Lake Ontario and tributaries
An East wind is the nemesis of Lake Ontario salmon and trout fishermen, and we’ve had a bunch of it the last couple of weeks. Despite the less than ideal conditions, it was the Yankee Troller team led by Capt. Rich Hajecki leading a field of nearly 50 boats to take the annual Wilson Harbor Invitational Tournament last Saturday – the WHI. The one day event target’s salmon only and the team scored the tournament limit of six salmon – all kings – and averaged nearly 18 pounds per fish. Pretty impressive!! There wasn’t anyone close to them. The team fished from 6 mile to 4 mile in 100 to 225′ of water. In practice they had some bites on Dreamweaver spoons, but during the event it was all Familiar Bite Meat.
Their best set-up was a 150-foot diver pulling a Familiar Bite Whip Flash/Meat combo. They also had a similar combo going on a rigger.
The LOC Derby is going on right now and the current Grand Prize leader is Tracy Lindsey of Seneca Falls with a 25 pound, 4 ounce salmon weighed in at Wilson. The first place lake trout 24 pounds, 1 ounce caught by Brent Burgess of Portland, NY while fishing out of Wilson. All these fish were caught on Saturday, so the fishing turned on for big fish. Seeking out active fish hasn’t been easy with the east wind.
Wednesday morning, Capt. Kurt Driscoll found some kings in tight around Wilson in 40 to 60 feet of water, all in the top 30 feet, where his deepest rigger was set. He was trolling hot, too – down speed was 3.4 mph using spoons in black-white-green-gold.
The LOC Derby continues until Sunday at 1 pm, May 15. Awards will be held at Captain Jack’s on Sodus Bay starting at 4 pm. Check out the leaderboard at www.loc.org.
Don’t forget that Don Johannes and Pete DeAngelo 3 fish- one fish contest is set for May 19. Register by 7 am the morning of the event in either Wilson or Olcott — In Olcott it’s the Slippery Sinker and the Boat Doctors; in Wilson at Bootleggers Cove Marina or the Gas Shack.
The Lake Ontario Pro-Am tournament is set for May 20-22 and the deadline to sign up for everyone is May 16 at 5 pm. Find out everything on the website at www.lakeontarioproam.net.
It’s a celebration of our fishing resources, for sure, an event started up by the late Skip Hartman of Olcott in conjunction with Lowrance Electronics – 32 years ago!
Remember to save those salmon heads from clipped fish.
Lower Niagara River
The big news is that the Devil’s Hole area in Lower Niagara River will be CLOSED on Monday, Tuesday and possibly Wednesday according to National Grid officials. The culprit is the removal of some old transmission lines and numerous precautions are being taken – including closing boat traffic, Artpark Trail No. 7 and even the Robert Moses Parkway from traffic. It might be for only 90 minutes per day, but it’s anyone’s guess how long it will really take. That’s starting Monday, May 16.
Trout are still hanging on as the warm water fish are becoming a bit more active. Kwikfish are working on lake trout; steelhead prefer shiners. Filming a TV show on the lower river recently with Mid-West Outdoors, we managed to catch seven different species of fish. The number one species we caught were numerous silver bass in the Wagon Wheel area just south of the launch ramp on swim baits. While drifting for bass, Bob George with Buck Knives had the surprise of his life – a 50 inch musky!
Check out the Facebook page for Niagara USA Fishing and Outdoors to see a video of it. Because it’s not in season, it was released immediately. It still provided a nice thrill. He was using a Strike King Rodent soft plastic bait. John Antone of Sanborn was fishing with Capt. Steve Drabczyk recently and he managed to catch five different species. Egg sacs and shiners worked best but the key was using a 7 foot leader.
Some big smallmouth bass in the six pound class were caught last week in the river and at the river mouth during the annual media event utilizing tubes and swim baits. The key was fishing the baits slow.
Speaking of Television shows, if you want to see Niagara County in a positive light, check out Fishing University next weekend on the Outdoor Channel. It will air on Friday, May 20th at 12:30 pm, Sat., May 21st at 4:30 pm and Sun., May 22nd at 9:30 am Eastern. It’s another way to promote our great fishing, as well as the area!
Thanks to Jennifer Pauly and the Lower River Chamber who took the lead on this effort last fall. The Niagara River Anglers Association will hold their next meeting on Monday, May 16, starting at 7PM at the Jetport Restaurant, 7100 Porter Rd., Niagara Falls. If you wanna know more about this fishing resource in Western New York, attendance is free.
Upper Niagara River
Not too many reports to share, but this should be a good time to target panfish around Grand Island and along River Road. Use minnows if you are targeting perch or crappies. Bass anglers must still use artificial baits in the river. Northern pike and walleye seasons are now open, too.
The Erie Canal is open for business and offers some good fishing options this time of year.
Bill Hilts, Jr., Director, Outdoor Promotions
Sportfishing has a $30 million annual economic impact in Niagara USA!