Western New York Fishing Forecast for Friday, July 29, 2016

John Van Hoff of North Tonawanda, targeting King Salmon between 4 Mile and 6 Mile in 120 to 140 feet of water, 50 to 80 feet down, hammered the fish using DW cut bait and DW Twinkie rigs.

Lake Ontario and Tributaries

Salmon and trout action continues to be very good for trollers. Karen Evarts at the Boat Doctor’s in Olcott reports limit catches by many of the charter captains.

One in particular was Captain Jim Gordon of the Hawg, has been doing excellent on a mix of kings and steelies anywhere from 100 to 400 feet of water, depending on the day and the winds. Sometimes he will fish a little bit west (as far as the red barn), sometimes a little bit east. Using a Hog Wild spin doctor and a Dreamweaver (DW) Kryptonite (green and gold) fly, he’ll run those set-ups off his divers 170 to 180 feet back on a 1.5 setting for salmon.

N and D Cutbait (AKA “The Good Stuff”) has also been working like dynamite. For steelhead, he’ll run the divers 100 to 150 feet back on a 3.5 setting with his best bait being a DW “Super-Slim Spook” spoon in black-white-silver. For his riggers, the Spooks are working there too, set down 50-60-70 feet. Fishing has been the best he’s seen in years.

A little closer to the Niagara River, John Van Hoff of North Tonawanda had another banner weekend targeting kings. Saturday it was between 4 Mile and 6 Mile in 120 to 140 feet of water, 50 to 80 feet down using DW cut bait and DW Twinkie rigs. They only ran four rods. Sunday it was 200 feet of water from 4 Mile to the Red Can on the Niagara Bar. The LOC Derby ends at 1 pm on July 31.

Where are you Niagara lake trout guys? There was a 32 pound salmon caught in Sodus last weekend that would have taken over the Grand Prize, but not everyone on the boat was registered!! Check out the leaderboard at www.loc.org.

Lower Niagara River

Bass and walleye are starting to pick up. No results on the NRAA bass contest, but we did hear from Lisa Drabczyk at Creek Road Bait and Tackle that there’s been some action around the fort and the green can.

In addition, Yellow Sally rigs turned a few mid-sized walleye at the Stella drift this week, so that aspect of the fishery is starting up. The Whirlpool Stairs are open again for gorge trekkers. Get down there and catch some bass from shore on spoons and spinners.

The 11th Annual Bass Fishing Derby to benefit Independent Living of Niagara County is August 7 at Fort Niagara. Call 284-4131 Ext. 146 for more info.

The 40th Annual Greater Niagara Fish Odyssey Derby is slated for August 20-28 this year and the prize structure has been increased to honor the four decades of derbies. Go to www.fishodyssey.net. Registration page is live and registrations are at most of the outlets.

Upper Niagara River / Erie Canal

Best action has been for sheepshead and silver bass around Ontario and Ferry Streets from shore. Smallmouth bass can be caught with regularity from boats. There is a restricted area off Strawberry Island on the inside due to nesting bald eagles.

In the Bassmaster Elite Bracket Tournament held on the Upper Niagara River last week, it was the legend – Kevin Van Dam of Michigan – winning his 23rd Bassmaster contest in a (first-time) unique catch-weigh-release live-time event. In the finals against Brett Hite of Arizona, a change in the rules saw the two bass catchers try to reel in as many fish as they possibly could in the time allotted. In the end, Van Dam hauled in 11 fish for a total weight of 20 pounds, 3 ounces. Hite tipped the scales with 13 pounds, 9 ounces on seven bass. KVD’s main baits were Strike King tubes, drop-shot rigs and jerk baits. There was a short controversy going on when KVD caught a fish out of the NYS boundaries, but that fish was disqualified, a ruling was made and the competition continued.

In the Erie Canal Fishing Derby, it was John Justice of North Tonawanda winning the boat, motor and trailer in the special drawing of winners at the Gasport Fire Hall last Sunday. Justice earned the right to be in the drawing by catching a 3.8 pound bass.

Other first place winners were Shawn West of Lockport with a 3-1/2 pound walleye; Albert Whaley of North Tonawanda with a 7.9 pound pike; Joe Cwiklinksi of Depew with a 2.9 pound bullhead; Patty Young of Kent with a 9.8 pound catfish; Craig Udell of Gasport with a 20 pound carp; and Ron Robel of Wheatfield with a 8.4 pound sheepshead.

In the youth division, Kyler Nowak of Lockport won the Grand Prize bike. He caught the top walleye at 1-1/4 pounds. Other youth division winners were Jakob Bensiger of North Carolina with a 3.1 pound bass; Tim Hughes of Amherst with a 4.9 pound pike; Emma Hermam of Medina with a 1-1/2 pound bullhead; Cassandra Sanney of Lockport with a 5.6 pound catfish; Ava Udell of Gasport with a 17-1/2 pound carp; and Colby Lawrence of Sanborn with a 3.3 pound sheepshead.

The Third Annual End of Summer Free Kids Fishing Derby is set for Wide Waters Marina in Lockport on August 13 from 10 am to 2 pm. Awards to follow at 2:30 pm.

Bill Hilts, Jr., Director, Outdoor Promotions

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