Lake Erie – Walleye and Bass
Closest consistent action for walleye continues to be off Sturgeon Point in 70 feet of water. While trolling worm harnesses or stickbaits are always an option off planer boards, downriggers or diving planes – like Dipsy-Divers, some anglers prefer to use the very basic approach of a three-way rig, bouncing bottom with a worm harness trailing.
Capt. John DeLorenzo of Niagara Falls has been focusing between Sturgeon Point and Cattaraugus Creek in 68 to 73 feet of water to take limit catches of ‘eyes. The recent northeast winds did shut things down a bit and he only had 8 fish on Wednesday. Orange and chartreuse are the best colors, but firetiger does well, too. His basic set-up has the distance from the three-way to the worm harness at 3 feet. His front rods will have a 5 ounce drop weight; the back rods a three ounce weight to avoid tangles. GPS ground speed is normally around 1.3 mph, using his trolling motor to supply the speed he needs. Bass action has been a bit tough. Deeper has been better on the outside of reefs and shoals. Crayfish and shiners; tubes and drop-shot rigs. Start in 25 feet of water and work out.
Lake Ontario – King Salmon, Steelhead
After a hard east-northeast blow last weekend, the lake is just starting to settle back down and resume with some of the great salmon and trout action we’ve seen this summer. Anglers are still experiencing tackle-busting salmon inside of 150 feet of water, starting in 60 feet of water at first light according to Wes Walker at The Slippery Sinker. Meat rigs, flasher-fly or spoons will all take fish, but some days you do have to work harder than others.
Browns have pushed inside of 50 feet of water and the leading youth catch in the LOC Derby was Adam Flachbart of Fairview Park, Ohio with a 14 pound, 5 ounce brown trout, caught off the pier in Olcott on a Yo-Zuri crankbait! Walker also reported a few jack kings came from the pier after the lake rolled over following the storm. Now it’s back to the normal catch of bass, perch and a few crappies. Ditto for warm water fish over in Wilson. Out deep, the 23 to the 26 north line continues to be productive on steelhead and teenager kings. It was actually tougher fishing in the 450 to 500 depth range due to some cold water upwelling.
Niagara County led the charge once again in the Summer Lake Ontario Counties (LOC) Trout and Salmon Derby held July 1-31. Grand Prize catch came from Olcott and Wilson both – Chad Fenstermaker and Mitch Shipman of Ohio were fishing out of Olcott, but ended up north of Wilson in 205 feet of water when a 31 pound, 7 ounce salmon hit their raspberry shadow Moonshine spoon 90 feet back of their dipsy diver set on No. 2. Chad reeled the fish in – his first salmon on his first Lake Ontario fishing trip – to take home the $10,000 check. First place in the salmon division was Larry Wills of Lewiston with a 30 pound, 15 ounce king salmon caught out of Wilson on a purple Warrior spoon – 40 feet down over 400 feet of water. First place brown trout was Guy Witkiewitz of Ontario, NY with an 18 pound, 14 ounce fish caught east of Irondequoit Bay. Second place came from Wilson when Thomas Gies of Michigan reeled in a 17 pound, 6 ounce trout while fishing with Capt. Dan Evans of Lone Wolf Charters. It hit a Moonshine Ice Shadow spoon 45 feet down over 220 feet in front of Wilson. In the Lake Trout Division, Ephriam Burt of Watertown bested Bob Turton on Sanborn with a 24 pound, 3 ounce fish from Henderson harbor. Turton’s Niagara Bar laker tipped the scales at 23 pounds, 7 ounces. He was using a green Kwikfish to take his local trout. Top steelhead came from Niagara when Wade Winch of North Tonawanda hauled in a 17 pound, 10 ounce fish from Wilson. He was using a slide diver, back 185 feet on a No. 2.5 setting over 180 feet of water with a purple Dreamweaver spoon as bait.
Next derby on the calendar is the Orleans County Rotary Derby, set for August 6-21. The Slippery Sinker and the Boat Doctors in Olcott are both registration points.
The inaugural Reelin’ for a Cure team tournament – focusing just on the ladies – will be held out of Olcott on August 19. Get those teams together and plan on fishing! For more info contact Stephanie Pierleoni at 481-6388 for more info. Greater Niagara Fish Odyssey registrations are now online at www.fishodyssey.net and at area registration outlets.
Canadian Open Bass Tournament (Lake Ontario) – Congratulations are in order to Capt. Joe Fonzi of Gasport who placed third overall in the Canadian Open last month out of Kingston, Ontario, on Lake Ontario, with a three day catch of 64.50 pounds. He caught 19.5 pounds, but with a penalty for one dead fish. It may have cost him second place. Day two he reeled in 19.85 pounds of bass, sitting in 8th place. On the third day, he brought in the big bag of the tourney, a five fish total of 25.65 pounds, anchored by a 6.75 smallmouth that was big fish for the day. Steve Boris of London, Ontario, won the tournament with over 67 pounds of bass. Big fish of the tournament was caught by Darren Izumi, son of Canadian legend Bob Izumi, with a 7.2 pound fish. Secret to Fonzi’s success was a drop shot rig approach in 18 to 28 feet of water with goby imitation plastics, running about 27 miles to his favorite fishing hole. He attributes his successful runs to his Ranger 621FS Fisherman that handled the 3 and 4 foot waves admirably and his Cabela’s fishing gear that helped him to deal with the adverse conditions.
Lower Niagara River – Sturgeon Caught!
After a lake roll-over resulted in some great bass fishing at the mouth of the river last Sunday (according to Capt. Steve Drabczyk of Lewiston), those fish scattered and it was a struggle for anglers fishing in the Lower River Fishing Challenge to benefit Cystic Fibrosis, part of the second annual Charity for Children event held Monday and Tuesday.
Moss is no longer an issue, but finding bass and walleye during the dog days of summer was definitely a “challenge” as the name suggested. The most bass any one person caught was Tim Kolb with 5 on Monday; 7 for Dean Hale on Tuesday. Only a few walleye were caught and trollers that hit the lake did produce some salmon and trout on the Niagara Bar. Top salmon catcher on Monday was Jim Weber of Newfane; Tuesday it was Adam Thomas of Amherst with Beneficial Soil #2 – who also won the individual title for the overall contest with 1,305 points. He was fishing with Capt. Mark “Sparky” McGranahan. In the end for the team title, it was Capt. Jim Gordon of Appleton leading the Team event for Beneficial Soil #1 (Frank D’Amico, Joe Manz and Rick O’Brien) with a total of 3,320 points.
The surprise catch of the contest would have been Gary Hall’s 5 foot sturgeon that he fought for a half-hour before losing it at the side of the boat when the hook came out. Quite a thrill!
The 11th Annual Bass Contest to benefit Independent Living of Niagara County will be held at Fort Niagara and the Three-F Club on August 7. Contact 284-4131 Ext. 146.
Upper Niagara River / Erie Canal – Silver Bass Time
Best fishing has been along the east side of Strawberry Island for smallmouth on crayfish, shiners or tubes. The inside of the Strawberry Island horseshoe has been closed due to nesting bald eagles. Bass action has been consistent, but you can catch sheepshead and silver bass from boat and shore if you are using live bait like crayfish or shiners.
In the Erie Canal, the kids will be flocking to the Wide Waters Marina in Lockport on August 13 from 10 am to 2 pm for a special free derby that is open to the public.
Bill Hilts, Jr., Director, Outdoor Promotions
Sportfishing has a $30 million annual economic impact in Niagara USA!