Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, Niagara River, Chautauqua Lake, Finger Lakes
Weather Helps Fishing Action!
We finally saw some west wind blow some fish into local waters, but it wasn’t easy fishing for the Pro-Am tournament last weekend for sure. According to Capt. Vince Pierleoni of Team Thrillseeker (who placed in the money yet again for the Professional Division), transition time in the lake is rapidly approaching with the super warm weather arriving this weekend.
Combine that with four straight days of calm weather before the recent winds at mid-week – there are some quality king salmon around, but there is no set pattern for a consistent bite. You can find fish (kings, lakers and steelhead) in 80 to 300 feet of water, from 20 to 100 feet down.
It’s been a mix of techniques and baits working. One approach that has worked better for bigger kings has been a flasher with cut bait. N&D is one brand type that keeps surfacing around fishing circles as a good brand according to Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctors. One interesting note is that the fish have been moving around with the more favorable west and southwest winds. Last Saturday, tournament teams out of Wilson and Olcott all headed west in pursuit of salmon.
Capt. Jim Gordon of Olcott, who was not fishing in the tournament, headed straight out of his home port of Olcott to take a dozen nice kings for customers just a mile or two straight north. No one did that good in the tournament that day. In the 32nd annual Lake Ontario Pro-Am Salmon Team Tournament held May 20 to 22 out of Wilson and Olcott, it was the Shark Tank team led by Capt. Greg Gehrig of Oswego leading the way with an impressive score of 599 points in the Classic Division and 391 in the Trophy Division – based on 10 points per fish and a point per pound – to win the tournament. They also won the ITO flies big fish for the contest with a 24 pound king salmon. For their efforts, they won more than $29,000. Second place was Capt. Rich Hajecki and his Yankee Troller team out of Rochester. They were just 10 points behind the winners in the Classic or 12 fish category. They won $8,000. Third place in Trophy was Dirty Goose led by Capt. Casey Prisco with 341 points. Fourth place was Team Thrillseeker led by Capt. Vince Pierleoni of Newfane with 338. Third place Classic Division team was Thrillseeker with 505 points. Fourth was Free Spirit with 498 points led by Capt. Paul Czarnecki of Waterford, PA.
In the Amateur Open on Day One it was Abe DeBadts of Rochester and his Fishin’ Physician Assistant team with a score of 88.49 points. Winner of Day 2 was Greg Wiacek of Lockport and his Fisherman’s Daughter team with a score of 72.52 points. For Day Three, it was Mean Machine and Kyle Hovak of North Tonawanda taking the day with a score of 80.10 points. However it wasn’t enough to win the Amateur Open Cup for the best two days of fishing combined. That was reserved for Anonymous led by John Muehl of Maryland, NY, who scored 150 points over two days.
Next contest is the Oak Orchard Open set for June 10-12 out of Point Breeze.
The 1st Annual Reelin’ for a Cure is set for August 19 out of Niagara County, an event that will get the ladies out fishing on Lake Ontario and competing for fun prizes while at the same time raising funds for cancer research.
For more info call Stephanie Pierleoni at 716-481-6388.
Lower Niagara River
The first signs of the dreaded moss have started to show up to the dismay of anglers. You can still fish without much of a problem, but be forewarned – it will be here before we know it.
Trout are still available in the river – steelhead and lake trout – and smallmouth bass are starting to turn on now, too.
Shiners and Kwikfish top the list for trout; Kwikfish, tubes, shiners and swim baits will all trick smallies into hitting. Best areas have been around Fort Niagara, Peggy’s Eddy and the clay banks for bass; Devil’s Hole for the trout and the occasional bass. You can still pick some of these fish up from shore, too. Spinners are taking some nice fish.
Upper Niagara River
The shoreline bite can be good for walleye at night or under low-light conditions as post-spawn fish move in to feed. Worms work best. Panfish action has been good around marinas and around Grand Island bays, channels and tributaries.
A couple fishing contests to mark down on your calendar, including a kids fishing contest at the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge on June 4 at the Ringneck Overlook starting at 8 am; the City of Tonawanda kids fishing contest at Niawanda Park with registration at the bandshell along River Road on June 18 starting around 7:30 am; and a Teach Me To Fish program at the East Aurora Fish and Game Club on June 4.
Lake Erie and Tributaries
Perch action seems to be picking back up again according to Capt. Joe Fonzi of Thumbs Up Charters. He had customers out this week, including Salvador, James and Raymond LaChase of Rochester, and they did well between Sturgeon Point and Cattaraugus Creek in 56 feet of water. The key is finding the fish and staying on them.
The walleye bite has been best at night with stickbaits along the shoreline, but that could be changing this week according to Fonzi, who is anticipating those post-spawn fish to turn on any day.
Bass action around Buffalo Harbor has been decent with shiners, drop shot rigs and tubes.
In the Annual Southtowns Walleye Association In-Club Perch Tournament last Saturday, Ben Slawatucki won the five-fish contest with a weight of 6.98 pounds. Jim Dolly Sr. was runner-up with 6.81 pounds. There were nearly 170 anglers in the fun contest that requires the weight of your 5 biggest fish in the tally. These perch are all post-spawn now
Smallmouth bass are hitting three-inch tubes in a pumpkinseed color around Warner’s Bar in 12 to 24 feet of water. You can also pick up some nice bass by moving into the weed pockets with a black and blue pig and jig according to Craig Robbins of Jamestown.
There is also a top water bite in the mornings and evenings off the Mayville Flats, Rock Island and the point off Lakewood Bar. You can also hit the dicks in Dewittville Bay and along the condos with buzz baits or spinnerbaits in white and chartreuse.
This is opening weekend for inland musky (not Great Lakes) and you can find success throwing over-sized jerk baits and bucktails over weed beds in places like around Wee Wan Chu Cottages and trolling in the southern basin of the lake in Ashville Bay in 10 to 14 feet of water.
Seneca Lake – This Finger Lake will see a busy weekend because of the National Lake Trout Derby that will run through Memorial Day. Not too many people have been sharing information going into this popular contest, but going into this week lake trout were being taken in 90 to 150 feet of water on spoons, flasher-fly combos and jigs tipped with plastics or live bait.
Atlantic salmon can be found near the surface with stickbaits, spoons or streamers. Good luck! Good to www.laketroutderby.org for information.
Bill Hilts, Jr., Director, Outdoor Promotions
Sportfishing has a $30 million annual economic impact in Niagara USA!