributaries
It’s a derby fest for angling enthusiasts on Lake Ontario as three different fishing contests collide this weekend. The Orleans County Rotary Derby ends on Sunday, with plenty of room for improvement in the four species categories. The Fall Lake Ontario Counties Trout and Salmon Derby starts today and continues through Labor Day; and the 37th Annual Greater Niagara Fish Odyssey begins on Saturday, Aug. 17 for nine days of fun filled action.
The Orleans County event still has Foster Miller of Holley in the lead for the Grand Prize with a 34-pound, 13-ounce salmon. Top Rainbow/Steelhead is Dean Kapolka of Pennsylvania with a 13-pound, 10-ounce Olcott fish. Leading laker is an 18-pound, four-ounce fork tail caught by Hunter Westcott of Hamlin. Georgia Barkdoll of Pennsylvania leads the brown trout division with a 15-1/2 pound fish.
For the Fall LOC competition, $25,000 is up for grabs for the largest salmon overall. Check out www.loc.org for details and to find out where the weigh stations and registration outlets are located.
The Fall LOC Derby Newspaper is now out around the lake, too. The Greater Niagara Fish Odyssey Fall Classic Derby is not restricted to just Lake Ontario. You can also fish in the Niagara River, Lake Erie and any public waters within Niagara, Orleans and Erie counties. For all the information on this great family event, check out www.fishodyssey.net. Kids under 16 are able to register for free in a special Junior Division. Don’t be one of those anglers that catch a winning fish, but fail to register for the contest.
• Action in the lake has been a bit inconsistent due to winds and other weather patterns. The most stable water has been out deep between the 30 and 32 bar for a mix of salmon and trout according to Capt. Bob Cinelli of Olcott. Scattered fish were also being reported in 80 to 150 feet of water, including some mature kings. Flasher-fly combos, cut bait and magnum spoons will all catch fish for you. With some nice weather in the forecast, you should do well this weekend in the same 200-300 foot depths that had been producing last week, targeting 65 to 80 feet down.
The Niagara Bar was one of the best spots for mature kings this past week, at the drop or just off the ledge. That was before the winds blew. No report since then.
2. Lower Niagara River
Smallmouth bass are still your best bet for action but the first salmon of the year should be arriving soon with the NYPA fishing platform one of the best places to be to hook into the first river salmon. Bass are hitting live bait or tubes from Devil’s Hole to the Niagara bar. For walleye, action has been spotty. Remember that the Niagara River Anglers Association will be hosting its annual Lower River Walleye Contest on Saturday, Aug. 24. Weigh in will be at Lewiston Landing from 1 to 2 p.m. Best two fish combined weight wins the prizes. Register at Creek Road Bait and Tackle in Lewiston or register online at www.niagarariveranglers.com. Call 807-6111 for more info. And if you fish in the contest, make sure you are registered for the Fish Odyssey, too.
3. Upper Niagara River
Bass action continues to be hot around Strawberry Island and in the west river from Stahley’s Reef to Navy Island. Much of that is Canadian waters so make sure you call in to Canada Border Services Agency at 888-226-7277.
Worms, shiners and crabs will all catch fish, as will tubes and jerk baits. A few musky are being reported by casters with large tubes. Target outside the weed edges in 10-20 feet of water for bass; a bit deeper for musky. Perch and bass are hitting the shoreline areas off Buffalo such as off Broderick Park and the foot of Ontario Street launch.
4. Lake Erie and tributaries
Bass fishing has been decent, but much depends on where you are fishing and what you are using. Jeff Draper of Grand Island had some great days earlier in the week, one with World War II Bomber Pilot Joe Stevens and his sons. At age 80, the former pilot can still reel in some nice bass, catching many fish over the five pound mark. Shiners and crabs did the damage. Best bass fishing has been in 25 to 45 feet of water.
The walleye bite off Buffalo has started to move west. Ray Pacuilli of North Tonawanda reports decent success for ‘eyes off Cattaraugus Creek on Monday using a mix of worm harnesses and spoons. Best depth was 70 to 83 feet of water, with the bigger fish on the bottom and the smaller fish suspended in the water column.
Off Dunkirk, Bill Fekete of Ransomville reports good success on walleye last Sunday using worm harnesses 65 feet down, reeling in fish up to 10 pounds. Walleye seem to be spread out down there from 75 to 140 feet of water. Some of the walleye guys were reporting some big schools of fish just west of Cattaraugus Creek in 50-60 feet of water that they believe are yellow perch.
Don’t forget the 3rd Annual Rich Brauer Memorial Perch Tournament on Sept. 14. Call 695-5552 for details. Also, on Aug. 24, there will be a one day walleye tournament out of Port Colborne for the two largest walleye caught. Call 905-733-8300 for details.
5. Chautauqua Lake
Walleye action is a bit tough right now but some fish are being caught off the Bell Tower and in Dewittville Bay in 20-25 feet of water, according to Craig Robbins. For musky, target the weed edges with deep diving crankbaits or bucktail spinners. Bass, both largemouth and smallmouth, can be caught along those same weed edges, around docks and in weed pockets using tubes, senkos, minnows and crayfish. Top water lures will also work.
6. Finger Lakes-Inland Waters
Seneca Lake – Lake trout are still available for trollers in the 90-120 foot water zone over 125 to 250 foot depths. Flasher-fly combos or spoons work best from downriggers or divers. Copper will also work 300 feet back. Jigging with plastic baits will take some fish on the bottom in 95 to 115 feet of water. Trout and salmon can be found up a bit higher in 50 to 65 feet of water.
Bill Hilts Jr. is an outdoor writer with the Niagara Tourism and Convention Corporation. Contact him at email@example.com.Bill Hilts Jr. is an outdoor writer with the Niagara Tourism and Convention Corporation. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.