WILSON — On Saturday morning, Tim Lockhart of Youngstown and his friend Don Haseley cast off on Lockhart’s boat – “One More” – from a slip by the Sunset Bar and Grill in Wilson to try their luck at catching the heaviest king salmon in Lake Ontario. Lockhart said he fishes Lake Ontario almost every year at this time for the spring Lake Ontario counties derby.
“The tournament for the Lake Ontario counties, it goes from the mouth of the Niagara River to Watertown,” Lockhart said. “There’s a grand prize of $15,000 and it’s probably going to be a king salmon that takes it, but there’s lake trout, brown trout and different classes. Steelheads are out there, too.”
The two fishermen don’t consider themselves “die hard” – those would be up at 5 a.m. said Lockhart – but wouldn’t be unhappy to catch a qualifying fish.
“There’s guys who come from Pennsylvania and Ohio to fish this tournament,” Lockhart said. “A lot of the guys will have temporary slips (parking spot for a boat), because they normally would fish outside of Dunkirk or somewhere on Lake Erie, but now they’re hauling their boats up here to go charter fishing Lake Ontario for this and after this derby they’ll be hauling their boats down to fish Lake Erie again.”
Prizes varied over four divisions for the derby, the grand prize being $15,000 for the largest salmon, then first through 20th for salmon ($2,000- $100), first through 20th for lake trout, brown trout and walleye ($1,000-$50), then big fish daily prizes of $500 for the largest salmon each day and $200 for the largest lake trout, brown trout and walleye each day of the derby except Sunday, May 16. There were a total of $44,350 cash prizes given out between May 7th - May 16th.
As for Lockhart and Haseley, they’re happy to take in a few hours, before real life calls them back again, on a vessel called “One More.”
“That’s what it’s called and the reason for that is – when my son was four years old – I’d take him fishing, but I had to work afternoons. He always wanted to take ‘one more cast’,” Lockhart said. “Then the grandsons came along and they always wanted ‘one more … something!’ We’d go fishing up to Bond Lake, bobber-fishing for the pan fish, and it’d be, ‘C’mon guys, we got to go,’ and it’d always be, ‘Oh, just one more!’ So, that’s what it’s named.”
LOC derbies are run spring, summer and fall and information to register can be found at loc.org/home-page.