Fishing on Lake Ontario has been inconsistent, with a big part due to the weird weather patterns that have been going on out there. Winds and cold fronts have impacted catching conditions, but reports from area charters are still showing limit catches of salmon and trout for most days.

1. Lake Ontario and tributaries

Wes Walker at the Slipper Sinker in Olcott was reporting good fishing first thing in the morning from Wilson to the AES Somerset Power Plant inside 100 feet until the sun rises. After that, boats are sliding out into 100- to 200-foot depths. Best baits continue to be spin doctors and flies, as well as spoons — NBK, blue and green dolphins, black and silver — all in the 35- to 90-foot range below the surface.

That’s right, the 24th annual Skip Hartman Memorial Trout and Salmon Derby is just around the corner, set for May 31 to June 1 and the postmark deadline is today; the walk-in deadline is May 27. Pick up an application off the Web site at or call 877-FALLS US. However, remember that it’s a holiday weekend so people won’t be around after Friday. The Lake Ontario Counties (LOC) summer derby starts up today, too. Check out or call 888-REEL 2 IN for more details.

Next week is also the Buffalo Sabres Alumni event out of the Town of Newfane Marina and Krull Park. The Newfane Tourism Committee has really rolled out the red carpet and they anticipate another great fundraising contest. On Friday, the 8th annual Don Johannes Memorial Big Fish Derby will team with the Pete DeAngelo Memorial Derby to give Pro-Am teams and non-tournament teams a fun one-day event for some decent cash.

Contact the Wilson Gas Shack, The Slippery Sinker in Olcott or the Boat Doctors in Olcott for details. You must be signed up before Friday morning. If you have any questions, give Wes Walker a call at 778-0713.

Down at Point Breeze, some local anglers have been doing well on walleye. Pete Prine of Lockport already has a 10-pounder to his credit, caught on a Rapala-type stickbait at night between 8 and 9 p.m. Mark Haenle II of Lockport has caught some on a Smithwick body bait in black and silver with an orange belly or blue and silver with an orange belly. They’ve also been catching some big northern pike in the same area. Northerns have also been hitting in Wilson and Olcott harbors and when they’re not around, doing pretty well on a mix of panfish like rock bass and the occasional perch. It should get better when things warm up this weekend.

2. Lower Niagara River

A group of Pennsylvania outdoor writers arrived on the scene Tuesday and they were greeted with marginal water conditions. They weren’t disappointed, as they all reeled in steelhead trout and smallmouth bass during their trip. Some also caught lake trout and sheepshead. Kwikfish and minnows did the trick, with the big picture fish for the day being a smallmouth between five and six pounds. There are still quite a few steelhead hanging around going into the holiday weekend and as the water warms, warm water fish species are starting to turn on, too. If you’re looking for some real fun and fast action, try fishing up in Devil’s Hole off the NYPA Fishing Platform or along the shoreline with minnows for silver bass. They’ve been going bonkers for over a week and this year’s run has been very strong.

3. Upper Niagara River

With rough weather keeping some of the bass fishermen off Lake Erie, some of the charter guys and diehard bassers have slipped into the upper river to cast for smallmouth and largemouth. Remember, artificial baits are a must for these fish until the June 21 opener unless you’re fishing in Lake Erie. Tube jigs and spinnerbaits were catching some fish, including the occasional pike on spinnerbaits. Steelhead fishing continues to be good all along the upper river, from the Army Corps wall at Squaw Island to the upper rapids area at Niagara Falls. Casting hardware like spoons or spinners and drifting egg sacks or minnows will work for the trout. The new Greater Niagara Hotspot Fishing Map is hot off the presses this week. If you’d like a copy, call 877-FALLS US or visit the Web site at

4. Lake Erie and tributaries

Some intense winds impacted fishing conditions earlier in the week and fishing slowed quite a bit Tuesday and Wednesday. Some good bass fishing was reported prior to that, with fish up to seven pounds being reeled in the past week.

Some fish have started to move up onto the beds, but this cold front has kept the rest back — they’re laying in wait to do their thing. Tube jigs, drop shot rigs or golden shiners are the best baits going right now. Fish can be caught from Myers Reef to Buffalo inside the breakwalls. Not too much to report on walleye. Some night fishing is taking place off Hamburg with stickbaits when the weather and water conditions will allow.

5. Chautauqua Lake

Bass fishing has picked up around Warners Bar in 10 to 16 feet of water on three-inch white tube jigs or three-inch chartreuse curltail grubs. Remember it’s catch and release until June 21. Walleye fishing has also improved in Dewittville Bay near the Girl Scout Camp. Cast No. 9 or 11 Rapalas from a boat toward the shore over the top of the weed beds.

6. Finger Lakes-inland waters

- Honeoye Lake — Not too much fishing going on this week, with most anglers concentrating on panfish and walleye. For panfish, Dan Sharp at Honeoye Bait and Tackle recommends small hair jigs with spikes, mousies or wax worms in the shallows. For walleye, target 14 to 16 feet of water with bass minnows or jigs tipped with leeches or nightcrawlers.

- Oneida Lake — The best walleye fishing has been in front of tributary mouths and around shoals with spinner-worm, jig-worm or stickbaits. Panfish action improved, but shut down with the cold front. When the weather starts to warm, try around Toad Harbor, Big Bay, Lower South Bay and Polar Beach.

- Cayuga Lake — Pretty much the same as last week with salmon and trout hitting stickbaits near the surface at the south end of the lake. They are also hitting around Taughannock Point and AES Cayuga. Use minnows on yellow perch in 10 to 15 feet of water along either shoreline and in the north end of the lake.

- Canadice Lake — Trout are still cooperating for trollers working flutter spoons, Prescott spinners or june bug spinners tipped with a minnow. If you’re fishing from shore, try using bass shiners. Crappies are still an option and if the weather warms this weekend, try for them in the southern end of the lake.

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