There have been 430 Trophy Bass (8 lbs or more) caught in Lake Istokpoga since 2012
Only about a 1-hour drive from Orlando or Tampa
Many other large fish species live here too
Experienced TrophyCatch anglers Adrian “Lunker Louie” Echols and Syl Sims recently caught the program’s first two Hall of Fame largemouth bass on Lake Istokpoga. Louie’s catch weighed 13 pounds, 14 ounces, and Syl’s catch weighed 13 pounds, 4 ounces and was caught using the Enigma fishing rod that he received for his Season 5 Hall of Fame catch.
“We are thrilled to celebrate Louie’s and Syl’s Hall of Fame club catches on Lake Istokpoga,” said KP Clements, TrophyCatch director. “Both of these gentlemen have numerous catches in the program, which highlights their great skill in catching the bass of a lifetime and their commitment to conservation by submitting their data to TrophyCatch to assist in the management of Florida’s trophy bass fisheries.”
Lake Istokpoga is five miles northeast of Lake Placid in Highlands County and about a one-hour drive from Tampa or Orlando, places that many folks know when they visit Florida. This 27,692-acre lake boasts quality fishing for panfish, largemouth bass and many other game fish species.
Since TrophyCatch was launched in 2012, there have been 430 TrophyCatch-approved largemouth bass weighing 8 pounds or heavier caught on Lake Istokpoga. A total of 347 fish have been entered into the Lunker Club (8-9.99 pounds), 81 into the Trophy Club (10-12.99 pounds), and Syl and Louie’s Hall of Fame catches make the first two Hall of Fame Club bass (13 pounds or more) caught on Lake Istokpoga in the program’s history. As an integral part of the TrophyCatch program, all of these bass were released, so these trophies still swim in Lake Istokpoga.
TrophyCatch Hall of Fame anglers each receive Bass Pro Shops gift cards, Spiderwire merchandise, a custom fiberglass replica mount made by New Wave Taxidermy, an Enigma fishing rod and a plaque from American Registry commemorating their catch.
TrophyCatch is a partnership between Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) biologists, anglers and fishing industry leaders such as Bass Pro Shops, that rewards the catch, documentation and release of largemouth bass weighing 8 pounds or heavier in Florida. In order to be eligible for prizes, anglers are required to submit photos or videos of their catch to TrophyCatch.com, showing the entire fish and its weight on a scale, before releasing it back into the water. FWC biologists use TrophyCatch data to make informed decisions about the management of Florida bass fisheries and to promote the catch and release of trophy bass.
The FWC encourages anglers to join TrophyCatch as citizen-scientists that assist in fisheries management and the conservation of Florida’s lakes and rivers. A TrophyCatch mobile app is available for download on both Apple and Android devices. For more information about the TrophyCatch program, email Amber Nabors at Amber.Nabors@MyFWC.com.
Parker and Connor Cinelli of Grand Island show off a couple of the steelhead they caught this week in the upper Niagara River while they were drifting worm harnesses around Strawberry Island targeting walleye.
The third Saturday in June is the statewide opening of the regular bass season and Great Lakes muskellunge season. To help kick the bass season off, there are plenty of options going on such as the 1st Annual Brauer’s Restaurant Opening Day Bass Contest. This fun competition is for two-person teams and score will be based on the weight of the best two fish. You can fish the upper Niagara River and Lake Erie OR the lower river and Lake Ontario. The challenge will be on. Sign up at Brauer’s Restaurant on Campbell Blvd. in Pendleton or sign up at Creek Road Bait and Tackle in Lewiston. Cost is $40 per team. If you have any questions, contact Dave or Kathy Muir at 695-5552.
Bass fishing has been decent in the Niagara River, both above and below the falls for anyone casting artificial baits like tubes or swimbaits. As of Saturday, you can use live bait again to target bass with the opening of the regular season.
Gianni Etopio of Youngstown has been doing well off the NYPA Fishing Platform on silver bass, walleye and smallmouth.
Boaters are bouncing bottom with tubes and swimbaits or dragging bottom with three-way rigs using Kwikfish. There are still a few trout in the river but it won’t be for long.
The upper river, too, was producing some trout. Capt. Chris Cinelli of Grand Island reported that he caught four chunky steelies while walleye fishing around Strawberry island. Some walleye were caught this week by fishermen using jigs, but with the Southtowns Walleye Contest going on, we can’t tell you where.
For Lake Ontario, northeast winds have stirred up the water a bit. Capt. Roy Letcher of Newfane reported good action off Olcott in the top 40 feet of water over 200 to 300 foot depths using spoons. Everything was up high due to the cold water upwellings. We’ve had no other reports with many of the boats heading east last weekend to fish in the Orleans County Open tournament
For the kids, the Wilson Conservation Club will be holding its annual youth fishing derby from 8 a.m. to noon on June 16. Eligible waters are any waters in Niagara County and the contest is based on fish length. All the measuring will take place at the club located on Route 425 in Wilson. There is also a special Huck Finn division this year for kids using cane poles. Pick up your free pole prior to the contest or use your own. To find out more information call Mike Melcher at 930-7500.
There’s also a kids contest on the upper Niagara River in Niawanda Park sponsored by the City of Tonawanda on Saturday June 16. Registration starts at 8 a.m.
Don’t forget that next weekend is the Free Fishing Weekend around the state, June 23 and 24. There are some special events going on that weekend such as the Hooked on the Tonawanda’s out of Gateway Harbor in North Tonawanda. Call 628-1247 for more information.
On Saturday, June 23, the Olcott Kids Fishing Derby will be held out of the Town of Newfane Marina from 8 a.m. to noon. Kids age 4 to 15 are eligible. Call the marina at 778-5462 if you have any questions.
Also on Saturday the 23rd, there will be a kids fishing contest at 9 a.m. on Hyde Park Lake in Niagara Falls, held in conjunction with a summer bash. After fishing, try your hand at kayaking with Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper at 12:30 p.m.
Bill Hilts, Jr. – Outdoor Promotions Director
Destination Niagara USA, 10 Rainbow Blvd., Niagara Falls, NY 14303
Frank Shoenacker gets the net for another one of our 26 walleye caught in daylight the Friday before Memorial Day.
Simple Fishing, Simple Fun, NEW METHOD
Peaceful Fishing Fun with Time to Share Conversation
Braided Line, Fluorocarbon Leaders, Sharp Hooks
By Forrest Fisher
“There’s one!” Frank shared, “Can you get the net Forrest.” It was actually, to be more correct, “another one.”
We started at 7 in the morning on the Friday before Memorial Day, the sun had not yet made it over the eastern hill at Bemus Point. Through about 10:30AM, we landed 26 walleye. Not joking. My fishing buddy and friend, Captain Frank Shoenacker (pronounced “sha-na-kir), enjoys fishing for walleye with rod in hand. “It’s real fishing,” he says.
When he’s not guiding for fun with guys like me to catch walleye to 6 pounds, he likes to work on his rigs, experiment with new baits, learn from other experts – like at the seminar series at the Niagara Outdoor Show every year, and also share what he knows too.
Our catch included a good number of throwbacks that were 1/8″ under the 15″ minimum, but being honest, I filled my limit fishing with fish to 24 inches long while spending a peaceful morning of conversation with this incredible fishing expert and friend. Secrets abound, some of them you need to find out from Frank himself, but think about it, 26 walleye. An amazing morning!
I felt like I was fishing in a throwback time. You remember those old days when going fishing meant leaving the rest of the world behind and just hoping to find some fish that would bite? That’s how it is was with Frank. We’ve been fishin’ friends for a few years now because we share a passion for the fun and legacy of catching walleye in Chautauqua Lake (and Lake Erie), especially with rod in hand.
We leave the fancy toys, riggers, boards and all that behind when it comes to early season walleye fishing. I like to cast toward evening and into the night, but Frank prefers to catch fish in daytime hours (who doesn’t?) and shares his secret tactics with those folks that use his guiding services for charter fishing on Chautauqua Lake, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.
Frank says, “For the newbie fishing folks to enjoy the day and really have fun, I have learned the lesson that keeping it simple gets that done. Customers go home happy and with fish for the table if they want to keep ‘em.” When I saw how simple his tactics were, how savvy and coy they were at the same time, I was not just impressed, I was blown away.
As we moved from spot to spot collecting three or four walleye from each fishing zone, we shared conversation with 9 other boats out there vying for a fish-catching moment. In all, there was only one fish among them! Surprising to me? Yes! We were killing ‘em. Why? Stealth. Proper colors. Proper presentation. Fishing were the fish were (perhaps the biggest reason).
Cut weeds, floating weeds, short emerging weeds, all were also present in the water, but no algae or moss. Seeing the weeds, you might agree, trolling is not an option. At least not an option that most folks might take. For Frank, it’s the one situation he likes the best. “No boat traffic this way,” he says with a smile.
He likes to use a modified troll using his 8HP/four-stroke engine with a drift bag to make the type of motion control possible that he wants for his 17-foot Lund fishing boat. Very slow forward motion in particular places, almost negligible motion…but there is motion, fish-catching motion.
Frank understands this motion thing quite well and can explain it. He puts the presentation on the fish where they are and then tantalizingly appeals to their sense of scent, visual attraction, lure motion and hunger using small baits. The scent of live nightcrawlers on his assortment of artificial worms in combination with vivid colors, stealth bead rigs and a unique catch-no-weeds arrangement, makes Frank rig effective on Chautauqua Lake. Quite amazing really.
The motor was running, though I couldn’t hear it. As Frank reached for a Tim Horton’s Timbit he looked over his shoulder at me and said, “It’s so good to be out here just fishing for fun today, ya know?” He tossed his line out about 40 feet behind the boat and told me to follow suit. He had the right side, I had the left looking back toward the transom. We caught one freshwater clam before moving to the next spot. “Lots of spots to fish,” Frank shared with a grin.
In similar depth water, we repeated the cast-out routine using his 7’ high tensile strength graphite St. Croix rods and Daiwa reels filled with 10-pound test Seaguar 832 braid and terminated with a fluorocarbon leader to the lure. You could feel every pebble, every bottom sensation and every nibble, tap-tap and anything else that contacted the lure. The rig provides the perfect rod-in-hand experience for every angler.
Over the next two hours, we landed dozens of walleye, but we also hooked or caught other fish species too, including musky.
I raised my rod tip, there it was, one tap and a slight movement left, dragged the rod forward and wham, the fish slammed the lure, just like Frank said they would. This guy likes to share fun, that’s all I can say about this trip.
Frank catches walleye using a method with lures that he alone has perfected. Since I’ve been doing this for 60 years I can say that. The results are amazing on even a short day of fishing. Imagine 26 walleye, a 4-foot musky and so many other fish from a lake 17 miles long that thousands of anglers fish each year.
Big Salmon, Big Brown Trout, Big Walleye, Lots of Smallmouth
It’s a Good Time to Be Fishing Niagara!
Congratulations to all of the derby and tournament winners! In the Wilson Harbor Invitational tournament last Saturday, it was Tom Allen’s A-Tom-Mik team winning the $20,000 check by scoring 162 points – based on 10 points a fish and a point per pound – for his 6 best salmon. Runner-up and earning a check for $10,000 was On The Rocks led by Capt. Mike Johannes of Ransomville. In the LOC Derby, the 28 pound, 10 ounce Oswego fish held up for the $15,000 Grand Prize – caught by Daniel Manti of Cortland. Salmon were being caught all around the lake. More than half of the salmon winners came from Niagara. Niagara Falls USA also produced the first place lake trout and the leading walleye. In the laker division, Steve Klejdys of North Tonawanda took top honors with a 22 pound, 5 ounce fish caught on the Niagara Bar. For walleye, it was Harry Crannell of Queensbury winning the division with a 12 pound, 1 ounce fish he also caught on the Niagara Bar. Capt. Chris Vogt of Albion won the brown trout division with an 18 pound, 1 ounce fish caught out of Bald Eagle Marina in Orleans County.
After a crazy couple of weeks of salmon fishing on the lake, things slowed down a little bit as the waters need to set back up again following a northeast blow. Most consistent action has been to the northeast of Wilson and Olcott in 250-plus feet of water. Capt. Mike Johannes of On the Rocks Charters, coming off a second place finish in the Wilson Harbor Invitational tournament last weekend, reported he had to go a bit deeper on Tuesday morning. His best rigger was set at 80 feet down, divers were back 150 and he was hitting fish with 200 feet of copper wire out, too. Best baits were a Sea Sick Waddler and a 2-Face spoon. Everything was magnum size. Earlier, most of the fish were up high in the 30 to 60-foot range, with divers working the best getting spoons out away from the boat. Lake trout were stacked up on the Niagara Bar again, but there weren’t too many salmon around according to reports.
Next big events on the angling calendar include the Don Johannes-Pete DeAngelo Memorial Big Fish-Three Fish Contest on May 31 and the 34th Annual Lake Ontario Pro-Am Salmon Team Tournament June 1-2. Check out www.lakeontarioproam.net. Deadline to register for the Pro-Am without a penalty/late fee is May 25.
Lower river trout and bass action continues to be good for boaters. Using three-way rigs, bounce bottom with minnows to take steelhead or lake trout. Lakers up to 17 pounds were reported this past week. Bass are hitting swim baits and tubes. White and silver jigs will work off the NYPA fishing platform for trout and bass. Silver bass were hitting along Artpark from shore. The Lewiston Landing area is still producing walleye at night on plastics. During the day, bass and sheepshead have been hitting zoom swim baits according to Gianni Etopio of Youngstown.
In the upper river, some big rudds have been hitting jigs, bass are all over the place and some walleye were hitting around Unity Island. For smallmouth bass, use tubes or swim baits around Strawberry or Motor islands. At the head of the river, bass were being cooperative there, too.
Have a great holiday weekend!
Bill Hilts, Jr., Outdoor Promotions Director
Destination Niagara USA, 10 Rainbow Blvd., Niagara Falls, NY 14303
Brian Hartman with the 18 lb. 2 oz. walleye he caught from the St. Lawrence River,
St. Lawrence County on May 5, 2018.
Cattaraugus County Black Crappie Topples Old Benchmark
St. Lawrence County Walleye Shatters Former Record
Two new state fishing records were set over the course of one weekend in New York recently, State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today.
“High quality fishing opportunities abound across New York and announcing two record-breaking catches is the perfect way to kick-start the 2018 freshwater fishing season,” said Commissioner Seggos. “It’s remarkable that anglers broke these records back-to-back over a single weekend and from water bodies in different regions of the state. I encourage anglers to share their notable catches with DEC this year on social media and through our Angler Achievement Awards Program.”
Brian Hartman of Alexandria Bay eclipsed the 2009 state record walleye by more than 1.5 pounds when he caught an 18-pound-2-ounce walleye from the St. Lawrence River on May 5 using a swim bait.
On May 6, William Wightman of South Dayton used a black marabou jig to reel in a 4-pound-1-ounce crappie from Lake Flavia in Cattaraugus County, exceeding the 1998 state record by five ounces.
Hartman’s record breaking walleye in St. Lawrence County water was caught on the opening day for walleye season, which runs from the first Saturday in May through March 15. Thanks to DEC’s walleye management efforts, walleye are found in every major watershed and are considered one of the most prized gamefish in New York State. These fish are also highly regarded as one of the best tasting freshwater fish.
Black crappie, also known as strawberry bass or calico bass, are found throughout the state in clear, quiet lakes, ponds, and rivers where vegetation is abundant. Spring is a popular time of year to fish for crappie, as these fish can be found in large schools in shallow water prior to spawning. Not only are crappie fun to catch, but like walleye, they’re great to eat, too.
Wightman and Hartman submitted details of their winning catches as part of DEC’s Angler Achievement Awards Program, which tracks state record fish. Through this program, anglers can enter freshwater fish that meet specific qualifying criteria and receive official recognition of their catch and a distinctive lapel pin commemorating the achievement. Three categories make up the program: Catch & Release, Annual Award, and State Record.
May 9, 2018 Fishing Report and Advice for Catching Fish
King’s Coho’s and Lake trout action in Lake Ontario is HOT
Smallmouth Bass in Lake Erie, Lower Niagara and Trib’s is HOT
It’s Tournament Time, check out the schedules below
It’s time for the long-awaited International Fishing Congress in Downtown Niagara Falls USA and delegates from around the world were greeted with bountiful sunshine and 80 degree temperatures. The first couple of groups wanted to sample Lake Erie’s smallmouth bass fishery and they weren’t disappointed. Swimbaits and spot-tail shiners were the ticket for most of the fish, including bass up to nearly 6 pounds and a musky around 39-inches that was immediately released.
Meanwhile, a group went after trout in the lower Niagara River. Action has been good for boaters, producing a mix of steelhead and lake trout. An occasional walleye and musky is also being caught. If you want to target smallmouth bass with artificial baits, they are also cooperating for anglers. Tube jigs and swim baits are the ticket for smallmouth; Kwikfish, MagLips and minnows/shiners for trout, all fished off three-way rigs. Shore guys are working the New York Power Authority (NYPA) fishing platform with jigs and spinners to take trout and a mix of whatever else swims in the river…like suckers, silver bass, smallmouth bass, muskellunge and maybe even a sturgeon!
Out in Lake Ontario, the fishing for kings turned on last weekend and is continuing, a great start for the LOC Derby set for May 11-20. For more details go to www.loc.org. Best salmon action with a mix of King’s, Coho’s and lake trout. Target 60 to 100 feet of water with spoons and flasher-flies. Greens and golds were working, but so are some glow colors. Fish are hungry. Water temps were around 45 degrees in the lake.
Our international guests will be hitting the lake Thursday morning and we hope to have some nice pictures to share in the future. You can check out photos of the media event at www.buffalonews.com/section/sports/outdoors to see an impressive gallery. In addition, don’t forget that the Wilson Harbor Invitational Tournament is set for May 19 and, as a lead-in to that big event, there are two other salmon contests that will be held from May 14 to May 18. The first is a $1,000 a day option for the biggest salmon caught each day. The second is the Salmon Slam. There are five days of fishing and the competition focuses on the best 7 fish for those 5 days. You pick and choose when to weigh a fish in. A certain amount of strategy is involved. Find out information on all three at www.wilsonharborinvitational.com.
Tributary action was very good over the weekend with a mixed bag of steelhead and smallmouth. With warming waters, though, the steelhead option could be a thing of a past by this weekend. All you can do is check it out. Jigs and egg sacs.
Remember that the Lake Ontario Pro-Am Salmon Team Tournament is set for June 1 and 2 this year, preceded by the Don Johannes and Pete DeAngelo memorial events on May 31. You can check out www.lakeontarioproam.net for details on the Pro-Am. For the Johannes/DeAngelo contest, stop in a Bootleggers or the Gas Shack in Wilson; The Boat Doctors or The Slippery Sinker in Olcott. Good luck and good fishing!
Bill Hilts, Jr., Outdoor Promotions Director
Destination Niagara USA, 10 Rainbow Blvd., Niagara Falls, NY 14303
Spring has its own unique textures and smells that recalls something familial. It draws me back Home, to spring crappies in lakes surrounded by the forests of the upper Midwest. Before the blossoms begin to bloom, I hear the Siren’s call of back bays and secluded, closed-in canals connected to bigger lakes, surrounded by gray trees, washed in gray light.
Not because crappies fight so very hard. Not because it requires any exceptional skill. Not even because they taste wonderful, as I generally prefer perch, bluegills, trout, and walleyes. But because they formed a small, but important part of the woven tapestry called Home in the mind of a little boy.
My father was a dentist and not at all a fisherman, but he had amazing carpentry skills. All in one winter, he built a boat in our open car port. A wooden boat, 12-feet long, so stable my brother, dad, and I could stand on one gunnel and it would hold a foot short of shipping water. It had a console, two comfortable seats, a windshield, a steering wheel connected to a 40-horse Johnson, and man could it fly.
Dad bought every imaginable accessory— water skies and tow ropes; inflatable toys; inner tubes; and four fishing rods, replete with slip floats, split shot, swivels, and size #6 Aberdeen hooks. A former captain in the Army Air Corps during World War II, he was quite thorough.
He didn’t know much about fishing and I was just 11 or 12, so he asked my uncles who said, “Buy some crappie minnows and plop them around by those fallen trees on the west shore of the lake.” So we did. That first spring we fished together several times, watching yellow-and-white bobbers drifting past the boughs of fallen trees in the west bay.
One afternoon, I pitched my bobber rig into the fork between two branches. After a minute or so, it began to move sideways and submerge ever so slowly. I waited until it was down completely and set the hook (my cousins taught me that much fishing from docks). Nice crappie, maybe a foot long. So my dad pitched right to the same spot. His bobber followed precisely the same routine and his crappie was a little bigger than mine.
Some 50 years later, I maintain no illusions that my memories of that day are pristine, but as I recall we kept taking turns pitching to the same spot for about half an hour. Each time the float submerged slowly. And each succeeding crappie was slightly larger than the last one. Dad caught the biggest one and we could get no more bites after that, so we left for my grandmother’s cabin to clean up a nice mess of fish.
This I do remember because somebody took a photo of the two biggest crappie lying next to each other beside a measuring tape. Both were over 18 inches long! In a half-century of trying, I’ve never since caught a bigger crappie. Being a young pup, I had no idea that there was anything exceptional about the size of those fish. That was the size crappies were supposed to be, I surmised. Dad, not being a fisherman, had no idea that his biggest crappie might rival the state record. And my grandmother cared about one thing and one thing only: Frying them up for dinner in that marvelous way she had, serving them with a glorious loaf of bread made in her oven that afternoon.
I remember dogwood blossoms in the trees, and a faint, sweet smell in the air. I remember my dad’s faint smile every time I brought a crappie flopping over the gunnel and onto the deck, those iridescent scales reflecting metallic flashes of purple, blue, green, and silver. After that first summer, we never really fished together again. He was busy building our house or playing golf— his favorite activity. But he introduced me to crappie fishing, which has haunted my spring life ever since.
Catch-and-release was not yet a topic in the mid-1960s, except in the presence of rare and gifted men like legendary angler Lee Wulff. People fished for fun, but it was generally accepted that you killed what you caught. I would, of course, never kill an 18-inch crappie today. In fact, we generally keep only four in the 10- to 12-inch range, releasing all specimens over a foot long. And if everyone else would (please) follow suit, maybe our kids could again see what an 18-inch crappie looks like. Even if only once.
Now I look out the window and see rain dripping from gray trees in April. Ice still clings to some of the larger lakes. I know crappies are already moving into those shallow bays to feed near spawning habitat. I sense their progress as they follow the wind, finding wood cover in the warmest water, making up for the deprivations of winter with minnows and invertebrates that gather there.
A ghostly image of Home haunts me as I gather my 7 to 8-foot ultralight rigs, stringing them up with bobber stops, slip floats, and small jigs. I can still see his silhouette in the swirling snow of that open car port, alone, slowly soaking and bending ribs and strakes into place with a series of clamps, quietly bonding us all together.
Look for Matt Straw to share Part 2, 3 and 4of “Crappie Fishing With Straw” in consecutive weeks of “Share the Outdoors” starting today
Strike King Tubes and Paddle Baits (Green Pumpkin)
Safety First! Wear Life Jackets, the Water Temp was 36 degrees
Eastern Basin Lake Erie EARLY SEASON SECRET: 3-Way Rigs, Long Leaders, Live Golden Shiners
By Forrest Fisher
My alarm went off at 6AM, the coffee pot came to life, my gear was ready at the door to move to the truck and it was just then that I looked out there. SNOW?! What?! Can’t be, I thought, but sure enough, the white stuff coated my semi-new truck and made it really glisten. Santa would be proud. I just smiled to myself and said, “It’s ok, I’m going fishing with friends today.”
For the record, spring is here! You know it, I know it, we all know it. So this past weekend on Sunday, I contacted on old friend that is a bass fishing guide on Lake Erie and a new friend who works for Flambeau Outdoors – the tackle box storage company that never fails. We decided to wet a line in Lake Erie where ice-out happened just days ago.
Captain Terry Jones from First-Class Bass Fishing Charters asked us to meet at Anchor Marine boat launch on Grand Island at 9AM, so Charlie Puckett and I did just that. Terry hollered over, “I’ve got plenty of gear guys, just bring the coffee and hop in, got golden shiner live bait too, we’re good to go.” Don’t know about you, but anytime the moment of truth arrives, you know, that a fishing day plan is going to happen for certain, my heartbeat quickens a bit. It’s exciting! Especially when you head out to fish for giant springtime Lake Erie smallmouth bass in a brand new Lund 1875 Impact boat package, complete with a Motor Guide Xi5 electric bow motor and two Lowrance Elite sonar units that can spot fish to give us a little confidence that we might catch a few.
Of course, Mother Nature was doing her best to remind us who is boss after every sunrise. The water temperature had dropped to 36 overnight, the wind was wavering between 5 and 15 mph from the west-northwest, the waves were growing. Not sure why we were all still smiling with wet raingear on after reaching the rocky shoal about 6 miles above the Peace Bridge.
The 4-stroke 150HP Mercury was purring along so sweetly to move us around on the shoal, we couldn’t even hear it. After 45 minutes, Captain Terry said, “OK, let’s go to another spot where we might find some active fish and the wind might be quieter.” I was thinking that’s exactly what other great smallmouth bass anglers like VanDam, McClelland, Hartman and my father – who loved to fish for smallmouth, might suggest too. One thing for sure, we would not be working topwater baits!
We headed for a rock pile near Woodlawn Bar, not far from the shoreline windmill farm near the old Bethlehem Steel plant in Lackawanna, New York. A few minutes later, we switched lures to Strike King tube jig tails (green pumpkin color) with Captain Terry’s custom (home-made) football jig heads inserted, all coated with a dash of his secret smell attractant, and we let our lines down to drift and jig in 33 to 38 feet of water.
As we did that, with Captain Terry’s tackle box open and about 100 jig heads in all sizes looking at us, Charlie shared the latest about the new Flambeau tackle box divider packs. He said, “Yep, these are the best, our storage box divider systems are now coated with Zerust®, a patented, infused plastics technology that emits an odorless, harmless vapor in the container area of your storable latch-down tackle box. It provides rust and corrosion protection. No more rusty hooks!” You can check it out at www.flambeauoutdoors.com. The new gear today, like these dividers, do help anglers “be better out there.” The new stuff never ceases to amaze me.
My 7’-0” Abu-Garcia Veritas rod and Abu SX-30 reel with 8-pound Seaguar AbrazX clear fluorocarbon line was working perfectly. It was throbbing every now and then, my trailing jig tail was navigating the rocks and bottom rubble, hopping, dragging along, moving slowly, and acting attractive and vulnerable. As I was concentrating on the highly visible white rod tip…so easy to see from inside the boat, Captain Terry hollered, “FISH!”
The lone line we had trailing with a 3-way rig and a golden shiner lip-hooked from a size 1 Mustad circle hook suddenly bent clear down to the water. Charlie grabbed the rod and the first fish fight of the day was on. A few minutes later, we slid the net under the 4.6 pound female that was still hard with eggs. The 20-inch fish was also waiting for spring weather. One or two pictures later, we carefully released this healthy bass back to the depths to live another day.
The perfectly-sized golden shiners came from Tony Scime’s Tackle Shop (716-444-1704) in the heart of the Upper Niagara River fishing district on Niagara Street in Buffalo, New York. A good place for anglers fishing the FLW Costa Bass Fishing Tournament out of Buffalo to pick up Strike King jigs, tails, tackle, supplies and the hottest baits at the time. The summer tournament is set for July 26 – 28, 2018, (https://www.flwfishing.com/tournaments/2018-07-26-lake-erie-buffalo).
We tested the Lake Erie Buffalo Harbor waters near the south gap, the middle gap and near Motor Island in the Upper Niagara River before realizing it was already 3PM. How did that happen? When you’re having fun with friends, time flies.
The Lowrance sonar showed us that fish were present, but they were sluggish and the water color was not the best. It didn’t matter, we were enjoying conversation, fresh air and outdoor camaraderie.
All of us had spring things to do, like everyone, but this day was simply the best way to kick off the Lake Erie fishing year. If you want to do the same, give Captain Terry a call at 716-875-4946 or look him up at www.1stclass-bass.com.
Imagine that sound, “Fish On!”
Be sure to dress in layers to stay warm right after ice-out on the big water lakes, but GO GET ‘EM!
It looks like the weather is finally breaking. Lower river drifters were doing well again according to Capt. Frank Campbell of Niagara Falls. He has hit steelhead and lake trout all week using minnows, egg sacs, MagLips and Kwikfish throughout the river, all fished off three-way rigs. Water conditions have been good.
The smelt could be running any day in the lower Niagara River if temperatures are the main trigger point. However, the Lewiston Smelt Festival is still on the calendar for May 4 at Lewiston Landing starting at 5 p.m. There will be over 400 pounds of smelt cooked up by the Niagara River Anglers Association.
Speaking of the lower river, the NYPA fishing platform has re-opened. Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls was 5 for 8 on steelhead using jigs on Wednesday.
For Lake Ontario and tributaries, flows were back to normal at 18 Mile Creek and Burt Dam, according to Wes Walker of The Slippery Sinker in Olcott. However, the water was still a bit stained and temperatures were in the mid-40’s in the creek. Those temperatures will start to rise and trout will drop back and leave the creek soon. Fish are still available for now. Egg sacs, egg imitations and jigs are all good baits to try.
Out in Lake Ontario, it’s been a tougher go with the winds. A mud line extended to 120 feet off Olcott earlier in the week, but things should start to settle a bit more by the weekend. Winds have kept people off the piers and smaller boats from chasing salmon and trout.
Remember that some of the bigger fishing contests have been pushed back by a week or two.
The Lake Ontario Counties Trout and Salmon Derby (www.loc.org) for the spring will be held this year from May 11-20.
The Lake Ontario Pro-Am Salmon Team Tournament is June 1-2 out of Wilson and Olcott. Check out www.lakeontarioproam.net.
The Don Johannes/Pete DeAngelo one fish-three fishing contest is May 31. Stop in at the Gas Shack in Wilson or the Slippery Sinker in Olcott for details.
If you can make it on the lake, the shoreline trolling for browns, the occasional Coho and steelhead can be caught on stickbaits like Bay Rats, Challengers and Live Target lures. For those of you looking for Kings, they’ve been picking up a few, but exact details are sparse with the first tournament of the year kicking off this weekend in St. Catharines, Ontario.
Pen rearing projects are in full swing right now, with pens in place in Olcott, Wilson and the Niagara River out of Youngstown.
The Niagara County Federation of Conservation Clubs has rescheduled its awards banquet, set for May 19 at Terry’s Corners Fire Hall. Call Dave Whitt at 754-2133 for more information or to reserve your ticket.
PLANO’S HARDWORKING WEEKEND SERIES OF SOFT TACKLE BAGS RECEIVES KEY UPGRADES FOR 2018
Plano, IL (April 10, 2018) – If fishing for a living is your dream, don’t let us or anyone else burst your bubble. But until that day rolls around, most of us need to work real jobs to pay for gas, groceries, gymnastics lessons…and our fishing gear. And because we just can’t fish whenever we want, the time we do get to spend on the water becomes that much more valuable.
That’s where Plano comes in; it’s the brand that’s helped anglers keep their valuable fishing tackle protected, organized and readily accessible for over 65 years. Plano protection means your gear lasts longer. Plano organization means you always know what you have and where to find it. Taken together, the result is maximum enjoyment extracted from each precious minute on the water.
For 2018, Plano’s popular Weekend Series includes three distinct, reimagined models that work as hard as you do. Weekend Series Tackle Cases, Weekend Series Softsider Tackle Bags and Weekend Series Speed Bags are each available in Plano’s popular 3500, 3600 and 3700 sizes to build or integrate seamlessly into any tackle management system. And they look better than ever in brand new, classy and clean tan or gray color schemes. In addition to standout new aesthetics, these bags feature upgraded, no-fail zipper pulls and tactical-inspired MOLLE exterior webbing for easy attachment of fishing tools or accessories. Best of all, these handsome and durable standout performers are available at great low prices that any working angler can afford.
The largest in Plano’s refreshed Weekend Series, Weekend Series Tackle Cases provide the greatest overall storage capacity and organizational capability. Available in staple 3500, 3600 and 3700 sizes, these soft tackle bags deliver maximum utility for any angler.
The Weekend Series Tackle Case’s spacious main compartment opens and closes securely via an easy-access zippered top. Inside, anglers will find ample room for up to four aptly sized Plano StowAway Utility Boxes – enough capacity for a load of favorite lures and terminal tackle. Two large, zippered side pockets and a generous front zippered pocket provide secure storage for bags of soft plastics, line spools and other essential gear, while an extra measure of welcomed storage for attractants, keys, maps, sunglasses and such comes courtesy of three mesh utility pockets – one on each end and one along the back. A built-in front tool holder and durable MOLLE webbing place pliers and other fishing tools within easy reach, while an adjustable, padded shoulder strap ensures easy transport to and from the truck, dock, garage or boat.
Plano’s Weekend Series Softsider Tackle Bags retain familiar Plano Softsider architecture in fishing-friendly 3500, 3600 and 3700 sizes, but have been updated with exciting new cosmetic choices and features. Available in the new, ultra-sharp tan or gray Weekend Series color schemes, these Softsider Tackle Bags can be matched to any other tackle storage product in the refreshed Weekend Series, allowing anglers to build a complete and unified tackle management system that looks as good as it performs, without busting their budget.
Constructed of tough, 600D Polyester, Weekend Series Softsider Tackle Bags employ a top, camera-bag-inspired flap design that’s secured by straps and easy-opening buckles instead of a trouble-prone zipper. This ensures longevity, as well as quick and easy access to the main compartment, even with wet, cold, or slime-covered hands.
Each Softsider comes with two properly sized Plano StowAway Utility Boxes to hold enough lures for any Saturday or Sunday on the water. They’ll hold up to three StowAways inside the main compartment, but anglers can remove one to create extra space for gear or supplies. Additional pockets round out the Softsider’s hardworking exterior, with large slip pockets for tools, line spools, water bottles and more on either end, plus a large pocket system on the front. MOLLE webbing along the Softsider’s face provides the perfect place to attach fishing tools, hand towels or other accessories. A reinforced top-carry handle and padded shoulder strap help the Softsider to easily go anywhere the fish are.
Plano Weekend Series Softsider Tackle Bags
Zipper-free trouble-free lid design for easy access
Easy-opening buckles for large hands
Available in attractive tan or gray color schemes
Available in 3500, 3600, or 3700 sizes
Includes two StowAway Utility Boxes in corresponding size
D-ring and multiple MOLLE attachment points for extra storage
Three exterior pockets
Reinforced top-carry handle and padded shoulder strap
Model Numbers, Colors, Exterior Dimensions & MSRPs
Throngs of anglers use venerable Plano StowAway Utility Boxes as the foundation for their tackle management systems, and some of them don’t always want or need to carry a full-featured tackle bag.
Enter the Plano Speed Bag: a no-nonsense nuts-and-bolts soft tackle case with the sole assignment of carrying and keeping three Plano StowAways, protected and at the ready.
Weekend Series Speed Bags are available in the familiar 3500, 3600 and 3700 sizes for easy integration to any tackle transport and storage system, and feature the attractive new tan or gray Weekend Series color schemes. Anglers can match them to their other Weekend Series bags and cases, or use the two available colors to code their Speed Bags by species or technique.
Constructed of durable 600D Polyester with a padded inner lining, lightweight Weekend Series Speed Bags open and close via a reinforced zipper with a new, failsafe and ergonomic loop pull. Up top, a strong, padded handle ensures comfortable and reliable carry. Empty Speed Bags can be folded down for easy storage in small spaces. Like the other bags and cases in Plano’s refreshed Weekend Series, Weekend Series Speed Bags feature MOLLE webbing along the front for quick and secure attachment of all manner of accessories.
Anglers seeking affordable tackle storage solutions that look great and work as hard as they do can call off the search. Plano’s upgraded Weekend Series Tackle Bags, Softsiders and Speed Bags possess exceptional organizational abilities, and they certainly aren’t afraid of late hours, early hours or weekend work.
The only remaining question is: When can you start? We suggest today.
Steelhead, Brown Trout, Lake Trout, Bullheads too!
Fish are biting off 3-way Rigs/Minnows
NYPA Platform Still Closed due to High Water and Ice
The signs of spring are all around us!
The New York Power Authority started pulling the ice boom at the head of the Niagara River where it meets up with Lake Erie and remaining ice is minimal due to the extreme wind event last week. There is still a pile of ice hanging around the base of Niagara Falls, but the warmer temperatures and rain should break that up in the coming week.
Lower Niagara River trout action took back off when the waters cleared this week. Capt. Frank Campbell of Niagara Falls had a banner day earlier this week with double digit trout, finding a mix of steelhead, browns and lake trout. Minnows fished off three-way rigs were the bait of choice.
No reports on the shore fishing action and the NYPA fishing platform is still closed due to the high water and potential for ice coming down the river (still). No word on smelt, other than the Lewiston Smelt Festival is set for May 4 this year. This will NOT coincide with the Spring LOC Derby as dates have been pushed back to May 11-20 this year. Check out www.loc.org for details.
Over in Wilson and Olcott, ice that was flowing north out of the Niagara River after last week’s wind storm encountered some strong northwesterly winds in the lake. That ended up pushing ice into Wilson and Olcott. It was a mess for boaters and pier casters. With warmer temperatures on the way and rain in the forecast again, things could be back to normal by the weekend. According to Wes Walker at The Slippery Sinker in Olcott, the LOTSA pen rearing project received fish from DEC on Monday and that operation is underway.
Shoreline trolling with stickbaits should resume in 10 to 20 feet of water along any mud line or creek mouth. Seek out warmer water temperatures for best success. Pier casters should do well with spoons or spinners.
Last weekend, the Wilson Conservation Club held its 5th Annual Wilson Bullhead Contest. Some 43 adults and five youth participated in the spring kick-off event. In the Adult Division, the best two-fish bullhead weight and overall winner was Francis Holly IV of Wilson, with a 4.23-pound total. He was using cider worms at dusk to catch his bigger fish in 12 Mile Creek. Second place was Tyler Morrison of Appleton with 3.70 pounds of bullhead. He was fishing during the day in the west branch of 12 Mile Creek using shrimp. Third place went to John Pittsley of Lockport with 3.46 pounds using shrimp both day and night. In the Youth Division, it was Trever Wilson winning with a weight of .95 pounds.
Innovative New Tackle Box Joins Forces with Legendary Anglers
Bill Dance Joins the Growing Stable of Top-Level Anglers Relying on Lure Lock
Ettrick, Wisconsin – Lure Lock is excited to announce that it has entered into a multi-year partnership with legendary fishing icon and TV personality, Bill Dance. Bill Dance has grown his brand into a multi-media empire, stemming from his success during the early days of the Bassmaster Tournament Trail and into two television shows, Bill Dance Outdoors and Bill Dance Saltwater Outdoors.
“Without a doubt the partnership with Bill is a big for Lure Lock, Bill and his iconic and unique position in fishing industry is something that easily fits alongside the Lure Lock brand,” stated Jessica Kriesel, Lure Lock Marketing Coordinator. “From his recognizable Tennessee hat, to the catchy intro song on his TV shows, Bill introduced many people to fishing and sticks in their minds today, just like fishing tackle sticks in our Lure Lock cases.”
Bill was on hand and in the Lure Lock booth at the recent Bassmaster Classic Expo to greet fans and demonstrate the holding power of the proprietary gel in the Lure Lock cases.
“I can’t even begin to count how many tackle boxes and storage cases I’ve used…and destroyed over the years of fishing tournaments and filming TV shows,” laughed Bill. “It takes a lot for me to lift up my sunglasses and take a closer look at things in the fishing industry these days and when I first saw the Lure Lock cases, I almost even took off my Tennessee hat….almost! These cases will make traveling around filming our TV shows so much easier, as I know my tackle will arrive securely in place, undamaged and ready to go.”
Lure Lock boxes come in three sizes LL1, LL2 and LL3 and are available in Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s, Academy, Sportsman’s Warehouse, Tackle Warehouse and key independent sporting goods dealers at $15.99, $17.99 and $19.99. Lure Lock gel kits (for retro-fitting other boxes) range from $6.99 to $9.99, depending upon size.
For more information about Lure Lock products please visit http://www.lurelock.com, or contact Glenn Walker at firstname.lastname@example.org with media or marketing requests.
About Lure Lock: Lure Lock is owned by Tak Logic, LLC and is located in Ettrick, Wisconsin. Lure Lock tackle boxes feature a patented gel material – all made in the USA. For more information, call 608-525-3636.
Fishing Fun, Seashells, Sightseeing and Dolphins near Port Sanibel, in Southwest Florida
Bobbers, Shrimp, Speckled Trout and FEW SUPRISES made for a VERY RELAXING DAY
Screeching Drags, Fully-arched Rods, Tight Lines & Good Knots
By Bob Holzhei
The 36-foot Contender was impressive as we walked down the dock right after sunrise. There were three 250 horsepower Yamaha outboards on the stern and we were met with a giant warm greeting from Captain Ryan Kane of Southern Instinct Fishing Charters. The targeted species for the all-day charter included Kingfish, Mackerel, Barracuda and Cobia, according to Kane.
I had fished the Gulf of Mexico for the first time, years ago, as one of a dozen outdoor writers selected from the United States. The group was chosen from the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers and included a writer from Outdoor Life Magazine in New York.
The opportunity to fish the ocean out of Port Sanibel, Florida, was exciting. Fellow outdoor writer Dave Barus, his wife Rose and my wife Shirley, all joined up for the all-day charter fishing trip. The trip had been cancelled twice due to high seas and on this day, the winds did the same, but we went anyway. The seas started at two feet, but eventually rose and crested to five-foot levels, which resulted in pulling the lines and fishing the shelter between two islands closer to shore.
Our trip began with a slow troll out of Port Sanibel Marina and then the fun started, as Captain Kane increased our speed to 30 mph. The three outboards roared, though they were just at half-throttle. The scent of the ocean salt water, the memory of over-cresting waves and the spray from the wake slapping the boat was frozen in time. As we arrived at the fishing grounds the lines were let out 90 feet behind the boat.
“I use 15 pound braid and 60 to 80-pound test fluorocarbon leader line spooled on the Shimano reels. These are mounted on my Dan James Custom Rods that I use because of their ability to hold up under the challenge of big, bad, ocean fish,” stated Kane.
“The Dan James Custom Rods do exactly what they’re intended to do. Other rods break under the pressure. The Shimano reels are ergonomically correct and anglers have an easier time with these reels, they’re a step above other reels. The way the reel is made, the size of the handle and the ease of using it, is worth the cost,” added Kane.
Kane field tests several other Dan James Custom Rods that are in the prototype or development stage prior to these going into production.
The wind speed rose yet again to 35 mph and Captain Kane was forced to head for calmer waters. We boated towards the safety of islands and dolphins surfaced, following us for the fun of jumping in the boat wake. Time stopped again and I also became air-born, but unlike the dolphins, I would not reenter the ocean. Rather, I would take flight on the never-ending memory of such an incredible experience. The dolphins were only three to four feet away! Their eyes and expressions were talking to me.
Eventually, we stopped to fish in a sheltered and secret Captain Kane spot. We caught speckled ocean trout and these have a slot limit between 15 and 20 inches under Florida fishing regulations. In addition, Shirley caught a handsome Bonnet Head Shark and we released it unharmed.
“Fish on!” Rose Barus yelped from the front of the boat.
I grabbed the rod that was in a rod holder right next to me. The drag was screaming! This was a bigger fish as line screeched and shouted from the Shimano open-face reel. I tightened the drag on the reel, but the fish was too green yet in its attempt to free itself from the hook. After 15 minutes or so, my arms and shoulders tired and I asked Dave Barus to take over. Barus moved from side to side of the boat as the fight continued bow to aft.
Finally we saw the fish, it was not a fish! It was a Stingray! The 40-45-pound Stingray stretched over three feet in width. When it first surfaced, I got my first look at it and it dove down deep again in an attempt to free itself. It surfaced a number of times, going under the boat in an attempt to get loose. Barus put his finger on the drag spool in order to add slightly more manual drag and keep the reel from burning up. The spool holding the line was actually hot. The battle lasted over 45 minutes before a gaff hook was carefully placed to bring the Stingray aboard where the venomous stinger was cut off by Captain Kane. The captain provided us with instructions to place the stinger in an empty water bottle for now and then later, add bleach until the stinger turned white. The venom would be neutralized then and safe to handle. Another stinger would grow on the ray.
“Get over here Bob, and get in the picture,” stated Rose Barus.
Following some quick photos, the Stingray was released into the ocean and swam back into its natural habitat.
“Southern Instinct Charters offers a world-class fishing adventure off the waters of Fort Myers and Sanibel Island. Tarpon, Kingfish, Redfish, monster Snook, Wahoo, Tuna, Red Snapper, Cobia and sharks are additional species that Captain Kane will target at your request. Inshore and offshore fishing adventures are offered, in addition to shelling and sightseeing trips.
The memory of the day-long fishing charter will live on forever in my mind and I will once again experience fishing the Gulf of Mexico in the future to escape the frigid Michigan winter for this warmer climate.
Fishing the Gulf of Mexico was the fishing adventure of a lifetime and I plan now to return again and again to re-live the permanent memory of this experience. I will fish with Kane another year and it is no surprise to me that his open date list is short.
For anyone from across the country, if you seek the fun of a new big fish adventure, choose Southern Instinct Fishing Charters. It’ll be trip of a lifetime.
Stockton Lake white crappie are large, plentiful, fun to catch and tasty!
Answering the Call
Learning about Life, Love, Fishermen and Jesus
Stone Creek Lodge, Stockton Lake…a Place to Visit
Great Fishing Trips, Vacation Fun…Creating a Legacy and Passion for Sharing
By Larry Whiteley
As a young man Kris Nelson loved to go fishing every chance he had. He fished in all the lakes and streams of southwest Missouri near his hometown of Willard. While other young men were playing sports or doing things they shouldn’t, Kris was fishing.
When he graduated from high school he worked and saved his money, then got into buying houses, fixing them up and selling them for a profit. His success gave him the time and money to go fishing.
In 2008, when the housing market went bust, Kris lost virtually everything and had to go out and find a job. Through it all though he still found a way to go do what he loved. Fishing helped him through the tough times.
While working at a factory job in Springfield, a friend told him, “Kris, what are you doing here? This is not for you. Your heart is in fishing.” Not long after, he found out about a job in Florida as a fishing guide, so he sold his boat and off he went to follow his dream.
In 2011 after a few years of guiding and even being captain of a charter fishing boat, Kris decided it was time to go back home to the Missouri Ozarks.
Shortly after getting back from Florida he was fly fishing for trout below the dam on Lake Taneycomo and having great success, when another fisherman who wasn’t having the same success came up to him. He wanted to know if he would show him how he was catching them. Kris patiently helped and then smiled as the man started reeling in fish.
It turned out the man was in Branson with some friends and he asked Kris if he would guide him and his buddy’s the next day, and they would pay him. Since he needed the money, Kris agreed, but he didn’t have a boat, so he rented one from Lilley’s Landing and Resort. The day was a success and the fishermen were happy.
That got Kris to thinking that maybe there were other fishermen willing to pay him for guiding them on Lake Taneycomo. Unable to afford a boat to guide, a good friend named Justin Hayden loaned him his boat and Kris’s guide business was off and running.
He eventually saved enough money to buy his own boat and began expanding his guiding business to Stockton Lake and Pomme de Terre Lake, as well as Lake Taneycomo. He called his business, “Tandem Fly Outfitters.”
About that time, another very special thing happened in Kris’s life. His cousin set him up on a blind date with a beautiful girl named Amanda and he was totally hooked.
Another chapter in the life of Kris and Amanda began in 2017. He was doing so many guide trips on Stockton, he started renting a room at Stone Creek Lodge. That way, he wouldn’t have to drive back and forth to Branson each day. The owner of the lodge had noticed how Kris’s guide business was thriving and approached him about buying the lodge.
Amanda had to drive back and forth a lot so she could be with Kris when he wasn’t guiding, so the two talked it over and decided to take a big step and buy it. To make it all even more special, three days after writing up a contract on the lodge, they found out Amanda was pregnant and they are now the proud parents of a pretty girl named Lilly.
Today you will find Amanda and Lilly running the lodge, snack shop and tackle store, while Kris is out on the water making sure their customers are having a good time and catching lots of fish. When the day’s work is done, you will usually find Kris walking around their property with one arm around Amanda, holding Lilly in his other arm and smiling.
I have fished both Taneycomo and Pomme de Terre with this young man and, to be honest with you, I have been with guides all over the U.S. and Canada, but I have never had a better fishing guide. He is knowledgeable and wise far beyond his age. You will catch fish and you will catch a lot of them. I would not hesitate in recommending Kris Nelson to anyone wanting to experience a great fishing trip.
God has been good to Kris Nelson and, in his wonderful Ozarks accent, he is quick to give Him all the credit and praise for what has happened in his life. I would just bet his favorite bible verse is Matthew 4:19. Look it up and you will understand what I mean.
After reading this, I think you will probably agree that the amazing life of Kris Nelson, his family and their business, all makes this a really great fish story.
To book a trip with Kris go to his Facebook page @Tandem Fly Outfitters or call the lodge at 417-276-1700.
Niagara Falls USA Fishing Forecast for Thursday, March 22, 2018 – Destination Niagara USA
Tribs are plentiful with Steelhead and Brown Trout
Olcott and Wilson Pier fishing is Good
Bullhead Contest at Wilson Conservation Club – APRIL 6
Despite a lack of precipitation, steelhead and brown trout are still being caught with regularity in the Lake Ontario tributaries. Water conditions have been low and clear. Small egg sacs, small jigs tipped with a wax worm, and egg imitations are at the top of the list.
In 18 Mile Creek, there’s been good trout action from the piers to the dam according to Wes Walker at The Slippery Sinker.
When you can get on the piers (northerly winds from the most recent Nor’easter have kept people off the last few days), casting spoons or spinners can produce browns or steelhead. They have been getting some big perch off the piers and in the harbor, too. In fact, they were catching perch all the way to the dam until the gobies moved in.
Steelhead were also being caught in Keg Creek.
Over in Wilson, there are steelhead in the 12 Mile Creeks. In the harbor, perch and bluegills were being caught. Bullhead started to hit in Wilson, too.
No sharing on the hot spots because the Wilson Bullhead Derby sponsored by the Wilson Conservation Club is just around the corner. The derby will run from 5 p.m. on April 6 to 1 p.m. on April 8. Sign up at the Slippery Sinker in Olcott or CMC Auto Repair in Wilson. Call Eric at 628-6078 for more information.
Out in Lake Ontario, small boaters have been hitting the shoreline for brown trout. With the northerly winds, the shoreline has a distinct mudline. Working stickbaits in and out of the line is one approach, using planer boards. Keep your lures 100 to 125 feet back. Chartreuse and orange have been good colors lately. If you aren’t getting hits, try bumping your speed up. That’s was John Van Hoff of North Tonawanda and Adam Gierach of Pendleton did last Sunday. Their speed was as high as 2.8 in the cold water and they caught browns up to 10 pounds inside of 15 feet of water.
Walker reports that come boats have been catching browns, steelhead and Coho salmon as deep as 40 feet of water and from 40 to 80 feet of water they have been picking up some lake trout.
In the lower Niagara River, action has been a bit slower with the super clear water. Capt. Matt Yablonsky with Wet Net Charters was picking some trout off using egg sacs before the sun hit the water. After that it was all meat – minnows and shiners. No report from the shore guys this week, but with the super clear water try to downsize your offerings and fish out a bit deeper.
The Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Association is looking for some volunteers to help put their pens together and get them ready for the salmon and trout stockings in April. On April 7, volunteers will be meeting at the Town of Newfane Marina in Olcott at 9:30 a.m. to work on the pens. For more information contact Alan Sauerland at 504-7789.
Incidentally, the first meeting of the year for LOTSA will be April 12 and it will be on tournament spring king fishing. The meeting is in Lockport at 7 p.m., Cornell Cooperative Extension.
The 29th Annual Antique Fishing Tackle Show is slated for March 24 from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Elks Lodge No. 41, 6791 North Canal Road, Lockport. Admission into the show is $5 for adults. Kids 16 and under are free. This is a great chance to get an appraisal on some old fishing tackle that may be lying around your basement or in your garage. For more information contact Dan Bedford at 713-9410.
Every week The Buffalo News gives outdoor sportsmen (and women) a full page of pertinent material as it relates to Western New York and beyond. Check it out at www.buffalonews.com/section/sports/outdoors/ or pick up the paper every Thursday.
Bill Hilts, Jr. – Outdoor Promotions Director
Destination Niagara USA; 10 Rainbow Blvd.; Niagara Falls, NY 14303
It’s March 15 and it’s the final day of walleye, northern pike, tiger musky and pickerel fishing seasons in New York. We’re also less than a week from the arrival of spring. However, someone forgot to tell Mother Nature. We were dumped on again, with another 6 to 8 inches of snow in Niagara. Despite the late white stuff, there are trout in most all of the streams and in the Niagara River.
Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls has been crawling around the rocks in the gorge area and he picked up a few fish in the lower Niagara River this week using a white and silver jig in the Devil’s Hole area. Water was high with visibility at about 10 feet. Water clarity has been an issue for Capt. Mark McGranahan of Sparky’s Charters, too. He was offering trout some egg sacs, minnows and plugs like Kwikfish and MagLips and managed to hook into a few. Action was not consistent though. It appeared there was a large amount of bait in the river, too. If this weather continues to stay cold with a chance of snow or ice, they may not open the New York Power Authority fishing platform or the NYPA reservoir access points. You can check by calling 716-796-0135 Ext. 45.
March 18th is the 13th Annual John Long, Sr. Memorial Raffle and Feast to be held at Niagara Active Hose on Lockport Road in the Town of Niagara from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. This is the big fund raiser for the year with the Niagara River Anglers Association. Call Paul Jackson at 731-4780 for more information.
In the Lake Ontario tributaries, conditions have been fair to good for trout. White flies and jigs have been working well. Jig tipped with a wax worm also have been catching some fish.
Next rain or melt-off should produce a solid push of fish. Water has been cold, so fish low (deep) and slow according to Scott Feltrinelli, a local fly fishing guide out of Rochester area. Both steelhead and brown trout are being caught, depending on where you are fishing. If you can make it on the lake, you can troll the shoreline for browns with stickbaits.
The Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Association is looking for some volunteers to help put their pens together and get them ready for the salmon and trout stockings in April. On April 7, volunteers will be meeting at the Town of Newfane Marina in Olcott at 9:30 a.m. to work on the pens. For more information contact Alan Sauerland at 504-7789. Incidentally, the first meeting of the year for LOTSA will be April 12 and it will be on tournament spring king fishing. The meeting is in Lockport at 7 p.m., Cornell Cooperative Extension.
If you are looking for an opportunity to buy, sell or view antique fishing tackle, the 29th Annual Antique Fishing Tackle Show is the ticket. This is the longest-running event of its kind in the state, giving you a trip down memory lane as it relates to the fishing industry. The show is slated for March 24 from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Elks Lodge No. 41 located at 6791 North Canal Road in Lockport. Admission into the show is $5 for adults. Kids 16 and under are free. Tables are still available if you are interested in displaying for $15 before March 17, $20 after. This is a great chance to get an appraisal on some old fishing tackle that may be lying around your basement or in your garage. For more information contact Dan Bedford at 713-9410.
Bill Hilts, Jr. – Outdoor Promotions Director
Destination Niagara USA, 10 Rainbow Blvd., Niagara Falls, NY 14303
Why Horizontal Jigging Minnows are the ALL-TIME Great Hardwater Bait
By Gord Pyzer
I love interacting with other anglers at fishing seminars, especially during the question-and-answer sessions, when I can just about guarantee that someone will ask: If you could only ice fish with one lure for the rest of your life, what would it be?
The answer is easy: A horizontal swimming-style lure such as the Rapala Jigging Rap or Acme Tackle Company’s Hyper-Glide and Hyper-Rattle. They’re as close to ice-fishing perfection as the tackle industry has come.
In their smallest sizes, these lures are ideal for nabbing black crappies, bluegills, ciscoes and perch. The biggest versions, on the other hand, weigh almost a full ounce, making them perfect for catching lake trout and pike and the biggest walleye and whitefish in the lake. There are also mid-size models, and they’re all exquisitely painted to resemble baitfish.
I’m particularly impressed with the side wings on the Hyper-Glide and Hyper-Rattle that transform the lures into finesse-style airplane jigs, letting you perform Cirque du Soleil-style stunts under the ice. It’s this very magic you can achieve with these lures that makes them such fatal attractions.
Sonar-GPS-Underwater Camera Connection Delivers Primo Big Fish Picture
Crosslake, MN (February 28, 2018) – Who knows how far angling technology will eventually take us? Maybe someone at the CIA has a clue. All we civilian anglers know is that things like GPS and sonar make fishing more productive and efficient, which pretty much defines technology itself.
Beyond the traditional fish-finding tools, underwater cameras add realism and adrenaline to the operation. What’s more electrifying, after all, than actually witnessing the strike, whether through polarized lenses or an Aqua-Vu screen?
Cameras, of course, aren’t just about underwater sight fishing and keeping kids entertained. Advanced underwater cams are equipped with probes that reveal water temperature at the depth you’re actually fishing — often a totally different degree than the surface temp shown on your sonar screen. Ice anglers, for example, are discovering the frequency with which fish flock to warmer pockets amid otherwise near-freezing water. Only way to know for sure is to drop the camera optics, and see for yourself the actual temperature and any fish in the neighborhood.
Another step forward has occurred as enhanced sonar screens now do justice to live color video. Consequently, folks who run video-enabled units — such as Raymarine eSeries or the new Raymarine Axiom Pro — gain the bonus ability to plug their underwater camera right into their sonar screen.
Want to watch sonar and live underwater video at the same time? You got it. Sonar, GPS map and video? Yep. How about capturing still images and underwater video clips for later reference, or to share with friends? That’s possible, too. As is using your underwater camera to visually confirm fish species and the real-life appearance of structure, and then saving the spot as a GPS waypoint — all on the same unit.
While we’re at it, why not just deploy an underwater drone? Apparently, someone out there has nearly perfected a such a device and armed it with fish-seeking sonar, an attached LED lure and 4K video that transmits to a smartphone.
Beam me up, Scotty.
For now, in case you’re wondering about the leading edge of current fish electronics, all we can say is, “Watch this.”
About Outdoors Insight, Inc. – Creator of Aqua-Vu, the original Underwater Viewing System, Outdoors Insight, Inc. has led the underwater camera category in design, innovation and quality since 1997. The Central Minnesota based company builds many popular outdoors products, such as the iBall Trailer Hitch Camera (iballhitchcam.com) and Odor Check Moisture and Odor Control System (odorcheck.com) featuring Scent-Lok Technology. For more information on Aqua-Vu, visit www.aquavu.com.
Today is the final day of the NYS Winter Classic competition. That doesn’t mean the fishing will stop though. Lower river action has been good to very good for boaters bouncing bottom with three-way rigs. When the wind is out of the south or southwest – like it is today – go with MagLips and Kwikfish lures in silver and green or chartreuse. Silver and pink will also work. When the wind isn’t there to help you, switch over to minnows or egg sacs. Use the same three-way set-up if you are fishing from a boat.
If you are fishing from shore, tossing jigs or fishing a jig under a float and tipped with a small worm is very effective.
If the water is clear, you may have to get your bet out a bit deeper.
Anthony Henley of Buffalo was using a slip bobber to get his offering as deep as 14 feet with his jig under a float. You can also cast spinners or spoons to get your bait out and into the fish zone.
Steelhead, brown trout, lake trout and walleye are all available in the system.
If you venture into Canadian waters, make sure you have a current license. The new license year started on January 1. And know your seasons. Walleye season closes Feb. 28 on the Canadian side of the river but closes March 15 in New York.
Lake Ontario tributary action has been good for the most part. Four Mile Creek, 12 Mile Creek, 18 Mile Creek and Keg Creek all had fish in them the past week. Mostly it’s been trout, but there have been some pike around, too.
In the streams, trying using a jig under a float and tipped with a worm. Egg sacs will also work. For Taven Lukehart of Pennsylvania, he was finding success with Lick-em-lure eggs, catching his first ever steelhead at 13 years old.
Pike season closes on March 15 as well.
Speaking of kids, don’t forget that the WNY Sport and Travel Expo will be held March 8-11 at the Erie County Fairgrounds. The first 100 kids through the doors on Saturday, March 10 will receive a fully-rigged cane pole. Bass Pro Mike DelVisco will also be giving a seminar on getting kids started in fishing and he is also running a special coloring contest promotion through Texas Roadhouse March 5 and 6 locally. Check out www.eriepromotions.com for details.
This report is early this week because I am heading out to the World Fishing and Outdoor Expo in Suffern, NY early tomorrow morning. Stop in and say hi if you are going to be in the area.
Bill Hilts, Jr. – Outdoor Promotions Director
Destination Niagara USA,10 Rainbow Blvd.,Niagara Falls, NY 14303
LIVETARGET Goby Paddle Tails and Curly Tails perfectly mimic the Real McCoy
Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON (February 22, 2018) – Round gobies have forever altered the ecology, and the angling landscape, of the Great Lakes and connected waterbodies. Since their discovery in the St. Clair River in 1990, these invasive stowaways from the Black and Caspian seas have become key players of their local food webs. Indeed, round gobies are among the few fish that consume undesirable zebra and quagga mussels, themselves transported to the Great Lakes within the same ballast tanks that harbored the first goby colonists. At the same time, gobies have become established as integral components of many gamefish diets.
Smallmouth bass are among the Great Lakes gamefish that have benefited dramatically from the goby invasion. Indeed, a study of Lake Erie smallmouth bass demonstrated that while crayfish were the primary foodstuffs of smallies before gobies appeared on the scene, bronze bass rapidly converted to munching gobies – as often as three-quarters of the time – once the invasive baitfish became abundant. Moreover, juvenile smallmouth bass grew longer, and faster, once gobies became their primary forage base. A similar preference for gobies is now established within other Great Lakes gamefish, including brown and lake trout – a fact that savvy anglers can exploit to enjoy bigger, more consistent catches.
LIVETARGET offers highly refined, purpose driven solutions for anglers chasing gamefish that feast on gobies with their soft plastic Goby Paddle Tail and Goby Curly Tail baits. With an unparalleled combination of biomimetic size, shape, profile, color, and action, LIVETARGET goby-inspired baits stand ready to help anglers put more fish in the net.
LIVETARGET Goby Paddle Tails are staggeringly accurate artificial representations of the Great Lakes smallmouth bass’ preferred forage. These intricately designed soft baits include three-dimensional anatomical features, including dorsal, ventral and pectoral fins, gill opercules and eyes.
Goby Paddle Tails have internal weights ranging from ½ to 1 oz,, helping anglers to mimic the behavior of living gobies by maintaining close bottom contact as baits are worked back to the boat. A slow drift or drag across the bottom brings the bait’s paddletail to life, providing strike-eliciting action and vibration. After the bite, the Goby Paddle Tail’s premium hook keeps bass pinned tight, putting more bronze bombers in the net. The LIVETARGET Goby Paddle Tail is available now, in seven ultra-realistic color schemes, with MSRP $13.49 – $14.49 for a pack of three pre-rigged baits.
The LIVETARGET Goby Curly Tail shines when conditions call for a more lively presentation, or one where the bait swims methodically along the bottom. In these baits, the anatomical precision of the LIVETARGET Goby body is united with a robust, high action tail for enhanced vibration and lifelike swimming action. As with their Paddle Tail counterparts, LIVETARGET Goby Curly Tails are available now, in three lengths, three weights, and seven premium color patterns with MSRP $13.49 – $14.49 for a pack of three pre-rigged baits.
The unparalleled design features of the LIVETARGET Goby Paddle and Curly Tail baits are matched only by the simplicity of the presentations needed for their effective use. Living gobies spend the majority of their time sitting atop their pectoral fins on the bottom, hopping and darting from one rocky perch to another. Savvy anglers deliver LIVETARGET Gobies on long casts and let them settle to the bottom. A series of short hops, delivered with twitches of the rod tip, brings the soft plastic LIVETARGET Gobies to life with subtle wobbling body motion and active tail vibration that elicits strikes from nearby bass, trout, and other goby-munching Great Lakes predators.
LIVETARGET Gobies also have a place in your walleye arsenal. Many a walleye feasts on native darter species, which, aside from their more svelte profile, appear quite similar.
LIVETARGET Goby Paddle Tail and Curly Tail baits perfectly mimic the size, shape, profile, color, and action of their living counterparts. When fishing the Great Lakes, or any other northern waters where invasive gobies or native sculpins abound, LIVETARGET gobies are the best choice for enhancing your catch rate.
ABOUT LIVETARGET: Since its launch in 2008, LIVETARGET has grown into a full family of life-like fishing lures that Match-the-Hatch™ to specific game fish forage, with over 750 styles and colors of lures for fresh and saltwater fishing. The lures feature industry-leading designs in realism and workmanship that closely mimic nature’s different baitfish species. Headquartered in Ontario, Canada, LIVETARGET won ICAST Best of Show awards in the hard and soft lure categories in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2017.
Niagara Falls USA Fishing Forecast for Feb. 22, 2018 – Destination Niagara USA
Stream & River Levels, Coloration – Subject to Weather Swings
Fresh Fish are Entering Streams
Use Caution if Going Ice Fishing
Activities: Boat Show NOW, Outdoor Expo – Mar. 8-11, Alberto Rey at Orvis, Feb. 25 – NOON
It’s been a roller coaster ride for sure – from the fishing end of things, due to the ups and downs associated with the weather. Earlier in the week, record-breaking temperatures shot up to 66 degrees. It’s back down to the 30s but back up to the 50s by the weekend.
Lower Niagara River action for trout had been good. The tributaries off Lake Ontario and Lake Erie opened back up again and anglers were catching trout consistently – before the rains came.
All the tributaries were high and muddy, but as of this morning, both 12 Mile Creek in Wilson and Keg Creek were flowing nicely according to Wes Walker at The Slippery Sinker in Olcott.
Over at Burt Dam and 18 Mile Creek, water flow has already started to come down and there was about a foot visibility.
There should be some fresh fish around.
Ice fishing is questionable. Caution is advised any time you are heading out onto the hard water due to the wind and rain we received last go-round of warmth.
Getting back to the Niagara River, the water condition was affected by the dirty water coming out of the streams, but there was no indication that fishing had stopped. Condition was stained from the power plants on down, but was more manageable above the plants.
Shore fishermen like Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls have been casting yellow jigs to take steelhead and brown trout.
For boaters, use eggs or minnows when the wind isn’t out of the south or southwest. When it is, use a MagLip or a Kwikfish off a three-way rig. Conditions should be better by the weekend downriver of the power plants.
The WNY Boat Show is underway right now at the ADPRO Training Center located at One Bills Drive in Orchard Park. It’s a great way to dream about spring and also check out some of the boats that are available on the market now. After all, we are surrounded by water here in WNY. It continues through Sunday, Feb. 25.
If boating isn’t your thing, the next big indoor event on the outdoors is the WNY Sport and Travel Expo at the Erie County Fairgrounds in Hamburg March 8 to 11. There’s free parking and displays in four different buildings covering everything from fishing to hunting, tourism destinations to outdoor-related products. Check out www.eriepromotions.com for more information.
If you want to learn about fly fishing in the Great Lakes streams, check out Alberto Rey at the Orvis Shop in Williamsville on Feb. 25 starting at noon. Call 716-276-7200 to reserve your spot.
Bill Hilts, Jr.- Outdoor Promotions Director
Destination Niagara USA, 10 Rainbow Blvd., Niagara Falls, NY 14303; p: 1-877 FALLS US; 1-716-282-8992 x. 303; f: 1-716-285-0809; www.niagarafallsusa.com
On-Line Outdoor Show, FREE Entry. Over 70 booths! Click and Go
$50 Free Coupons Just for Entering. Visit on Lunchtime Wherever you Are!
Use Your Handheld Mobil Devices, your iPod, iPad, iPhone, Laptop or Home Computer!
Feb. 6, 2018 –Kansas City, Mo. – The new North American Sportshow is a welcome change that you knew was coming. It’s a free, virtual on-line outdoor show! Don’t imagine, just click and go (https://www.nasportshow.com/). You can hold this entire show in the palm of your hand, you can visit at high speed.
The North American Sportshow will accommodate all who might rather stay inside a warm place this winter, especially during the next snow storm. Even the sick or disabled, get a front seat. Forget the freezing wind, blowing snow, long entry lines, parking cost, slippery roads and those 20-minute standing waits to your favorite booth once you finally get inside the outdoor show place.
The North American Sportshow is the new modern outdoor show that is free to enter, free to move about, free to download catalogs, free to purchase outdoor gear goodies at show special discount prices. Newcomers receive an instant $50 worth of free coupons to use just for entering the show.
Visit the Fishing & Marine Hall, the Hunting & Shooting Hall, the Outdoor Travel Hall, the Conservation Hall, and be pleasantly surprised at the Wildlife Art Hall even you are a tough outdoor hombre. The Wildlife Art Hall offers a new and amazing chance to explore what wildlife art is all about. In each of the halls, visitors will find “comfort info,” with free access to boat-makers, lure companies, stay-warm gear and clothing companies, fishing and hunting guides, video seminars and free drawings for gear.
At Tracker Boats, look over show special fishing boat values – like a qualifying Tracker Grizzly boat package, buy one, receive a $1,000 Bass Pro Shop/Cabela’s gift card! Imagine that.
At Trout Unlimited, find a Whitlock 5-fly set of essential flies from Rainy Premium Flies, a 4-piece St. Croix Legend Ultra Rod or a Redington Wayfarer fly rod/reel set at rock bottom cost (nearly half price).
Visit over 70 booths! Tackle Warehouse, Booyah Lures, Gamma fish line – better fishing through science, Phantom Lures, Target Walleye, Qwest stainless steel, Patagonia, Ranger Boats, Simms, the Wilderness Society, Sportsmen for Boundary Waters, Sportsman’s Alliance of Alaska and dozens of others.
With our changing modern times toward hand-held electronics, continuous keystroke adventure and a world-wide bond to wireless communication, you can hit the next outdoor show without any hassle, all for free. Click here: (https://www.nasportshow.com/).
The North American Sportshow supports access to public lands and conservation practices.
Show Information Contact: David Gray, email@example.com; 816-350-9066
Outdoor Media Contact: Dave Barus, firstname.lastname@example.org; 716-597-4081
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Bass Pro Shops is celebrating the return of fishing season and inviting customers to trade in used gear to be donated to local charities in exchange for big savings. The 2018 Spring Fishing Classic is a free celebration taking place February 16 – March 4 at Bass Pro Shops locations across the United States (March 2 – 18 in Canada and Alaska).
Customers that donate used rods and reels (in working order) can receive trade-in savings of up to $200. The used fishing equipment will be donated to local nonprofit organizations. Bass Pro Shops has donated nearly 290,000 products to youth-focused nonprofit organizations as part of the company’s mission to inspire everyone to enjoy, love and conserve the great outdoors.
The Classic also includes free fishing seminars for all skill levels, pro appearances at Bassmaster University (Bassmaster University not applicable in Canada), activities for women and children and free giveaways. Visitors will also see a variety of special offers to upgrade their gear before they hit the water.
“The annual Spring Fishing Classic—a free event that reaches more than seven million people each year—provides great opportunities for families to get ready for fishing season and creating lifelong memories together on the water,” said Bass Pro Shops communications manager Katie Mitchell. “We encourage all anglers to participate in our rod and reel trade-in program which has collected and donated about 290,000 products to local organizations that teach young people to enjoy and appreciate the outdoors.”
Free Seminars and Family Events
The 2018 Spring Fishing Classic again offers opportunities to learn from the pros during Bassmaster University hosted by some of the greatest anglers in the sport. Local pros will also host free fishing seminars throughout the 17-day event. For a full list of sessions and special appearances, visit www.basspro.com/classic.
Women’s Fishing Workshops
Available with introductory fishing information and helpful tips on Saturday, March 3 at 1:30 p.m. (Saturday, March 17 at 1:30 p.m. at Alaska and Canada locations). The first 25 seminar attendees of each advertised local pro seminar and the Women’s Fishing Workshop will receive a Bass Pro Shops protective dry box.
Next Generation Weekend
Offers free activities focused on teaching kids the basics of fishing. Kids activities are available from noon to 5 p.m. on March 3 and 4 (March 17 – 18 at Alaska and Canada locations). Free activities include casting challenges, a fishing workshop, fun craft, and a photo download.
A number of special offers are available during the Spring Fishing Classic:
Customers using a Bass Pro Shops credit card to purchase new gear throughout the Spring Fishing Classic can receive up to $100 via instant rebate. (U.S. locations only)
Attendees can also enter for a chance to win a fishing trip with Garmin professional angler Jason Christie. The winner will receive a one-day fishing trip, a Garmin echoMAP Plus Fishfinder, a $500 Bass Pro Shops gift card, travel and accommodations—a total retail value of $4,999. Register at the stores or online at www.basspro.com/classicsweeps.
Enter for a chance to receive a Bass Pro Shops gift card valued up to $2,400 with the purchase of select boat models from Tracker Marine.
As this is being written, it’s February 1 and the temperature is near 40 degrees.
The sun is shining. However, before the day is over the temperatures will plummet into the teens and it is supposed to be cold all weekend. That will continue into next week.
In the meantime, fishing action has been very good in the lower Niagara River for boaters drifting egg sacs or minnows off three-way rigs. If the winds are out of the southwest (like they are today), throw on a 2.5 or 3.0 MagLip or a K8 or K9 Kwikfish to get a trout to hit. Steelhead, browns and lake trout are all being caught with regularity. And if you are using minnows, add in walleyes. There has been good walleye fishing all week, but you have to pick your spots for them. Actually you can catch trout and walleye from Devil’s Hole to the Niagara Bar. If you do catch some walleye, remember that the minimum size is 18 inches and from Jan. 1 to Mar. 15, the daily creel is one fish per person per day. The intent there is to protect the females that are getting ready to spawn soon. While shore fishing is still an option in the gorge, caution is advised due to the shelf ice. Be careful out there. That water is 32 degrees flowing down through the river.
Things are looking promising for the Niagara River Anglers Association’s Roger Tobey Memorial Steelhead Contest on Saturday, Feb. 3. Sign up at the launch ramp in Lewiston early Saturday or stop in to Creek Road Bait and Tackle or The Slippery Sinker. If you are interested in musky, the Niagara Musky Association will be holding their monthly meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 6 at the Eldredge Club, 17 Broad Street in Tonawanda starting at 7 p.m.
Stream fishermen are still picking up some trout at Burt Dam and 18 Mile Creek. Jigs tipped with a wax worm, egg sacs by themselves or egg imitations are still working to trick a steelhead or brown. A variety of flies and nymph patterns will also produce a trout or two, as will some streamer patterns. How long the water will remain open depends on how long the cold will grab hold. It looks like the lower temps will be hanging around for at least a week. While there is no ice left in Olcott Harbor (a few people were seen casting in the harbor earlier this week), there was a little in the Back Bay at Wilson. Be careful if you give it a try. Take no unnecessary chances!
Scott Springer and Trust Say are Thrilled to Accept Victory
Win Earns $20,000 Scholarship, Gear, Trophies, More
WEST POINT, MS – As title sponsor of the Bassmaster High School Series and official pattern of B.A.S.S., Mossy Oak is thrilled to congratulate Scott Springer and Trust Say who took home the top prize at the recent event on Toledo Bend. The pair of 17-year olds from the Chicago area surpassed 241 other teams competing on Toledo Bend Reservoir on Sunday, January 28.
“It’s an honor to play a role in this tremendous program for young anglers at the high school level,” said Ben Maki, Senior Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer of Mossy Oak. “We’re proud of Scott and Trust for their victory at the first Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Series event. We’re proud of all the competitors, pursuing their outdoors passion and learning through the experience.”
Springer and Say, who are part of the Christy, Springer and Say Community Club, boated a five-bass limit that weighed 21 pounds, 7 ounces, which was more than two pounds heavier than the second-place duo. That catch propelled Springer and Say into the High School national championship tournament, which will be held at an undisclosed location later this year. In all, 24 of the 242 teams (the top 10 percent) earned a berth in the championship with their showing on Toledo Bend.
The victory provided Springer and Say with a bounty of prizes. They won $2,000 for their fishing team, and they picked up a $250 gift certificate from Mossy Oak, as well as an Abu Garcia rod/reel combo. The win also earned them a combined $20,000 scholarship offer to compete with the McKendree University fishing team.
Christopher Capdeboscq and Forrest Lagarde of Northlake Christian School in Covington, La., finished second with 19-4. That earned them trophies, $1,500 for their school, a $250 Mossy Oak certificate and Abu Garcia rod/reel combos. Grayson Morris and Tucker Smith of Alabama’s Briarwood Christian School placed third with 18-5. They won $1,250 for their school and trophies and rod/reel combos for themselves.
The Big Bass Award went to Colby Miller and Jaden Cedars of Oak Hill (La.) High School who boated a 9-3 lunker. Capdeboscq and Lagarde caught an 8-4 bass to anchor the Northlake Christian bag.
For more information on these programs and tournaments, visit www.bassmaster.com. To learn more about Mossy Oak or to enjoy free, timely and entertaining outdoors content, visit www.mossyoak.com.
About BASS: B.A.S.S. is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport, providing cutting edge content on bass fishing whenever, wherever and however bass fishing fans want to use it. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the 500,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines (Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times), website (Bassmaster.com), television show (The Bassmasters on ESPN2), social media programs and events. For 50 years, B.A.S.S. has been dedicated to access, conservation and youth fishing. The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, including the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open Series, Academy Sports + Outdoors B.A.S.S. Nation presented by Magellan Outdoors, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Series presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods, Bassmaster Team Championship and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods.
2017 Angler Survey Catch Rates are nearly THREE TIMES GREATER than 30-Year Average
Anglers Harvested More than 70,000 Walleye in 2017
Walleye Fishing Expected to Remain Exceptional for Years to Come
Stickbaits, spinner/worm rigs and spoons fished in, or just above, the thermocline in summer last year, produced limits of walleye for anglers near and far. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced that walleye fishing on Lake Erie during the 2017 season experienced the highest recorded success in nearly 30 years.
Captain Korzenski is a local professional charter captain and shares his fish-catching success methods with all of his clients on each trip, if they want to know how. A good thing if you own a boat and want to come back and try walleye fishing with your own tackle. The local stopover bait and tackle store for daily catch rate success is Bill’s Hooks (5139 W. Lake Rd., Dunkirk, NY; 716-366-0268), just a few miles south of the city of Dunkirk on Route 5. Visit with Gerri Begier there and allow yourself to learn about hot lures, snaps, swivels, fluorocarbon, leadcore line, rods, reels and a dozen other things you never knew about walleye catching, lure making and finding fish if have the time.
Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “The New York State waters of Lake Erie are world famous for outstanding angling opportunities for walleye, smallmouth bass, and yellow perch, Our Lake Erie waters have consistently ranked among the top three most heavily fished waters in the state and the fishery generates more than $26 million in economic activity annually. Anglers should take advantage of Lake Erie’s current conditions and experience this world-class walleye fishery for themselves in 2018.”
DEC has conducted an angler survey on Lake Erie to estimate fishing quality and fish harvest annually since 1988. In recent years, walleye fishing quality has been generally increasing. Survey results for 2017 revealed record-high walleye catch rates that are nearly three times greater than the 30-year average. DEC estimates that anglers harvested more than 70,000 walleyes in 2017, a level not achieved since 1989.
This exceptional fishing was due in large part to contributions of strong walleye reproduction in 2010, 2012, 2014, and 2015. Recent evidence also suggests that walleye reproduction was strong again in 2016.
Walleye are one of the most popular gamefish in New York, as they put up an exciting fight during the catch and make for a tasty meal on the table. Walleye are aptly named because of their unique eyes that have a reflective layer of pigment called the tapetum lucidum, which allows them to see very well at night and during other low-light periods. This layer also gives walleye their “glassy-eyed” or “wall-eyed” appearance.
Lake Erie is continually ranked among the world’s top walleye fishing destinations by angler publications with an abundance of trophy-size walleye ranging from 8-10 pounds, with local tournament winners often landing fish exceeding 11 pounds.
If you are looking to organize an office party outing, Captain Lance Ehrhardt from the Lake Erie Charter Boat Association (716-672-4282) can provide a listing of local charter captains that catch fish. Erhardt prefers to keep the live bait worms on shore – he is a stickbait expert, but has clients reporting summer catches of more than 40 walleye a trip during hot summer outings. Imagine that!
Given that walleye typically live 10 years or more in Lake Erie, combined with excellent reproduction rates in recent years, anglers should experience continued, exceptional walleye fishing in future years.
For the latest Lake Erie fishing hotline report updated weekly in summer, visit http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/9217.html. For lodging and other information for vacation planning, wine country tours, microbrewery locations, campsites, boat launches and more, visit http://www.tourchautauqua.com/.
Walleye, Steelhead, Trout ON-THE-BITE in Soft Winter Water of Lower NIAGARA RIVER
Forecast/Report for Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018
In the ice fishing arena, it’s been a good ice fishing year so far but with the recent rain and warm weather, you will rally want to be very careful out there. The last time this happened a few weeks ago, the ice in Olcott Harbor was affected due to the excessive flow coming through the 18 Mile Creek system. Wilson was not as severely affected and at last report there was up to 6 inches of ice.
There is quite a bit of water open right now at Burt Dam and 18 Mile Creek and with the added flow of water, it should be pulling in some fresh fish into the system. Anglers are reporting steelhead with the occasional brown trout mixed in.
White or black jigs tipped with a wax worm and fished under a float was working for Greg Schloerb of Amherst this past week.
In the lower Niagara River, fishing for trout and walleye has been surprisingly good.
While melting snow, run-off and rain could muddy things up for a bit, there are plenty of trout available from boat or shore. If you are fishing from shore,
again, extreme caution should be taken in the gorge area where most of the fishing is taking place. Jigs seem to be the bait of choice right now.
From boat, the Lewiston launch ramp is the easiest access to get you on the water. Fish can be caught from Devil’s Hole to the Niagara Bar. Steelhead, brown trout, lake trout and walleye are all being caught with regularity and the bait you use is dependent upon the conditions. If the wind is out of the south or southwest, use a lure like a MagLip or Kwikfish off a three-way rig. If the drift is slower, use a minnow or an egg sac.
Several reports came in the last two days of boaters catching a limit of trout and walleye.
If you do target walleye, remember that you only allowed one fish per person from Jan. 1 to March 15.
Bill Hilts, Jr. – Outdoor Promotions Director
Destination Niagara USA; 10 Rainbow Blvd.; Niagara Falls, NY 14303
It had been well over a decade since I’d last set foot in the fast-flowing river very near Colorado’s Continental Divide with fly rod in hand. The change in esthetics surrounding the waterway was extreme.
The alteration in environment most obvious was how the once little town at its headwaters had grown so substantially it was now surrounding its banks several miles further downstream. One good thing was there was more angler access to the river; the bad was the rainbows, browns, cutthroat and brook trout in this flies-only catch-and-release section had all been fooled at one time or another by just about every type of fuzz and feather combination one could imagine.
To say the fish that reside here all winter are weary of every offering that wafts past them is an understatement. Luckily, I consulted with those in the know at the local fly shop and was able to catch a few of the finicky fish because of the tips and tricks they shared.
What I found interesting was there was little reform from years ago when it came to the tiny, down-to-size-22 nymph imitations that were suggested I drift under my strike indicator. The one thing the fly-flinging professionals were adamant about this time around, however, was that fluorocarbon leaders were a must if one were to fool a fish into striking.
And it worked.
The rod I packed in my carry-on was a 4-piece, St. Croix 5-weight Imperial, perfect for the miniscule nymphs I bought at the shop. A couple packets of Seaguar’s Knotless Tapered Leaders in size 7X (thinning down to 2-pound test at its tip) were also purchased. A few of my casts were actually flawless enough to fool a few fish; in reality, more fish than the last time I was here. And I do believe it was the presentation of my flies and the hook-setting abilities of this thin 100% fluorocarbon line that made the difference.
Fluoro facts for flies:
Fluorocarbon is now a standard go-to for so many fishing applications, including fly fishing.
“First off, you need to get your fly down into the water column faster in winter,” says Jon Ray, a full-time fly-fishing guide with Hawkins Outfitters near my home waters in Michigan’s Northwest Lower Peninsula. “Casts tend to be shorter this time of year, and the fish are in smaller areas of a river; fluorocarbon tippets allow your fly to sink quicker, as well it will stay in strike zone from the top to the bottom of the drift.”
More fluorine atoms and less hydrogen than monofilament is what makes fluorocarbon pack more mass into the same space. It’s more compressed because the fluorocarbon resins give it close to neutral buoyancy. It’s a great choice for vertical personations, like dangling a fly under a strike indicator.
It also has less stretch due to its denseness, which allows an angler to get good hook sets; especially when using the light-pound-tests lines needed for proper presentations of such minuscule bugs during the winter months. “And fluorocarbon is thinner than monofilament, which creates less drag in the water helps your fly drift more naturally,” Ray adds. “And if your fly isn’t drifting perfectly with the current, your bug’s not going to get bit. Period.”
But it’s not just nymphing on ultra-light tippets that take trout during the winter months, especially when targeting the largest fish in a system. “While big trout will suck up a little bug once in a while, it’s not their meat and potatoes,” states Fly-Fishing Guide Russ Maddin, who’s created some of modern day’s most popular streamers for trout. “Big fish eat little fish, and I’m not just talking small minnows and whatnot, but other younger, 5- to 8-inch trout in the system, as well.”
Maddin’s been using fluorocarbon tippet material for stripping big streamers for years, and says this tactic is no place for light line and finesse, even when these cold-blooded fish seem lethargic within their ice-water realms.
“You’ll have to slow up your stop-and-go retrieve a little compared to when the water’s warm, with longer pauses in-between pulses, but you really don’t need to lighten up your leaders,” Maddin adds.
Twelve-pound-test (1X in Seaguar’s Max Fluorocarbon Tippet Material) is the lightest Maddin may tie on, but overall 14-pound test (1X in Grand Max Tippet Material) is his go to. No matter the test, it’s the condensed make up of fluorocarbon that keeps his streamers in the strike zone, neither rising or falling on the pause.
Timing and safety:
Two things rookie fly anglers often overlook when their planning a winter’s fly-fishing excursion is the time of day to hit the river, as well, taking a few extra precautionary steps for one’s safety.
Unlike summer months when dawn and dusk may be the best times for catching, smackdab in the middle of the afternoon is usually best for fly fishing in winter. It’s during this time when the waters will warm to their maximum for the day, and all it takes is a half-degree rise in water temperature to turn inactive fish active. And unlike other times of year, the brighter the sun overhead the better the bite can be.
Even if your legs are strong, it’s not only a good idea to have a wading staff with you, but to use it. One quick jab into the river bed and you’ll be able to catch your balance if, say, a rock overturns under foot. Donning ice cleats with small carbide spikes, like the slipover Ice Creepers from Frabill ice anglers wear, will keep you steady-footed if it’s cold enough that ice starts forming on the rocks, or in areas with algae covering the bottom.
Up your odds:
Overall, fly fishing in the heart of winter isn’t all that different than the summer months. Your goal is to imitate nature to a tee with nothing more than feathers and fur that’ve been spun onto a hook.
As I learned from my last trip to the Colorado Rockies, keeping your fly drifting behind a thin, strong, and nearly invisible fluorocarbon leader will up your odds greatly.
Fallen Angler, Nik Kayler, to be Honored by FLW Family
Competition Launch set for Jan. 23-28, 2018 at the Big-O, in Clewiston, Florida
Scott Martin says, “Lake Okechobee is “Fishing Different” in the Past Few Years.”
January 17, 2018; FLW Communications; CLEWISTON, Fla. – When Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) co-angler Nik Kayler lost his life in an unexpected tragedy in an event in early January, it saddened the entire bass-fishing industry. Now, FLW is tasked with moving forward through the grief and getting back to competition on the water next week in their return to Lake Okeechobee.
“We’ve had thorough and thoughtful internal discussions as a company and the decision was made that we need to get back on the water,” said FLW President of Operations Kathy Fennel. “We are still grieving as an organization, but fishing tournaments are what we do. It is what Nik loved, too. Getting back on the water, at Lake Okeechobee, is a way to help with the grieving process. Nik and his family will be on the minds of every single angler and staff member throughout the tournament.
“We will honor and remember Nik and his family throughout the weekend, as well as encourage our staff, anglers and fans to donate to the GoFundMe campaign that has been organized for Nik’s family. We will honor Nik by continuing to pursue the sport that we all love.”
The FLW Tour, the most competitive Tour in professional bass-fishing, will launch its 23rd season next week, Jan. 25-28, with the FLW Tour at Lake Okeechobee presented by Evinrude. Hosted by Roland & Mary Ann Martin’s Marina and Resort and the Hendry County Tourism Development Council, the tournament will feature 374 of the world’s best bass-fishing professionals and co-anglers casting for top awards of up to $125,000 cash in the pro division and up to $25,000 cash in the co-angler division.
The FLW Tour has visited Lake Okeechobee 20 times previously, with 2018 marking the 21st visit in FLW’s 23-year history. The total purse for the FLW Tour at Lake Okeechobee presented by Evinrude is more than $930,000, including $10,000 through 60th place in the Pro Division.
“Lake Okeechobee is fishing quite a bit differently than the last six or seven times that the FLW Tour has been here,” said local FLW Tour pro Scott Martin of Clewiston, a 17-time Forrest Wood Cup qualifier with more than $2.7 million in career earnings in FLW competition. “The water levels are much higher this year, and we lost a good amount of our vegetation in some of the more traditional places due to the hurricane last fall. The wind and water clarity are going to play a big role in this tournament and a lot of guys that have been coming here for years are going to have to approach this tournament quite a bit different than they normally would.
“The good news is that the fish didn’t leave, and they still have to eat,” Martin continued. “Some of the traditional areas will still be good, but there will definitely be a few new wildcard areas. Somebody is going to figure out a way to catch them in the stained water.”
Martin said that due to stained water and lost vegetation, he expects moving baits to play a larger role than normal this time around.
“I think moving baits like Rat-L-Traps and ChatterBaits will be pretty good,” he said. “Flipping will also play a big factor this year. We’re fishing a little earlier than we normally do, and January is still prime flipping season. With some stable weather being forecast, I could also see another wave of bass moving up to spawn and sight-fishing playing a role as well. It’s going to be an interesting tournament.
“The weights may be down just a little bit, but it’s still Lake Okeechobee and the potential is always there for a mega-bag, especially if you can find a wildcard area to yourself,” Martin went on to say. “I think the winner will likely have a four-day total around 74 to 76 pounds, but if a guy can find the mega-juice flipping or out in open water, the potential is always there to challenge 100 pounds.”
Anglers will take off at 7:30 a.m. EST each day from Roland & Mary Ann Martin’s Marina and Resort, located at 920 E. Del Monte, Ave., in Clewiston. Thursday and Friday’s weigh-ins, Jan. 25-26, will be held at the resort beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday’s weigh-ins, Jan. 27-28, will also be held at the resort, but will begin at 4 p.m.
Television coverage of the FLW Tour at Lake Okeechobee presented by Evinrude will premiere in high-definition (HD) on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) March 28 from Noon-1 p.m. EST. The Emmy-nominated “FLW” television show airs on NBCSN, the Pursuit Channel and the World Fishing Network and is broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide.
Prior to the weigh-ins Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 27-28, FLW will host a free Family Fishing Expo at Roland & Mary Ann Martin’s Marina and Resort from noon to 4 p.m. each day. The Expo is a chance for fishing fans to meet their favorite anglers, enjoy interactive games, activities and giveaways provided by FLW sponsors, and learn more about the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities.
Also for youth, the FLW Foundation’s Unified Fishing Derby will be held at the marina on Saturday, Jan. 27 from 9-11 a.m. The event is hosted by FLW Foundation pro Cody Kelley along with other FLW Tour anglers, and is free and open to anyone under the age of 18 and Special Olympics athletes. Rods and reels are available for use, but youth are encouraged to bring their own if they own one. The 1st and 2nd place anglers that catch the biggest fish will be recognized Saturday on the FLW Tour stage, just prior to the pros weighing in.
As part of the FLW Tour’s community outreach initiative, FLW Tour anglers will visit patients, guests and staff at the Hendry Regional Medical Center, located at 524 W. Sagamore Ave., in Clewiston on Wednesday, Jan. 24 from 8:30-10 a.m. to interact with guests, snap photos and sign autographs for patients, give away some goodie bags and share fishing stories.
In FLW Tour competition, pros and co-anglers are randomly paired each day, with pros supplying the boat, controlling boat movement and competing against other pros. Co-anglers fish from the back deck against other co-anglers. The full field of 374 anglers competes in the two-day opening round. Co-angler competition concludes following Friday’s weigh-in, while the top 30 pros based on their two-day accumulated weight advance to Saturday. Only the top 10 pros continue competition Sunday, with the winner determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from the four days of competition.
Throughout the season, anglers are also vying for valuable points in hopes of qualifying for the 2018 Forrest Wood Cup, the world championship of professional bass fishing. The 2018 Forrest Wood Cup will be on Lake Ouachita in Hot Springs, Arkansas, Aug. 10-12 and is hosted by the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism and Visit Hot Springs.
For complete details and updated information visit FLWFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the sport’s top anglers on the FLW Tour on FLW’s social media outlets at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat.
About FLW: FLW is the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money in 2018 across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, with offices in Minneapolis, FLW and their partners conduct 286 bass-fishing tournaments annually around the world, including the United States, Canada, China, Italy, South Korea, Mexico, Portugal, and South Africa. FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated “FLW” television show, broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, while FLW Bass Fishing magazine delivers cutting-edge tips from top pros. For more information visit FLWFishing.com and follow FLW at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat.
We have been having high temperatures in the teens and single digit temperatures at night here in Missouri and that doesn’t count the wind chill index.
In my old age I don’t like being cold so I’ve been day dreaming a lot lately about going fishing some place where it’s nice and warm. But, I’m not thinking about warm beaches, blue oceans and saltwater fishing. I’m thinking about calling my friend Joe Henry, the Executive Director of Tourism at Minnesota’s Lake of the Woods, and booking an ice fishing trip to “The Walleye Capital of the World”.
As I write this on a Sunday morning in southwest Missouri the temperature in Baudette, MN, is minus 29 and the high is going to be minus 18. Plus they have a wind chill warning. So you’re probably saying “You got to be crazy Whiteley because there is no way you can be warm fishing in temperatures like that.”
When someone who has never been ice fishing thinks about it they imagine sitting outside over a hole in the ice bundled up in so much clothing you can barely move and still being cold. At Lake of the Woods people from all over the country come to experience ice fishing because instead of fishing in the cold you fish in the warm.
After you check-in to your toasty warm resort you get into heated track rig transportation. They take you across ice up to several feet thick to your personal ice fishing house that has been placed where the guides know the fish are. The ice fishing holes have already been drilled for you and your fishing equipment and bait are waiting. Once inside your insulated ice fishing house you will be taking off some of your clothes because the thermostat is set at a very comfortable 70 degrees.
Now the fun begins! You pull up your seat, grab your fishing rod and lower your bait into the hole. It usually doesn’t take very long before you feel a tug on your line and set the hook. Usually a delicious walleye comes up through the hole but it could also be an equally delicious sauger, yellow perch or crappie. You could even be surprised with a huge northern pike.
Joe tells me that you might hope that tug on your line is an eelpout. A member of the cod family and also called burbot, it is affectionately known as “Poor Man’s Lobster” because of its firm flesh, high fat content and mild, buttery taste. Take the backstrap and tail meat from the fish, boil it in either salt water or 7UP and then dip it in melted butter just like you would lobster. It’s an ugly fish with a large belly and eel-like tail but locals say their true beauty is in the eating.
Ice guides will come around and check on you and at the end of the day they will pick you up in the warm track rig and transport you and all your fish back to the warmth of the lodge. They even clean your fish and the resort will cook them up for you if you would like.
You might want to even catch a transport back out on the ice to check out the famous Igloo Bar at Zippel Bay Resort. This popular spot offers a big screen TV, a full bar and limited hot food menu. For a small fee you can even ice fish in the bar.
For a really special experience consider staying in one of the sleeper fish houses with a furnace and cook stove fueled by propane as well as comfy bunk beds. Joe says, “It’s like ice camping but in the warmth and with all of the amenities. Spending a few nights on the ice i
s cozy and good for the soul. It is so neat stepping outside of the fish house on a clear night and seeing stars and the Milky Way like they have never been seen before. The sky is absolutely awe inspiring and if you’re lucky, you might even see the northern lights.”
I think a sleeper fish house is what I want to do. Imagine with me catching fish all day, cooking them up on the stove, enjoying the night sky, getting a good warm night’s sleep out on the ice, and then getting up the next morning in my underwear and catching more fish. Now I am sure you don’t want to think about that last image so O.K., I’ll wear a bath robe.
This beautiful area of Minnesota offers great fishing year round with anglers traveling thousands of miles to fish these waters. Besides the fish already mentioned you can also catch smallmouth bass, muskie, lake sturgeon, lake trout, lake whitefish, tulibee, as well as white suckers and redhorse which is another story for another time.
I was at an Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers conference at Sportsman’s Lodge in Baudette, MN back in September of last year and all of us writers and even our wives caught lots of walleye, sauger and even lake sturgeon while fishing the Lake of the Woods and the Rainy River that runs by the lodge.
The warm winter ice fishing though sounds like something really special that needs to be added to my “bucket list” so I am going to call Joe at (800) 382-FISH (3474) as soon as I finish this article and book a warm ice fishing trip to Lake of the Woods, Minnesota.
After looking at all the pictures Joe sent me of him with fish it is obvious he has a really tough job. I might just have to ask him if he needs a good Lake of the Woods Assistant Director of Tourism to help him out with all those fish.
If you want to try warm ice fishing or the great fishing at other times of the year you can go to their web site at www.LakeoftheWoodsMN.com for more information.
Rods, Reels, Lines, Baits, Hooks and Rigs – Learn for Free
Where to Fish, Where to Park, What to Use, When to Go – Can it Get Any Better?!
Black Bass, Grouper, Snook, Crappie, Redfish, the list is LONG
Saltwater and Freshwater Goodness Tales of Help for Every Angler
By Forrest Fisher
While visiting a bait shop in Port Charlotte (Florida), I met a young-minded, white bearded, guy that the locals call “Fishin’ Frank.” He was talking to a gentleman angler and his friend in the store about tackle to use in saltwater. The guy was a fisherman from Minnesota. With a half grin, he said, “Frankly, have you ever heard of catching giant gag grouper on plastic-tail black bass baits? How about goliath grouper on a Carolina rig? Or giant snook on a freshwater Storm Twitch stick bait? Redfish on Zoom plastic worms…with a bobber?” The room went silent. “Nope,” the guy answered. “Let’s talk simple,” Frank added.
Making common sense of non-sense is something that this witty expert angler guy in southwest Florida does every day to help others understand how to catch fish in saltwater.
In a few short seconds, I discovered Fishin’ Frank knew more about catching fish than most people who spend all their recreational time fishing might know.
At his bait shop called “Fishin’ Franks” (http://www.fishinfranks.com/) you’ll encounter the best part of your future fishing day: Frank makes it his mission, for the moments with you, to share his knowledge when he senses what you need to know. You need to ask what it is you want to know first, after that just LISTEN (listen good).
Why does he do this? He’s a common sense guy that understands nature, forage, predator fish, the moon, the tides, his budget, your budget, his time, your time and, after a few minutes, your needs. Simply said, Frank likes to help people.
Catch fish or not, it’s fun to talk to this guy. Frank is friendly, accurate, an eternal optimist, and he’s there to come back to…if you catch ‘em or not – to answer more questions from you.
We all like people like this, but beyond that, Fishin’ Frank goes the extra mile to pursue the answers and solutions for you when he asks, “Did I answer your question? Do you have any more questions? Do you wanna know where to go fish while you’re here? From shore or boat?” Yep, hard to find this anywhere else in the country and world, I have fished those places and can confirm there is no other around exactly like Fishin’ Frank…who shares for free.
If you are a fisherman that loves to fish and catch fish, Fishin’ Frank’s Bait and Tackle Shop on Highway 41 (4425 Tamiami Trail, Port Charlotte, Fl., 33980; 941-625-3888) is your “one-stop/must-go” place to visit. After that, if you’re lucky and there is an open slot, sign up for his free fishing seminars held on the second Tuesday and Wednesday of the month.
The seminars run from 7PM – 8PM at Luigi’s Restaurant in Port Charlotte, most folks start getting there around 5:30PM, they want a good seat. While there, you can eat, drink and be merry, while asking questions to quiet your quest for more information and savvy know-how and what-to-do stuff from Frank and the charter captain experts that talk with him. Best of all, everyone else there is a fisherman too, you’ll meet others that fish and know the area. Very cool if you are a visitor or resident.
In Frank’s little bait shop (not that little), the only thing you’ll find are hundreds of lures, hooks, floats, plastics, rods, reels and lines and fishing stuff that works in this fishing area for freshwater and saltwater fishing. And, at prices that can match on-line sales. How can Fishin Frank do this? The simple answer: sheer volume. He sells everything he carries right off the wall as soon as it gets there. Franks says, “I order lures by the thousands and still can’t keep up with the hot colors. For some lures like the Storm Twitch, I order 1200 at a time and they are gone very quickly.” If you and I visit there, we’ll find answers and solutions to our fish-catching problems at little cost to us. Quite amazing.
This past week at Frank’s seminar, Charter Cayle Wills of Bad Fish Charters (http://www.reelbadfish.com/home.htm), originally from Warren, Pennsylvania, where he cut his teeth on tiny trout streams, was one of two guest speakers. Captain Karl Butigian, Back Country Charter (https://www.kbbackcountrychartersfishing.com/), local native from Port Charlotte, also joined Fishing Frank to free the confusion about fishing the waters Port Charlotte, Florida. These guys offer charter fishing from their boats, or they will go with you in your boat for half price. Hard to match that offer.
The discussion this week was about using your freshwater lures to catch saltwater fish. Was it interesting? Indeed, it was eye-opening in a world of when it seems common sense is uncommon to find.
This column will begin a multi-part series about using those lures, the how, the where, and the what, from the information shared by this dynamic three-some of fishing experts. Look for Fishin Frank’s – Part 1 next week. To jump start you, need to know where to start fishing from shore? Frank has that for you! Look here: http://www.fishinfranks.com/where_to.htm#wade. You’ll find maps and more. Step by step. Just don’t forget to go back to the store and thank this gentleman giant of the Florida fishing world.
Captain Karl conducts hands-on seminars at many locations when he is not fishing. Captain Cayle writes for Waterline magazine, a local fishing publication, and is also staff at Fishin’ Frank’s store. Look to meet both of these angler gentlemen at the Charlotte County Boat Show Jan.11 – 14th, March 8 – 11 at the Punta Gorda Boat Show, and at the March 24, 2018, Fishin Franks Tent Sale, where about 3,000 anglers meet with manufacturers at the store and adjacent area to make incredible over-the-counter deals on fishing gear. It’s free to attend.
Greater Niagara Fishing & Outdoor Show is ON, Jan. 19- 21
A January thaw is already underway in Western NY and it could spell good news all the way around for anglers. For starters, the lower Niagara River is back in business for boaters and shoreline casters. T he gorge area has been producing lake trout, steelhead and walleye for casters using jigs in green and white. Lake trout to 13 pounds and steelhead to 12 have been reported. Wear ice creepers when walking the shoreline. Boaters started catching fish on Monday and today was pretty good for many of the captains plying the waters in search of trout and walleye. Kwikfish and MagLip lures fished off three-way rigs have been the most effective. Beads and egg sacs will catch fish, too. Be careful of any chunk ice floating down. Fish can be found from Devil’s Hole to the Niagara Bar.
The streams are slowly starting to open back up again and while the openings are limited, you can do well. Shawn West of Lockport caught his personal best brown trout this week, an 18 pound bomber that hit a bead. Jigs will also work, tipped with wax worms and fished under a float.
There is still good ice in Wilson and Olcott. Biggest fish was a 44-inch Northern pike hauled in by Jarame McClelland of Newfane, his biggest pike ever out of Wilson. It hit a pike chub off his tip-up. Keep your fingers crossed we don’t lose too much ice. Olcott is producing some nice trout through the ice on Voodoo jigs for Roy Letcher.
The fifth annual Greater Niagara Fishing and Outdoor Expo is just around the corner, set for Jan. 19th through the 21st at the Conference and Event Center Niagara Falls. We’ve been talking about this for a month – and with good reason. If you want to learn anything about fishing, this is the show for you. As far as education is concerned, it’s one of the best on the Great Lakes. With over 70 speakers and over 120 different seminars, you can’t go wrong finding something that you are interested in. Salmon, trout, bass, walleye, perch, musky, electronics, rigging a boat, getting started with fishing, check out the website at www.niagarafishingexpo.com for a complete rundown of seminars. The speakers are top notch, too. Bassmaster elite pros Shaw Grigsby and Mark Menendez, salmon fishing greats Jake Romanack and Dan Keating, walleye pros Mark Romanack and Lance Valentine – the list is a long one. Go to www.niagarafishingexpo.com.
The Niagara River Anglers Association will hold its annual Roger Tobey Memorial Steelhead Contest on Saturday, February 3 from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. out of Lewiston Landing (at the launch ramp). Eligible waters are all waters of Lake Ontario and the tributaries, as well as the Lower Niagara River; awards and dinner to follow at the Lewiston #1 Fire Hall on 6th Street, Lewiston. Sign-ups will be taken at Creek Road Bait and Tackle in Lewiston, The Slippery Sinker in Olcott or at the dock on that Saturday morning. For more information call Paul at 998-8910.
Bill Hilts, Jr.- Outdoor Promotions Director
Destination Niagara USA, 10 Rainbow Blvd.,Niagara Falls, NY 14303
Target Walleye has talked alot about using Rapala Jigging Raps for open-water ‘eyes, but they also make killer hardwater baits. Of course there’s more than one way to fish ’em, but here’s Tony Roach’s take:
His go-to bait summer and winter…but downsizes to a #5 on ice.
Fishes it really aggressive (as fast as he can!) to get fish interested. Darts off to the sides of the hole and covers a much larger area.
Slows the bait down as soon as soon as he graphs a fish, but still keeps the bait aggressive and moving.
Doesn’t tip it with a minnow head…says it screws up the action.
Likes 6-lb mono since it doesn’t hold moisture and freeze up like braid.
More info in this Wired2Fish video where Tony is putting ’em to work on “The Big Pond.” #Money
On clear-water or high-sun days, Tony likes using colors like yellow perch or blue chrome.
In stained water or low-light conditions he uses brighter colors.
This isn’t one of those articles giving props to piles of mainstream, traditional ice fishing tackle. For that, you might simply step in to your local outdoor store and buy an ice auger, shelter or lure from any of the established brands. Or run a Google search on the aforementioned items; there’s no shortage of advice from which to form an opinion.
That said, try searching for alternative ice gear, or secret ice fishing tools or hardwater fishing hacks. Good luck.
Somewhat of a non-conformist himself, ice pro Brian “Bro” Brosdahl probably says it best: “Some of the most valuable ice gear I use every day sort of gets taken for granted,” asserts Bro, who routinely zigs when crowds zag.
“It’s like those key role players on a football team; the gear that really deserves credit for a great day on the ice mostly goes unacknowledged. Worse, some of these tools are totally ignored and unused by anglers. Truth is, there’s a whole bunch of pretty cool equipment you’ve probably never seen before that will absolutely enhance your time on hardwater. Some of it deserves the daily MVP award, though you might totally take it for granted.”
Wearable ice accessories greatly increase mobility, comfort and fishing efficiency.
#1 – WEAR YOUR UNDERWATER GLASSES
Hidden among haystacks of traditional ice gear is an alternative trend toward wearable tackle and gear storage, as opposed to stuff you’re forced to drag around like a third wheel. “I wouldn’t call it a trend exactly,” Bro interjects. “I mean, it’s mostly the tournament anglers on national circuits like the NAIFC who are literally wearing their underwater cameras and their tackle around their torsos.”
Couple winter’s back, NAIFC National Champs and three-peat Team of the Year winners Brandon Newby and Ryan Wilson helped the underwater camera inventors at Aqua-Vu design a wearable case compatible with its Micro viewing systems. “The motivation for designing the Micro-Mobile Pro-Vu Case,” says Newby, “was one of necessity, and of our need to find untouched fish. For us, a portable Aqua-Vu Micro camera lies at the heart of finding fish and structure—whether we’re prefishing a tournament or hitting new water.”
Designed to fit any size angler, the Pro-Vu Case sports dual adjustable straps, positioning the camera screen across the angler’s upper torso. The softcase itself features a large zippered camera compartment with a built-in protective cover, plus extra storage for a cell phone, keys and small tackle necessities. “We can drill holes, jig or rig lines and always keep the camera at the ready. The hands-free design of the case even lets us fish and underwater view at the same time. For us, it’s an absolute must-have piece of equipment.”
#2 – ACCESSORIZE YOUR ICE SUIT
Continuing the wearable tackle trend, Frabill offers a similar apparel accessory. “Don’t know about you, but I like to fish in stealth mode,” notes Bro. “Carrying a small, all-star selection of jigs, plastics and other necessities in a single wearable case is a luxury. The fact I can use it as a hand warmer—priceless. Probably not one in ten anglers knows what I’m talking about,” he laughs.
Fitted to be worm around the waist, Frabill’s Tackle Pack / Hand Muff is the only wearable tackle bag doubling as an easy-access hand warmer. “Fact is, a lot of us fish without gloves—especially during a frenzied bite,” notes Bro. “The Tackle Pack fits right across my food shelf (Bro-speak for love handles). Not only can I quickly access a fresh jig or plastic tail without getting up and digging into a pile of gear, but I can also throw a couple hand warmers inside the insulated hand muff for an instant warm up. Eliminates downtime. Definitely puts a bunch more fish on the ice for me, every day.
“We’ve long said our ice suits serve as our wearable shelters. I just take it one step further.”
A Panfish Toothpick safely extracts hooks without harming fish or damaging jigs.
#3 – PERFORM PANFISH DENTISTRY
Technically, the next nouveau tool can also be worn, or just as easily tossed into one of the four-dozen pockets sewn into your ice suit. A Panfish Toothpick is pretty much what it sounds like: a slick little device that safely, easily extracts a fish’s last meal from betwixt its bony jaws. The Toothpick pops free even those troublesome hooks lodged way back in the larynx. The name of the game is preserving your expensive premium hooks, tungsten jigs and other valuable lures. Performing the procedure with minimal stress on fish is a beautiful benefit.
“Grabbing an impaled jig with a forceps or pliers scratches and flakes lure paint and can bend or break your fine wire FISKAS Wolfram Jigs,” notes Jamie Olson, ace angler and proprietor of Your Bobber’s Down, Inc., an online retailer of elite-grade fishing tackle and hard-to-find accessories.
Both the Panfish Toothpick and new larger, T2 Toothpick feature a specialized V-slot. Apply quick direct pressure on the hook bend, backing the barb out and cleanly removing the lure. A ton of top-level anglers now use the Toothpick, says Olson, many of them having now removed pliers and hemostats from their lanyards altogether.
Despite the fact most ice fishers choose 25- to 30-inch ice sticks, huge advantages highlight both longer and much shorter rods. Case in point, St. Croix Rods’ 48-inch Legend Black ice rod, considered crazy tall for an ice wand. Among anglers who prefer to stand while fishing, to keep the rodtip close to the water surface for bite detection and to prevent line freeze, a longer rod can be an exceptionally valuable tool. Moreover, for flip-and-dip style shallow water fishing, an angler can simply keep a two- to four-foot length of line hanging from the rodtip, allowing for instant and rapid-fire fishing through multiple holes fast. Finally, a longer rod provides superior shock absorption, vital for battling large, fast-surging fish such as pike, lake trout and big walleyes.
Tournament ice anglers consider palm rods to be the single most sensitive ice tools in their arsenal.
At the other end of the spectrum are palm rods, curious 12- to 18-inch all-in-one rod/reel combos capable of fishing the tiniest lead or tungsten jigs with utmost finesse. Particularly for shallow water panfish, European-born palm rods serve as superior bite detectors, most of them, like the Jonttu Sport Special, armed with adjustable, super-responsive strike indicators. Top anglers consider a palm rod to be an extension of their fishing arm, spooled with wispy 1-, 2- and 3-pound test tied to jigs weighing under 1/64-ounce.
Staying with the scaled-down panfish theme, one of the biggest off-the-radar movements waiting in the wings are so-called through-head tungsten jigs. Another Eastern European contrivance, many of these elite designs lack a true line tie. Instead, they feature a small hole bored through the metal itself. A specialized, though simple, knot known as a snell or Marka knot secures these amazing jigs to your line, maintaining a perpetual horizontal posture—no repositioning of the knot required. Note: You can also use this knot with standard line-tie jigs for the same horizontal benefits. Finally, because the knot itself is recessed onto the hook shank, retying isn’t required nearly so often—and the snelled line itself can be used to secure soft plastic baits in place.
Alternative ice angling is little more than rethinking convention, taking the next step beyond “normal.” Time to embrace new or off-the-radar tools and techniques . . . before they become yesterday’s news.
The Inside Scoop, some fish-catching info for you GATOR-CHASERS:
Large bays are good early-ice options because they tend to freeze first — well before main lake areas — and offer the safest early ice, often just a short walk from shore.
Avoid small weedbeds or areas of sparse cover at first ice. Prominent weedbeds at the mouths of bays, or in the deeper centers of bays, provide big pike with plenty of habitat and room to feed and roam.
If you’ve fished open water there…and remember which areas offered the best weed growth, make those your starting points…. If the weeds are still healthy, pike are likely still using them under the ice.
If you’re unfamiliar with the lake, note large underwater structures on your map offering broad areas, perhaps 6-18′, bordered by deeper water. Chances are these will have the most weed growth — typically broadleaf cabbage or coontail. More weeds typically equals more pike.
Focus along or slightly inside the deep edges of weedbeds, and dangle a dead sucker, cisco, goldeye or other large baitfish below a tip-up, using a wire or fluorocarbon leader rig to prevent bite-offs.
Some anglers question the use of dead bait for large pike, assuming that lively minnows would be better. The fact is, large pike are as much scavengers as they are predators, and regularly pick up and eat freshly-killed baitfish off the bottom.
10-12″ dead sucker, cisco, alewife, shad, goldeye or other oily baitfish…you can obtain these baits in advance, keep them in your freezer, and pack up a sufficient amount for your next trip….
LIVETARGET’s Lipless Rattlebait ICE FISHING PRIMER for HARDWATER WALLEYES
Mission Critical ADVICE in the story that follows
Step-by-Step Technique that will WORK FOR YOU
Click the Image to the right to go right to…
Ontario-on-the-Lake, Ontario (December 23, 2017) – Recent years have witnessed explosive growth in our understanding of the hardwater walleye. As more anglers tread familiar and exotic walleye waters, our repertoire of productive techniques for everyone’s favorite Perciformes has expanded rapidly. Gone are the days when we were limited to set lines dangling sucker minnows along weedlines, hoping for a random bite or two as the sun tucked behind the trees. The most successful walleye anglers have adopted a power fishing approach, running-and-gunning with big baits and aggressive presentations; a mobile mindset that has been rewarded with more and bigger fish.
Ground Zero for this hardwater walleye revolution is the lipless rattlebait. A mainstay of open water anglers throughout North America, the lipless rattlebait is just as deadly when presented through an eight-inch hole. Wait, better make that a ten-inch hole, because when you fish lipless rattlebaits to their full potential, you’ll need that extra space.
There is no better way to shorten the learning curve on a new technique than to pick the brain of an expert. North Dakota-based angler Chad Maloy, past president of Fargo-Moorhead Walleyes Unlimited and a veteran of the Masters Walleye Circuit, is a lipless rattlebait specialist, bringing trophy walleyes topside using ice fishing’s hottest presentation on both sides of the international border. We asked Chad to help direct budding rattlebait warriors along the path to success, and he did much more: Chad provided a veritable roadmap that is guaranteed to help you catch your first lipless rattlebait walleye this season.
Maloy is a big believer in LIVETARGET lipless rattlebaits, which he fishes throughout the hardwater season. “I use LIVETARGET lipless rattlebaits all season long. They do an awesome job of locating and attracting the most active fish in an area, and turning those fish into biters.
“First of all, LIVETARGET rattlebaits have an infinite dive curve. They can literally be fished from shallow water, less than a foot deep, to the deepest section of the lake. That allows me to target walleyes with lipless rattlebaits all season long, and at all hours of the day.”
What is the most effective way to present the lipless rattlebait through the ice? Maloy continues, “I start out dropping the lure to the bottom. There have been times when it never gets there because it’s intercepted. If that doesn’t happen, I give it a few very long and aggressive rips to the lure, which sends out a shock wave of sound and vibration.”
That shock wave, easily audible to anglers on the ice, originates from LIVETARGET’s unsurpassed internal rattle system. “What I have witnessed over the years, landing giant walleyes from Devil’s Lake in North Dakota to greenbacks from Lake Winnipeg, is that the rattles in LIVETARGET rattlebaits are unlike any other. They have a special, effective sound that others don’t…and it’s killer!”
Let’s get back to that hole in the ice.
Once Maloy rips his LIVETARGET rattlebait to call fish in, he starts paying close attention to his electronics, watching for, “any blip in the water column.
It’s not uncommon for larger fish to be anywhere from bottom to 3 feet below the ice. I see a promising mark, I bring my lure right above the fish and try to seal the deal with one of three different moves. First, I get the lure to shake, activating the rattles without making large vertical moves. Alternately, I imitate a fleeing baitfish by giving the bait shorter rips.
My ace-in-the-hole is to slowly lift the lure an inch or so, then drop the rod tip quickly to throw slack in the line. This makes the lure freefall, and shimmy dramatically on the fall. All that’s left to do is set the hook and enjoy the ride!”
(Grab a pen and notepad, because what Maloy just said is mission critical. Let that rattlebait fall with zero resistance to maximize the flutter. With even a touch of tension on the line, the shimmy is marginalized, even negated.)
Setting up shop over the biggest, most aggressive walleyes on your favorite frozen lake is no time to break out the whippy noodle rods, either. Thirty to thirty-six-inch rods with a medium to medium-heavy power rating are preferred. Consider the St. Croix Mojo Ice (MIR36MH) while hole-hopping, or the Frabill Bro Series 30” Large Walleye/Pike Combo for fish house operations where lateral space is limited.
When it comes to line, a stout braided line like 10 lb. test Seaguar Smackdown, tipped with a leader of 15 lb. test Seaguar Blue Label 100% fluorocarbon, will bring lipless rattlebait walleyes topside. Rather than joining the braided main line to the fluorocarbon leader with a typical Double Uni or Alberto knot, use a small swivel instead, which will further reduce line twist with the added benefit of being easier to tie in bone-chilling winter walleye weather.
Back to the baits… “I normally carry two sizes of LIVETARGET rattlebaits, size 70 and size 60,” said Maloy. “If we have had a severe cold front I will use the smaller size 60, and if the fish are on the chew, I use the larger size 70. During the later part if the ice season, when the fish are very aggressive in advance of the spawn, I will also start with size 70.
“The first lure I rig is a LIVETARGET silver/blue Golden Shiner Rattlebait. I would guess this lure has put more Manitoba Master Angler walleyes on the ice for me than any other lure. The size and shape of the lure will match the hatch of several baitfish, including shad, but certainly is a dead ringer for a golden shiner minnow. The paint and finish are extremely realistic, and the lure produces lots of flash and contrast. And did I mention the sound? The rattle output is deadly, and unmatched by anything else on the market.”
“My second choice is the LIVETARGET Yearling Rattlebait 65. The Yearling Rattlebait mimics the appearance of a baitball of minnows, but with the action and sound of a rattlebait. An equally productive alternative is the LIVETARGET Sunfish Rattlebait. Its three sizes bracket perfectly around the sizes of the Golden Shiner. These three baits: the LIVETARGET Golden Shiner, Yearling, and Sunfish Rattlebait have produced the biggest hardwater walleyes of my life.”
While LIVETARGET baits are widely recognized as having the most anatomically accurate, 3-dimensional designs and incredibly detailed, lifelike finishes, there are times when a hint of other-worldly glow will help to close the deal. Maloy remarks, “When water clarity is low due to sediment or tannic stain, I turn to the four glow colors in the Golden Shiner family. Unlike most hyper-bright glow lures, these LIVETARGET patterns offer a subtle hint of glow, and have been excellent the past two seasons.”
Welcome to the future of hardwater walleye angling, produced by a decade of refinements in baits, tackle and presentations. Fold the family of LIVETARGET lipless rattlebaits into your walleye repertoire this winter, and let the good times roll…and rattle!
ABOUT LIVETARGET: Since its launch in 2008, LIVETARGET has grown into a full family of life-like fishing lures that Match-the-Hatch™ to specific game fish forage, with over 750 styles and colors of lures for fresh and saltwater fishing. The lures feature industry-leading designs in realism and workmanship that closely mimic nature’s different baitfish species. Headquartered in Ontario, Canada, LIVETARGET won ICAST Best of Show awards in the hard and soft lure categories in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2017.
While fluorocarbon’s been available for decades, anglers are just now taking note of its superiority for ice fishing
By David A. Rose
My thoughts often turn wistful when I step onto a frozen lake these days. It’s not that I’m sentimental from four-plus decades of ice fishing the waters near my home in Michigan’s Northwest Lower Peninsula, but it’s more a recollection of the fish I caught as a kid and my absolute astonishment of how I was even able to fool a fish into biting with the makeshift equipment I used back then. My rods were literally wooden dowels — nails pounded in at one end to wrap line on and an eyelet screw twisted in as a guide on the other. To call them anything but a stick would be elaboration. My jigs were more like crudely-painted blobs of lead sporting dull, rusty hooks. And the line connecting the two? It was whatever heavy, stiff monofilament a kid could afford. Detecting a strike with that snarled line, let alone just attempting to get my offering down through the hole chopped with my grandfather’s handmade spud, was by far the most frustrating part of the day.
But a lot’s changed from those days of me dragging archaic gear onto the ice within a sled made from an old wooden crate secured to a pair of short downhill skis; nowadays I’m toting a Frabill flip-over shanty full of graphite rods and ice-fishing-specific reels, sonar with GPS and mapping, Aqua-Vu underwater camera and a super-sharp auger to slice the ice and quickly bore holes. But even all that technology I have in tow is not going to help me catch more fish if I don’t have one simple, yet critically important piece of the fish-catching puzzle: high-quality line made for the brutal conditions of ice fishing. Thank goodness, the choices are getting better by the year. And fluorocarbon line is getting noticed more and more as the go-to for catching more fish through the ice.
To know then what we know now
Seaguar introduced the initial spindles of fluorocarbon into the United States just a few years before my first-ever ice fishing trip – in 1971, to be exact.
During this timeframe, there were only two types of line ice angers would even consider: braided Dacron and monofilament. The former was used mostly on tip-ups or for jigging in extremely deep water, and the latter everything else. Overall, it’s probably a good thing angler’s didn’t understand the advantages of fluorocarbon for ice fishing as catch and release was rarely practiced during this era and fish populations could easily have suffered.
The line’s benefits?
Fluorocarbon is very dense in its makeup. It’s more compressed because the fluorocarbon resin, which has more fluorine atoms and less hydrogen, packs more mass into the same space. This means it’s as close to neutral buoyancy as line can be, and, a great choice for vertical personations. It also has less stretch due to its denseness, which is crucial when it comes to getting good hook sets; especially when using the light-pound-tests lines needed for proper presentations during the winter months. And less elasticity makes it much more sensitive, to boot, not only allowing anglers improved feel, but the actual fish strike is telegraphed through a spring bobber or super-sensitive rod tip better.
Using line with such a thin diameter as fluorocarbon is key when using tiny jigs for panfish and the like. Not only is thin line less visible — which fluorocarbon is much more translucent than monofilament to begin with — it also your gives your offering a more natural presentation. Consider the minuscule aquatic insect’s fish forage on most this time of year. Not only do they waggle wildly on their own, they also waft about in even the most minute water currents. Thick, rigid line doesn’t allow lightweight lures to drift naturally and weary fish will turn tail without as much as taking a second look.
“The evolution of fluorocarbon line has been amazing,” says Troy Peterson of Mr. Bluegill Guide Service. “There was a time when I only used it as a leader because line on a reel would come off coiled like a Slinky, and worse, stay that way. But fluoro is so much softer now, and when spooled onto an in-line reel there is absolutely no looping or line twist.”
The Wisconsin ice-fishing guide’s preferred line is Seaguar’s AbrazX Ice, which is offered in 50-yard spools of 2-, 3-, 4- and 6-pound test. The same manufacturer’s Blue Label is another great choice, and is offered in higher-pound tests.
“And it’s not just AbrazX’s softness and thin diameter, but its abrasion resistance [2X’s more than any other] that really sets it apart,” Peterson adds. “The bottom of a hole is rough and will shred inferior line as a fish swirls below the ice. But since I started spooling with Seaguar, my clients have lost less fish at the hole from being cut off.”
Last but not least, is how fluorocarbon comes off a reel in extreme air temperatures. Superline tends to hold water, which will freeze up quickly. Monofilament may expand once you’re in a heated shanty and fill the gaps in the wraps and come off with a jerky motion rather than nice and smooth. Fluorocarbon’s compressed nature keeps it water free and with less condensing and expansion. No more wondering
While fluorocarbon’s been around for a while, anglers are just starting to take note of its superiority when ice fishing. Soft, less stretch and a thin diameter… That’s the modern-day fluoro.
More than likely, the next time I step foot on the ice I’ll once again be in wonderment of how, as a kid, I was even able to fool a fish into biting with the crude equipment I had. I guess I’ll just chalk it up to dumb luck. In the meantime, I’m planning on upping my catch rate by spooling fluorocarbon.
Hitting that magical window where crappies and zooplankton collide can produce some seriously impressive results. It’s all about finessing your way onto their dinner plate, on their schedule. Full tip on Full tip on TargetWalleye.com, few excerpts:
> Deepwater crappies can often be found following the vertical migration of zooplankton. Typically we think of the ‘magic hour’ as being sunrise or sunset, but that sunrise can be as much as an hour later under the ice (and sunset an hour earlier) thanks to the lack of light penetration.
> Increased light levels in the morning trigger zooplankton to vacate areas higher in the water column and slide back towards bottom. It’s a similar situation towards evening.
> Maybe you’ve noticed the bottom ‘lighting up’ on your flasher near dusk? Zooplankton will begin to rise off bottom as the light levels drop, and they feed on microscopic plant-like organisms called phytoplankton.
> Mud basins in the 22-34′ range are where the magic happens.
> Aside from fishing super-clear or heavily-pressured lakes, this is another time I feel fluorocarbon plays a big role. Not only does Sufix Invisiline Fluoro actually sink, but it drops 4x more quickly than mono.
> For me it’s not so much about the bait’s drop speed as it is to help keep the line tight using light jigs in deep water.
Basic colors such as straight glow, white and occasionally black work great as zooplankton are virtually translucent. Working the lure fairly aggressively will help to call fish in, but use subtle — almost quivering — jigging movements to seal the deal.
Of course, if those deep fish are aggressive and “flying up” to intercept your baits, you can throw on a 4-5mm tungsten jig or a jigging spoon instead and light ’em up FAST.
A good old-fashioned snow storm hit Western New York this week. In fact, it’s still going on south of Buffalo. So far, it hasn’t touched Niagara Falls USA with snow, but it did impact water conditions in the Niagara River. Rain and high winds hit first, creating a muddy mess in the Niagara River that was quite severe. Just prior to the change though, the Niagara River was on fire with a focus on steelhead but offering anglers a mixed bag of fish all the way around – from Devil’s Hole to the Niagara Bar.
Capt. Frank Campbell of Niagara Region Charter Service was using MagLip plugs in 3.0 size to take steelhead, brown trout, lake trout, Atlantic salmon, walleye and Coho salmon just prior to the storm. The plugs were fished off three-way rigs. Along Artpark and in Devil’s Hole, boat drifters were also using egg sacs and beads to take trout. Shore fishermen have been picking up trout, too, but it had slowed a bit. With the storm still going on, we don’t know if anyone will be able to fish by the weekend. We may see some of the white stuff by then, too. Water temperatures were still in the low 40’s.
In the John Henning Memorial Musky Tournament, Frank Alcorn of Pennsylvania won the Niagara Musky event last Sunday with a fat 47-inch muskellunge trolling with a Legend perch bait. Also just prior to the storm, Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls used egg sacs and spinners to take some small trout in the smooth water before the upper rapids area just before the water plummets over the falls. Remember that lake trout season is closed in the lower river and bass season is now catch and release only all around the state (except Lake Erie).
In the tributaries off Lake Ontario, water continues to be stained but fishable. Some nice steelhead and browns have been caught on egg sacs or egg imitations, jigs tipped with wax worms and fished under a float, beads fished under a float and a variety of flies and streamers.
Burt Dam and Fisherman’s Park has fish in it and is probably the most consistent producer.
With this being the end of the year, there are a few Christmas parties going on you should be aware of. The Niagara River Anglers Association will be holding it’s Christmas meeting on Monday, Dec. 11 at the Sanborn Farm Museum on Route 31 starting at 6:30 p.m. and the Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Assn. has their Christmas meeting Dec. 14 at Cornell Cooperative Extension in Lockport starting at 7 p.m. with the Niagara County Fisheries Board. Also, the Niagara County Federation of Conservation Clubs will have its year-end holiday gathering at the Hartland Conservationists Club located on Orangeport Road in Gasport starting at 7 p.m.
Spinner beneath Horsehead-Type Jig is MOST EFFECTIVE
No Line Tangles, No Missed Strikes
Fish it SLOW…’Nuff Said!
By Keith Sutton
That’s how the late Bert Hall described the rationale behind his Road Runner lure. He designed it in 1958, but rather than target only bass, trout or panfish, he wanted a generalist lure that would attract almost any fish.
That’s exactly what Hall produced. A Road Runner slowly retrieved on light line will draw strikes from black bass, white bass, crappie, bluegills, sauger, walleyes, trout, stripers—you name it. Anything that eats minnows or insects is likely to nab it. It’s my guess, however, that the Blakemore Road Runner is more popular with crappie anglers than other types of fishermen because it can be used so many ways to catch America’s favorite panfish.
The Road Runner is unique among spinner-type lures because the spinner is beneath a horsehead-type lead where it’s more easily seen by fish striking from the side or below. The blade rarely tangles with your fishing line like “safety pin” spinners, nor does it interfere with hook-ups.
Several body styles are available (Bubble Belly, Marabou, Curly Tail, Turbo Tail, Buck Tail and Crappie Thunder) and two blade styles (Colorado and willow) in sizes from 1/32 to 1 ounce and every color of the rainbow.
Bert Hall, the Missouri Ozarks stream fisherman who invented the little spinner, also crafted the wise slogan that, “You can’t fish a Road Runner wrong as long as you fish it slow.” In many cases, slow is best, but crappie anglers shouldn’t be buttonholed into fishing the Road Runner just one way. Depending on water conditions and the mood of the fish, this fabulous, famous, fishing-catching lure can be fished slow or fast, deep or shallow, vertically or horizontally.
The simplest method, perhaps, is just casting the lure and reeling it in at a snail’s pace—just fast enough so the blade turns. You also can drop a Road Runner beneath your boat and fish different depths with little hops and twitches that will get a big slab’s attention.
To look over the Road Runner selection of colors and weight options, visit: http://www.ttiblakemore.com/product-category/road-runner/.
For some of the best action, however, you might want to add some variations to your Road Runner repertoire. The techniques described in Part 2 of this Road Runner fishing lure series are tried and proven.
They’re sure to give you an edge next time you want a mess of crappie for the deep fryer.
(Editor’s Note: Keith Sutton is the author of “The Crappie Book: Basics and Beyond.” To order an autographed copy, send a check or money order for $19.45 to C & C Outdoor Productions, 15601 Mountain Dr., Alexander, AR 72002. For credit card and PayPal orders, visit www.catfishsutton.com.)
Mild and pleasant weather conditions continue for our area well into the next week or so with just a slight chance of rain. Fishing conditions on all of the tributaries within Orleans County are very good to great with good numbers of fish spread throughout all of the systems.
There are still some fresh salmon entering our waters which is a bit unusual for this time of year.
Water levels remain just slightly high with about 2 feet of visibility on most of the tributaries.
The Erie Canal is only partially dewatered while crews continue to work on the system.
When they have completed their work the canal should be filled again to check their work and then the final dewatering will be done. What this means for our tributaries is extra water well into December this year.
I haven’t had any reports on the lower section of the “Oak” or on Lake Alice, but December 1st is right around the corner which means the close of bass season for keeping them and the opening of catch and release season.
From Point Breeze on Lake Ontario, the World Fishing Network’s Ultimate Fishing Town USA and the rest of Orleans County. We try to make everyday a great fishing day in Orleans County.
A Highly Versatile Walleye Bait that Produces in a Variety of Situations
Ramsey, MN (Nov 13, 2017) – Phantom Lures, widely known for its design and manufacture of high-quality proven fishing baits is pleased to introduce the arrival of the Tilly, a new walleye catcher that has the versatility to tackle a wide variety of fishing situations.
“We are thrilled to bring our latest innovation, the Tilly, to market for the 2017-2018 Ice Fishing Season,” stated Operations Manager Jeff Schulte. “The entire Phantom Lures Team is passionate about fishing year-round, and with the close of the open water season, comes frozen lakes for those of us located in the Ice Belt. We feel the Tilly is a great entry point into the growing sport of ice fishing, and we expect that with the introduction of Tilly, our brand can bridge the gap between open and hard water seasons.”
The Phantom Tilly is a drop-the-gloves vertical jigging bait with an aggressive flutter on the fall that also incorporates a strong BB rattle for when it’s time to ring the dinner bell. The Tilly is 2.5 inches of individually hand-painted fury. From hardwater to open water this bait is no one trick pony, the Tilly puts Walleyes on the board in all situations, making it a multipurpose, battle-born product anywhere there’s a fight to be had.
The bait is available in two sizes, the Tilly TL5-7 at ¼ oz and the TL-9 at 5/16 oz, both are identical in length, but weighted differently to accommodate fishing in deeper or shallower water, weather conditions and presentations.
For more information about the full product lines from Phantom Lures, visit the Phantom Lures website or contact Jack Gavin at: email@example.com.
About Phantom Lures:Since 1996, Phantom Lures has built a strong and loyal reputation in the muskie fishing industry by making excellent, custom, quality baits that are used by first time fishermen, guides and tournament anglers. This reputation is now migrating to the walleye and bass world. Our tournament –winning baits produce actions that put trophy fish on your line, leaving you with great pictures and lifelong memories. For more information about Phantom Lures, visit PhantomLures.com or call 763.951.2902.
Personal CARRY-IN-YOUR-POCKET Live Bait Container…it’s called “BAIT-UP”
KEEP the LIVE BAIT ALIVE!
No Nets, No Wet Hands, No Lost Bait…GREAT FOR WADING ANGLERS
Innovative, Portable, Durable, Inexpensive….Convenient and Effective
WORKS GREAT for Kayakers, Ice Anglers, Shore Fishing Anglers that Wade, for Everyone Else
By Forrest Fisher
Are you one of those anglers dedicated to simple fishing with live bait? If you wade a stream or walk the shoreline of a small pond or lake, fishing with live bait just become easier and more fun with this product. This product is versatile enough to allow live bait angler to carry minnows, leeches, hellgrammites, shrimp, crayfish and baits, even sand fleas for coastal waters, and at the same time, this device eliminates the usual hassles that hinder keeping live bait functional and alive. No batteries are required!
CLICK ON THE PICTURE TO THE RIGHT to see a video on how it works.
“Bait Up” and its patent-pending Dual-Lid/Floating Basket design allows the angler to quickly choose live bait without searching through water, sometimes it can be icy cold! The design of Bait-Up also allows the angler to completely submerse the device to replenish stale, low-oxygenated water without the loss of any live bait. What does this mean for today’s active angler?
No more carrying those large, bulky and sometimes, battery-operated bait buckets, with you when you are wading or walking your favorite river, stream, or creek. The same thing goes with the limited space in a kayak or canoe, or while attending your ice fishing tip-ups.
No more reaching into a large bucket of icy cold water to search for your live bait and no more need to empty out the water each time to easily retrieve a bait fish.
No more losing bait fish each time you need to replace the water with fresh water.
Bait Up allows the live bait angler to conveniently keep, carry, view, and select live bait without any problems.
Lifts bait out of the water instead of the angler searching through the water for their live bait. DUAL LID DESIGN
Select Lid allows for quick bait selection.
Fill Lid eliminates bait loss when the angler needs to refresh water. DURABLE CLEAR CONTAINER
Allows the angler to constantly monitor live bait activity to determine when water needs to be refreshed.
Perfect for the walking and wading angler. The included lanyard easily attaches to a fishing vest accessory loop, belt loop, or it can be worn by the angler.
There are two sizes: Bait Up 20:
SIZE: 7″ tall x 3″ round
HOLDS: 20oz. of water and can carry smaller sizes or amounts of live bait.
COMES WITH: Lanyard Bait Up 35:
SIZE: 8.5″ tall x 3.625″ round
HOLDS: 35oz. of water and can carry larger sizes or amounts of live bait.
COMES WITH: Lanyard
“Bait UpTM” allows the live bait angler to conveniently keep, carry, view, and select live bait without being bothered by the movements and demands essential to be successful while fishing with live bait.
Nothing will excite a hardwater die-hard like unwrapping a selection of Rapala’s best-in-class baits. Including world-renowned options like the iconic Jigging Rap® — the world’s No. 1 ice lure — and innovative models like the Slab Rap® and new smaller-sized Ultra Light Rippin’ Rap® No. 3, Rapala’s family of ice baits is sure to help any angler land their fill of fish this season.
Swimming in tantalizing circles under the ice, the Jigging Rap features a balanced, weighted minnow profile. Single reversed hooks with center treble and eyelet, this bait can also be bottom-bounced yo-yo style with unbeatable results.
Available in a wide range of sizes and color patterns, no adventure on the ice is complete without a handful of these bad boys.
Another outstanding option when anglers impart quick rod snaps, the Slab Rap delivers a wide-searching, erratic action beneath the ice, circling back to center after each pause. A simple lift-and-drop presentation creates a subtle vibration on the rise, followed by evasive side-to-side motion on the fall. The lure’s weight-forward design enables a rocking action for triggering negative fish in extra-frigid conditions.
Last, but certainly not least, the new Ultra Light Rippin’ Rap No. 3 may be the hardwater scene’s most anticipated new weapon. This walleye magnet flutters on the drop with a hard-vibrating action accented by a loud, distinctive BB rattle system. Drop it above a bottom-transition area, give it a few aggressive rips, then shake it gently in place to trigger big bites all day long.
A versatile new option, the Ultra Light Rippin’ Rap No. 3 is sure to nab its share of bruiser perch and pike in addition to coveted ‘eyes.
Women Anglers Encouraged TO POST ICE FISHING PIX at #WOMENONICE
Women Ice Angler OUTREACH PROGRAM – Skill Development, see details
Otter Tail County, MN – Nov. 8, 2017: The Women Ice Angler Project (WIAP #womenonice) will be on the move in 2018—literally. The fourth year of #womenonice will focus on moving from lake-to-lake in Otter Tail Lakes Country (Otter Tail County, Minnesota) highlighting the ease of mobility and moving from spot to spot. Otter Tail Lakes Country Association (OTLCA) and East Silent Lake Resort will host the media event along with Clam Outdoors.
Otter County is unique in that it boasts more than 1,000 lakes inside county borders. Communities include Perham, Fergus Falls and Pelican Rapids to name a few. The largest lakes include Otter Tail, Dead Lake, Rush Lake, Big Pine Lake and Pelican.
The ladies will fish for generous-sized panfish including sunfish, bluegills and crappies, as well as nice eater-size walleyes. “The ladies might not catch a personal best walleye here, but they have a chance at landing some trophy-sized panfish. This is a panfish paradise,” said Erik Osberg, Rural Rebound Initiative Coordinator for Otter Tail County.
Several media/video partners will follow the “ladies-on-the-ice” for video production and TV shows, including Larry Smith Outdoors, Grass Fed and Outdoors First Media. “We’ve seen our media coverage grow, and we enjoy interacting within the communities when we arrive onsite,” said founder of WI Women Fish and the Women Ice Angler Project, Barb Carey. “While it isn’t a done deal yet, we have a huge media partner finalizing their plans to follow us as well. This initiative to showcase and empower women to ice fish has really gained momentum.”
A community-wide “Meet & Greet” is in the planning stages and will include helpful tips on preparing fish.
In addition to Carey, the following ladies will fish in #womenonice this year, pro-staff anglers:
Outdoor Photographer: Hannah Stonehouse Hudson
Outdoor Writer: Kristine (K.J.) Houtman.
The goal of the Women Ice Angler Project is to encourage women to try ice fishing, as well as mentor those who already enjoy it and want to improve their skills. An additional plus has been moving the industry forward to show women ice anglers in corporate marketing efforts and social media.
“We don’t underestimate the skill level of women ice anglers,” Barb Carey said. “Sure, we’re happy to introduce some new participants, but there are many women who want to grow in their skills and our powerful group of gals can help them do just that.”
Award-winning outdoor photographer Hannah Stonehouse Hudson (Stonehouse Photography, http://stonehousephotoblog.com/) is a big part of the success of WIAP. “The colder it is, the happier I am,” Hudson said about her photography. “The light is incredible when it’s really cold and I love it.” WIAP photos can be found in retail stores, on product packaging, in corporate catalogs as well as throughout tourism and ice-fishing social media.
For the entire winter, all women anglers are encouraged to post their ice fishing photos and share their stories with #womenonice and follow theiceangler.com. “Our sponsors are totally behind the message women can and do enjoy this great sport,” Carey concluded.
The Women Ice Angler Project sponsors include Clam Outdoors, Outdoor First Media, Larry Smith Outdoors, The Great Wild Radio Show, Fish On Kids Books, Stonehouse Photography, WI Women Fish, East Silent Lake Resort of Dent, Minn. and Otter Tail Lakes Country Association.
Contact Barb Carey for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 608-692-7386.
Like peanut butter and jelly, Storm® 360GT Searchbait® jigs and bodies work best together, but are also available on their own. Storm is now offering its 360GT jigs and boot-tail soft-bodies separately, in two-packs and six-packs, respectively.
“While this bait and jig head were initially released in one package, paired to be the perfect lure to catch everything that swims, it’s great that they’re available now on their own,” says Davy Hite, a Bassmaster Classic champion and seven-time Bassmaster tournament winner. “Often times, you’ll run out of one sooner than the other, and this just makes it easier to always have the right amount of what you need.”
“Anglers pair 360GT jigs and bodies for a “go-to” bait,” says Storm Product Development Director Mark Fisher, explaining the inspiration behind the “360GT” name. “It’s that simple — ‘GT’ is shorthand for ‘go-to.’”
The 360GT jig features a life-like design, 3D holographic eyes, a single-ball rattle, an exclusive VMC® Coastal Black® hook and an extended, 60-degree line-tie “leg.” They come two per pack in three weights and five color patterns: Chartreuse Ice, Gaga, Smokin’ Ghost, Smelt and Tru Blue.
The 1/8 ounce jig is designed to pair with a 3-1/2 inch 360GT body and comes armed with a 2/0 hook. The 1/4 ounce jig fits a 4-1/2 inch body and has a 4/0 hook. The 3/8 ounce jig accommodates a 5-1/2 inch body and sports a 7/0 hook.
Creating the ultimate illusion of natural baitfish movement, the 360GT body is a realistic-looking, phthalate-free, soft plastic featuring a toe-in boot-tail that elicits incredible fish-attracting action at any retrieve speed.
“The boot tail does a couple things,” Hite explains. “It gives the bait vibration, which the fish can feel in the water. And the slim tail going to the boot gives the bait another action — it moves side to side, just like a fish trying to propel through the water.”
Easy to rig, 360GT bodies feature a handy hook channel and well-marked exit hole. They are available in 3-1/2, 4-1/2 and 5-1/2 inch models. They come six per pack in a re-sealable bag containing an insert tray that protects each individual paddle tail. They’re available in 11 color patterns: Chartreuse Ice, Gaga, Herring, Houdini, Hot Olive, Marilyn, Pearl Ice, Smokin’ Ghost, Smelt, Tru Blue and Volunteer.
Multi-species anglers can expect to catch bass, walleye and pike with 360GT Searchbaits. Ease of use will ensure that they become the go-to choices of anglers of all skill levels. A simple, steady retrieve gives them a fish-attracting swimming motion.
“The 360GT is in a league all its own,” says Jacob Wheeler, a Forrest Wood Cup Champion and two-time Bassmaster tournament winner. “It’s a bait that’s going to work in many different applications — in many different situations,” he says. “It flat-out catches ‘em, no matter what you’re doing.”
Start by fan-casting a 360GT in all directions until the fish reveal where they’re holding. “Basically, throw it in any direction, 360 degrees around where you’re standing,” says Fisher, explaining more of the inspiration for the bait’s name.
See Storm® 360GT Searchbait Jig
See Storm® 360GT Searchbait Bodies
See Storm® 360GT Searchbait
Devil’s Hole Stairs to Gorge – Repaired and Reopened!
Big Musky on a Good Bite All Week
Walleye, Steelhead and Lake Trout fishing good from Shore and Boat
There’s another storm blowing in this weekend, but Niagara County could luck out on some of the rain and white stuff, should it arrive. Keep your fingers crossed!
This just in from New York State Parks: The stairs into the Niagara Gorge at Devil’s Hole State Park will be reopened on Saturday, November 18, after having been closed all summer so that they could be rebuilt. The stairs had been expected to be closed until Spring 2018. This is great news for shore fishermen who like to cast for trout in the Devil’s Hole area.
Lower Niagara River trout fishing has been good from both boat and shore. We will have to wait and see what the storm blows in for water clarity. Rain and wind in Lake Erie can sometimes impact the lower river fishing. Conditions were near perfect the past week and steelhead are cooperating nicely along the Artpark shoreline. Boaters were bouncing egg sacs off three-way rigs to take some nice steelhead. Of course, you will catch some lake trout along the way. Be careful with them and release the fish immediately. Lake trout season is closed until Jan. 1 in New York waters, Dec. 1 in Canadian waters. Other baits that you should try if the egg sacs don’t work for you include plugs like MagLips and Kwikfish. Minnows will also catch you a fish or two, as will egg imitations like yarn flies.
From shore, any egg or egg imitation will catch fish as will spoons, spinners and jigs. Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls is still doing well off the New York Power Authority fishing platform to catch walleye, trout and the occasional Coho salmon. This week he was using homemade jigs.
Upper Niagara River musky fishing was good the past week according to Capt. Chris Cinelli of Grand Island. He caught three on Monday using large common shiners.
In the Niagara Musky Association’s Tim Wittek Memorial Musky Tournament last Sunday, a total of 28 anglers competed – catching 16 fish for the day. Top fish was a 50 and a half inch fish caught by Jeremy Schneider of Stratford, Ontario using a homemade body bait. Second place was John Pensyl of Lockport with a 48-inch fish jigged a Red October Tube. Third place was Stratford with a 46-inch ‘lunge jigging a Red October Tube. All the fish were released unharmed to fight another day. Other notable catches included a 46-inch musky reeled in by Daniel Lacko of Kenmore, a 43-inch fish hauled in by Andrew Lacko of Kenmore (Dan’s father) and Andrew Porzio of East Aurora with a 40-inch ‘lunge. The season closes on Nov. 30 in the upper river and around the state – except in the lower river and Lake Ontario. That season closes on Dec. 15.
The Lake Ontario tributaries like 18 Mile Creek are still muddy but not high. Some salmon are still struggling to swim around as the browns and steelhead are taking over. While eggs and egg imitations are still good baits to use, the past week seemed to switch over to more of a live bait presentation like crawlers, wax worms and spikes according to Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctors.
“Where is the guide?” was my second question. My first question was, “Which boat is mine?”
The boat was one of many 27-foot long Sportcraft walleye charter boats neatly tied-up to the Border View Lodge docks on Lake of the Woods, Baudette, Minnesota.
This was my first experience going out on a walleye charter. I really was not excited, a walleye charter never did sound like my kind of fun fishing.
I was attending a conference at Lake of the Woods in Minnesota and fishing buddy, Dave Barus, a skilled Lake Erie angler, had arranged this Walleye Charter. Going out in a big boat on big water with six anglers and a guide did not appeal to me. By the end of the day, I found out it was not only productive, it was great fun! It was a very enjoyable way to spend a day on water…in the rain!
Tom at Border View Lodge answered my first question, “Your boat is the one in that slip.” “The one with the girl in it?” I asked. “Yes, that is your boat.”
The girl, Cassy, answered my other question. “Good morning, I am your guide. Get in and we’ll get going.” My first thought was this local trip has been engineered as a tourism publicity moment with a lady guide. Preconceived notions are not good things, but one crept into my brain that Cassy did not look like an experienced or hardened north woods woman. Of course, I really can’t describe what an experienced north woods woman should look like.
Cassy had a very serious look on her face as she readied six anglers and their gear, nosed the boat out into the river current and headed for the open water on Lake of the Woods. I would come to understand this serious look latter in the day, it was pure focus.
My thoughts turned back to Border View Lodge. Part of the charm of fishing in the North Country is visiting a new lodge. All have a charm of their own. Border View Lodge had a special charm that makes any angler feel at home the minute you walk in the door. Wood paneling, fish mounts on the wall, dining area overlooking the docks and river and friendly people saying welcome.
Border View Lodge is a family owned and run business. The original lodge was a commercial fish operation when burbot was harvested to make cod liver oil. Around 1962, Border View became a fishing lodge serving anglers. In 1981 the current family purchased the resort. Today, Mike and Lisa Kinsella run the resort, oversee nine guides and 10 launch boats. In the winter they have 60 Ice Houses on the lake. Border View is a full service resort for people that like to fish and the resort has amenities all anglers like. Mike has a variety of packages to fit the needs of any group. Call Mike at 1-800-ProFish, tell him what you want and he will take care of you.
Another glance at our guide, Cassy, and the same serious look was locked on her face as she stopped, put out the anchor and baited up six rods with a jig and minnow.
It wasn’t long before the first walleye hooked up. A nice walleye and as Cassy skillfully netted it I noticed the serious look was replaced by a huge smile. That was it, serious look when getting clients loaded and handling the boat, but all smiles when the bite starts. That is my kind of guide!
The rest of the day made me smile. I went from never wanting to do a walleye charter to, “Can’t wait to do this again.” We hooked more than 75 walleye and sauger, some to 28 inches long, and we put six fish apiece in the cooler. Cassy kept minnows on the jigs – baiting every one with her secret hook-up method, netted every single fish, and kept everyone fishing and in conversation. Quite a feat.
So much for pre-conceived ideas!
Cassy Geurkink is currently the only lady guide in the area, we found this out when we returned to shore, AND, she is considered one of the best guides on this part of the Rainy River and Lake of the Woods. Cassy grew up fishing and hunting with her dad Tom who is also a guide. Before becoming a guide, Cassy worked at a Chevy Dealer in the Minneapolis, St Paul area. Cassy eventually worked her way up to the Sales Manager position. She would visit Dad on the weekends and started not wanting to go home. Cassy left the car dealership and for a season worked in the lodge office. But, as she says, “I am an outdoor girl and wanted to be outdoors.” To be a guide on a waterway that borders another country, you have to have a Charter Captain’s license which involves study and a lengthy Coast Guard test. So I started studying and passed the tests.
Cassy now guides four to seven days a week. On days off, she takes her 7-year old son Finley out jig fishing. Cassy said the best part of guiding is meeting different people. She says, “Guiding teaches you even more about fishing.” She learned how to be patient and how to help people catch fish. When Cassy first started guiding, a lot of guys looked and said, “Oh boy a girl guide.” Now many of those have become regular repeat customers and ask for Cassy. I can understand why. Pure dedication, highly skilled, not afraid to try new things and focus with a smile.
Cassy puts you on the fish and makes a happy boat. If you can book her, say, “Oh Boy,” because you are going to have a great fishing day.
Catching fish with Cassy explaining the details, the options, the reasoning behind using chosen jig colors, that was pure fun. It was an education in fishing. We pay for the fishing, the fun and instruction is free. Can’t wait to do it again.
Sportsman’s Lodge, Oak Island Resort, Eagle Ridge Lodge
Catch a Sturgeon here too!
By David Gray
It goes without saying that Sportsman’s Lodge on Lake of the Woods, Minnesota, is one of those iconic destinations where everybody with a fishing rod meets to catch fish. If you are a walleye angler and live in the north or mid-west, you have probably visited (or heard of) The Sportsman’s Lodge. It’s a bucket list destination for every honest angler.
If you have never been to Sportsman’s Lodge, you need to go. You WILL enjoy the lodge, the staff and most of all, the fishing. Anglers can target walleye, sauger, northern pike, musky, sturgeon, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, yellow perch or crappie. Choices. A good thing. I’m drooling again! On each of three trips there, my friends and I caught more than 50 walleye and sauger per trip, simply jigging with a minnow, the old-fashioned fun way. Hard to beat the fun. So many fish.
Located right on the Rainy River, Sportsman’s Lodge offers long-standing fishing success story traditions with a proven heritage. The service of hosting outdoor guests started here in the 1940’s (Jesmes Resort) and has continued to grow since. For the last decade, Gregg and Diana Hennum have expanded services with modernization and new comforts for guests.
For 46 years Sportsman’s Lodge has been a family owned and operated resort. Family-owned means the guests are treated like family and that is evident the minute you walk thru the door.
The staff are hard-working, friendly folks, dedicated to assuring that your stay is nothing but the best. Sportsman’s Lodge can handle groups from 2 to 200. They host weddings, family reunions, corporate groups, meetings and father-son fishing trips. The Lodge is full service. They provide anything and everything you need.
The great restaurant selections are offered in two large dining rooms: the Dockside and Riverside. At the end of the day, the “Sandbar” will accommodate your fish catching tales and provide refreshments for relaxation, the bar is over 70 feet long! A choice of hotel rooms, cabins, villas, ice houses and, of course, fishing guide services are at your option and are available. You only need to bring your clothes, a camera, yourself and be ready to put some fish in the boat.
In 2003, Sportsman’s Lodge expanded with the addition of Oak Island Resort, 34 miles up the lake by water. Oak Island is smaller, but a full service operation for multi-species fishing. Favorite fishing targets from this location include musky, walleye and smallmouth.
Not far from Oak Island Resort is Eagle Ridge Lodge, a beautiful and ultra-private vacation home resort with all the allure of the wilderness and all the comforts of home. Eagle Ridge provides the best of both worlds not often found on an island located in one of the worlds best sport fisheries.
In any location, you have choice of meals and guides, or if you are an accomplished angler, bring your own boat and guide yourself.
Gregg shared that a new “Adventure Package” is becoming popular. You leave Sportsman’s Lodge main location in Baudette on a Charter Boat, then fish your way up the 34 miles to Oak Island, stay overnight, then fish your way back. A no-hassle fun fishing outing, though customized trip packages are also available.
Fishing is king at Sportsman’s Lodge and Oak Island Resort. Winter Ice fishing is very popular and Gregg added, “More people are coming in the summer to get some relief from the heat of farther south, but winter fishing is also a tradition here for hundreds of families.”
Sportsman’s Lodge is a large, family-owned resort that has not forgotten its roots of treating guests like family. Fishing is king at Sportsman’s Lodge. This location on the Rainy River area of Lake of the Woods is noted to be the Walleye Capitol of the World. I asked Gregg Hennum why, he answered, “Because we have 10 Million of them!” After just spending three great days at Sportsman’s Lodge, I think it may be more than 10 Million!
My buddies and I can’t wait to go back next year.
Paddle-tail Jigs Entice Deepwater Smallmouth Bass during PEAK Color Foliage
October Fishing on Lake George offers Exhilarating FUN, Finesse Fishing
Morning Fog is Part of Stirring Fishing ADVENTURE
By Forrest Fisher
The air tasted fresh. One ray of sunlight was flickering through a tall tree to the east, lighting up the top layer of fog not far from Lake George Village. We were here to fish for October bass.
The steamy vapor of hot coffee was bidding to escape my thermos lock-top cup. The morning chill and hot java was perfect for a wake-up solution that followed a late campfire with friends the night before. The coffee sparked my step as I studied the heavy fog cover on Lake George at 7:15 in the morning.
Adirondack serenity was everywhere. Nature in this Warren County (New York) location was complete with stunning foliage color. Very satisfying. It’s hard to find wilderness-perfect moments in time, but I knew this was one of those.
A blue heron was beak fishing for breakfast to my immediate left. A dozen wood ducks were bobbing the weeds along a shoreline of boat docks in Dunham Bay. Overhead, there was a flock of Canada Geese silently flapping southward high above the fog. They were not honking, they were apparently in stealth mode, except their wings created a slick-moving wind sound that had caught my attention. More to study about that species, I thought. We never stop learning. I grinned. Getting to 70 years young and still learning, life is good when you visit Lake George.
My fishing partner for the day was an old friend and fishing guide, Frank Tennity, who had brought along his usual 35 pounds, or so, of jigs, rigs, hooks, plastic worms, hard body lures, sinkers, a few fishing rods and related “other stuff” to catch fish, no matter the conditions.
I brought my coffee cup. Ready here.
We met up with a fishing and hunting friend of local outdoor columnist, Dan Ladd (www.ADKhunter.com). Moored at the Dunham Bay docks, Walt Lockhart welcomed us with a warm smile to the usual October morning fog of Lake George. One warm and hearty handshake later, we hopped aboard his very comfortable 23-foot fishing boat. The canvas cockpit made a difference, protecting from the fresh-smelling dew.
Convenience is important when the fog is so heavy you cannot see across the road. We enjoyed the wait and sat in the comfy, covered boat. We talked fishing, sipped coffee, joked about alarm clocks and after about 30 minutes, we could see 100 yards.
That was our green light.
The Lowrance sonar unit provided a split screen with a plotter and GPS coordinates using the Navionics (https://www.navionics.com/usa/) Lake George depth map. The Navionics software helped us navigate to the “right spots.”
While we came to bass fish, Lake George is more well-known for lake trout and landlocked salmon in autumn, but we were up for the challenge of smallmouth bass. Walt knew the waters from his many years of fishing experience at Lake George and we newbies to the area had high hopes to hook up with some fish.
“We have crayfish, emerald shiner minnows and smelt as the main forage here,” Walt explained. “So we’ll throw something that will sort of imitate all of those. I did also bring some live shiners if you want to try those.“
Some of the rods were already rigged with a ¼ ounce jig head that featured a large thin-wire hook threaded with a 4-inch Keitech plastic paddle-tail. I was excited.
The boat moved slowly as the motor kicked into and out of gear at Walt’s direction. We were drifting and fishing in between motor drive connections. We made progressive motion along the south shoreline of Dunham’s Bay toward Crooked Tree Point and Lake George Village. We casted our lines along the drop-offs near the weedline edge there without any response from the fish, but our first morning objective was to fish the sharp drop-offs with middle-level gravel shoals near Diamond Island and Dick’s Island.
The fog slowed us down, but we arrived after about 30 minutes of careful boat control. The rocky shoals were marked with a bright buoy line and the sonar showed fish on top of the shoals in 25 feet or so. The sun was rising and the fog was lifting. The water was VERY clear and clean, as I could see my jig down about 15 feet.
Our 6-pound monofilament was thin and clear, a necessary tool to catch fish here with the extreme water clarity. Over the next 20 minutes, we caught five bass, no giants, but the fish were so healthy looking and strong. They each jumped above the water surface and electrified the chilly morning for all of us, but Walt wasn’t happy, he wanted to find bigger fish.
The wind was calm with a slight surface movement from the south as we moved to fish the steep drop-offs near Wood’s Point and Plum Point. As we approached visibility to Lake George Village, we found fish.
Tightly packed schools of smallmouth bass were holding 40 feet down in 80 feet of water. The fish were less than 100 feet from shore, that’s how fast the bottom drops in this location. The bass were there and on a binge feed. Sheer fun! Among the three of us, we landed and released about 30 smallmouth bass, not giants, but up to 2 pounds. Fun fishing. It was one exciting hour!
We carefully released all the fish as we caught them, then we moved to fish shallower water. New challenge, same lures, the paddle-tail jigs. We stopped to flip the docks along the Burnt Ridge Road boat slips on the way back “just to see” if any largemouth might savor an invigorating nibble for a freshly-delivered breakfast jig.
Sure enough, we hooked up with a few 2-pound largemouth bass to finish our short trip.
A complete morning, by 10:30 a.m. we were back at the dock with a late morning schedule to fill.
Our next destination was lunch with outdoor friends at the Docksider Restaurant (http://docksiderrestaurant.com/), a quaint little eatery with a cozy bar on nearby Glen Lake, just 10 minutes east. The food was scrumptious and while there, we met other fishing friends that had just enjoyed a great morning of fishing Glen Lake for their renowned giant bluegills.
They wouldn’t tell us their fishing hotspot until we traded our Lake George smallmouth bass news. Deal.
Tales of fishermen secrets continue every day, no matter where you are. Even among strangers, it’s half the fun of fishing!
There is one very helpful free fishing booklet with maps, directions and tips on where to fish Adirondack lakes, ponds, rivers and streams, even offering what to use, where to access and who to call for more information. The link: www.visitadirondacks.com, for Warren County see page 32. For a list of local fishing guides and charter captains, or for accommodation contacts, drop a note to Kristen Hanifin at LGRCCCVB@LakeGeorgeChamber.com.
Scott Scheffler, Marina Director for the Town of Newfane and heading up Fisherman’s Park at Burt Dam/18 Mile Creek, reports that some dandy brown trout are starting to show up in the creek a bit more readily. It’s a nice complement to the salmon and steelhead that are already on the scene. Fresh fish can be found in all of the deeper holes further down towards the harbor and fish are still being caught off the piers and in the lake.
When there’s a northeast wind, you can’t fish the piers at all because of the waves. However, when those winds subside, get out there and start casting spoons, spinners, rattlebaits, stickbaits or whatever. The fishing usually turns on! Another popular method is to use treated egg skein under a float. You can anchor or drift from a boat, too.
Over in Wilson, they are still picking up some yellow perch off the piers, as well as some nice trout. Use spinners and spoons for trout. Use minnows for the perch. Don’t rule out lake fishing either. If the weather cooperates – and it will be this weekend – don’t be afraid to try trolling for salmon and trout off the creek mouths or even out deep. There are plenty of fish to be caught!
The lower Niagara River salmon action is starting to wind down a little, but they are catching some silver fish that are fresh in the system. Casting glow-in-the-dark spinners and Little Gem spoons under low light conditions work best. Rat-L-Traps can also produce salmon.
Rich Pisa of Kenmore caught six kings from shore on Monday and four on Tuesday, so they are still getting them just fine. Even his father Richard picked up a few nice kings, fishing the Whirlpool area with treated egg skein. Boaters are still catching kings and coho’s as well, with an occasional trout. It won’t be long before lake trout start showing up to spawn. Remember that the lake trout season is closed now until the end of the year.
In the upper Niagara River, bass action has been good in the east river (east side of Grand Island) on shiners. A few musky are starting to show up, too.
Expert Guides DO Simplify Catching Fish – with simple JIGS
Rainy Day BLESSINGS on the Rainy River
One BEST Fillet Tool CAN SIMPLIFY Cleaning Walleye by the Dozen
By Forrest Fisher
We arrived in the front lobby of Sportsman’s Lodge on the Rainy River in Baudette, MN, The weather was cold and nasty, and VERY rainy. We were in a momentary downpour. I looked disappointed, my better half smiled at me and joked, “It’s ok, it’s gonna be good luck, it’s raining and we’re on the Rainy River! I couldn’t help, but smile back.
We were one step closer to the fishing the Walleye Capital of the World that we had read about so often, not to mention a few decades of dreams.
What I didn’t know was that the number of fish to catch in the Rainy River and Lake of the Woods was beyond the normal angler’s day of fantasy fishing. We discovered a brand new REALITY here, an iconic, never-forget celebration of most-ever-walleye-caught memories.
Not long after we arrived, we were fishing with Captain Ralph Christofferson (218-634-1342) aboard his 27-foot Sportcraft, a beautiful, fully-equipped, big water vessel. Lake of the Woods offers about 1,700 square miles of fishing with more than 14,500 islands and 65,000 miles of shoreline. Impressive fishery numbers and with plenty of forage in the form of emerald shiners, tulibees and various crustaceans.
We boated out to the lake and anchored, only a 10-minute ride with that giant 454 Chrysler engine humming us into competition with throngs of honking Canada Geese that were nearby.
Captain Ralph provided everyone his hand-made, 6-foot 2-inch, personally customized, St. Croix fishing rods to use. The rods were light .and beautiful, a pleasure to hold. Perfect balance.
The rods were geared up with an open-face spinning reel, 6-pound test monofilament (P-line) and gold-plated 3/8 ounce jigs tipped with a salted emerald shiner minnow. The minnows were “slid” onto the hook with Captain Ralph’s “secret twist.”
It didn’t take long to discover active fish at our anchored spot. In less than 3 hours, we landed more than 50 walleye and sauger. Captain Ralph said, “It’s sort of a slow day.” In the words of our young friends and millennials, OMG! Except, he wasn’t kidding!
We kept our daily limit of 4 walleye and 2 sauger each, and there was five of us. Yes, we had a cooler filled with 30 fish and ice, ready for the pan or the freezer. We arrived at the dock, it was a short walk to the Sportsman’s Lodge state-of-the-art fish-cleaning house. There were plastic bags, foam trays for holding the clean fillets, saran wrap, ice and lots of bright lighting. I could see the light. Indeed, in more ways than one.
While some anglers use an electric knife to clean fish, most old-timers know there is about 15 percent waste with that method. I’m an old timer and I had a brand new fillet knife that I received on my birthday.
A manual fillet knife job will yield the most meat for the plate. If you consider some of the catches for the week – and we ate most of the fish right on site the day we caught them – you might think that manual filleting the fish was a tough task, but not so.
It’s not work if you a knife like mine, a new 6-inch Case, fixed-blade, fillet knife (Model BR12-6 SS). My Case fillet knife is so sharp and rigid, but also provides some bend in the blade if you press a bit, to be flexible, making it so simple to use. It seems to never lose its really sharp edge and we cleaned so many fish with it.
Every now and then, I touch up the edge with a very gentle stroke on a carbide diamond wedge, then a final stroke or two using a very smooth Arkansas super-fine stone and water.
One other thing about this knife, it is ergonomically perfect to fit my hand. It feels just right, you know, comfortable and solid. The steel blade and formed poly-handle are melded as one, permitting full control, and it works like a hot poker through butter. Even with potatoes, onions, carrots and sausage, you get the idea. It’s my favorite all-around cutting tool.
Many things we buy in the USA are now manufactured elsewhere, but W.R.Case knives are made in the USA (http://www.wrcase.com/knives/), one more of many reasons why I like them.
The bottom line for a good knife: can it hold an edge? Indeed. This thing holds an edge like no other fillet knife I have ever used, and I have used most of them. I’m not sure what kind of steel alloy this Case knife uses, but whatever it is, please tell them to never change it.
My grandkids will want one of these 20 years from now and, of course, my Case will be here ready and waiting.
Last, this knife is an easily affordable investment at about $25-$30 cost. Check google for the best price or go direct to W.R.Case.
Love this knife, the expert guides and this deluxe accommodation where we caught all these fish just a short boat ride and simple drop-jig cast away. Dreams are made of this.
Catch more and bigger autumn pike by following their favorite prey
By Gord Pyzer
When school resumes in the fall, have you ever noticed how moms and dads
eagerly wait at street corners for their kids to get off the buses? Northern pike can also be found congregating in specific places during the fall, but they’re certainly not waiting to hug their young. No, they’re waiting to ambush and devour their prey instead, making autumn the best time of the year to find and catch scores of the big toothy critters.
Indeed, unlike pike during late winter and early spring—two other prime periods—gargantuan fall northern’s are not side-tracked by events such as the upcoming spawn. Instead, they have only one thing on their minds: quickly shoveling as much food down their throats as possible. This makes for a great scenario for anglers, especially given how easy it is to locate the bus stops where the action is unfolding.
Fall is the period of consolidation, when northern pike move away from the deep weed edges and main-lake structures they’ve been frequenting all summer. It’s an interesting transition, because different groups of fish are moving to the same gathering spots from multiple directions.
My favorite way to pinpoint the terminals is by noting the location of the best late-summer spots, then identifying the nearest main-lake or large island points that break into deep water. If there’s an associated ledge or feeding flat in 10 to 20 feet of water, so much the better.
It’s worth noting, too, that the migration out of the back bays has nothing to do with withering or decaying vegetation, or a decline in oxygen levels, as so many anglers mistakenly believe. Instead, the pike are merely following prey, including yellow perch and walleye, that are transitioning to their deep-water fall, and eventually winter, locations.
Even more importantly, however, the big toothy critters are setting the stage for a feast as they intercept pelagic ciscoes and whitefish—and in some cases, lake trout—that are shifting toward shallow rocks to spawn. And once you’ve found one of these bus stops, the great thing is, it will remain productive in perpetuity, as the fish will return to it every fall.
I should mention, too, that this pattern begins falling into place once the water temperature drops below 15°C (59F). It then peaks at 10°C (50F) and continues until 7°C (44F) or so, especially when we’re blessed with unseasonably warm weather. By late fall, however, the fish will have finally moved to their winter locations.
Meanwhile, a good bus stop becomes a great bus stop when it’s exposed to wind and waves. And by parking your boat over deep water, casting up shallow and retrieving your lure out over the break, you’ll always get better results than you would if you stopped in the shallow water and started casting.
Few lures have accounted for more King Kong northern pike than 4½- or five-inch paddletail swimbaits sporting embedded jigheads, such as those in the LiveTarget and Storm WildEye swimbait series. Also effective are five- or six-inch Bass Magnet Shift’R Shads, XZone Swammers and …..
By Forrest Fisher
So just what’s in a worm that is not a real worm? Why do fish even think about biting it? It might be a lot of things, but there is simple mystery, appetite, movement, unusual size, smell, color, contrast and perhaps…hunger.
Mister Twister’s NEW 12″ Mag 12 BUZZ Worm is a large profile, big bass worm with a length that is BIG with a tail designed to provide maximum action and vibration while fishing, especially around structure.
The latest addition to Mister Twister’s bass fishing line-up works great for targeting bass on structure such as ledges, reeds and brush piles in deeper water. It is exceptional for flipping, Carolina rigging and Texas rigging. Use a 5/0, 6/0 or 7/0 hook.
In Florida golf ponds, especially in winter months, the biggest bass will only eat the BIG worms. This Mag 12 worm works on those bass, fish that top the 10-pound mark.
The Mag 12 BUZZ Worm’s tail has a natural, free-falling action imitating wounded baitfish. When a bass’s metabolism heats up during the summer, the Mag 12 BUZZ Worm is sure to satisfy big bass appetites. In autumn, like now, this is an energy storage candy bar for big bass looking ahead to winterize their consumption system.
“I’ve caught them flipping reeds in Florida to dragging ledges on the Tennessee River system,” says Bass Elite Series Pro Clent Davis. This bait is a bass getter. When the bite gets tough and when I am looking for that kicker, I turn to the Mag 12 BUZZ Worm”.
The Mag 12 BUZZ Worm was in Clent’s lure rotation for his 5th place finish at the FLW Costa event on Kentucky Lake in June, 2017.
“The 12″ BUZZ worm is one of those game changers for me,” says two-time BASSMASTER Classic Qualifier, 2015 Bass Nation Champion, 2014 ABA National Champion, and 2012 BASSMASTER Weekend Series Nation Champion Albert Collins. “I catch big fish on the Hang 10!, but with the Mag 12 BUZZ Worm, I have the confidence that at some point I will get some upgrades,” he says.
Watch this video tosee a bit more about catching fush with this BIG WORM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HU–Y-dnNiU&feature=youtu.be.
Mister Twister’s NEW 12″ Mag 12 BUZZ Worm is available in 10 fish-catching colors, including Cranapple, Watermelon Red, Green Pumpkin, Red River Special, Red Bug, Plum, Blue Fleck, Rayburn Bug, Black/Blue Flake and Junebug. These colors were selected by our Pro Team members. View the NEW Mister Twister 12″ Mag 12 BUZZ Worm.
Follow David Fritts, Scott Martin, Fred Roumbanis and many other top pro’s
No Surprise What Lures are Catching Bass in South Africa…Read On.
From State College, Pa., we learn that fishing fans are in for a Gold Medal fishing competition treat this week. The USA Bass Team (Capital City/Lake Murray Country RTB USA Bass Team) competes in the 2017 WORLD BASS FISHING CHAMPIONSHIPS.
Team Manager John Knight says, “We are ready to compete, we are also going to keep everyone posted on Team USA via several social media outlets. We want America’s sports fan to be right there with us.” The USA Bass team consists of top anglers from FLW and BASS.
The contest starts with practice on October 2nd – 4th, and competition on October 5th, 6th and 7th. Team USA will be vying for the World Championship Gold medal versus teams from across the globe on South Africa’s River Vaal.
The Capital City/Lake Murray Country RTB USA Bass team will take on South Africa, Russia, Mexico, Portugal, Swaziland, Namibia, Italy, Zambia, Germany, Zimbabwe, Spain and Croatia. The competition begins October 5 and runs for three days.
Daily weigh-in’s will be updated beginning 10 a.m. Eastern Time at: https://www.weighmasters.net
Hottest lures during the practice days? Senko’s and Bay Rat’s. Follow the daily hot lure trail on USA Bass Facebook site listed below.
U.S. Angling is a 501c3 charitable organization that supports the Capital City/Lake Murray Country RTB USA Bass team as they compete in world championship fishing events around the world. Businesses and individuals wishing to support the USA Bass team in South Africa are encouraged to visit our website at www.usabass.org for sponsorship opportunities, or contribute at Go Fund Me: https://www.gofundme.com/usabass.
King’s, Coho Salmon on Niagara Bar ON-THE-MOVE to Devil’s Hole
Browns Biting at Night from Shore
Rainy Weather May Cause Big Run
Bass & Walleye Biting in Upper Niagara/Lake Erie
Get ready for another slug of fish to arrive in the lower Niagara River and area tributaries off Lake Ontario! Both wind and rain are in the forecast and that could be the trigger to bring some more fish into area waters.
In the lower Niagara River, Capt. Frank Campbell of Niagara Region Charters called me at 9:30 a.m. to say he had limited out for his two customers. That’s six salmon in just a couple hours. Not every day is like that, but if the rains in the afternoon trigger a run, there are a bunch of fish – kings and Coho salmon – hanging out on the Niagara Bar waiting for a push from Mother Nature.
We haven’t seen good numbers of Coho salmon in the fall in a number of years. This is great news! For boaters, the Devil’s Hole area is the place to be. Pautzke-treated egg skein is the ticket for taking Pacific salmon, fished off three-way rigs.
Shore fishermen have been doing pretty well too. Ricardo Davila of Wheatfield has been tossing glow-in-the-dark spoons and spinners to take salmon early in the morning. When that sun comes up though, fishing gets a bit tougher in that Devil’s Hole area.
From shore, Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls has been using the same kind of hardware. He’ll also toss a Rat-L-Trap. Today he started catching some brown trout mixed in with his salmon in the Whirlpool area. He also reported some good bass fishing along the shoreline at Artpark.
If you enjoy fishing around the Schoellkopf Site near the Discovery Center (yes, there’s an elevator there), this new access point will be closed Oct. 11-12, next week, as they use a crane to complete some work.
Over at Olcott and 18 Mile Creek, Burt Dam has seen more fishermen than fish. Hopefully that will change soon. Some fish are being caught from boats anchored around the harbor, as well as around the piers.
Pier casters are only picking a few fish up now, but hopefully that will change, too. Spoons and spinners will work, but harbor boats are using treated egg skein and fished under a float.
Boat trollers are still pounding the mature salmon with flasher and fly or meat until they hit. Sometimes it’s tough getting them mad enough to strike, but when they do you have your hands full. If the weather cooperates, you can always run out deep off Wilson and Olcott to take a mix of salmon and trout.
Capt. Alan Sauerland of Instigators Charters out of Wilson found some salmon and trout in 450-plus feet of water, but he had to go deep to find the right temperatures. His riggers were from 75 to 110 feet deep, the divers were 280 and 300 feet back and he needed 500 feet of copper line to hit the fish zone with spoons and flasher-fly presentations.
In the Upper Niagara River, bass and walleye are still the primary focus. Capt. Chris Cinelli has been hitting some nice fish at the head of the river with shiners and spinner-worm combos. Bill Hilts, Jr., Director, Outdoor Promotions Niagara Tourism & Convention Corporation, 10 Rainbow Blvd., Niagara Falls, NY USA 14303 p: 716.282.8992 x.303| 1.877 FALLS US, f:716.285.0809 website | facebook | twitter | blog Sportfishing has a $30 million annual economic impact in Niagara USA!
Hot Lure: 3/8 Ounce Jig (hammered gold/pink) Tipped with a Minnow
Angler Qwest Pontoon Boat Rig was Safe and Extra-Comfy
By Forrest Fisher
Brad Dupuie and Roger Nieson treated several friends from the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers (AGLOW) to a short afternoon “Angler Qwest Pontoon Boat fishing trip” for walleye and sauger on Lake of the Woods near Baudette, Minnesota.
With the lake in turnover mode and the water with a tea-like water color, we still landed over 30 fish, keeping 18 in the 3-hours.
We dropped lines with simple jig/minnow rigs and VMC jigging spoons in 26 feet of water off the Rainy River outlet to the lake. The technique that produced good fish was to release the jig straight down alongside the boat, let it hit bottom, then lift sharply about 6 inched to one-foot, then let the jig flop back to bottom, wait 5 seconds, then lift about 4-6 inches off bottom and wait. Repeat every 20 seconds or so. Slam, dunk!.
The Angler Qwest pontoon boat was not ordinary, powered by a 200HP, 4-stroke Merc that used very little fuel (regular gas). The well-outfitted boat could outrun (speed) more ordinary 27-30 foot fishing craft designed for six anglers and a charter captain.
The boat featured extra special build items that included a teak floor, live wells, rod holders, deck wash-down hose, measuring board table, sidewall cupboards, set up for downriggers, welded stainless steel fixturing all around, side-deck grill options, all equipped to handle 4-ft waves in the Great Lakes. AND, it travels at 45 mph!
We had 8 of us friends on board too. Rods were 6-7 feet lightweight open-face spinning reel rigs with 8-pound monofilament line, though many anglers use lightweight braided lines tied direct to the jigs. The stained water color allows the line color of any type.
All of us enjoyed a great time fishing out of the Sportsman’s Lodge in Baudette, Minnesota, where special fall rates are in effect or the next few weeks. Visit http://sportsmanslodges.com/ for more information on lodging.
Niagara Falls USA Fishing Forecast for September 21, 2017
Egg Skein from Boats is #1
Glow-In Dark Spoons are Hot from Shore
Increasing Near-Record Temp’s Could Slow Run
The salmon run is happening in the Niagara River right now from both boat and shore. From boat, treated egg skein is the ticket. From shore, try tossing glow in the dark spoons or spinners under low conditions.
The amazing weather we’ve been experiencing does have a down side. Water temperatures in the river have risen by 4 degrees already and it could impact the salmon run.
If the Chinook and Coho’s make it up into the warm water, they probably won’t last long…or they could head over to the tailrace of the power plant and the fishing platform guys and gals will do better. Things have slowed down a little there. Some bass and walleye are still available in the river, too. One area is just north of the Lewiston Landing area, where they have also been taking some perch. Directly relating to the run of salmon in the river is the Niagara Bar fishing.
Capt. Matt Yablonsky of Wet Net Charters reports that the Chinook (kings) are staging again at the drop-off in 70 to 80 feet of water with E-Chip flashers and A-Tom-Mik flies or meat. Glow in the dark spoons work early morning and at dusk.
In Olcott and Wilson, there has been some pier action for salmon and trout. Again, spoons and spinners work best. There was actually a hot bite for steelhead the past 24 hours for some reason up a Burt Dam, but with the warm temperatures near record-breaking the next 4 or 5 days, those fish will probably head back out into the lake.
Speaking about out in the lake, trollers are using spoons, flasher-fly, flasher-cut bait or J-plugs to take salmon and the occasional trout inside of 100 feet of water. Fish are also available out deep.
Wilson harbor was also producing some nice northern pike on spinnerbaits.
Check out some of the catches featured this week in the Buffalo News website to see what’s really happening here fishing-wise (www.buffalonews.com).
Upper Niagara River action has been good for bass and walleye the past week. Try fishing around the head of Strawberry Island, at the head of the river and around the walls off Buffalo.
National Hunting and Fishing Day is Sept. 23. Niagara County’s version of this celebration is tied directly to the Wildlife Festival sponsored each year by the New York Power Authority and the Niagara County Federation of Conservation Clubs. The Festival is held both Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the NYPA Visitor’s Center located at 5777 Lewiston Road, Lewiston. Call 716-286-6661 for more information.
All of the old stand-by presenters and vendors will be in attendance like the Primate Sanctuary, the Buffalo Zoo-mobile, Hawk Creek and Nickel City Reptiles.
The Niagara River Anglers has their fishing pond set up and the Niagara Federation’s shooting trailer will be up for some plinking. Did we mention that this is ALL FREE? It’s great fun for the whole family. This event will be held, rain or shine.
If you are a goose hunter, this is the final weekend for the nuisance goose season, ending on September 25.
Lake Ontario, Niagara River, Piers, Creeks – All Have Fish.
Shore or Boat, Grab Your Gear.
The salmon are snapping all around Niagara Falls USA as the mighty fish have shown up in the Niagara River and off the piers in Olcott. Lake action is continuing too, for pier head trollers seeking a mature king. Out deep, some salmon are available along with a mix of two and three year olds, as well as steelhead.
Let’s start with the Niagara River where king salmon action in Devil’s Hole area was on fire from both boat and shore. Boaters were drifting treated egg skein all week to take some limits of kings. Three way rigs get the presentation on the bottom. Capt. Frank Campbell of Niagara Falls reported good success every day he’s been out, with his best day being 9 mature kings.
For shore casters along Artpark, Devil’s Hole and the Whirlpool, glow in the dark spoons and spinners have been taking fish under low light conditions.
A few walleye and bass are around, too. Ricardo Davila of Wheatfield was 5 for 7 on kings Tuesday, before he went into work in the Hole. Remember that the stairs at Devil’s Hole State Park are closed for improvements until next spring. The New York Power Authority fishing platform is open and kings are being taken by hardware tossers, especially in the tailrace of the power generators. If you want bass and walleye, fish are hitting drop shot rigs and tubes, as well as live bait like leeches, crabs and shiner.
Out in the lake, the Niagara Bar has been a little slow for king action. Your better bet is to target mature kings on J-plugs, spoons, flasher-fly and flasher-meat rigs inside 100 feet. Capt. Mike Johannes of On-the-Rocks Charters out of Wilson, reports that the Niagara Bar was ice water after the recent northeast winds. He was finding good action in 300 to 400 feet of water straight out from his home port, 40 to 80 feet down on the riggers, 300 copper and 10 colors of lead core. Use flashers and meat for the biggest kings, UV orange spoons for steelhead. Out of Olcott, Capt. Vince Pierleoni of Newfane was doing some thrill-seeking out to 500 foot depths, focusing his DW spoons and A-Tom-Mik flies in the top 80 feet of water.
Off the piers, Cleo’s and other heavy spoons are taking both salmon and trout, but the action isn’t hot and heavy. We need a good cool rain to really trigger a run. The east pier at Olcott is now open.
Mark your calendars for National Hunting and Fishing Day on Sept. 23. The big celebration in Niagara County is the Wildlife Festival at the New York Power Authority’s Visitors Center, set for both Sept. 23 and 24. Doors are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and it’s free. This event is cosponsored by the Niagara County Federation of Conservation Clubs and there will be a fishing pond, shooting trailer, archery and crossbow demos and more. Carmen Presti with the Primate Sanctuary will be there along with a pile of kids activities. Bring the whole family! Good luck and good fishing in Niagara Falls USA.
Eastern Lake Erie Bass Fishing Resource DRAWS WORLD CLASS ANGLERS
Abundant Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass will Provide Highlight for Region
BUFFALO, N.Y. – September 8, 2017 – On July 26th – 28th, Buffalo will welcome an estimated field of 150 boats and 350 anglers plus staff to compete in the 2018 Costa Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) Tournament Series. The bass fishing tournament will take place in Lake Erie with boat launch action from Safe Harbor Marina at Buffalo Harbor State Park, located in Buffalo’s growing recreational resource area known as the “Outer Harbor.”
Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) is the world’s largest tournament fishing organization consisting of three events among five divisions. The top 40 pro-anglers and co-anglers in each division will advance to the FLW Bass Championship in Lake Guntersville, Alabama. The Buffalo event is expected to generate approximately 1,200 hotel room nights and produce over $836,000 in economic impact.
Lake Erie’s great renown as a bass fishery helped propel its selection for the 2018 event, tournament organizers said. Bassmaster Magazine recently ranked Lake Erie as the country’s seventh best and the Northeast’s top bass fishery.
“We are thrilled to visit Buffalo, New York, and the world-class Lake Erie fishery for a Costa FLW Series tournament in 2018. Buffalo hosted FLW’s All-American Championship in 1990 and 1991, plus FLW Series events in 2004 and 2011, and a College Fishing qualifier in 2011.
Each of these tournaments rank among the best ever held, so our return to Buffalo is welcomed and long overdue. This is a highly anticipated event for our staff and competitors,” said Kathy Fennel, President of Operations, Fishing League Worldwide
“The COSTA FLW Championship Series will bring some of the world’s best fishermen here to Lake Erie, which is itself home to some of the best freshwater fishing in the world and a perfect site for this competition. This three-day event will be a great opportunity to see bass fishing pros using every lure in their tackle box in pursuit of trophy fish and the top prize. Avid anglers, weekend warriors, and anyone who’s ever dipped a line should be excited about this competition, which will put our world-class bass fishing in the national spotlight,” said Mark Poloncarz, County Executive Erie County
“This tournament’s return to our area is just one more example of the Buffalo Niagara region’s growing reputation as a world-class destination for anglers,” said Buffalo Niagara and Buffalo Niagara Sports Commission President and CEO Patrick Kaler. “The FLW series exemplifies how fishing tournaments and tourism can reel in major returns for the local economy.” For more information regarding the Costa FLW Series tournament in Buffalo visit: https://www.flwfishing.com/tournaments/costa.
The Buffalo Niagara Sports Commission is a subsidiary of Visit Buffalo Niagara that promotes Buffalo and Erie County nationally and internationally as a premier sports tourism destination for the economic benefit of the community by boosting hotel occupancy and encouraging visitor spending. http://www.visitbuffaloniagara.com/sports-commission/.
Fishing League Worldwide (“FLW”) is the premier tournament fishing organization that provides unparalleled fishing resources and entertainment to the anglers, sponsors, fans and host communities. FLW is committed to providing a lifestyle experience that is the best in fishing on and off the water.
WHO: Rush Outdoors TV & Barcelona Charters Teams Up to Catch Fish
WHERE: Eastern Basin Lake Erie, Barcelona Harbor, Chautauqua County, New York
WHAT: Catching Walleye and Lake Trout
HOW: Troll Speed: 2.3-2.5mph; Water Depth: 130-135 feet; Fish Depth: 75-85 feet; Water Temp: 66 degrees
GETTING TO THE FISH: Downriggers, Divers, 8-color and 10-color leadcore
PROVOKING A STRIKE: Custom-painted Stickbaits, Homemade Spoons, Handmade Spinner/Worm Rigs
By Forrest Fisher
NY Outdoor News editor, Steve Piatt, (http://www.outdoornews.com/new-york/) gave me a ring last week and asked if I could fill in for him to do a Rush Outdoors TV Show taping with network outdoor stars, Tim Andrus and John Lenox. You know my answer! “Uh, let me think about it Steve.” ….clear the decks! “No I’m not busy, why?”
The next day, I received a phone call from John and we met yesterday at dockside at Barcelona Harbor in Chautauqua County, New York, and I was introduced to Captain Brad Smith and his wonderful wife and 1st Mate, Darcy, of Barcelona Charters (http://barcelonacharters.net/). Their 28-foot Marinette Fisherman boat is docked near Monroe Marina.
It was about 8AM, the winds were SSE at 8mph, the sky was clear and blue, the sun was coming up quick in the eastern horizon and there were 14 rod/reel rigs set to go aboard this comfortable, well-outfitted, boat.
Tim said, “I think we’re ready to go Captain Brad.” With a friendly and crisp response and a “welcome-to-my-boat” grin, Captain Brad answered, “Wait a minute, I gotta get my coffee cup and give the fish a chance to wake up. I’ll be right back.”
That’s how our day started. Very relaxed. The stage was set for a fun day with fun people aboard a big boat with a kitchen and rest room, built to find fish, catch them or release them, store the keepers in a cooler and bring everyone back to port safely with pictures and reality fish tales to share.
“Which way we going honey,” Darcy asked Captain Brad. “I think we’ll try east today, if that doesn’t work, we’ll swing back to west.” Captain Brad took the helm and we skirted the excavator rig barges still working on clearing the harbor-mouth after last winter’s storm seige. The storm opened the breakwall and after it was breached, the harbor filled with sand, stone and debris.
Action outdoor star of Rush Outdoors TV, Tim Andrus, was aboard and John Lenox, co-star, activated several camera’s throughout the day to capture the non-stop action we found fishing with Barcelona Charters.
With Captain Brad Smith setting and running 10 lines without a single tangle, and Darcy Smith running the boat to waypoints and adjusting the trolling speed, the twin 318 Chrysler engines came alive as we headed for a secret offshore shoal about 3 miles away in 78 feet of water. Slowing down a half-mile short of the waypoint, Captain Brad hopped down and started setting lines.
This guy should have a different name, perhaps “Flash.” That name would be more suitably correct for this elderly, young-minded, genius fisherman. By the time we arrived, the lines were all in and we were ready for action.
As the bottom came up, Darcy keep us all up to date with live reports. “There’s big fish at 75 feet, there’s a bait school at 55 feet, there’s two fish at…,” and so on. “The water temp is 66 degrees.” Tim and John and I were enjoying the live feed of all this data.
As Darcy read off depth, speed, water temp and fish sightings, Captain Brad would adjust the lines. He had three 10-color Sufix non-stop (very thin) 18-pound test lead core lines on the starboard side, three 8-color lead core on the port side, two wire-line diving planes on each side and two downriggers, with all the lines set to the fish depth that Darcy monitored. What a team.
“Berkley XT Fluorocarbon leaders are part of my fish attack,” says Captain Brad. “The leadcore lines, divers and riggers all use different leader lengths, but I think the nearly invisible line is important, and it has different flex to the lure too.”
As the water depth dropped off, we hooked up with our first fish, a small walleye, then another, then another. Double headers happened over the next three hours…SEVEN TIMES. Imagine that. “Hey Tim, can you slide to the right, I gotta net John’s fish,” Captain Brad would say. “Hey Forrest, can you slide to the left, I gotta net Tim’s fish.” What a day. We shared fish stories from times past – we all hunt, fish and share passion for the outdoors. There was not time for many stories. We were busy catching fish. Fun busy.
What makes a fun fishing day like this happen? The word is out that the “deep walleye bite” is pretty much over in eastern Lake Erie. Guess we know the deep bite is still VERY GOOD.
There were only two boat trailers at Barcelona Harbor this day, and these were bass boats.
A fish-filled day like this happens when you find a charter captain that understands how to use his gear to find the fish and can figure out a way to meet them half-way to provoke a strike. He knew which lures to switch to, colors to try. He understood the difference between tape flash differences underwater and sun angle relationships with the lures he used.
There is much to learn from this gentleman of a charter captain and his 1st mate who fish like this. The fine points of successful fishing are in the details.
Leader length, type of line, knots, terminal connection hardware, hook types and sizes, flash, glow tape, these things all matter.
Captain Brad is well booked for the next 7 days or so, but there is still time to catch fish after that. Don’t call ghostbusters. Go check your calendar.
The fish were DEEP, 75 down in 130 feet, but once we found them, running the lines over the fish produced big time. Have never witnessed a more efficient charter crew.
Amazing fun that ended with a cooler made to lift with not less than 4-people! We landed 31 fish in four hours, keeping 17 walleyes for the pan, 3 lake trout for the smoker and several giant, sweet-tasting, silver bass.
That’s a fun fishing day! If you plan to come visit, just click on http://www.tourchautauqua.com for lodging and general information about this area. Watch Rush Outdoors TV (http://www.rushoutdoors.com/ or https://www.facebook.com/rushoutdoors.uncut/) to note several more visual details I agreed not to disclose in writing. See you then.
Niagara Falls USA Fishing Forecast for Sept. 7, 2017
39-3 King Salmon WINS LOC!
King Salmon Fishing IS ON for SHORE ANGLERS
Reports for Lake Ontario, Lower Niagara River, Upper Niagara River, Lake Erie
Daniel Clinger from Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania, won the Fall Lake Ontario Counties Trout and Salmon Derby with a huge king salmon that weighed in at 39 pounds, 3 ounces. Wow! It was the biggest salmon he’s ever caught and they won the $25,000 Grand Prize hands-down by nearly 5 pounds. He caught it on a DW flasher and an A-Tom-Mik meat rig while fishing out of Sodus Point. First place in the salmon division was a 34 pound, 11 ounce king reeled in by Robert Reynolds of Auburn while fishing out of Fair Haven. He narrowly beat out Joe Oakes of Lockport who weighed in a 34 pound 8 ounce king off Wilson. In the steelhead division, Steve Gardinsky of Ohio set the pace with a 16 pound, 9 ounce fish out of Point Breeze. Second place was Rebecca Frye of Ashville while fishing out of Olcott. In the Brown Trout Division, Anthony DiGiovanni of Rochester took the top prize with a 16 pound, 15 ounce fish caught off Webster. Second place was a 15 pound, 5 ounce brown hauled in by John Nardone of Wayland. Go to www.loc.org for a complete leaderboard.
Good news in the shore fishing department. First, the east pier at Olcott will be open this weekend, starting Friday afternoon around 4 p.m. In the lower Niagara River, the NYPA fishing platform has re-opened, just in time for some salmon action. Fish are being caught in the lower river and many salmon are seen porpoising. If you are casting the piers or the shoreline, use glow Cleo spoons, rattle baits, stickbaits and crankbaits. Skein under a float will also work. Try some different things. If you want to learn more about fishing the lower Niagara River from shore, check out this week’s edition of the Outdoor Beat on Spectrum Cable at www.lctv.net in the “On Demand” section of the website. Local fishing guru, Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls, is the featured guest. Capt. Frank Campbell of Niagara Falls did catch his first salmon of the river season from his boat in Devil’s Hole using a K-11 Kwikfish. Bass fishing continues to be good in the river. According to Capt. Arnie Jonathan of Lockport, leeches and shiners have been working the best for him, fished off three-way rigs.
In the Upper Niagara River and around Buffalo there are still plenty of walleyes around. Capt. Chris Cinelli of Grand Island reports that he had 8 fish by 10 a.m. on Tuesday, dragging a spinner and worm rig. That same general area was also working for Capt. Jim Rores on smallmouth bass.
Out in Lake Ontario, Capt. Bob Cinelli of Olcott reports that there is a good offshore bite from the 24 line to the 28 line offering up a mix of steelhead and salmon. Spoons and flasher-flies are working there. The inside bite for mature kings is also going on, too, out to 140 feet of water. Spoons, plugs and flasher-fly or flasher- meat rigs are the baits of choice. Stay away from the other boats to limit pressure on the fish. A few trout are being caught inside, too, according to Cinelli.
There will be a DEC meeting next week, on Sept. 13, in Lockport, to discuss the spring forage base trawl results. Also part of the discussion will be the stocking target for 2018. The public is invited to attend starting at 6:30 p.m. at the 4-H Building of Cornell Cooperative Extension Niagara, 4487 Lake Avenue, Lockport. Also coming up is the monthly meeting of the Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Association, set for Sept. 14 at the same 4-H Building of Cooperative Extension in Lockport starting at 7 p.m. There will be a round table discussion on the past fishing season. Bill Hilts, Jr. – Outdoor Promotions Director; Destination Niagara USA, 10 Rainbow Blvd., Niagara Falls, NY 14303; p: 1-877 FALLS US, 716-282-8992 x. 303; f: 716-285-0809 WEB: www.niagarafallsusa.com
Boat your latest trophy catch courtesy of the groundbreaking RipStop®, the exhilarating new fast-ripping, hard-stopping, hard-plastic boot-tail rip bait from Rapala®.
“This is the kind of bait that gives you goose bumps,” says Rapala Director of Field Promotions, Mark Fisher, who helped dream up and design the RipStop. “It’s a cross between a swimbait and a jerking, twitching bait that suspends.”
“Those characteristics and the new bait’s ability to “stop on a dime” make the RipStop unique,” says Brandon Palaniuk, a seven-time Bassmaster Classic competitor. “If you watch a live baitfish swim around, it’s often in a stop-and-go type of motion. This bait has that ability to stop right on the spot.”
“The ability to stop and suspend is the missing link that swimbaits don’t have,” Fisher explains. “And Rapala has that. The lure comes to a fast stop, almost as if it’s making a collision. And it doesn’t go out of the strike zone — it stays right in front of the fish. That is the integral part of this whole philosophy.”
Also integral is the RipStop’s unique hard-plastic-boot tail, which creates what Fisher describes as a “hard-rolling, slashing action” that mimics the live-minnow moves of a soft-plastic swimbait. “But it’s not a hybrid,” he says. “It’s not incorporating soft plastics into the element of the bait. It’s a hard bait with a soft-bait action.”
“That’s something fish have never seen before,” says 2013 Forrest Wood Cup Champion Randall Tharp.
“We’ve never had a hard bait with a boot tail molded into it like that,” says Tharp, a four-time Bassmaster Classic qualifier. “That feature of the bait creates its unique action.”
“RipStop’s can be fished as a twitch bait, popped and ripped like a jerkbait, cast and retrieved at a steady retrieve, or with modifying your speed or cadence,” Fisher says. They feature Rapala’s new Dual Control System design, which enhances action by offering greater stability and unbelievable control at any speed.
They suspend with a very slow, heads-up rise on the pause, shimmying slightly before coming to rest. “I’ve never seen anything like that,” Tharp says.
Although soft-plastic boot-tail swimbaits elicit bites well on the retrieve, many sink like a stone when paused, scaring off fish still considering whether to commit. The RipStop’s ability to stop, suspend and then resume swimming will convert lookers into biters.
“The only problem with a swimbait is when you get a negative fish that comes up behind it, there are times when they’ll just bump it,” Fisher explains. “And most often, it happens with soft plastics. But when anglers get that bump-bump on a RipStop, they know they’re going to make that fish bite. They’re going to catch it with the treble hook.”
Weighing ¼ of an ounce, RipStops cast far with little effort and dive up to 3 feet. Featuring modified flat-sided bodies, they cut easily through the water and give off maximum flash. Their two-part plastic construction includes non-inserted lips. Containing no rattles, they swim silently. RipStop’s come armed with two sticky-sharp, light-wire VMC® Treble Hooks. They measure 9 centimeters and are available in 14 color patterns.
For the best results, fish RipStops on a spinning rod spooled with 6- to 10-pound-test Sufix® 832 Advanced Superline® braid tipped with an 8- to 10-pound-test leader of Sufix Invisiline 100 percent Fluorocarbon.
“Anglers want a supple line that’s going to allow that bait to really get its action,” Palaniuk says.
Tharp agrees. “The lighter the line the better,” he says. “It’s going to allow that bait to do what it’s designed to do – give it more of a natural appearance.”
For more information, visit www.Rapala.com.
And, be sure to check out Facebook.com/RapalaUSA for the latest tips and tricks to take your angling acumen to the next level.
Lower Niagara River, Wilson Harbor and Olcott Harbor ALL Provide Easy Access to Big Ocean-sized Fish
Boat Trollers and Pier Casters both SCORE on Fall King Salmon
Charter Fishing from a Boat is FUN, Affordable and Comfortable
By Forrest Fisher
With water levels slowly returning to normal, late summer on Lake Ontario means fishing fun at nearly every port of angler access, from shore and boat.
The end of August is the start of peak fishing for King Salmon, but steelhead, lake trout and other cold water species also add to the reel-sizzling, fish-catching fun.
Fishing out of Wilson Harbor with Charter Captain Bob Cinelli aboard his aptly named “White Mule,” a 36-foot Tiara – ask him how that name came to be, was a simple day of fishing pleasure. The boat is big, bold and beautiful. Rest room below decks, sleeping compartments…nice.
The fishing rigs aboard “White Mule” are brand new models of time-tested rods, reels, lines and lures. Cinelli only uses the best and he should know after more than 30 years of fishing experience on the “Big-O.” Daiwa 4011 hi-speed reels, Heartland rods, Big Jon downriggers, 20-pound test Ande monofilament lines on the downriggers – tipped with Seaguar fluorocarbon leaders, copper line for use with the giant “Otter” planer boards, and the sharpest hooks on his select set of favored spoons.
Fishing with friends Mike Norris, Rick Updegrove and John Syracuse, we all took turns landing King salmon and steelhead. Our trip started early at sunrise and we were back to port at noon or so, with plenty of fillets for the smoker.
North winds over the previous few days had started a small turnover offshore, but that did not hold up the fishing action with Captain Bob, as he revised the fishing program to find the winning combination to find King Salmon and steelhead.
We started out running lines at 30, 40 and 50 feet down using downriggers with 8-foot sliders, diving planes off copper out 100 feet, all with some variation of green-colored spoons in 125 feet of water. To find the hot fish, we slowly trolled out to 300 feet and then back shallower, looking for active fish on the feed. Back and forth Captain Bob moved us around, then we found active steelhead off the planer boards and riggers.
Just like fishing for marlin in the ocean, steelhead in Lake Ontario fly out of the water. Up, up and away. The fish not only soar above the water, they swim fast to the left, to the right, and then right at you. When that happens, you need to test your shoulder and arms for durability, and turn the reel handle very fast.
I had a nice steelhead on, it was my turn when the port side Otter board with the copper line jerked free with a jolting, rod-throbbing pulse as it exited the line release. We all thought it was a King as John hollered, “Forrest, you’re up!” I vaulted from my seat to take the rod from first mate, Nick, and moved to the padded rear railing on the boat. A very safe and adequate spot to lean on as the fish was battled back to the boat.
“How much line is out Nick?” I asked. “About 400 feet, just keep reeling, you’re doing just fine.” Rick joined in the verbal fun, “Feel that burn Forrest?!” How did he know? Indeed, my shoulders were on fire. How could this be? I was being worn out by a less-than-monster fish. Mike shared, “Hang on to him, it looks like the biggest one so far.” Easy for him to say. Then John added, “If you’re tired, I can take the rod.” I didn’t say anything, but was thinking, “No way John,”…I’m not sure I even heard that.
Maybe I was just hearing voices in my subconscious state of fish-fighting mindset?
Nope, on the other hand, these are what fishing friends are for. Heckling. Bantering. Funning. A few minutes later, my arms really were actually getting numb – 400 feet of copper is a LONG WAY, but we landed the fish just fine. I turned to grin at “my friends” not saying a word about my frozen arm joints. It was 65 degrees out and I was forming sweat on my brow.
Love this fishing!
John added, “Imagine how that guy felt yesterday that caught that 51-inch King, 39 pounds – 3 ounces, to take the lead in the LOC Derby?” He was not making me feel any better. “Honestly,” I returned, “I cannot imagine that. I think you might need to share the rod with your friends in that case.” John grinned and said, “Hey, that’s what fishing friends are for.”
We were having a great day.
Over the course of the morning trip, we had 12 releases and this was a “SLOW DAY” according to Captain Bob. My sore shoulders did not agree. I gotta start working out harder. We caught lots of “shakers,” the term for young-of-the-year King Salmon that weigh 2-3 pounds. The future fishery. All were released unharmed.
This fishing trip was fun. Maybe the best part of such a trip is that when four guys head out to fish this way in total comfort with the latest gear, hottest lures, a captain that can navigate and a first mate that coaches you along the way, and it’s affordable.
“Leave the dock at sunrise and back by about 12-12:30 with four guys,” Captain Bob said, “Our usual pricing is not expensive at $150 apiece. $25 more each and you can fish the whole day.” Unreal. Affordable fun. We all chipped in to tip the first mate.
A lot of us spend that much on just one good fishing reel (I do).
My new view, I’m getting older – save time, save money, fish with a charter. Not only do you get to fish with the best gear and fish with friends, you go the hottest fishing places at the best times and someone else cleans your catch! Then you just head home for the freezer with all of your healthy dinner meals for the next few months.
If you’re looking to do this, you can contact Captain Bob Cinelli Sportfishing directly by calling 716-860-5774. You might also learn a lot about the lake, the fishery, the forage, the predator fish, invasive species, why the fish are able to be caught on certain lures and bait, the Lake Ontario water level, issues and more.
Captain Cinelli is the chairman of the Niagara County Fishery Advisory Board. He has the inside line on what’s happening on Lake Ontario and the Lower Niagara River. And with the hottest fishing.
When the wind on Lake Erie kicks up waves that churn over the top of the 7-foot breakwall at Chadwick Bay in Dunkirk, New York, it’s too rough to go bass fishing there. In Chautauqua County, though, there are many other inland lake options that can offer the green light on those days.
Mike Joyner and I had joined fishing educator, tournament bass angler and longtime friend, Scott Gauld, at Cassadaga Lake, a little waterway located near the village of Lily Dale, just 15 minutes away. See: http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/26964.html.
We launched at the state boat access located on the Middle Lake, the scene was pristine, not crowded and offered two floating docks for launch and retrieve.
Giant fluffy clouds masked a brilliant blue sky and there was a rising red glow of sunrise glimmering over the trees in the eastern horizon. But surprisingly, to the north, there was another cloud line of demarcation, as a cold front with dark rain clouds was visible in that direction. They seemed to hover there and we hoped they would stay away. They did and we didn’t get wet.
Scott explained that we would try our luck by fishing the weedline in the Lower Lake (there were three lake parts to Cassadaga Lake: Upper, Middle and Lower) and that would put our lures in about 10-12 feet of water. He described the details that we start out by trying one of his old favorite baits he had used successfully there several times before, while fishing with his dad.
He reached into a storage compartment on his new Nitro bass boat to hand each of us a 4-inch Salty Sling plastic worm (Venom Lures), then helped us rig up in drop-shot style using rather unique Size 1 “Standout hooks.”
Green-pumpkin copper and green-pumpkin candy were the plastic worm color choices.
We were using 7-foot Quantum rods with Sixgill open-face fishing reels loaded with 8-pound test Berkley Nanofil braided line that had 6-feet of Stren fluorocarbon leader (8-pound test) tied on to the end of the braid. Scott said, “The braid will give us better feel and the fluorocarbon will help keep us in stealth mode so the fish can’t see our line.”
I felt like we had a distinct advantage, such was the confidence in Scott’s voice.
The plan was to toss the drop-shot rigs a few feet in front of the boat and allow them to reach bottom, then lift slightly and check, sense, feel for the slightest tap from a feeding fish. Both smallmouth and largemouth bass lived in the lake, but so did crappie, walleye and musky too. Lots of possibilities.
The standout drop-shot hook was tied about 8-10 inches above a specially made 1-1/4 ounce sinker made by the Western New York Bassmasters fishing club, that allowed for quick descent and positive contact with the bottom. Scott demonstrated what to look for and how to react with a demonstration. “Cast out, let it hit the bottom, lift the rod ever so gently, feel for a fish, watch the rod tip, if you get no reaction from a fish, then lift the rod tip and gently swing the bait toward the boat a foot or two – watching it the whole time, then drop it to bottom again and repeat.”
We observed this process while he cast a few times and visually showed us how to work the bait back to the boat. What he stressed for us to know and learn was to sense for that possible VERY LIGHT TAP, the strike signal, from a feeding fish. A moment later, he said, “There’s one! Fish on.” He lifted his rod tip to set the hook and started reeling. A beautiful, healthy, 3-pound largemouth bass came aboard about 30-seconds later. My camera woke up to capture this really handsome fish.
We were having a friendly contest with two buddies in another boat. Hardy, old time anglers and long-time friends, Leon Archer and Wayne Brewer, were fishing with pro bass angler, Scott Callen, in another bass boat.
Mike and I grinned at each other because it seemed that Scott had insight and skill for this Cassadaga Lake waterway. The fish went into the live well to be released after we weighed them and finished fishing later in the morning. The plan was for each boat to weigh in a three fish bag of bass for the top-gun honor. A little friendly competition.
One moment later, Mike hooked a smallmouth bass and brought it aboard. We caught several fish along the weedline and enjoyed just working the baits and learning this new fishing method.
We caught many other fish, smaller bass, a perch, and then I even hooked-up with a giant musky. He looked like about 45-inches or so, maybe a 30-pounder, using one of Scott’s Rattle-Shake swim jig lures tipped with a white Venom Skip Shad tail. The big fish swirled at my bait, grabbed it, and took off with my line like a freight train to Texas.
Then, in less than five seconds, he spit it back toward the boat, the line went twang, and the bait went airborne as it came flying back right past my ear. WOW! The rod was a just little too light to set the hook into the jaw of that monster, but what a huge fishing moment! I’ll never forget that fish. Unforgettable memories are made of this. Pure fish power.
Our three biggest bass tally weighed in at a little under 10-pounds. A very nice morning of fishing, fun, good natured joking, busted laughing and serious hook setting above talk-to-fish expressions. There were one or two comic expression, “Oops, that one got me,” or “I should’ve set the hook sooner,“ or “Thought that was a weed.” Fishing with friends, it’s the best.
One other new secret to learn on this trip was the covert hooking of the plastic worm. The worm was hooked by pushing the hook point right through the worm diameter about a half-inch from the heavy end of the worm, so the rest of the worm just dangled freely. It looked so very real in the water. Tantalizing.
The rod, the line (type and size), the hooks, the weight, and where you cast was important too, but the most important thing was the technique of hooking up the Salty Sling worm to the hook. That’s what gave the worm the action that provoked the fish to strike.
It was deadly.
I added a little diagram to the “fishing secrets” book I keep after each trip for future use and to share with some youngster learning to fish along the way when the chance to help a kid occurs.
Cassadaga Lake is a sleeper lake for sure. When the bigger nearby waterways of Lake Erie and Chautauqua Lake are too rough with wind or rain, this is one secret spot to be aware of.
Lots of cooperative fish for catching and releasing for the fun of fishing. Especially with friends. Right now, you know at least one way to fish and what to do when you get there.
Allowing Lures, Lines, Rigs, Rules and Laws, to Meet Each Other
Communication, Great Fishing and Laughter Create EFFECTIVE FUN
Summer Fishing for Lake Erie Walleye in Chautauqua County, NY
By Forrest Fisher
If there is a language common between anglers and fish, they were talking to each other off Chadwick Bay in Dunkirk, New York, during the Great Lakes Experience earlier in August. More than 20 charter boats each caught dozens of walleye. Yes, each. If we average the catch at 20 fish per boat, that’s about 400 walleyes in less than four hours of fishing. And when the fish are biting, good things happen, especially when folks from local, state, county and federal positions get together to discuss the recreational fishery and all that goes with it.
That’s what happened during the 9th Annual Great Lakes Experience Fishing Day. About 100 people from Erie County, Niagara County and Chautauqua County were invited to fish together. Attendees met at the harbor at about 6:00 a.m. on August 9, 2017, for the annual Tim Horton’s “Meet & Greet” session. Nothing like donuts and hot coffee at sunrise! We divided into groups from there as we were assigned to captains from the Eastern Lake Erie Charter Boat Association (ELECBA), that provided a unified effort with a simple goal: To catch some fish and share more about reasons why the Lake Erie resource is so important and so priceless.
I was fishing with Captain Jim Skoczylas (Ultimate Adventure Sportfishing (716-796-5372) and first mate, Tom “TJ” Yetzer. They provided guests on board Jim’s 31-foot Tiara, a fun and comfortable time, even in the 4 to 6 foot waves that came up later in the morning.
Skoczylas says, “While the fishing has been really good this year, each day we play it by ear to adapt when we need to change lures and methods. On some days the fish want crankbaits, other days they want spinner/worm rigs, on finicky days – color matters, but on most days this year, it has not mattered too much what you put down there. The walleye have been looking to eat and there are many year classes, especially young fish, in our New York, Lake Erie, fishery right now. Many of us are wondering if there might be a shortage of emerald shiners and smelt – the primary baitfish groups out here, because the fish usually want to eat our lures quite readily.”Between hearing Yetzer holler, “Fish-on, who’s up?” and Tom Hersey, Erie County Commissioner of Environment and Planning say, “Oops, I think I might have lost that one (four times),” there was lots of kidding, laughs and honest fascination with the rigs and processes used to catch fish.”
On the other hand, Ally Pawarski, Sales and Services Manager with the Buffalo Niagara Sports Commission, didn’t lose a single fish and was tuned-in for the whole trip – landing the largest walleye on our boat.
Dan Rizzo, Commissioner of Erie County Parks, Chris Catanzaro, Project Manager for the Erie County Harbor Development Corporation, along with Patrick Kaler, CEO of the Buffalo Niagara Visitors Bureau, all enjoyed fish-catching and common conversation. I was happy to be among this dedicated group.
We talked about the fishing goodness, Buffalo Harbor State Park boat ramps, the Central Train Station location, Canalside activities, Buffalo Riverworks, Lake Erie recreational access, kayaks, the health of the fishery, the Coast Guard, the people and the fun of the outdoors on the waterfront. Add in ideas for marketing and distribution, thoughts of a virtual fish-catching program from Lake Erie on the internet, on-board drone videos for future customers fishing Lake Erie along the New York shoreline, and you can see, conversation was all-inclusive with new ideas.
Running 12 coordinated lines at depths of 70 to 80 feet down in 85 to 105 feet of water, and using all the gear dressed up with spinner/worm rigs and stickbaits, we hooked up with 26 fish in a very short 4 hours on the water. Diving planes, weighted leadcore lines, downriggers and lots of lures and stickbaits were all part of the presentation mix with a trolling speed of 2.1 mph. It was a perfect scenario for catching fish and to discuss issues/answers.
After the fishing, the perfect walleye fish fry lunch was served at the Northern Chautauqua County Conservation Club. We heard from several speakers, perhaps the most notable was about raw sewage overload on our Great Lakes from Rich Davenport, Director from the Erie County Fish Advisory Board.
Everyone enjoyed a great time networking about life in the outdoors and the incredible natural resource, Lake Erie, and agreed to work hard together to keep this treasure alive and well into the future.
There were representatives from the NYSDEC, including Stephen Hurst – Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources Bureau Chief from Albany, Patricia Riexinger recently retired from that same position, Don Einhouse and Jason Robinson, fisheries biologists from the NYSDEC Lake Erie Fisheries Unit, a host of legislative leaders – Senators and Assemblymen, the charter captains and their crews – the proper combination for networking and laughter too.
This annual event allows local groups to bring certain very real issues to light and provides the potential for discussion on the battlefront of conservation, the outdoors and our Great Lakes resources. There is nothing like a face-to-face meeting of the minds. Issues and solutions, in between catching fish and a few grins, become a solid focus.
Amidst the apparent visual complexity of multiple rods/reels, downriggers, diving planes, planer boards, temperature measurement and trolling gear, and lots of lures, the confidence in the voice of our hosts on board each charter craft was reassuring. Confidence reigns.
The event was organized by Zen Olow (Northern Chautauqua County Conservation Club), Lance Erhardt (Eastern Lake Erie Charter Boat Association) and Andrew Nixon (Executive Director Chautauqua County CVB), and a supporting cast of dozens.
Lake Erie 2017 is a WALLEYE MECCA near Chadwick Bay / Dunkirk Harbor
Merritt Estate Winery offers FREE SAMPLING of all Wine Varieties
Cassadaga Lake is a Bass and Musky SECRET
Cabana Sam’s Blackened Grouper is a WINNER DINNER
By Mike Joyner
The great Empire State by any casual observation is one of our nation’s meccas for natural resources and endless opportunities for recreational pursuits. With a critical eye it is by reasonable opinion one of the top five states arranged only by personal recreational preferences.
It is now entirely possible to nudge a hard core turkey hunter to enjoy nearly as much, another sportsman’s activity such as fishing. It is a most somber admission after a quarter century of long beard mania madness. In all honesty fishing came first as a wee young lad, whitetails in my mid-twenties, and in 1993, gobbler chasing took over everything. Prior priorities were relegated to distant second and third rankings of outdoor passions.
I accepted the invite with eager anticipation to attend the 9th Annual VIP Fishing Day taking place out of Chadwick Bay Marina in Dunkirk Harbor. Timing with my workload fell into a rare alignment of the stars making it feasible to get away. It would turn out to be a great mid-week getaway to enjoy several days of great fishing, camaraderie, and an opportunity to meet with local leaders, and tourism professionals to exchange thoughts and ideas as well as the requisite tall tales of fishing adventures.
Dave Barus had set up ‘Chautauqua County Media Fish Camp 2017’ for us to take in and experience what the area has to offer. I cannot thank him enough for handling the logistics and details of the excursion. He has a bright future in herding cats as outdoor writers are an independent group of individuals. Sunset Bay Cottage would be base camp for the duration. Located in Sunset Bay it is a great place to meet up, enjoy the beach and dining establishments, all within short walking distances. Past NYSOWA President Wayne Brewer, Leon Archer, Steve Colley, Wade Robertson and Collin Voss would be fellow camp mates and made for a great fish camp. Steve and Wade hailing from Northern Pennsylvania would join us for the latter two days while Collin, our youngest member in camp would endure initiation rights and would enjoy the third day out on the lake. Ultimately Collin out fished us all and kept his shirt tail intact. The conversations and storytelling at camp are the very reasons we cherish our time there!
First morning out we would head to Dunkirk Harbor only to find rough conditions which had already forced a number of boats back to the marina. We met up with local bass pro’s Scott Gauld and Scott Callen and decided to head over to Cassadaga Lake for bass, both smallmouth, and largemouth on much calmer waters. We fished the upper lake and enjoyed a relaxed and fun time catching smallmouths along with a few muskies. A special thank you to their sponsors Denali Rods, Kamooki Lures, and Venom Lures for being perfect equipment choices for our time on the lake. After a morning of ‘impromptu testing’, I will be adding them to my A-list for ‘must have’ gear.
Scott Callen. Wayne Brewer, Leon Archer
Later in the day we paid a visit to Merritt Estate Winery located in Forestville, New York. We met up with Bill Merritt the owner and enjoyed a fine tasting of current offerings. With my ties to the industry in the Cortland area, I hope to see their offerings there. The staff is to be commended for their prompt and friendly service. They present a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere to enjoy the fine wines they craft. Being a big fan of New York craft beers, distilled spirits and wines, the offerings at Merritt Estate Winery was worth the trip. My wife and I routinely stock our wine racks with New York wines and will add Merritt estate wines to our preferred vino to have on hand.
We would take a short walk over to Cabana Sam’s Sunset Bay Grill later that evening to sample the dining fare of the area. Blacken Grouper Reuben was my choice, and I would go out of my way to go back there again just for that. I’ll express empathy to my other camp mates that could not be there for the dinner outing as it was a meal not to miss.
There are many other wineries, craft beer companies, and distillers in the area. It is my only regret of the trip that I could not stay an extra day or two to enjoy tastings at each of them and further enjoy the many dining choices of the area. It is my thought that the Tourism Bureau has a lot of great offerings to work with and promote. I will return to the area for that very reason.
Our second full day in Dunkirk would have us out on the Great Lake Experience Event with conditions a bit more hospitable for fishing. Although I purchased nearly the full accordion worth of licenses each year to hunt and fish, it was appreciated that the day was deemed a free fishing day as to attract invited guests experiencing their first time on the lake. The event matched up boat captains with outdoor writers such as myself, many folks from the surrounding county tourism bureaus, NYSDEC, local politicians, county dignitaries, state legislators, and Congressmen. It was estimated that over sixty participants were paired up with twenty-two well-experienced boat captains who went above and beyond to show all of us a great morning out on Lake Erie.
After being assigned to come aboard 365 Sportfishing Charters, I headed out with Chautauqua County Executive- Vince Horrigan, fellow outdoor writer Paula Piatt, Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce President/CEO- Todd Tranum, Congressmen Tom Reed Staffers- Jaqueline Phelps (Regional Director) & Alison Hunt(District Director), with Captain Mark Hitcome at the helm. We were after walleyes, as were the other charters. After navigating several miles out into the lake, we were in the thick of it at water depths of 70-100 feet. With a full complement of planar boards and down riggers rigged, we soon had one pole after another set hook, and there was plenty of action. Everyone caught a pile of walleyes along with a few silver bass. There were seven or eight just under the 15″ legal size, and we kept seventeen walleyes altogether. We came in an hour before the appointed time due to the lake kicking up five-foot waves. One of the walleyes I caught was one of several that came in just shy of four pounds.
Once docked and the fish taken care of we headed to the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club. A luncheon get together was scheduled with invites for all the participants and special guests including NYSDEC Chief, Bureau of Fish and Wildlife Services- Steve Hurst, Chautauqua County Executive- Vince Horrigan, City of Dunkirk Mayor- Willie Rosas, NYS Assemblyman District 150- Andy Goodell, and US 23rd District Congressman Tom Reed along with other local dignitaries. Zen Olow, chairman of the Great Lakes Experience event and Club President MC’d the affair. Presentations covered issues concerning pollution in the Great Lakes that eventually flows into Lake Erie and on to Lake Ontario, upcoming/pending legislation initiatives, club awards, and comments from distinguished guests. The main course on the menu as you may have guessed was walleye cutlets which in my opinion is the tastiest culinary delight of any game fish caught in New York State. I would have to admit that begrudgingly. As a young boy, I totally believed that Northern Pike was the best fish to eat. My grandfather cubed them into one-inch pieces within minutes of being taken from the live well and placed directly into a fresh pot of fish chowder simmering on grandma’s stove. I can still remember his old F-100 coming down the driveway with giant Northern’s still jumping in the bed of the pickup. The delicious smell of fresh chowder simmering is one that stays with you all your days. Now that I leave you hungry… With over a hundred people attending, it was as much fine eating and education that you could possibly pack in between the four walls of the club.
Our second evening was spent in camp with home cooking courtesy of our host, fine wines, and the best of company. David’s grandson Collin, would join us that evening and was a welcomed addition to our camp. Collin is an impressive young man and a exemplary example of his upbringing. The fact that he out fished all of us is something we’ll have to let go of and come to grips with eventually… all kidding aside it is a pleasure to have him in camp.
Our last morning on the lake would pair myself, Leon and local area outdoor writer Gene Pauszek with Sassafras Fishing Charters. Captain Lance Ehrhardt along with Zen Olow would be in charge of another great day out on Lake Erie. the lake would be a bit calmer than the day prior. Once all the rigging was complete we would not wait long for the hooks to set and the reeling to start. Although a little slower pace than the day before we would limit out on walleye. With calmer waters, we relaxed, told tall stories, cheesy jokes and caught plenty of walleyes! A bit of back story as few days prior to the V.I.P. event, I would learn that Eastern Lake Erie Charter Association members Lance and Zen, along with Joe Jemiolo (passed away in 2014) were the main forces behind the creation of the annual V.I.P. fishing event. All the walleyes cooked up for the grand luncheon were made possible by Eastern Lake Erie Charter Association Members in concert with Sunset Bay Shoot Out, Razor’s Big Dawg tournaments. We were in the company of great people, great volunteers.Collin Voss
It is a focused opportunity to couple what we so love and are endeared to as sportsmen to convey, to educate those that promote tourism opportunities, and ultimately makes decisions, crafting legislation that impacts our sport. It is also an opportunity for outdoor professionals & sportsmen to learn and gain insights as to how decisions are formulated. We as sportsmen can provide data or participate in the research needed to enhance our great pastime, and attract newcomers to a grand recreational experience.
Maintaining and improving the natural resources, a world class fishery was the topic at hand. I’ll speak for all that attended in that we enjoyed a grand experience of a vibrant and healthy fishery. It is a fine example of what can be achieved in the Empire State. As if you need further prodding, the word among the group was that the current state of the fishery on Lake Erie promises to be great fishing for years to come given the abundant and diverse age classes of walleye and of other fish species.
As I titled this scattered collection of impressions and honest opinion it holds so true that it is a “Must do in Chautauqua County from Dunkirk Harbor” destination. It is a gem of our great state and one that I will return to with my wife to enjoy the great fishing, as well as the other offerings that the area excels at. As an outside observer, it is impressive the number of groups, people from very different interests working together to build up a healthy ecosystem, a vibrant fishery, and a destination well worth the trip. All of us who cherish New York State’s natural resources, the quality of its fisheries extend a very large thank you to all that have made it so successful.
Last weekend there were three fishing derbies and a tournament going on in Niagara Falls USA waters.
John Van Hoff of North Tonawanda went out fishing last Sunday, the final day for the Orleans County Rotary Derby. The leader was 30 pounds, 9 ounces. Using a flasher and meat rig, he pounded the Niagara Bar all morning. With less than an hour to go in the derby, Van Hoff hit a fish that looked to be over 30 pounds. Would it beat Keith Sheffield’s king salmon and could he make it to the Slippery Sinker in Olcott in time by the 1 p.m. cut-off? Van Hoff made it with 15 minutes to spare and the weight was 30 pounds, 12 ounces – taking over the lead and eventually winning the $4,000 Grand Prize.
Other divisional winners were Robert Griffith with a 16 pound steelhead; Bill Cole with a 14 pound brown trout; and Dan DeGeorge with a 17 and one-half pound lake trout. Meanwhile, two hours after Van Hoff was catching his winning salmon, Joe Oakes of Lockport was reeling in a 34 and one-half pound salmon out of Wilson that would take over the lead in the Fall Lake Ontario Counties Trout and Salmon Derby and the Greater Niagara Fish Odyssey in the Salmon Division.
The bar has been set as the LOC Derby continues through Labor Day and the Odyssey continues through Sunday. Speaking of the Odyssey, updates are now being put on the Fish Odyssey Facebook page due to the fact that webmaster Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctors needed emergency surgery. Say a prayer. The awards for the Odyssey will be Sunday, Aug. 27, at Olcott Fire Hall on Route 78 starting at 4 p.m.
Congratulations to the Just One More Cure team led by Capt. Bryan Lukehart of Pennsylvania. His ladies crew won the 2nd annual Reelin’ for a Cure event held last Friday with a score of 149 points while fishing out of Olcott.
The tourney raised over $4,000 for the Breast Cancer Network of WNY.
Fishing on the local front has been pretty darn good, at least when Mother Nature cooperates. Salmon can be found from the Niagara Bar to east of Olcott. Van Hoff caught a dozen mature kings on the Bar using meat on Sunday. Oakes hit his leading king between 350 and 400 feet of water out in front of Wilson using a flasher-fly – the A-Tom-Mik Stud fly – 90 feet down on his rigger. At the same time, John Shafer of Jamestown was fishing a J-plug in front of Olcott and hit a 33 pound, 7 ounce king that is first place in the salmon division. There are a lot of kings around. And if you want to target steelhead or browns, they are available, too.
In the LOC Derby, George Hovak of North Tonawanda is in second with a 12 pound steelhead out of Wilson. The leader is from Point Breeze, a 16 pound, 9 ounce fish. Top brown is also from the Point, a 14 pound, 3 ounce trout, but second place is from Olcott. Both leaders came on Moonshine spoons.
In the Odyssey, top lake trout is a 21 pound, 6 ounce Niagara Bar fish reeled in by Ed Klejdys of North Tonawanda. Leading walleye is an 11 pound, 6 ounce Niagara Bar fish weighed in by Anthony LaRosa of Lewiston. Big bass so far is a 5 pound smallie reeled in by Dave Muir of North Tonawanda from Lake Erie. Ken Trontel of Pennsylvania has the first place brown trout with a 13 pound, 9 ounce Olcott fish. Leading carp is 19 pounds, 12 ounces caught by Michael Boncore of Buffalo in the Niagara River. Some impressive kids catches, too.
Niagara River fishing has been good for bass and walleye both. Crayfish and shiners are working the best, fished off three-way rigs.
It was another stifling day in the Ozarks. The temperature steadily climbed toward the upper 90s and the humidity made it seem even worse.
A bad time to go fishing, right?
Not in Dennis Whiteside’s eyes. To him, these were near-perfect conditions to take a float-fishing trip for smallmouth bass.
“I’ve had some of my best days of fishing on these Ozarks streams on days like this,” said Whiteside, 69, a longtime float guide from Springfield, Mo. “For one thing, no one else is out. You can make a float and not see another person.”
“And this is the time of the year when their (smallmouth bass) metabolism is highest. They’re eating. You just have to drop the food in front of them.”
Minutes after launching his canoe on the middle stretch of the James River near Springfield, Mo., Whiteside was doing just that.
With a few strokes of his paddle, he maneuvered his 18 ½-foot canoe through a gurgling riffle, then positioned it to the edge of a pool.
He cast a topwater lure to a spot where slack water met the current and began buzzing it across the surface. But it didn’t get far.
The bait disappeared in a flash of bronze and an angry smallmouth bass leapt out of the water, arching to get free.
The fish landed with a loud splash, then made a frantic run to escape. It wasn’t long, though, before Whiteside had the 16-inch fish in the canoe and was celebrating another day of fishing the old-fashioned way.
“This is how I’ve been fishing most of my life,” he said. “There’s nothing wrong with being out on a big lake, in a bass boat, with a big motor and all, but that isn’t for me.
“I’d much rather be on moving water, where you’re practically alone and you’re fishing the same way as people have been for more than 50 years.
“I don’t even use a trolling motor. It just gets in the way. All I need is a paddle.”
Whiteside can do magic with that paddle. He can negotiate hairpin turns, find water that is barely deep enough to float his canoe, and display an uncanny ability of knowing where the smallmouth’s will be.
It was the James River on this day. But it could be countless others—the Current, the Niangua, the Eleven Point, Crooked Creek, and on and on. He estimates he has floated 300 streams in Missouri and Arkansas, some of them so small that they aren’t even on the map. And he has caught smallmouths out of every one of them.
He is part of a vanishing breed. In a day and age, where most guides take customers out on large reservoirs to fish for bass or crappies, Whiteside does things the old-fashioned way – with just a paddle, a couple of fishing rods and a small tackle box of lures.
Even on the hottest days of the year, it works. When Whiteside took two customers – David Gray and me – on the James in late July, the fishing was spectacular.
As schools of suckers scattered in front his advancing canoe, Whiteside continually searched for the shaded water with enough depth, current and cover to provide good smallmouth habitat.
Feeding the fish a steady diet of a variety of topwater lures, we got explosive hits throughout the morning. Most fishermen would expect the action to slack as the sun got higher. Just the opposite.
As noon approached, the fishing got even better. Casting to rocky banks in the shade, we watched as big smallies routinely emerged to attack our lures. By the end of our five-mile trip, Whiteside estimated we caught and released 40 smallmouths, many of them in the 13- to 16-inch range.
An unusual trip? Hardly. Whiteside expects good fishing on the Ozarks streams once summer arrives. There is one caveat. There has to be enough water. Some streams, especially those that aren’t spring-fed, will get too low to even float for long stretches. But those that have springs, will remain floatable.
“The big fallacy about topwater fishing is that you have to be out either early in the morning or just before the sun goes down to catch fish,” Whiteside said. “That’s not true. Even on these hot days, our best fishing will be from 11 (a.m.) to 3 (p.m.)
“You have to be accurate with your casts. But if you can put that lure within 3 feet of where you think that fish will be, and it’s in the shade, you can catch some big smallmouths.”
Brent Frazee is a freelance writer from Parkville, Mo., who served as the outdoors editor of The Kansas City Star for 36 years before retiring in 2016. He continues to write for magazines and has a blog on his website www.brentfrazee.com.
Hands-On REVIEW of a Cabela’s Product: Video & Commentary
Affordable & Works Perfect for Small Boats
Durable & Adjustable, but Instructions are Difficult
By Tyler Mahoney
“Up until this summer, I had never personally used sonar electronics to aid in my fishing. I finally broke down and bought a small Lowrance Hook 4x Sonar unit in June.
My intention was to use it to fish the smaller lakes and ponds that I fish regularly with my small boat that is powered by a small electric motor. Once I bought it, I needed to determine how I was going to mount it. Luckily, I came across a great product at Cabela’s product that would allow me to mount it on any boat.
The product is called the Cabela’s Portable Transducer Mount, see the link: (http://www.cabelas.com/product/Portable-Transducer-Bracket/699847.uts).
While it has some small imperfections, it works great for my purposes and I strongly recommend it, there is no hole drilling required and it is adjustable over a wide range of possible dimension.
The unit will fit boats with a 15-20 inch high transom and with a transom thickness up to 2-1/8 inches wide. It’s made from high-grade aluminum and while the instructions might have been more clearly written, it was not that hard to figure out once I got started.
The video will explain the issues I found. Overall, it meets my objectives and I like it. Cost was under $50.
See the below Youtube video for a short product review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bP2wqwZKMxc.
Lake Erie – Buffalo, NY – Trophy Smallmouth Bass Fishery, is NEW ADDITION to FLW Northern Series
Lake Guntersville will host 2018 Costa FLW Series Championship November
MINNEAPOLIS (Aug. 22, 2017) – Fishing League Worldwide (FLW), the world’s largest tournament-fishing
organization, announced today the 2018 Costa FLW Series schedule, which will consist of three events in each of the five divisions – Central, Northern, Southeastern, Southwestern and Western – along with the no-entry-fee Costa FLW Series Championship to be held on Lake Guntersville in Guntersville, Alabama.
The top 40 pros and co-anglers in the final point standings in each division after three qualifying tournaments will advance to the 2018 Costa FLW Series Championship, provided they fished all three qualifiers in a division.
The highest finishing pro from each of the five Costa FLW Series divisions based on final results at the 2018 Costa FLW Series Championship qualify for the Forrest Wood Cup, along with the highest finishing pro from the championship’s international division. A total of six Costa FLW Series pros will advance to the 2019 Forrest Wood Cup, the world championship of professional bass fishing.
Complete rules and entry dates will be announced soon.
2018 Costa FLW Series Season Schedule:
Central Division Fishery City Local Host
April 19-21 Table Rock Lake Branson, Mo. ExploreBranson.com
June 7-9 Lake Barkley Cadiz, Ky. Cadiz-Trigg County Tourism
Oct. 11-13 Lake of the Ozarks Osage Beach, Mo. Tri-County Lodging Association
June 21-23 Lake Champlain Plattsburgh, N.Y. City of Plattsburgh
July 26-28 Lake Erie Buffalo, N.Y. Buffalo Niagara Sports Commission
Sept. 6-8 1000 Islands Clayton, N.Y. Clayton Chamber of Commerce
Jan. 4-6 Lake Okeechobee Okeechobee, Fla. Okeechobee County Tourism
March 1-3 Lake Seminole Bainbridge, Ga. Bainbridge CVB
April 5-7 Santee Cooper Summerton, S.C. Clarendon County CC
Feb. 15-17 Sam Rayburn Reservoir Jasper, Texas Jasper-Lake Sam Rayburn CC
March 22-24 Grand Lake Grove, Okla. City of Grove
Oct. 4-6 Fort Gibson Lake Wagoner, Okla. Wagoner Area CC
Feb. 8-10 Lake Havasu Lake Havasu City, Ariz. Lake Havasu City CVB
May 10-12 Clear Lake Lakeport, Calif. Konocti Vista Casino Resort/Marina
Sept. 27-29 California Delta Bethel Island, Calif. Russo’s Marina
Costa FLW Series Championship
Nov. 1-3 Lake Guntersville Guntersville, Ala. Marshall County CVB
The full schedule and details for each fishery can be found at FLWFishing.com.
About FLW – FLW is the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money in 2017 across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, with offices in Minneapolis, FLW conducts more than 258 bass-fishing tournaments annually across the United States and sanctions tournaments in Canada, China, Mexico, South Africa and South Korea. FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated “FLW” television show, broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, while FLW Bass Fishing magazine delivers cutting-edge tips from top pros. For more information visit FLWFishing.com and follow FLW at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat.
GAME-CHANGER: EChip with Proven Phantom Musky Baits, will be MORE DEADLY than ever
Select Phantom Lures will include Pro-Troll EChip
Ramsey, MN (August 21, 2017) – Phantom Lures, widely known for its design and manufacture of tournament-winning muskie lures and innovative walleye and bass crankbaits, is excited to announce their exclusive partnership with Pro-Troll.
Beginning in 2018, select baits from Phantom Lures will incorporate the Pro-Troll E-Chip. New fresh water styles and finishes will be available to cover any angler who wants to catch trout, salmon, bass, walleye and muskie.
“This exclusive partnership with Pro-Troll is very exciting for all of us at Phantom Lures. It furthers our commitment to growing the Phantom Lures brand,” stated Phantom Lures Co-Owner, Roger Neilson, Jr. “The technology that Pro-Troll offers with their EChip is remarkable and when combined with our Phantom Lures, it is sure to put more fish in the boat.”
The EChip from Pro-Troll is the world’s first microchip designed to go into a bait and replicate the voltage discharged by the nervous system of live bait. It has been scientifically and practically proven to attract more and bigger fish.
“Pro-Troll is pleased to enter into this exclusive partnership with Phantom Lures,” commented Dick Pool, President and Founder of Pro-Troll. “Their baits and brand are well known within the muskie world, and their presence in the walleye and bass world continues to grow. We look forward to integrating our EChip into their popular line of baits.”
The entire line of Phantom Lures can be found at www.phantomlures.com. In addition, you can view the baits in action on the phantom lures video page. Here you will find underwater video showing the baits in use, with commentary and feedback from former touring walleye angler and co-owner of Wired2Fish, Scott Glorvigen. Stay connected with Phantom Lures via their social media channels, facebook.com/Phantom-Lures and on Instagram (phantom lures) and via the #BelieveInGhosts and #BIG.
About Phantom Lures:Since 1996, Phantom Lures has built a strong and loyal reputation in the muskie fishing industry by making excellent, custom, quality baits that are used by first time fishermen, guides and tournament anglers. Our tournament –winning baits produce actions that put trophy fish on your line, leaving you with great pictures and lifelong memories. For more information about Phantom Lures, visit PhantomLures.com or call 763-951-2902. About Pro-Troll: Founded in 1978, Pro-Troll Inc. creates and markets innovative fishing and marine products and is a leading developer of technology-driven fishing tackle. Its proprietary fish attraction device, The patented EChip, replicates in lures the electrical nerve discharge of bait. Pro-Troll sells its technology and products globally in the U.S., Scandinavia, Germany,
Get ready to Rumble – Lake Ontario fishing style! This weekend, there will be three different fishing derbies going on, as well as a ladies tournament.
The Fall Lake Ontario Counties Trout and Salmon Derby kicks off on August 18 and runs through Labor Day. There is a $25,000 is the Grand Prize for the largest Salmon. Check www.loc.org for details. The Second Annual Reelin’ for a Cure will also begin on August 18 out of Wilson and Olcott from 6 a.m. to noon. This all-ladies event will be raising funds for the Breast Cancer Network of WNY. It looks like right around 20 teams for this year. It’s a fun time for sure. Contact Stephanie Pierleoni at 716-481-6388 for more information or go on the event’s Facebook page. The Greater Niagara Fish Odyssey Derby is set for August 19th to the 27th. This contest includes six species categories for the adults and a Grand Prize of $3,000. For the kids, it’s free to enter with loads of merchandise prizes and trophies. Sign up at any of the LOC weigh stations or at www.fishodyssey.net. This is for Niagara, Orleans and Erie counties. Many thanks to Jim and Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctors in Olcott who do a lion’s share of the work behind the scenes, such as the website and the leaderboard. This is a great way to get the whole family out to enjoy the waters of Western New York.
The Orleans County Rotary Derby is still going on and that contest will end on Sunday, August 20.
Now to the fishing. The water has been messed up a bit in the lake due to some unfavorable winds. The most stable water has been out deep. Hawg Charters and Capt. Jim Gordon headed out of Olcott this week and fished the 29 line one day and did well on kings, Coho’s and steelhead. All his action was on spoons in the top 60 feet of water. He repeated the performance the next day on the 27 line heading north, but the action was mostly 80 to 90 feet down. Capt. Mark Vilardo used spin doctors and flies to catch some nice kings in the 300 to 350 foot depth range, 80 to 90 feet down. Mark Lewandowski of Buffalo was fishing in 120 feet of water and took a 31 pound king so the mature fish are slowly starting to make their way closer to home. The Niagara Bar has been a here today – gone tomorrow scenario, and them back again, depending on what is happening with the wind and weather.
In the Lower Niagara River, bass and walleye have both been biting. Capt. Jake Joseph with Jiggin’ Jake’s Charters has been doing well on walleye along drifts like Stella Niagara and around the green buoy marker. Bass have also been cooperative with shiners and crabs. Reports of the first salmon are normally seen by the third week in August and there were some rumors that some were seen this past week. However the main run isn’t for another month. It should be a good one! Upper Niagara River bass and walleye action remains consistent and the Erie Canal is still offering up some fish – pike and bass. Kayakers working Wilson Harbor have been catching some pike and bass. Spinnerbaits are good to toss around the weed edges.
When a Fishing Rod Icon creates a Walleye Fishing Eyecon®
By David Gray
Part of the fun in the sport of fishing is the never-ending search for new equipment that works and fishes better. Last April, a friend introduced me to a new rod, the Eyecon ECS-70LF from St. Croix. The rod had such a “great feel,” I talked him into letting me borrow it for a couple of months so I could try it out.
The Eyecon ECS-70LF is one of the most impressive rods I have used in a long time. It says “Walleye Series” on the rod and it does a great job presenting finesse baits, but that is not all this rod does. The rod fishes well for walleye, crappie, bluegill, float fishing for smallmouth, and is great when spin fishing for trout. I used the 7-foot Eyecon with 3-pound line and 1/32 ounce jigs for trout and the rod was pure joy. Such are the numerous unadvertised advantages, since it can also handle medium-sized crankbaits with ease too.
How a fishing rod casts, or more precisely, how the rod transfers energy to cast a lure, is where most rods fall short. It is one performance task to bring a large bass or walleye to the boat, but a very different performance task to achieve casting distance and accuracy. The Eyecon excels in both performance tasks.
My first use of the Eyecon was an eye-opener. When I picked it up, it made me stop to do a double-take on the rod, then the line and the lure. There was a captivating synergy in just picking the rig up to hold. Simple moments that are remembered like that mean good things. My first cast with the Eyecon surprised me. It went 10 feet farther than I was aiming. My second, third and fourth cast did the same. Every cast was 10 to 15 feet further than my aim point. The Eyecon is so efficient at transferring energy, it was casting farther than most similar action 7-foot spinning rods.
My experience with fishing rods is that when they can cast light lures well, they usually do not have super-sensitivity, but the Eyecon surprised me there. It is a very sensitive rod and lives up to its finesse label.
Every once in a while, a new product raises the performance bar and the Eyecon does exactly that. Everything that you want a fishing rod to do well this rod does extremely well.
The Eyecon ECS-70 LF is as a great buy in a 7-foot spinning rod. It delivers a higher level of fishing performance, helps you fish better and makes you a better fisherman. You gotta love fishing tools that allow you to achieve all that. I have one of my own Eyecon’s now. They sell for $120-$130 and come with a 5-year warranty backed by St. Croix Superstar Service.
If you need more info: http://stcroixrods.com/products/freshwater/eyecon/.
Quality Line, Sharp Hooks, Stiff Rod can help ASSURE Hookup & Catch
By Forrest Fisher
When does the adventure of a short fishing trip become special?
After that unforgettable connection to big fish success.
When the fun is non-stop spontaneous.
When you realize something very good happened that was not totally expected.
When you’re fishing with your grandson!
That’s when. Grandkids grow up too quick, but they sure create some great memories that become more than special. Here’s one trip story that is time-honored in my “greatest gift” memory scrapbook.
Bass boats with 250HP engines whizzed from spot to spot around the lake, their engines echoing brilliant monotones of sheer power among lake cottages and the luscious green hills. You could sense the connection to new technology watching them.
There were jet-ski rigs too, and water skiers, and brave stand-up paddle board folks, and kids in tow on floating rafts behind family-sized pontoon boats – there was lots of mid-afternoon activity. Fun activity.
There was also one bright-yellow 12-foot Mirrocraft aluminum boat with two anglers and only two fishing rods. In the sun, the yellow boat rig was easily visible from a half-mile, but looking from the bottom up, it was so bright that it matched the sunshine. An uncommon mode for fishing stealth.
There was no gas-powered engine on the transom. It was a very common, simple, durable, car-top fishing boat with wooden oars for normal motion, except for one thing: On the bow was mounted an old-time, cable-drive, foot-pedal controlled Johnson 12V electric motor on a cross-piece of pressure-treated board. The battery was in a case in the back of the boat for weight distribution and a shielded electric cable, duct-taped along the side of the boat, made the power connection. A Lowrance X-50 sonar unit, tiny in size and volume, but effective, was also hooked in, providing underwater eyes for depth awareness.
The rig offered stealth movement in sheer silence. It provided more ability to work a quiet fishing line around weedbeds, docks, and rocks and buoy markers, maybe even more stealth than one of the new $85,000 bass boat rigs.
With a 15-pound cannon-ball anchor for holding position in the wind, it was simply efficient. In fact, it was a pretty slick-looking fishing rig in a class all by itself. Even with movement, it did not spook fish – big bass, that were nearby.
The fella driving the boat was my grandson. I’m so proud that he shares a similar passion for the outdoors, like I do, and that his father does too – now a long-standing family tradition. It’s the kind of passion and tradition that keeps us all curious to learn more about new things we find when we spend time in the outdoors. It helps to bring us back to meet adventure in the outdoors time and again, and that next time can never be far away.
His fishing rigs are simple, but like the boat, are totally functional. He has thought this out. The boat and fishing rigs are assembled to hook and land big black bass. His humble Shimano open-face spinning reel is mounted on a 7-foot long, semi-stiff graphite rod (Carbon-X, S-15) with 10-pound Gamma braid line that has 6-feet of 16-pound fluorocarbon Sun Line leader tied to the end. The leader is dock-tough line, thin in diameter and is nearly invisible. The 10-pound braid allows feathered casts for short pinpoint casting, or into the wind with a little “wrist-reach” for long distance.
Terminal tackle includes heavy-wire size 3/0 VMC hooks, the same kind used by many of the Elite Series pro anglers. His favorite bass bait? Friend and bass pro-staffer, Scott Callen, recommended the Sun Line and the 6-inch Big-Bite-Baits “TRICK STICK” plastic worms. My grandson rigs them Texas-style to be weedless (not wacky). An assortment of worm colors is visible in the clear plastic Plano tackle box on the boat seat, and there is only one box. My grandson adds, “Why complicate simple fishing, but just gotta make sure you have that green-pumpkin red flake in there.”
A check with Ted’s Bait & Tackle in Lakeville, N.Y. (opens at 6AM every day, (585) 429-0587), helped with the plastic worm color selection. Proprietor Ted Decker and associate, Bill Brizzee, know the lake and what’s working, and they provided advice about the Big Bite Bait worm colors. Brizzee says, “Yeah, you know they’re priced right ($1.99) in a 5-pack package and we go through ‘em pretty quick when the fish are biting – like this time of year, especially that green-pumpkin color and black w/red sparkle color.”
My grandson stood up in the rig and said, “This little boat is so easy to take places, it is so stable in the water and so safe, and so crafty inside the areas I like to fish. The weed lines, the tree blow-downs near inlet and outlet creeks, the docks, and if you splash-cast up into the shade of whatever structure you can find – even in 6-inches of water, so that your worm entry makes little or no sound, it just settles and sinks – the fish just jump on it. Getting the presentation right is fun! It took me a few years to get better at good casting though.” I knew about those fun years, “Look, you caught a 40-foot hemlock tree!” More good memories.
He went on to show me his nearly perfected casting technique,splash-casting, and on the second cast, he said, “There he goes, he’s movin with it.” He reared back and set the hook two-handed. “Got ‘em! Fish on!” He smiled with that look of fun and approval. Not using the net, he reached over the side and lipped the big bass. One picture later the fish went back to swim another day.
He did that 11 more times in the next two hours. The largest for this day was a healthy 4.65 pounder and the smallest was a 13-incher. All of the fish were plump and with good color.
Sunfish and perch make up a large part of the bass diet here, but why they like plastic worms is still anyone’s guess. I suppose they look like a salamander, leech, snake, nightcrawler or other edible live bait forms too, but one thing for sure, the fish like ‘em – or hate ‘em, because they seem to destroy them.
Before fishing, we reviewed the Conesus Lake Fishing Forum on Facebook at this link: https://www.facebook.com/ConesusLakeFishingForum/. We noted that there is a weekly, 3-fish, Tuesday evening fun bass contest open to all anglers that begins at the state launch in the central portion of the lake. Exactly where did we fish? We launched at the north end of the lake and followed the directions and advice provided by the NYSDEC to fish the lake. Visit this link: http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/25575.html.
We worked the weedbed edges, shadow side of some of the docks, and we also did some deep jigging in 25 feet of water. Found success there too, but switched to using sonar-style vertical jig baits there.
Advice for the next trip? Leave no docks and weedbed drop-offs unexplored, don’t forget the water bottles and the peanut butter/jelly sandwiches.
Tight lines everyone.
Integrated Map Provides Fish Locations, Shore Fishing Access, Boat Access
Depth Contours ZERO-IN on Hotspot Fishing Locations
Bait Shops, Marina Locations, Shipwrecks, ALL HERE…ALL FREE
By Forrest Fisher
There is a NEW interactive, online, Western New York Hotspot Fishing Map application that is yours FREE at this link: https://wnyfishing.mrf.com.
The regional website map has been designed for everyone, including for cellphone and laptop use. It is the perfect “get-it-now” reference tool for many user groups. Boaters, anglers, scuba divers, vacationers and many other groups, family fishing groups, now have good waterway reference map. Need to research waterway areas of the Greater Niagara Region of New York State BEFORE the trip? Here is your resource.
The map spotlights lake depth contours, boating access points, marinas, shore fishing sites, sunken wrecks, fish species locations, bait shops, information sources, dining establishments and give all that to the user with GPS coordinates. Erie, Niagara and Chautauqua counties offer some of the best freshwater sportfishing the world has ever seen!
World class walleye, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, musky, trout, salmon, all here, and many species of panfish. Nearly everything an avid fisherman would ever want. Carp and Channel Catfish too.
The Greater Niagara Region has established a reputation that boasts excellence in sportfishing, boating, kayaking, and outdoor on-the-water recreation. Hire a charter, bring your own boat or fish from shore, the new regional map website will be useful for everyone who looks to quench a hungry angling appetite.
The website map is perfect for the outdoor enthusiast and for families looking to get back to finding the family fun of the outdoors through fishing and boating. There are many other outdoor attractions, state and county parks, hiking paths, bird-watching opportunities (the Niagara River Corridor is internationally recognized as an important bird area), hunting options and more. There are cultural, historical and recreational highlights from Lewiston in Niagara County, to Buffalo in Erie County and to Jamestown in Chautauqua County. The new website and map app offers access to outdoor information and adds value for visitors and residents alike.
The website (https://wnyfishing.mrf.com) offers information to get you started and headed in the right direction, from charter listings to marina information; from shore fishing spots to license information. Unfortunately, it can’t help you set the hook and reel the fish in!
Greater Niagara – You’ll “fall for us” all over again reel soon!
This map was made possible through the funding of Erie and Niagara Counties. It was prepared cooperatively between Erie and Niagara County’s respective Sportfishing Promotion Programs, with assistance from the Erie and Niagara County Fisheries Advisory Boards. Additional maps may be obtained by calling: Buffalo-Niagara CVB at 800-BUFFALO or Niagara Tourism and Convention Corp. at 877-FALLS US.
The third time was the charm for Jay Wallen of Lexington, Kentucky. After finishing third the past two years, Wallen has battled through to take the Hobie Bass Open win. This was year four of the tournament that took place on Kentucky Lake in Marshall County, Kentucky, June 10-11, 2017.
“I’m so happy I pulled it off so I can go to the Hobie Worlds 7,” commented Jay. “That’s what this whole thing is about. I just couldn’t be happier.”
Wallen went into the final day of the two-day “CPR” (Catch-Photograph-Release) kayak fishing tournament with a very small, one-inch lead. A crowd of anglers was chasing close behind and he felt the pressure. Changing up from day one, he hunted his fish on a ledge farther north, closer to the dam where he’d finished the first day on a furious flurry. However, on the final day the bite proved to be a grinder. He averaged one fish every two hours, but they were good ones.
Wallen’s three-fish daily limit was anchored by a 20-inch largemouth that he said he probably should not have caught. The jig pulled right at the boat, but he got the net under the fish before it hit the water.
“That’s when I knew I had a chance. I didn’t think I had it won, but I had a chance,” he said.
Wallen fished clean, converting all his bites and it proved essential. With just 30 minutes of fishing time left, he culled an 18-incher, giving him a daily total of 56.75 inches. It was just enough. His two-day total of 115.5 inches narrowly beat his closest challenger.
“The biggest thing about this tournament is you compete against your peers and some of the best kayak anglers out there,” Wallen went on to say. “That’s what makes it special. You do this in front of all your peers and a lot of them are happy for you. We’re all for the most part, friends.” The win earned Wallen a check for $4,000, but it was the trip to the Hobie Fishing World Championship 7 that has him most excited. The World’s destination is expected to be announced in July. Wallen is ready, wherever it winds up. “You could put it on the moon for all I care! I’m ready to go, to represent team USA,” he said.
Joshua Stewart of Waverly, Tennessee nearly matched Wallen inch-for-inch, but ultimately finished second with a total of 114.25 inches. He fished a jig in shallow water in the New Johnsonville area of Kentucky Lake. Stewart earned $2,500 and an invitation to the Hobie Fishing Worlds 7. “This is the biggest one, the most meaningful finish of my kayak fishing career,” he said.
Drew Russell of Louisville, Kentucky, rounded out the top three. He earned $1,700. “I was shooting for a top ten finish, so I’m thrilled with third. I’ll be back. We’ll get it next year,” he said of just missing the Hobie Worlds. Russell fished worms and jigs on ledges and points.
The Hobie Bass Open paid out to 12th place. There is always a 100% pay out of angler entry fees in this competition. 115 anglers fished the adult division.
The youth division was won by Jaxton Orr, who compiled an impressive two-day total of 102.25 inches. He was followed by Will Stumbo (95.5 inches) and Cole Kleffman (83.75 inches)
Kentucky Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau and Hobie Worldwide sponsored the 1st place winner to attend the Hobie Worlds. Additional sponsors included lodging host Kentucky Lake Dam Village State Resort Park, the host city of Calvert, Hobie Polarized, Lowrance, YakAttack, Bassin’ Magazine, RAM Mounts, St. Croix, Daiwa, Power-Pole, Mustad and Gerber.
This year there are two new US and Canadian qualifying events for Hobie Fishing World Championship 7: the Shasta Bass Kayak Classic and the 2nd Annual IKE Foundation Celebrity Pro Am Tournament Kayak Division hosted by Hobie’s own Mike “Ike” Iaconelli. Ike’s event will be special. It will be a star-studded occasion contested on the non-tidal sections of the Delaware River and includes dinner on the illustrious battleship, USS New Jersey.
The full Hobie Fishing Worlds “7” North American qualifying event schedule is as follows:
1) The Shasta Bass Kayak Classic, March 25-26 – 1 qualifying spot
2) The Jamaica Bay Kayak Fishing Classic, May 18-21 – 1 qualifying spot
3) The Hobie Bass Open, June 9-11 – 2 qualifying spots
4) The Border City Classic, June 24-25 – 2 qualifying spots
5) The 2nd Annual IKE Foundation Celebrity Pro Am Tournament Kayak Division, July 7-8 – 1 qualifying spot Since 1950, Hobie has been in the business of shaping a unique lifestyle based around fun, water, and innovative quality products. From their worldwide headquarters in Oceanside, California, Hobie Cat Company manufactures, distributes, and markets an impressive collection of eco-sensitive watercraft, with subsidiaries; Hobie Cat Australasia, in Huskisson, NSW, Australia and Hobie Cat Europe, in Toulon, France and independent distributors; Hobie Kayak Europe and Hobie Cat Brasil. These products include an ever-expanding line of recreation and racing sailboats, pedal-driven and paddle sit-on-top recreation and fishing kayaks, inflatable kayaks, fishing boats, surfboards, stand-up paddleboards and the new Hobie Mirage Eclipse™ Standup pedalboards, plus a complementary array of parts and accessories. www.hobiecat.com For more info: Contact Ingrid Niehaus, (949) 499-2225, email@example.com
Jarret Martin & Zachary Graham Haul in 20 Bass, Weigh 5 biggest: 16lbs-3oz
Presented by Bass Pro Shops
CHAUTAUQUA, N.Y. (July 24, 2017) – The Adrian College duo of Jarrett Martin and Zachary Graham, both of Gallipolis, Ohio, won the YETI FLW College Fishing Northern Conference tournament at Chautauqua Lake. Presented by Bass Pro Shops, the two-angler team weighed in their five-bass limit at 16 pounds, 3 ounces. The victory earned the Adrian College Bass Club $2,000 and the team will now advance to compete in the 2018 FLW College Fishing National Championship.
“We were fishing on the north end of the lake,” said Graham, a sophomore, double majoring in environmental studies and geology. “We found a stretch of bank with no docks with a long, rocky flat. About 40 yards off of the bank, the rock would meet the grass, and we just worked the grass-line all day long.”
“It was really one of the only green grassy areas that we were able to find,” said Martin, a senior majoring in business administration. “The lake has been sprayed recently, and there was quite a bit of brown, dead grass, but the fish were in the green stuff.”
“Jarrett was throwing a Rebel Pop-R surface plug, off of the front all day and I was throwing a Fluke off of the back,” Graham said. “We doubled up at least seven times.”
The duo estimated they caught around 20 keeper bass throughout the day – with around 13 smallmouth and seven largemouth. Their five-bass limit at the weigh-in consisted of two smallmouth and three largemouth.
“I think the key for us was the cloud cover,” Martin said. “If it would have been sunny, the fish would have been hiding in the shade, but the way the clouds were, the bass were in the mood to eat all day. They were extremely active.”
“I think the Pop-R was the key,” Graham added. “We have a lot of confidence in that bait and it produced the two biggest fish of the day for us.”
The top 10 teams that advanced to the 2018 College Fishing National Championship are:
1st: Adrian College – Jarrett Martin and Zachary Graham, both of Gallipolis, Ohio, five bass, 16-3, $2,400
2nd: Lake Superior State University – Jake Dorony, South Lyon, Mich., and Hunter Scharphorn, Grand Haven, Mich., five bass, 15-6, $1,000
3rd : Adrian College – Nicholas Czajka, Brighton, Mich., and Jack Hippe III, Davison, Mich., five bass, 15-3, $700
4th : Youngstown State University – Jonathan Creed, Niles, Ohio, and Mike Soots, McDonald, Ohio, five bass, 14-13, $500
5th : James Madison University – Blake Miles, Chesterfield, Va., and Jack Goodwyn, Powhatan, Va., five bass, 14-12, $500
6th: Michigan State University – Tyler Andrews, Charlotte, Mich., and Danny Sprague, Hastings, Mich., five bass, 14-8
7th: Pennsylvania State University – Derek Horner, Port Matilda, Pa., and Maurice Hudson, Broomall, Pa., five bass, 14-4
8th: Kutztown University of Pennsylvania – Joe Tini, Archibald, Pa., and Corey Bechtel, Allentown, Pa., five bass, 14-1
9th: Pennsylvania State University – Chris Trianosky, Phoenixville, Pa., and Lou Mocniak, Washington, Pa., five bass, 13-14
10th: West Virginia University – Michael Shughart, Shippensburg, Pa., and Branden Newcome, Ellamore, W.Va., five bass, 13-4
This YETI FLW College Fishing Northern Conference event at Chautauqua Lake was the second regular-season qualifying tournament for Northern Conference anglers in 2017. The next YETI FLW College Fishing event will be the Northern Conference regular-season finale, scheduled for Sep. 9 on Lake Erie in Sandusky, Ohio.
YETI FLW College Fishing teams compete in three regular-season qualifying tournaments in one of five conferences – Central, Northern, Southern, Southeastern and Western. The top ten teams from each division’s three regular-season tournaments, along with an additional qualifier for every 10 teams over 100 that compete, along with the top 20 teams from the annual YETI FLW College Fishing Open advance to the 2018 FLW College Fishing National Championship.
College Fishing is free to enter. All participants must be registered, full-time students at a college, university or community college and members of a college fishing club that is recognized by their school.
For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow College Fishing here:
About FLW – FLW is the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money in 2017 across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, with offices in Minneapolis, FLW conducts more than 258 bass-fishing tournaments annually across the United States and sanctions tournaments in Canada, China, Mexico, South Africa and South Korea. FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated “FLW” television show, broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, while FLW Bass Fishing magazine delivers cutting-edge tips from top pros.
Bass Anglers bring in 13 Bags of 20 Pounds or More!
Kevin Van Dam is ZONED-IN on Smallmouth Bass
Wind Direction Change was KEY
WADDINGTON, N.Y. (July 22, 2017) – It’s been every pro fisherman’s nightmare for more than 25 years. Superstar Kevin VanDam — a Michigan native and arguably the best smallmouth angler in the history of the sport — is hammering the smallies with no sign of slowing down. And now, the remaining anglers in the field have just one more day to overtake him and keep him from recording his 24th career B.A.S.S. victory wire-to-wire style at the Huk Bassmaster Elite at St. Lawrence River presented by Go RVing.
VanDam added five bass that weighed 22 pounds, 10 ounces Saturday and maintained the lead he has held from the start with a three-day total of 66-7.
“Today was really calm,” he said. “The wind changed 180 degrees and blew the exact opposite direction from what it did (Friday). That really slowed things down, and it’s a lot easier to position your boat when it’s like that.
“You saw what the weights were like today. If it’s like that tomorrow, it’s going to be a shootout.”
Saturday’s semifinal round saw 13 bags of 20 pounds or more brought to the scales, including the 21-8 limit weighed in by VanDam’s nephew, Jonathon VanDam. The younger VanDam moved into second place with a three-day mark of 64-0.
“It’s been a great week so far for me,” JVD said. “I definitely needed a tournament like this for the points.
“All you can ask for is to put yourself into position to win, and I’ve definitely got a shot.”
Idaho angler Brandon Palaniuk had another strong day with 22-4 and rose from ninth place into third with 63-3. It would be a remarkable feat for Palaniuk to record a victory, considering he was in 72nd place on Day 1.
After those early struggles, Palaniuk said he believed he would need at least a 24-pound average for the remaining three days to have a chance for a win.
“I caught 25 Friday and 22 today, so I’m off that 24-pound average by about a pound,” Palaniuk said. “That probably means I need 25 or 26 to have a shot.
“That kind of bag is out there — and I’ve got to have them because all of these guys are going to catch 20 pounds again tomorrow.”
Brent Ehrler, a veteran California pro with more than $2 million in career earnings, caught 21-8 Saturday and jumped into fourth place with 63-1. Ehrler has two second-place finishes since joining the Elite Series in 2015, but he’s still seeking his first win.
After leading two events into the final round this year only to fall short, he said he feels strong about the position he’s in going into Championship Sunday.
“I like being back just a little bit instead of leading, but it’s a tough hill to climb,” Ehrler said. “I didn’t necessarily lay off of them today. But at one point, I stopped fishing a couple of spots and kind of defended them. I started looking around a little bit instead of pounding on them.
“The fish are there — and if everything is right, I think I can catch them.”
VanDam and Palaniuk are also locked in a battle with South Carolina pro Casey Ashley for the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year award. Palaniuk leads with 621 points, followed by Ashley with 616 and KVD with 604.
The tournament will conclude Sunday, with the Top 12 remaining anglers leaving Whittaker Park at 6:15 a.m. ET. The weigh-in will be held back at the park at 3:15 p.m., with a $100,000 first-place prize on the line.
The event is hosted by the Village of Waddington.
2017 Bassmaster Elite Series Platinum Sponsor: Toyota
2017 Bassmaster Elite Series Premier Sponsors: Shell Rotella, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Yamaha, Berkley, Huk, Humminbird, Nitro Boats, Mercury, Minn Kota, Power-Pole
2017 Bassmaster Elite Series Supporting Sponsors: Carhartt, Dick Cepek Tires & Wheels, Livingston Lures, Lowrance, Phoenix Boats, Shimano, T-H Marine, Advance Auto Parts, Academy Sports + Outdoors
About B.A.S.S. – B.A.S.S. is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport, providing cutting edge content on bass fishing whenever, wherever and however bass fishing fans want to use it. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the 500,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines (Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times), website (Bassmaster.com), television show (The Bassmasters on ESPN2), radio show (Bassmaster Radio), social media programs and events. For more than 45 years, B.A.S.S. has been dedicated to access, conservation and youth fishing.
The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, including the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open Series, Academy Sports + Outdoors B.A.S.S. Nation Series presented by Magellan Outdoors, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Costa Bassmaster High School Series presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods, Toyota Bonus Bucks Bassmaster Team Championship and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods.
Thursday, July 20, 2017
The King Salmon fishing in Lake Ontario is one of the hottest bites going, especially in the waters off Niagara County! “Salmon fishing has been on fire at the Niagara Bar in 120 to 180 feet of water,” says Jake Joseph of Jiggin’ Jake’s Charters. “The fish zone has been 60 to 80 feet down.
Dipsy divers are out 180 to 240 feet with flasher fly combos; riggers down 65 to 85 with flasher and cut bait combos. Best colors have been mostly pearls and greens. Smaller fish have been coming on spoons and some steelies have been mixed in, being taken on sliders and king lines.
Wilson and Olcott are also offering up some great catches, too. Just take a look at the Lake Ontario Counties Trout and Salmon Derby leaderboard at www.loc.org.
John Van Hoff of North Tonawanda reeled in a 27-pound, 9-ounce salmon off of Wilson last Sunday (but launching at Olcott) and his fish would beat out Lee Beaton’s Grand Prize leading king, a 27 pounder, also caught out of Wilson back on July 1. Van Hoff caught his king on a Northern King spoon over 450 feet of water. Van Hoff’s Grand Prize lead would be short-lived as two more fish would come to the scales that Sunday that would tip the scales even more – a 29-pound, 8-ounce king hauled in by Ed Klejdys of North Tonawanda while fishing on the Niagara Bar. Then a 30-pound, 13-ounce Chinook that was reeled in by Richard Peaslee of Lowman while fishing out of Fair Haven. If the last name of Klejdys sounds familiar, his son Steve is the current leader in the Lake Trout Division with a 23-pound, 13-ounce Niagara Bar laker.
On Monday of this week, a new rainbow leader came out of Olcott, knocking out the leading Wilson fish – a huge 17-pound, 4-ounce steelhead that was caught by Adam Robinson of Portland, Oregon while fishing with Capt. Vince Pierleoni and Thrillseeker II. He caught it on a Dreamweaver spoon in charteuse signature series. Tuesday brought us a new Grand Prize leader out of Point Breeze, a 31 pound, 10 ounce king reeled in by Kristin Wilson of Rockstream, NY. We have until July 30 to post up some bigger fish and that will probably happen if the weather continues to cooperate.
Joseph also reports that “walleye are starting to show up in Lower Niagara River and the green can at the mouth. You just have to work for them. Worm harnesses on the bottom with three-way rigs. Bass fishing is good as always!” Bass can be caught from Devil’s Hole to the mouth of the river on a variety of baits like minnows, crayfish, worm harnesses, spinnerbaits, tubes and drop shot rigs.
Shore fishermen have been struggling in the gorge because the shoreline access has been limited due to the high water levels. In addition, the Devil’s Hole stairs are closed until next spring. There are still plenty of other access points to use, but that one is being reconstructed.
Upper Niagara River action continues to be good for both bass and walleye with an occasional musky showing up.
The 27th Annual Erie Canal Fishing Derby ended last Sunday and the first place winners are waiting for the awards ceremony to take place July 23 at the Gasport Fire Hall starting at 3 p.m. All the first place winners – both for the adults and for the kids – will be in two separate drawings for the Grand Prize. For the adults, a boat, motor and trailer; for the kids a kayak. Some great fish came to the scales during the 12-day event. Top bass was a 4.94-pound largemouth reeled in by Chris Walczak of Amherst. His son, Keegan, checked in with a 9.65-pound northern pike to take that division. Albert Whaley of Tonawanda was the winner in the walleye category with a 5.19-pound fish. Big bullhead was a 2.25-pound fish reeled in by Anthony Moule of Lyndonville. Top catfish was a 14 pounder weighed in by Charles Rizzo of North Tonawanda. First place carp was a 28.02 pound fish out-muscled by Mike Boncore of Buffalo. Sheepshead winner was Todd Wells of Medina with an 11.39-pound fish. Yes, the Erie Canal has some impressive fish swimming around in it. Another great job by Steve and Lynn Harrington of Gasport.
Bill Hilts, Jr., Outdoor Promotions Director
Destination Niagara USA
10 Rainbow Blvd.
Niagara Falls, NY 14303
p: 1-877 FALLS US | 716-282-8992 x. 303
Water levels are continuing to come down in Lake Ontario to the delight of boaters and landowners. However, even the high water levels have not had any negative effects on fishing in the lake.
Salmon fishing continues to be very good out on the Niagara Bar, as well as out of Wilson and Olcott. Salmon action just outside the drop-off on the Bar continues to be excellent. Spin doctors and flies are near the top of the list for preferred baits; a flasher and meat rig with cut bait is another. Some fish are being caught on spoons, too, but they seem to be third on the list. The new A-Tom-Mik stud fly has been mentioned quite a bit by trollers in the lake. Niagara Falls USA waters are still at the top of the Lake Ontario stage for the Summer LOC Derby that is going on through July 30. Leading grand prize salmon is still a 27 pound fish caught by Lee Beaton of Clifton Springs, he caught that one out of Wilson, The first place salmon is another Wilson
fish, a 26 pound, 10 ounce king weighed in by Charles Jaenecke of North Tonawanda. Steve Klejdys of North Tonawanda is back at the top of the lake trout leaderboard with a 23 pound – 13 ounce Niagara Bar fish, and Darryl Raate of Fulton is in first place in the steelhead division with a 13 pound trout he caught while fishing out of Wilson. Top brown trout is a 16 pound, 2 ounce fish weighed in by Joey Guernsey of McGraw while fishing out of Fair Haven.
Lower Niagara River action has been good and the moss has not been as much of a factor as in previous years for some reason. Shoreline casting with 2-inch pearl tubes was working for Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls this week, catching double digit bass and even a 9 pound steelhead. Boaters are still doing well on bass by casting the shoreline with spinnerbaits or working shiners or crayfish off three-way rigs. On July 17, the Devil’s Hole State Park stairs and trail will be shut down until the spring of 2018 for reconstruction and repairs. There are still plenty of other access points to get you into the gorge, but this trail is one of the more popular ones. Alternative access can be gained through the New York Power Authority’s South Access Road where a fishing platform and a stairs to the shoreline is available from Apr. 1 to Dec. 1. Other access points include the stairs at Whirlpool State Park; the Suspension Bridge Stairs (under the Whirlpool Bridge); the Great Gorge Railway Trail (that begins at the Niagara Gorge Discovery Center); and the elevator at the Schoellkopf Site (adjacent to the Discovery Center). A copy of the Niagara Gorge Trail Map is available at: http://www.nysparks.com/parks/attachments/WhirlpoolNiagaraGorgeTrailMap.pdf
There are lots of fishing contests going on. The 27th Annual Erie Canal Derby is going on through Sunday, July 16th. Some pretty impressive catches have already come to the scales that will be tough to beat. For example, Michael Boncore of Buffalo is leading the carp category with a 28.02 pound fish; Todd Wells of Medina leads the sheepshead category with an 11.39 pounder; and Charles Rizzo of North Tonawanda has the leading catfish with a 14 pounder. The new walleye leader is Albert Whaley of Tonawanda with a 5.19 pound fish.
Upper Niagara River action continues to be good for bass, walleye and the occasional musky. A spinner and a worm produced all three this week for Capt. Chris Cinelli. The musky was about 46 inches long, probably in the mid-30 pound range as far as weight. It was caught by Jerry Howe of Grand Island and released.
Bill Hilts, Jr., Outdoor Promotions Director
Destination Niagara USA, 10 Rainbow Blvd., Niagara Falls, NY USA, 14303
p: 1.877 FALLS US | 716.282.8992 x.303 | f:716.285.0809
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Like to fish for bass in the summertime? Topwater action can be the most exciting! CHECK
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Lake Sakakawea, North Dakota, offers Hands-On Learning
Bring a Camera: Canyon Colors and Walleye Go Good Together
By Forest Fisher
Wanna catch walleye? Know the two rules that apply everywhere. Rule #1: Catching fish is fun. Rule #2: Fishing with a professional guide that understands fish movement helps to make Rule #1 possible. You can do it on your own later.
No matter where you go, catching quality walleye as a target species fish is the primary objective for many anglers. This story is proof that Rule #2 is a good money-saving idea.
Coincidentally, my wife and I were vacationing in North Dakota near Teddy Roosevelt National Park and my better half whispered in my ear, “You should go fishing at least one day while we are here – Lake Sakakawea is just up the road, I’ll go souvenir shopping.” Such a deal. I could not say no.
So I asked Kelly Sorge what people fish for. The “always cheerful” proprietor at Indian Hills Resort (http://www.fishindianhills.com/) said, “Crappie, northern pike, bass, trout and walleye – we have all those species here, but most folks fish for walleye. They like to eat them cooked over a campfire here. The walleye are so pure and so tasty from Sakakawea.” That settled it.
I rushed for my cellphone to make the call to Liebel’s Guide Service. Capt. Jeremy Olsen called me back a short while later to set up time and departure to fish this beautiful Little Missouri River reservoir – it is pristine, with millions of years of erosion providing colorful rocky backdrops on the canyon walls.
Lake Sakakawea in central North Dakota was created for flood control on the Missouri River by the Garrison Dam. The average width of the lake is 2-3 miles, but it is about 14 miles wide at the widest point, heavy with clean, deep water, shallow water, many undulating bay backwaters, drop-offs, flats, and a beautiful view of colorful mountain walls – hundreds of millions of years old, that form the gorge that creates this waterway. In short, it is breathtaking!
We met at 7 a.m. and when I saw his new boat, I was thrilled, motivated and EAGER to set foot on the 21-foot Lund, 219-Pro-V, with a 350 horsepower Mercury Verado. Cost: $81,000, I asked. Cost of my Charter: $350. A win-win for any angler. The new Lund Pro-V fishing boats are special: quiet, safe, powerful, live well, many other features. It’s all there on this boat.
We left the dock at 7:15 a.m., took 15 minutes to motor 10 miles to a chosen fishing spot (it didn’t take long at 62 mph), set up our lines on lightweight Phenix casting rods (http://www.tacklewarehouse.com/Phenix_Rods/catpage-PHENIX.html). At 7:40 a.m., Capt. Jeremy had the fish figured out and we landed our first walleye. By 9:15 a.m., we had landed 17 walleye! Could we call this a great day? No way, it was an insurmountable day!
It will be a day that I would never forget as a walleye angler. Indeed, vacations and special fishing moments are about making special memories. I have no doubt that Capt. Jeremy could do this again.
While I’ll admit, my standards are higher than the average – I expect to catch lots of walleye and often, to beat the usual catch rate, but who would have ever guessed this catch rate of walleye could even occur in wild waters in the middle of summer? Not me.
Capt. Jeremy is an expert. He knows the secrets to understanding how fish move, when they move, forage location, wind and eddy current effects, and how to attract fish to invoke a strike. For this day, he choose Smiley Blade attractors and worms. The Smiley Blades offer slow rotating action when tied in front of a 3-foot fluorocarbon leader that has two to four beads in front of a single 1/0 hook. In actual use, this action is death to walleye on Lake Sakakawea. I discovered after getting home to Lake Erie, it is deadly anywhere else that walleye swim too. The blades turn with as little as 0.4 mph forward speed because they are made from lightweight Mylar. Capt. Jeremy buys the blades separate and custom-makes the Smiley Blade rigs with his kids, adding a dash of special magic, I’m sure.
We attached the Smiley Rig leaders to a 1-1/4 ounce wire/bottom-bouncer and set the MinnKota Ulterra bow motor to troll at about 0.6 mph. Three or four minutes later, presto! Fish on! Walleye after walleye came into the boat. We released all the smaller fish as they were caught.
If you’re out that way, you can contact Capt. Jeremy through Lieber’s Guide Service at http://www.liebelsguideservice.com/. He will travel to many other waters too, including Montana.
Of course, understanding where to drop lines (location), why to drop where we did (bait movement and water clarity), and how fast to go, are among reasons why we ask a charter captain to take us fishing when we go to a new lake. A charter captain fishes many more times than we do and it is always a learning experience.
This was new water for me, I’m a Lake Erie walleye fisherman, fishing Lake Sakakawea was quite different. To do it again, I think I’d contact Capt. Jeremy again and leave my boat home. The trip was safe, fast, affordable and fun. It doesn’t get any better than that.
Accommodations: You can camp at Indian Hills for just $20/night. There is a boat launch, convenience store, fish-cleaning station and running potable water at several spots. If regular tenting is too primitive for you, there is one cabin there called “Peacepipe” that accommodates 6 people with bunks, A/C, sink and kitchen for $90/night. At Peacepipe, you and your family can camp in comfort, and while this style camping cabin has no shower or toilet inside of it, the conveniences are an easy 200’ walk to the shower house. There is a built-in, sit-down table that seats four, the kitchen counter includes a 2-burner hot plate, small refrigerator and wash basin (potable water is just outside) with drain. You only need to provide your own sleeping bag or bedding. Outside you’ll find a picnic table and fire ring, and exterior electrical outlets. We stayed here and it was great. Above that, they offer condo’s and lodge rooms too. Choices are what life in the outdoor lane is all about. The degree of “outdoorism” that you choose is available here. My kind of place (http://www.fishindianhills.com/).
LURES: A-Tom-Mik Twinkie set-ups & Dreamweaver UV Frog Spin Doctor
Lake Ontario salmon action is continuing on a consistent clip to the delight of trollers at Wilson, Olcott and the Niagara Bar.
Don’t take my word for it, though, just ask Capt. Casey Prisco of Matamoras, Pennsylvania.He was fishing in the Monroe County Offshore Classic last weekend out of Rochester and ran his boat 153 miles round trip in the one-day contest, settling in to fish off Niagara County in Wilson. The fish zone was 71 to 111 feet down over 130 to 180 feet of water, using a Dreamweaver UV Frog spin doctor and an A-Tom-Mik Twinkie set-up.With the A-Tom-Mik meat set out 205 feet on a diver. Another productive rod was a 10-inch white green dot Dreamweaver spin doctor with A-Tom-Mik meat set down 91 feet. He went 21 for 22 on fish for the morning before running back – catching nearly 84 pounds for five fish.
For local captains, the new A-Tom-Mik stud fly has also been a hot ticket for kings, too. Earlier this week, we had some fishing writers from Germany show up in town for an “I Love NY” familiarization tour. They did spend a few hours in the morning, catching salmon and steelhead with Capt. Mike Johannes and On-The-Rocks charters out of Wilson before travelling to their next stop.
The day before, they fished the Lower Niagara River for smallmouth bass with Capt. Frank Campbell of Niagara Region Charters, catching roughly 25 fish on spinnerbaits. The biggest was 6 pounds.
There are quite a few fishing contests in the month of July and two are going on right now.They include the Lake Ontario Counties Summer Trout and Salmon Derby and the 27th Annual Erie Canal Fishing Derby.
If you are going fishing on Lake Ontario, if even for a day, make sure you sign up. Day passes are available. Leading fish for the $10,000 Grand Prize is Lee Beaton of Clifton Springs, NY, with a 27 pound King caught out of Wilson. Darryl Raate of Fulton is leading the steelhead division with another Wilson fish – this one weighing 13 pounds. Top brown is 16 pounds, 2 ounces and the first place lake trout is 22 pounds, 10 ounces. The derby continues through July 30. Go to www.loc.org for details.
Meanwhile on the Erie Canal, the derby kicked off on Wednesday, July 5, and will continue through July 16. There is a family pass for just $25 if you want to take advantage of a group entry fee. The leader board is wide open. Get out there and catch some fish. Find out information at www.eriecanalderby.com.
The Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Association is ready to have a party – a fishing party for its members. You can join for just $10 and become part of the festivities, set for July 21-22 out of Olcott. The first event on the fishing calendar is the Curt Meddaugh Memorial Tournament on Friday, a big fish contest that is free for club members. All you have to do is register! Big fish for the day must be weighed in by 3 p.m. at the Town of Newfane Marina in Olcott. On Saturday, the LOTSA Club Tournament will be going on all day. This is a big fish contest, as well, and entry fee is $60. Weigh in at Krull Park by 3 p.m. to be included for the cash prizes. The final piece to the LOTSA fishing puzzle is the club’s 3-2-3 contest over the two days. Best 3 fish over 2 days of fishing, paying out the top 3 weights. Entry fee is $50 for this portion of the contest. The club picnic will be immediately following on Saturday and the awards will be handed out. You can find out more information and also register for these contests at www.lotsa1.org. And speaking of LOTSA, the next meeting is July 13 at Cornell Cooperative Extension Niagara in Lockport, guest speaker will be Capt. Matt Yablonsky: “Talking Small Boat King’s” at 7 p.m.
As we mentioned, bass fishing in the lower Niagara River has been decent and the moss really hasn’t been that bad. In the upper Niagara River, bass and walleye are still cooperating at the head of the river and around Strawberry Island. The best bait has been with a spinner and a worm. Remember that you can now venture into Canadian waters without calling in. Make sure you understand the live bait regulations and you are carrying a Canadian fishing license if you do cross the border.
Bill Hilts, Jr. Outdoor Promotions Director
Destination Niagara USA, 10 Rainbow Blvd., Niagara Falls, NY 14303; p: 1-877 FALLS US | 716-282-8992 x. 303, f: 716-285-0809; www.niagarafallsusa.com
I love to find hidden treasure, but not the gold or silver kind.
Hidden treasure for me is finding jewels of rarely fished small waters. By small waters, I mean privately owned farm ponds, strip pits, businesses with water retention ponds, and even golf course water hazards. Places a lot of people don’t even pay attention to or don’t even know they are there.
Many city parks departments and state fisheries departments stock small waters for public fishing, but a lot of these get very little fishing pressure.
There are thousands of these hidden small water treasures across America and are great places to catch fish in uncrowded conditions. Most are full of bass, crappie, perch, hybrid bluegill and catfish. All you have to do is search them out.
They are perfect for just walking the bank, launching a small johnboat, canoe, kayak or float tube. If you only have a few hours to fish, they are great! You can pretty well count on certain areas holding fish every time you go.
Unless they are public waters though, they are private and accessible only by permission from the landowner or the person in charge. You can try calling, but it is much better to get permission in person. Be courteous and thankful. You might also offer to share your catch if they allow you to keep fish.
My best tip for catching fish on small waters is to make as little noise or vibration as possible. In small bodies of water fish can see you. In fact, vibrations travel farther in small waters, so even if they can’t see you, they can tell someone is near the edge of the water. If fishing from the bank, walk up quietly and stay out of sight. It’s a good idea to even wear camouflage clothing.
Look for channels, humps, brush piles, lay down trees, weed beds, moss, cattails, lily pads, logs and tree stumps — anything that offers habitat for feeding fish.
For catfish, go with all the normal stinky catfish baits, as well as worms and I also like using shrimp bait. If it’s crappie you’re after, jigs and minnows are always good, but I have also caught some really big crappie in small water on crankbaits and spinnerbaits.
Perch jerkin’ is always fun and even more so if you go with ultra-light equipment. If the small waters happen to be stocked with hand size hybrid bluegill, you are in for a real fight and a great time.
For baits, look around for natural baits the fish are already feeding on. Catch some of these natural baits and impale them on a hook or match them as close as possible with artificial baits you have in your tackle box.
The crown jewel in the hidden treasure of small waters is the largemouth bass. America’s most sought after fish can grow very large in small waters, as long as the forage is right. So don’t let the size of a lake fool you into thinking there are no big bass in it.
Remember, George Perry’s world record bass came from Montgomery Lake in Georgia which is little more than a muddy slough — the silted-in remnants of an oxbow off the Ocmulgee River that continues to flow just a few yards away. Studded with cypress knees and shaded by Spanish moss, it is narrow enough to cast completely across.
Dixon Lake, a small city lake located in Escondido, California, is well known for several potential world record bass. One was caught and released and another was found dead.
I personally believe that the next world record largemouth bass could very well come from small waters like a pond, small lake or strip pit. It might just be your state’s record bass, but you would settle for that wouldn’t you?
With spinnerbaits and crankbaits, I can make a lot of casts and cover a lot of water. Plastic worms are good too, and use frog baits through the moss and lily pads. If I am fishing at night there’s nothing like the heart-stopping moment when a big bass hits a topwater bait.
After you are done fishing for the day, make sure you leave the property more clean than when you arrived. Now, go find the person that gave you permission and thank them for a great day, and offer to share your catch if you kept fish. Ask if you can come again, is it OK to bring a family member or two…and should you contact them each time?
Now, clutch them to your chest and love them like a wealthy uncle because yea verily I say unto you, these places are small treasures worth their weight in gold. Well, clutching them to your chest and loving them may be a little much, but make sure you let the property owners know you appreciate them.
Do everything you can do to insure you can keep coming back. Lastly, keep your small waters to yourself and don’t tell any of your fishing buddies where you found your hidden treasure.
Where you won’t catch the largest smallmouth of your life.
By Jim Low
“There is no Sunday Bay,” intoned Tim Mead as he loaded the last huge pack into a Kevlar rental canoe. “If there is a Sunday Bay, it has no fish. If it does have fish, they won’t bite, and if they do bite, they are all small.”
He turned and looked expectantly at the rest of his party. The three of us nodded in solemn agreement and off we went.
Having been here every summer for the past 30 years, Tim took the stern seat in the lead canoe, a compass and a detailed map of Ontario’s Quetico Provincial Park perched on the gear in front of him.
For the first hour and half of paddling, we occasionally heard and saw a motor boat near the American shore to our south. Then we rounded a spruce-clad point, and the motorized world disappeared.
For the next two days, the only human voices, or other sounds of civilization, we would hear were our own voices and the hiss of a Jetboil stove.
We would be serenaded by loons and challenged by eagles.
We would receive multiple visits from a large and determined snapping turtle bent on laying eggs and we would catch more 3- to 5-pound bass than I ever imagined possible.
We would sleep on the ground, sip tea laced with plum brandy and fall so deeply under the spell of the Canadian boundary waters that going home would hurt.
Technically, our journey began with an 8-mile lift via johnboat to Prairie Portage, on the U.S.-Canadian border. The real adventure commenced after we checked in at the Canadian customs office and launched our two canoes into sprawling Basswood Lake.
Having read Tim’s book, Quetico Adventures, I had a good idea what to expect during our five-day trip. I was prepared for coolish weather (nighttime lows in the 40s), rain, mosquito swarms and living on dehydrated food. I thought I was prepared to encounter amazing fishing, but when the first 20-inch bronzeback darted from the depths to make a pass at my surface plug, all my mental fuses blew.
Before I knew what I was doing, I jerked the plug out of the water and shouted. Well, I shouted something I hoped my paddling partner, Mike Quinn, wouldn’t hold against me. I assume he heard worse during his years in the Navy, but what my swearing lacked in creativity, it made up for with awestruck intensity.
In 50-plus years of chasing smallmouths in Missouri, I had never seen one close to that big. In the next half hour, Mike and I landed or hooked and got good looks at the five biggest smallmouths I had ever seen in person. And we were only an hour into the first day of fishing!
Over the following four days, we caught bass until our arms ached. Tim caught one largemouth bass whose mouth could comfortably accommodated a softball. He estimated its weight around 8 pounds, not a monster by Southern standards, but not bad for a fish species living outside its original native range and competing with fish their ancestors never had to contend with.
These included northern pike between two and three feet long and smallmouth bass that would have sent their Show-Me State kin dashing for cover. Boundary Waters smallies aren’t just long; they are built like defensive tackles, and they fight like demons, alternately burrowing toward the bottom and executing head-shaking jumps that would do a tarpon proud.
The smallmouth bass here bit with equal verve on everything from plastic grubs to Zara Spooks.
They bit at high noon, and at dusk, and at dawn.
In the past, I sometimes wondered if I might one day grow tired of catching smallmouths. That worry has been laid to rest. Apparently, my limitless capacity for enjoying smallmouths is actually limitless.
The real test came on the last day, when we reached a place that definitely is not Sunday Bay. Mike and I both were stiff from several hours in the canoe, so we hauled out on a rocky point to stretch. On the leeward side of the point was a large bay with a level bottom of basketball-sized rocks in 7 to 10 feet of clear water. As we stood savoring the view and the rest, fish began to feed at the surface. There were no violent strikes, just small pops followed by large swirls.
Just moments earlier, I had told Mike that I’d caught enough bass for one day. Seeing dozens of swirls changed my mind. I tied on a big, black buzzbait and threw it a little beyond the last swirl. It had barely begun to churn the surface when it disappeared like a surprised swimmer snatched by a great white shark.
When I reared back on my rod, it was difficult to believe I wasn’t stuck fast on a 100-pound log. But then the drag on my reel sang and the fun commenced. Tim and his partner, Phil Bloom, soon joined us, and we all had about 20 minutes of nonstop action before the bite abruptly ended.
As we stowed our fishing gear and began paddling for Prairie Portage and our ride back to United States soil, Tim called out, “There is no Sunday Bay.”
“If there is a Sunday Bay,” we answered in unison, “there are no fish.”
Fishing Catching Details and Forecast (June 29, 2017)
Lake Ontario salmon fishing action continues to be very good … if Mother Nature will let you get out there. The weather has been crazy this year and there were some reports of water spouts earlier this week. Fish-Catching TV Show – Mark and Jake Romanack, with the Fishing 411 television show, had heard about the good salmon fishing and took a quick drive over from Michigan to film a show. They arrived on Monday and filmed Tuesday and Wednesday mornings to complete the episode. They caught a total of nine mature king salmon to 25 pounds plus a number of smaller salmon. Methods: downriggers, slide divers, lead core, copper. They caught fish on a variety of methods including downriggers down 65 to 75 feet over 100 to 150 feet of water just off the Niagara Bar; slide divers 120 feet back; 10 colors of lead core line; and 300 feet of copper line. Best speeds were 2.7 to 3.0 miles per hour on the surface. Be aware that there is a strong current out there in the lake that you may need to adjust to, probably related to the outflow of water through the St. Lawrence Seaway in an attempt to
lower more water from the lake. Water levels have started to come down, an encouraging sign – and just in time for the Summer Lake Ontario Counties Trout and Salmon Derby. That contest will run from June 30 to July 30. Get out there and catch a winning fish. Grand Prize is $10,000 for the largest salmon. Website is www.loc.org. Wilson and Olcott are also reporting good king catches. Derby time is a great time to get out there!
Lower Niagara River fishing is still moving right along. Moss was a little more prevalent on Tuesday morning after the storms on Monday afternoon. Hopefully that was just from the high winds. It was definitely fishable as a camera crew from China sampled the lower river fishing action. Capt. Frank Campbell of Niagara Falls was tossing spinnerbaits along the shoreline and picked up some smallmouth. Shiners and crayfish caught a mix of bass and sheepshead. Bass are available all to way to the Niagara Bar. Good news if you have a Canadian fishing license. Anglers no longer have to call into Canada Border Services Agency if they cross the international boundary. However, you still need a license and you must abide by the country’s bait regulations.
Upper Niagara River fishing has been good for bass and walleye. Bottom bounce a worm harness from a three-way rig at the head of the river or in front of Strawberry Island to take some nice ‘eyes. Smallmouth bass have been hitting shiners and crayfish. Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls has been doing well on largemouth using plugs and spinnerbaits. Tube jigs will also work for bass. A few musky were caught the past week, but mostly on the smaller-side in the upper 30-inch or lower 40-inch range. Monster tubes caused some follows and hook-ups for Ryan Shea with Brookdog Fishing. Some nice steelhead were caught this week by customers of Capt. Chris Cinelli of Grand Island. Spinner and a worm did the trick around Strawberry Island.
In the Hooked on Fishing Tournament over the free fishing weekend in the Erie Canal, some impressive fish came to the scales. Robert Grant reeled in a 6.25 pound bass; Dan Phelps hauled in a 4.28 pound pike; Mike Boncore weighed in a one pound perch; Matt Steffan out-dueled a 20 pound carp; and Dominic DiNardo earned first place with a 4-pound channel catfish. A total of $3,000 was raised for the Boys and Girls Club of the Northtowns to send kids to summer camp.
Next contest coming up is the 27th Annual Erie Canal Fishing Derby, set for July 5 to 16. Get all of the details at www.eriecanalderby.com. Seven species categories, 50 tagged fish and a 50 mile boundary from the Niagara River to Albion. There is even a family registration for just $25. Get signed up today!
Free Fishing this Weekend in New York State (June 24-25, 2017)
New USA-CANADA Border Fishing Rules Eased
Lake Ontario Counties Tourney Series Starting
Detailed Fishing Report for June 22, 2017
Lots of good news in this week’s report. It’s a Free Fishing Weekend in New York State. However, you do have to abide by the fishing regulations. Check out www.dec.ny.gov to find out what the rules are in the waters you intend to fish.
This is also the weekend for the Hooked on Fishing Tournament presented by the Boys and Girls Club of the Northtowns both Saturday and Sunday. Everything is run out of Gateway Harbor, North Tonawanda. Register June 23 from noon to 6 p.m. or any time after 7 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. For more info visit www.bgcnt.net or call 873-9842 Ext. 211.
Lake Ontario salmon fishing continues to be very good all along the Niagara County shoreline. Good reports are coming from the Niagara Bar to Olcott and beyond. Salmon in the upper 20 pound range were caught all last week and Capt. Dan Evans out of Wilson, fishing in a tournament on the north shore, managed to reel in a 32 pound chunk pre-fishing and releases the fish to fight another day. Top lures include a variety of Dreamweaver metal, Silver Streaks and Michigan Stingers.
However, the bigger fish seem to prefer the spin doctor and fly combos. The new A-Tom-Mik Stud Fly is really working well, producing that 32 pounder we just mentioned. White crush-glow pattern. Meat rigs are also tricking fish to hit. Yes, Lake Ontario is open for business! Start in 100 feet of water and head north out to 300 foot depths. Salmon seem to be in the top 80 feet of water. And some steelhead have started to move in to accompany the salmon so make sure you put a few baits out for them, too. In other good news, the lake levels have started to come down.
According to lake level reports, the waterline has dropped over 4 inches already and the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Water Board has announced that after the three-day experiment last week to increase outflows, they are going to continue with it to provide additional relief in the lake. The Town of Newfane Marina launch area and the Lewiston Landing launch are your two best bets for easy boat launch access.
More good news is that the Canadian Government finally passed a law that no longer required Americans to call into Canada Border Services when crossing the international boundary. You still need a fishing license and need to abide by the country’s regulations, but the hassle of calling in is no longer required. Remember no live bait other than worms in approved bedding or in water. Nothing in dirt. No minnows or crabs. Still, it’s just gotten a whole bunch better.
With the Lake Ontario Counties, trout and salmon summer derby just around the corner, set for June 30 to July 30, anglers are excited to take advantage of the summer action. Check out www.loc.org for details. In addition, the New York State Summer Classic Fishing Tournament is on and running through August 31. There are a total of 10 different fish species categories and 55 weigh stations throughout the state. To find out more information, check out www.nyssummerclassic.com.
In the LowerNiagara River, water temperature are still slowly creeping up there. Lake Erie hit 72 degrees this week, so the trout are history. The bad news is that the moss has become more of a problem. Mostly bass were caught this week on jigs, Kwikfish and MagLips. Shore casters in the gorge have been using tubes, swim baits and marabou jigs. Inline spinners will work, too. They can be caught but you will be cleaning your lures frequently.
Upper Niagara River bass fishing also continues to be good, but the moss is putting a kink in that action. Some walleye are being caught at the head of the river and at the head of Strawberry Island on worm harnesses and jigs. The Great Lakes musky season opener was slow, probably due to the warmer water already flowing through the system. For an outdoors update this week, check out www.buffalonews.com/section/sports/outdoors/ to find out what’s happening.
Think about the very worst conditions for walleye fishing.
High noon. A hot sun beating down. Temperatures in the low 90s. A blue sky, with hardly a cloud in sight.
That about covers it, doesn’t it?
So why was Les Jarman, a longtime guide, so optimistic that he and his friend, Ken White, would soon be catching walleyes in those conditions as they trolled on Stockton Lake in southwest Missouri?
“We’ve caught walleyes in the middle of the day on days that were hotter than this,” Jarman said, as he zig-zagged his boat on a flat near the river channel. “These walleyes will get out here on these flats in the summer and they’ll suspend.
“If the baitfish are here, the walleyes will be too. If you put a crankbait in front of them, they’ll hit.”
Staring at his electronics, Jarman saw the perfect scenario setting up. As he trolled in 20 feet of water not far from the river channel, he watched the screen of his depth finder light up with specks of baitfish.The occasional mark of a gamefish also showed up.
“The walleyes are scattered right now,” said Jarman, 65, who lives in the town of Stockton and operates the Specialized Guide Service. “They’re just out here chasing shad.
“That’s why I like to troll. Instead of sitting on one point, I can cover a lot of water this way.”
Approaching an area where a long point extended into the flat, Jarman felt something jolt the Bandit crankbait he was trolling through the Bic Sac arm of the Ozark reservoir.
When the fish stayed down, Jarman knew he had a walleye. Moments later, he tossed that keeper into a live well already splashing with fish.
Hot weather, hot fishing. That’s Jarman’s formula for success. Though he fishes for walleyes year-around at Stockton, he knows the fishing doesn’t necessarily come to a halt when the heat arrives.
From early June to mid-October, he trolls for walleyes far off shore, and he and his guides clients routinely catch limits. Jarman himself has caught fish up to 6 pounds trolling.
There is a science to his approach.He doesn’t merely pull into open water and start trolling. He tries to keep his crankbaits cutting through the water over main-lake structure.
“I’m looking anything where there is a change in the bottom,” he said. “Main-lake or secondary points, drop-offs, humps – that’s what walleyes will relate to in the summer.”
Jarman likes to troll with 60 to 70 feet of line out. He uses 10-pound test and trolls at two miles per hour. He wants to keep his crankbaits 10 to 12 feet down in water that is at least twice that deep.
“Walleyes will always come up to hit a bait,” Jarman said. “If you troll too deep, you’re not going to catch them. You have to be in the right zone.”
During the hottest part of summer, Jarman prefers to troll early in the day and in the evening hours. But he knows that the fish will hit in the middle of the day, too.
He proved it on a recent sultry day in the Ozarks. He, White and I caught enough walleyes to make a meal. And there was a bonus. We also caught about 20 white bass, several big crappies and a couple of keeper largemouth bass.
But such results aren’t unusual. Jarman and his clients have been catching limits (four walleyes 15 inches or longer) of walleyes regularly in the June heat.
For Jarman, that’s just one more trick in his trade. After guiding on Stockton since shortly after it opened in 1969, he knows where to find the sharp-toothed gamefish.
He also knows that he is fishing on the right reservoir. Stockton has long been recognized as one of Missouri’s top walleye spots, thanks to regular stockings by the Department of Conservation.
Jarman’s favorite method is to use suspending stickbaits in the early spring. He caught a 10-pound, 4-ounch walleye in March several years ago.
But he doesn’t stop fishing when the weather turns hot and humid. He knows he can tie on a small crankbait such as a Bandit and stay on the move.
By Forrest Fisher with guide, Frank Schoenacker (Infinity Charters)
When great guides and charter captains talk, honest anglers that don’t always catch fish listen. So I listen very well. I’m as honest as they come. One thing I’ve discovered, when anglers share life through the gift of a fishing charter, good things can happen!
During a recent Chautauqua Lake fishing trip for one client couple, there came lasting memories and lots of fishing fun.
The client contacted my friend and local guide, Frank Schoenacker, in December, as she had purchased a charter fish trip as a Christmas gift for her boyfriend. Frank said, “They both fish, but haven’t done much walleye or musky fishing. So last week, they had a couple of firsts. She landed her first ever walleye, which was a nice 17-inch fish, then she followed up with 5 more! That’s not all, her boyfriend caught his first musky while fishing for walleyes.”
Frank added, “I teach my clients to fish simple. It all starts with meeting them at a common place. At Chautauqua Lake, for many guides and for me too, that place is the Bemus Point boat launch. The next thing is not overcrowding the action and the people aboard. On Chautauqua, I limit clients to two people maximum and I don’t fish when I have clients. I provide equipment and have it setup before the trip.”
When Frank talks, he explains juicy details, “On my boat, I use an 8-horse kicker to troll weed edges at slow speed (1 mph or so), mostly using a very simple, old-fashioned, spinner/worm harness. Small beads, a small spinner blade and small hooks are essential when fishing Chautauqua.Lots of reasons why, they have to do with catching your targeted species.Boat control and using electronics to see the weed edge is critical. My boat is a tiller steer, so I have direct contact with my motor and boat direction. I tie my harness with small hooks (size one), then use a small copper or fire-tiger blade (size 2) off a clevis, then I usually add small red beads as attractors – or whatever fish think those are!They work.”
Schoenacker uses a sliding-sinker for weight on his 6 to 8 lb braid as mainline. He adds, “Pretty much an old school setup. Normally I’m anywhere from 8 to 14 feet of water depth depending on the weed edge where we fish. Early in the season when water is cool, I’ll use nightcrawlers (sometimes half-worms are better than whole ones) and I start to use a rubber worm soon after, as white perch get pesky and they won’t touch a plastic worm.” He was smiling with a big grin.
“Starting at the tail end of June, I fish a rubber worm instead of a live worm pretty much all the time. When the bite slows at mid-morning, I have one client go to a live worm. Sometimes we can get an extra bite or two. “
What if the fish aren’t biting?Franks says, “I move around and pre-fish before guided trips so I have a plan based on wind and weather for the day. Generally, during the early season I’m in the lower lake mostly (south of Route 86 bridge). This year (2017), the channel in Bemus was good early.”
“It’s not as simple as I’m making it sound, you need to adapt and you know when that needs to happen after a few decades of fishing, ”Schoenacker says.“Weed lines off the creek mouths are good, so I look around Prendergast Bay, Dewittville Bay, Goose Creek, etc. The fish tend to be active at different places and at different times, so this is where the knowledge of the guide comes in.Add the varying style of fishing we can do and add the potential to change position, “run and gun,” from spot to spot, we find them most every day we try.”
If you live on or near the lake, that is a bonus.He adds, “Pre-fishing helps me have several spots planned. Any angler that fishes today needs to have pretty good electronics so they can see the fish for as many times as they work the weed line. I have also seen that when walleyes are active, the white perch are less of a problem. I’m seeing several good year classes of walleyes in the lake now, lots of 13-14 inch throwbacks, then there are numbers of 17 inchers and then a class of 20 inch-plus fish. “
Anglers are pleased that the walleye population is doing well in the lake and folks are also very pleased that the DEC lowered the walleye minimum size limit to 15-inches in 2017.Schoenacker adds, “I do some musky trolling, but my primary focus is on fishing for walleyes.”
“I’ll fish the weed lines until the water warms and fish move deeper. At that point I move to open water trolling and snap-jigging. Snap-jigging works for me right on through the fall. I like the weedline and jigging programs best because you hold the rod and feel the fish hit. Hard to beat that for sure,” says Schoenacker
Schoenacker adds, “I want to help people have more fun finding and catching fish, so I’m sharing some of my program plan with walleye anglers everywhere that plan to fish Chautauqua Lake sometime soon.This gives you the background on my simple walleye program, but don’t forget, you can always call me for a hands-on trip.”
Lastly, Schoenacker has two boats, he uses the smaller one (Lund Pro–V Tiller with 60hp Yamaha and 8hp Yamaha) for that up-front experience on Chautauqua Lake, but he is also a licensed Lake Erie Charter Captain and member of the Eastern Lake Erie Charter Boat Association and National Association of Charter Boat Operators. He will also share his fish–catching secrets while aboard his Pro-Line 25 (powered by Evinrude 225hp ETEC and 9.9hp Yamaha kicker). You can reach Capt. Frank Schoenacker by phone at 585-406-5764, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or on his website at: http://www.infinitycharters.com/.
You know, we never stop learning when people that know way more than we do are willing to share.Hat’s off to Captain Frank!
Musky fishing exciting! There is always one place where you can almost always find cooperative fish that will provide an exciting trip.
Any muskie hunter knows that Lake of the Woods is one of the best fisheries of muskie. Anglers come for miles around to fish our trophy waters. So make your plans as the 2017 muskie opener on Lake of the Woods for both the Minnesota and Ontario sides of the lake begins this weekend, Saturday, June 17th.
Lake of the Woods is a world class muskie fishery with over 65,000 miles of shoreline and 14,552 islands.
The majority of muskie anglers are catch and release. Many resorts, especially at the NW Angle specialize in muskie guides. These muskie nuts keep a good handle on fish movement, lure preference, colors and areas muskies are prevalent. It is also a great way to save time really learning the nuances of becoming a better muskie angler. Check out a list of NW Angle Resorts who can set you up with some of the best guides in the business.
For those that just love the sport, here are some tips on safely practicing catch and release:
Careful Handling Makes Catch & Release Successful
A big muskie is an old muskie. Females require 14 to 17 years to reach 30 pounds. Northern pike grow even more slowly. Once taken out of the water and hung on a wall or carved into fillets, a trophy is not soon replaced by another fish of its size. So, the key to creating trophy northern pike and muskie fishing is catch-and-release angling. Unfortunately, some fish are mortally injured by improper handling and cannot be successfully released.
All northern pike and muskie are difficult to handle because of their slippery hides, lack of good handles and sharp teeth. Big fish are particularly troublesome because of their great size and power.
The first step to successfully releasing fish is to use artificials rather than live bait. The second step is to keep the fish in the water if at all possible.
Caught on artificials and handled carefully, nearly all fish can be returned with no permanent injury. Here are some effective methods, courtesy of Muskie Canada, for handling large northern pike and muskie:
·Hand Release. Grip the fish over the back, right behind the gills (never by the eye sockets!) and hold it without squeezing it. With the other hand, use a pliers to remove the hooks, while leaving all but the head of the fish in the water. Sometimes hooks can be removed with the pliers only; the fish need never be touched.
·Landing Net. Hooks can be removed from some fish even as they remain in the net in the water. If that’s not possible, lift the fish aboard and remove the hooks while the fish is held behind the head and around the tail. To better restrain large fish, stretch a piece of cloth or plastic over the fish and pin it down as if it were in a straight jacket.
·Stretcher. A stretcher is made of net or porous cloth about 2 to 3 feet wide stretched between two poles. As you draw the fish into the cradle and lift, the fold of the mesh supports and restrains the fish. This method requires two anglers.
·Tailer. Developed by Atlantic salmon anglers, a tailer is a handle with a loop at one end that is slipped over the fish’s tail and tightened. The fish is thus securely held, though the head must be further restrained before the hooks are removed.
If you must lift a big fish from the water, support as much of its body as possible to avoid injuring its internal organs.
Never grip a fish by the eye sockets if you intend to release it. By doing so you abrade its eyes, injure the surrounding tissue and may cause blindness.
Muskie anglers are a very passionate breed, often fishing from dawn to dusk. They also have the deepest respect for muskies and overall do an excellent job of making sure these ultimate predators return to the water unharmed.
Best of luck to all muskie anglers not only this weekend but this year. The muskies have been active this spring, are in good numbers and should be active.
For lots more info on where to fish, guides and lodging:
Rapala created a series of lures that allow anglers more understanding about their fish-attracting products just by reading the label. For example, the new “DT” series of Rapala’s are labelled DT-4, DT-20, etc. and the acronym stands for “Dives-To” 4 feet, 20 feet, and so on.
In similar manner, Storm created a “GT” series searchbait-minnow labelled “360-GT,” intended for use 360 degrees around the angler casting position.The “GT” stands for “Go-To” lure.Pretty catchy, pretty simple, and as I discovered, pretty effective.
The supple, soft, durable, plastic body offers a wide swimming tail action that wobbles left to right as it is retrieved.The wobble from the tail causes the head to roll left and right a bit, emanating a faint, resonant, rattle sound from the jig head as the lure is retrieved.Depth is controlled by angler speed of retrieve, the selected weight of the jig head and the size of the tail selected in the available assortment of the GT series.
Al Lindner says, “Throw it out, turn the reel handle, that’s it.Incredibly productive, incredibly effective.”We all know that when Al Lindner says it that way, I think you gotta try it for yourself.So I did. I believe Al.
I fished these in Florida, North Carolina and New York in the last few months to field test their effective attraction. A faster retrieve caused a gentle internal rattle sound to emanate – an audible frequency sound that seemed to drive fish nuts.Not sure the fish were attracted to the lure or just wanted to kill the sound source because it bothered them.Either way, I caught smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, walleye, northern pike and crappie on these enticing “Go-To” lures.Do I like them?Yes!An understatement.
Why do I like them?They are affordable priced.They are packaged with three tails, one tail is pre-mounted to the rattling head, and two tails are spares.The jig head is molded around a VMC fish hook.They are a “keep-it-simple bait.”Right now, this toss and retrieve bait is available in 11 common baitfish color patterns and three sizes, perfect for a tasty predator ambush. They are inexpensive, priced from $4 to $6.
See a video about how to use this simple, easy to fish bait.Al Lindner talks about it in some detail as you watch through this video: https://youtu.be/SXpFV_HBxmk.
On Lake Ontario, salmon and trout fishing continues to be good.Capt. Vince Pierleoni of Newfane reports good numbers of fish in the area off Olcott and Wilson, but you have to adapt and locate the fish.
Heavy current and winds have scattered fish, but a mix of salmon and trout can be found in 100 to 300 feet of water. Flasher-fly, meat rigs and spoons like Dreamweaver’s and Michigan Stinger’s have been producing fish on a consistent basis. Pierleoni just returned from the Orleans Open Salmon and Trout Tournament last weekend where he placed second – less than 5 points behind the winner, Capt. Ed Monette and Cannonball Runner. Pierleoni actually caught one more fish that Monette – 16 to 15 – but scoring is based on 10 points per fish and a point per pound.
This Saturday is the opening of the regular bass season so you will probably see a few more boats heading out.
The Newfane launch ramp at Olcott is not having any water issues and launching is not a problem. All the boat slips are viable. The kids fishing derby set for June 24 in the Town of Newfane marina has been cancelled for this year.
This coming Saturday, June 17, is the Wilson Conservation Club’s 31st annual kids derby from 8 a.m. to noon. Fish in any Niagara County waters. This contest is based on length and you must have your fish measured by noon. Call 930-7500 for more info. The club is located on Route 425 near the water tower.
In Tonawanda, the kids derby will be at Niawanda Park near the band shell along River Road. Registration starts at 8 a.m. There are other activities going on in addition to the fishing.
In addition, that same day will be the start of a new event across the state – the New York State Summer Classic Fishing Tournament, and running through August 31. There are a total of 10 different fish species categories and 55 weigh stations throughout the state. To find out more information, check out www.nyssummerclassic.com.
In the LowerNiagara River, water temperature is still slowly creeping up there. Only a few steelhead and lake trout are still holding on. Mostly bass were caught this week on jigs, Kwikfish and MagLips. The regular season opens on Saturday the 17th and live bait can then be used again. Shore casters in the gorge have been using tubes, swim baits and marabou jigs. Inline spinners will work, too. Moss hasn’t increased that much. The worse is yet to come. Take advantage of the clearer water while you can.
Upper Niagara River bass fishing continues to be good. Remember that the regular bass season opens Saturday (June 17). Speaking of bass, the Annual Opening Day Bass Contest sponsored each year by Kelly’s Korners, will NOT be held this year. Organizers for the tournament didn’t want to see the big bass end up in a fish fry and they decided to retire the event to help protect the resource. Some walleye are being caught at the head of the river and at the head of Strawberry Island on worm harnesses and jigs. Great Lakes musky season opens up this Saturday, too. For some tips and a nice story on the Niagara Musky Assn., check out www.buffalonews.com/section/sports/outdoors/ this week.
NOTE: There is still a state of emergency along the Lake Ontario shoreline for high water levels. This isn’t really going to affect the fishing that much, but the Niagara County Sheriff is asking that boats creating a wake stay at least 600 feet from shore. This doesn’t include trolling. Caution is advised for floating debris when you are out in the lake moving around. The problem seems to be launching. The best spot to be right now is the Town of Newfane Marina in Olcott. Fort Niagara has an open launch but you need boots up to your knees or above. Golden Hill State Park launch is closed and Wilson-Tuscarora Park is day to day (but you need hip boots there, too). It’s worth the effort for the good fishing!
These craft are made to order for fishing small and remote waters.
You will never go back to aluminum canoes once you’ve fished from a kayak.
You can customize a fishing kayak for anything.
By Jim Low
Ask anyone who has fished an Ozark stream (or anywhere) in a kayak, and you are likely to hear a paean on the many advantages of these craft.My “aha moment” came within five minutes of climbing into a 10-foot Old Towne model.
A slightly overlong cast landed my Rebel Craw in a wad of flotsam and I swore like a sailor, knowing I’d have to paddle like a demon against a stiff current to retrieve the $6 crankbait.Resting my rod in the notches provided for that purpose, I grabbed the double paddle and instantly became aware of the advantages of kayak fishing.Instead of the heavy labor needed to propel a bulky aluminum canoe upstream, a few strokes had me within reach of my lure.Then, instead of struggling to turn a 16-foot behemoth around in tight quarters, I executed a neat 180-degree turn and was fishing again.
In the South, when food is so good you can’t believe it, they say it will make you want to slap your mama.At that moment on Bryant Creek, I wanted to slap my Grumman.Don’t get me wrong, canoes have their place.
There’s no beating the cargo capacity and stability of an 18-foot touring canoe on a camping trip.Lightweight Kevlar models in a variety of sizes and styles make canoes much more versatile than they were 30 years ago.But for fishing skinny water or remote spots, nothing beats a kayak.You can throw three or four of them in the bed of a pickup truck and carry them in to places other anglers can only dream of reaching.
I had no idea how important portability was until I found myself near the end of a day-long float on the upper Maries River a few years ago.
My fishing buddy has bad hips and knees and could barely get in and out of his borrowed kayak with assistance.We were tired and ready for a hot meal with adult beverages, when the river unexpectedly ended.A flood had deposited several thousand cubic yards of gravel and hundreds of trees in what once was the main channel.What was left was a quarter mile of small rivulets separated by gravel bars and choked with willow thickets.
Randy got himself and our fishing rods to the end of the blockage, but it fell to me to drag our kayaks through the hellish mess.I don’t know what we would have done if we had been in a canoe.
Many kayaks are not particularly well-suited to fishing.Dagger-like racing models are not stable enough, and too long to be maneuverable.Short, inexpensive kayaks are similarly tippy, and there’s no place to put your fishing rod and other gear.To enjoy kayak fishing fully, you need one fitted out specifically for that purpose.Prices for fishing kayaks range from a few hundred dollars for models with basic features and to thousands of dollars for boats that practically paddle themselves.There are quite a few features to look for, understand and think about.
Check the many features out in Part 2 of 2, coming up next week.
The night bite along the nearshore reefs has fallen off. Most walleye anglers are now targeting daylight hours and catches have been slowly improving in 40-60 feet of water near major spawning areas. Productive methods include trolling with worm harnesses or stickbaits just off the bottom, or by slow trolling (1 mph or less) with a bottom bouncing rig and worm harness. Working deeper edges off the walleye spawning structures is also worth a try. Some walleye anglers are still