Niagara Gazette — 1. Lake Ontario and tributaries
Action in the lake has been good, with some days better than others. One of those good days was last Tuesday when everyone seemed to be catching salmon and trout. According to Capt. Bob Cinelli of Olcott, trollers were picking up fish in the 70 to 90-foot contour from the Niagara Bar to east of Olcott. Boats were also catching fish in the waters out to 250 feet, as well as 450 to 550 feet of water. The near shore bite has been good for mature kings getting ready to stage off the creek and river mouths. Cut bait behind a flasher is a top bait right now, followed by flasher-fly and magnum spoons. Out in deeper waters, flasher-flies and spoons are both working. One of the hot lures for steelhead out deep is the “Highway to Hilts” spoon taped up by Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctors in Olcott. Karen Cinelli of Olcott reported six nice steelies off that particular spoon.
The 37th Annual Greater Niagara Fish Odyssey Derby ended last weekend and Larry Goehring of Spraggs, Pennsylvania won the grand prize when his 17-pound, 13-ounce brown trout was selected from the six first-place adult winners to win the check for $2,500. Goehring is also in first place in the Fall Lake Ontario Counties Trout and Salmon Derby.
Sandra Brown, also of Pennsylvania, won the Salmon Division with a 35-pound, 3-ounce fish that is also in first place in the LOC Derby. It was caught out of Point Breeze.
Other first place fish in the Odyssey included Bob Turton of Sanborn with a 24-pound, 13-ounce Niagara Bar lake trout; Karen Cinelli of Newfane with a 28-pound, 4-ounce Olcott carp; Michael Creighton of Buffalo with a 6-pound Lake Erie smallmouth bass; and Paul Devlin of Niagara Falls with a 120-pound, 14-ounce Niagara Bar walleye.
Back to the Fish Odyssey, where the kids got into the action, too. Grand prize was Steve Moskaluk of North Tonawanda with a 9-pound Niagara Bar walleye; Gabe Schank of Olcott won the panfish division with an 11-ounce Olcott rock bass; Ethan Long of Batavia won the carp division with an 18 1/2-pound fish from the Oak; Andon Woodward of North Tonawanda topped the bass division with a 5-pound, 4-ounce upper Niagara River smallie.
Peter Campbell of Niagara Falls led the trout division with a 12-pound, 12-ounce steelhead from Lake Ontario; and Jacob Velesko caught the salmon of his life out of Olcott, reeling in a 29-pound, seven-ounce king. The only derby left is the LOC which continues to Labor Day.
Leading the way for the $25,000 Grand Prize is a 36 1/2-pound king weighed in by Fred Dedrick of Cairo. Leading steelhead is Mike Mongan of Grand Island with a 14-pound, 8-ounce fish caught north of the Niagara River. Check out www.loc.org for the current leaderboard.
Tip of the week comes from Capt. Dan Evans: When netting salmon and trout in the lake, pay attention to where the head of the fish is pointed and be quick. If not, you could be late to the draw and knock a few fish off in the process.
2. Lower Niagara River
There are good days and bad days on the river for bass. Capt. Frank Campbell reported nine bass for four people one day, followed by more than twice that many the following day using a mix of live bait like crayfish and shiners. Tube jigs will also work nicely for bass. The walleye bite for numbers is still better in the river, but the bigger fish are on the Niagara Bar.
Paul Devlin’s monster was caught on the bar power trolling with the current with a worm harness on the bottom just west of the green can. Pat Foote caught both his fish on a worm harness using a chartreuse-colored willow leaf blade, green and yellow beads off a 3-way rig. They had 40 anglers in the contest.
Try the fishing platform to catch the first salmon of the season. Some shore line action in the gorge for bass is still going on, too.
3. Upper Niagara River
Lots of white bass are providing good to very good action for shore casters at Broderick Park right now. Emerald shiners are a good bait to use. Use small white twister tails on a hook or jig to take fish, too. Perch and bass are also available there. Thompson’s Hole was a hot spot for the Fish Odyssey derby where the winning Junior Division smallmouth came from, as well as two of the top three Adult Division fish. Live bait was used for all three, crayfish and chubs.
4. Lake Erie and tributaries
Ed Belbas of North Tonawanda reports that he was mating for Capt. Jim Plinzke of Tonawanda with his Fishunter Charters operation and they found a big school of walleye off Cattaraugus Creek last weekend. In three days they reeled in 42 walleyes up to nine pounds. Worm harnesses were the only effective baits, suspended off the bottom and move further west each day. They were fishing in 70-80 feet of water near the Canadian line when they found the school. Some near shore walleye action is still available for those willing to work for them around the shoals and reefs.
The best action will be west of Dunkirk and Barcelona at this point. Yellow perch has been off and on at Cattaraugus Creek.
Bill Hilts Jr. is an outdoor writer with the Niagara Tourism and Convention Corporation. Contact him at email@example.com.
Bass action has been good off Myers Reef, Seneca Shoal and Evans Bar. The winning Fish Odyssey bass came on a drop shot rig using a Berkley Big Gulp bait, a six-pounder that was the biggest bass of 14-year-old Mike Creighton’s life. Nice fish!
5. Chautauqua Lake
Target the weeds in Chautauqua – the same story all summer long. You will find musky, bass and walleye along those edges. Some walleye trollers were successful trolling in 20-25 feet of water in the northern basin using worm harnesses. Bass can also be found in the open pockets within the weed beds.
6. Finger Lakes-Inland Waters
Oneida Lake – For the holiday weekend, look for walleye in 25-30 feet of water. Purple and black bucktail jigs tipped with a crawler and blade baits work best. Perch have also been hitting in the walleye areas. If you see feeding birds on the surface, it could be some active bass chasing shad to the surface. Head to the area and try casting jerk baits or top-water baits.Bill Hilts Jr. is an outdoor writer with the Niagara Tourism and Convention Corporation. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.