Lake Ontario, Niagara River
Free New York State Fishing Days This Weekend
Lake Ontario and tributaries
New York State’s Free Fishing Weekend is set for this weekend, June 25-26. There are plenty of events for the entire family to keep people busy – and happy – right here in Western New York!
In this day and age where nothing seems to be for free any more, the Empire State will offer up an opportunity to fish all around the state without purchasing a license. You do have to follow the fishing regulations in the water you intend to fish however.
For salmon and trout, action has started to heat up a little bit out of Wilson and Olcott. Boats have been heading out to 350 feet and beyond off Wilson for a mix of steelies and kings. Action has been a bit closer off Olcott with some fish being taken in as close as 150 to 180 feet of water – when they can get out there. Spoons are the primary enticement, but don’t rule out flasher-fly or flasher-cut bait, especially for bigger fish. Target the top 60 feet according to Wes Walker at The Slippery Sinker. There are also fish in the 330 to 380 depth contour.
The Summer LOC Derby is set for July 1-31. Go to www.loc.org for details. More cash is up for grabs.
The Olcott Lions Club will be hosting its annual kids fishing contest on Saturday, June 25 at the Town of Newfane Marina in Olcott from 8 a.m. to noon. Get the kids out and enjoy the local fishing.
Lower Niagara River
Action in the Lower Niagara River has been plagued by moss, but that doesn’t mean you can’t catch fish. Capt. Dave Tripiciano organized an outing for young Shelby, a teenager with Muscular Dystrophy last Tuesday out of Youngstown. Using the expertise of some local fishermen like Tim L., they managed to lift Shelby’s 350 pound wheelchair into the boat and drift for smallmouth around Fort Niagara. They found an area that was pretty-much moss free and caught bass up to 4 pounds. Shelby was granted this trip through an organization called Moment of Peace Adventures of Pennsylvania and, in addition to visiting Niagara Falls (and being the first physically-challenged person to utilize the facilities at the re-opened and revamped Terrapin Point), they had a great time. Tim had been doing very well in that area on smallmouth the two days prior, too. When he fished in the main river, though, it was a tough go with the moss. Shiners were the best bait, fished off three way rigs.
Upper Niagara River / Erie Canal
In the Kelly’s Korner’s opening day bass contest, it was Dan Hudson of Tonawanda winning with the best two fish weight of 10.25 pounds. Not far off the pace was Bob Hubler of Niagara Falls with a total of 10.07 pounds, but he had big fish that hit 5.75 pounds. He was using a big chub in 40 feet of water to take his lunker catch off Wanaka, where many of the fish came from. Bass are still available in the river, too, with the bass opener in Canada happening on Saturday, June 25.
There are numerous events that coincide with the New York State Free Fishing Days weekend and at the top of the list is the Tonawanda’s Fishing Tournament sponsored by Gateway Harbor, that will go the entire weekend. Register for the event if you are an adult for a nominal fee. Kids under 16 can register for a free youth division. You are restricted as to where you can fish in the Canal, what amounts to about a one mile stretch between Tonawanda and North Tonawanda from the Niagara River to the City line. You can register at area tackle shops or stop down to Gateway Harbor in North Tonawanda on Friday to register. Species categories include bass (both largemouth and smallmouth), bullhead, channel catfish, carp, perch, northern pike and walleye. The weigh station will be open 7 am to 6 pm on Saturday; 7 am to 3 pm on Sunday. This is a transition year for the event as the local organizing committee hands the contest off to the Boys and Girls Club of the North Towns. A new website location for an entry form can be found at www.bgcnt.net and the organization will be taking the lead role after this year. After last year’s wash out, organizers are hoping for some decent weather to show off the Canal’s angling potential and help to showcase this natural resource.
Speaking of the canal, some local anglers were worried that the dewatering that was going to take place from Middleport to Brockport on Monday, June 27, was going to affect the Erie Canal Fishing Derby July 6-15. It looks like after three days, the Canal will be opened up from Middleport to Albion; the remainder will be opened by the weekend.
A huge Family Fishing Day will also be taking place out of Broderick Park both Saturday and Sunday this weekend starting at 7 am each day, as well. This is their 8th Annual event.
Bill Hilts, Jr., Director, Outdoor Promotions
Sportfishing has a $30 million annual economic impact in Niagara USA!