Niagara Gazette — 1. Lake Ontario and tributaries
Salmon are starting to hit more readily at the Olcott piers, either at night or under low light conditions. If the day remains overcast, there’s a good chance that salmon can hit all day long! Some salmon are also being seen in the harbor, as well as a few kings at the Burt Dam area of 18 Mile Creek. However, the main run has not yet started. One heavy rain will do the trick. A few browns are also being caught off the piers, too, by spoon casters.
Out in the lake, trollers can work J-plugs, cut bait or flasher-fly to take staging kings. Out deeper, immature kings and a mix of coho and trout are still an option on spoons or flasher-fly set ups. Pike, perch, bass and panfish are available in both Wilson and Olcott harbors, too.
2. Lower Niagara River
It looks like the king salmon are in at the Niagara River. Capt. Steve Drabczyk of Lewiston reported a great catch of salmon earlier this week using treated egg skein off of three-way rigs, hopefully a sign of good things to come. He focused his attention in the Devil’s Hole area of the gorge and for the first time recorded double-digit kings with customers. Maintaining light contact with the bottom is one key, along with long leads and good boat control. Shore fishermen have been picking up a few salmon up toward the whirlpool, as well as off the Fishing Platform at the Power Authority’s Niagara Project.
Speaking of NYPA, don’t forget that next weekend, Sept. 28-29, will be the annual Wildlife Festival, co-sponsored by NYPA and the Niagara County Federation of Conservation Clubs. This event is held in recognition of National Hunting and Fishing Day, celebrated around the country by sportsmen and conservation groups. This is a great family event with things like the Niagara River Anglers fishing pond, archery and crossbow stations, a shooting trailer, the Primate Sanctuary, Liberty the Bald eagle and so much more. It’s great for the entire family. Last year over 10,000 people came out to celebrate this special day. The best thing about it is that it’s free! There will be a kids fishing contest for youngsters age 15 and under in the public waters of Niagara County. Three ages classes: 13-15; 8-12; 7 and under. The weigh in will be at the Wildlife Festival between noon and 2 p.m. both days. The largest fish caught out of the NYPA reservoir and from the NYPA fishing platform will also receive a prize. Call 286-6661 for more info.
Also in regards to NYPA, a few people have been asking about the status of the fishing platform, as well as the construction that is going on at the base of the access road in the gorge. Call 796-0135 Ext. 45 for periodic updates on what’s happening. Maintenance at the No. 1 Unit continues and we hope it will be completed soon. The construction, in the interest of safety (building a pathway for anglers walking from above), is also necessary. Five parking slots are still available down below. The stairs to the shoreline at Devil’s Hole is currently closed. You can access the shoreline via Devil’s Hole State Park or Whirlpool State Park.
Bass action is still available throughout the river and on the Bar. Crayfish and shiners top the list of live bait; tubes and drop shot rigs are good artificial enticements.
3. Upper Niagara River
Bass and walleye are still available at the head of the river. For bass you can use crayfish, shiners or tube jigs; for walleye use a worm harnesses. You can also do well at the head of Strawberry Island on both species. Musky action should start to improve as waters start to cool.
4. Lake Erie and tributaries
The 3rd Annual Rich Brauer/DB Memorial Perch Tournament was held last weekend on Lake Erie and the good news is that nearly 400 perch were caught by eight boats. In addition, over $2,100 was raised for Independent Living of Niagara County. The winners for the event were Kathy and Dave Muir of Wheatfield with 100 perch weighing a total of 58 pounds, 12 ounces. They enjoyed their success in 67 feet of water with shiners between Sturgeon Point and Cattaraugus Creek. Second place was the team of Dave Schaffer and Ken Meister, with a limit of 100 perch and a weight of 54 pounds, 14 ounces. They fished in 72 feet of water in the same general area.
Some early jack steelhead have been reported in the lower section of Cattaraugus Creek. Look for a good, cool rain to trigger a run of fish. In the meantime, troll or cast the mouths of creeks to pick up trout.
For walleye, your best bet is out of Dunkirk in 85 to 100 feet of water with worm harnesses. Bass are still a great option this time of year as they start to put on their feed bags. Use live bait or tubes in 20 to 40 foot depths around structure – drops, humps, shoals and reefs.
5. Finger Lakes-Inland waters
Lake Alice – Mike Waterhouse reports that bluegill and crappie action is on the upswing from the bridges at Waterport and Kenyonville. Live bait is the preferred method for taking these panfish. You can also try small jigs tipped with a wax worm.
Adirondacks trout fishing – With fall foliage just starting in the Adirondacks region of New York, this is a perfect time to sample some of the excellent fishing available for the fall. A writer conference held in Lake Placid last weekend was a perfect setting for nearly 300 media specialists involved with the Outdoor writers Association of America and New York State Outdoor Writers Assn., with many of them sampling area waters like the Ausable River. Some impressive brown trout were caught before and after the conference from this popular river and Wilmington is a popular destination. Former Niagara Falls resident Matt DeLorenzo guides from The Hungry Trout Lodge and if you are interested in taking advantage of his services, you can do so at 518-946-2117. In area ponds and lakes, other trout were also reeled in, including some nice brook trout. If you make the trip up to this six million acre tract of land, make sure you bring your fishing rod.Bill Hilts Jr. is an outdoor writer with the Niagara Tourism and Convention Corporation. Contact him at email@example.com.