Niagara Falls USA Fishing Forecast for Dec. 7, 2017 – from Destination Niagara USA

Drew Nisbet with a Lower Niagara River steelhead from shore.

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.

Tributary brown trout are in!

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).

Bob Rustowicz with a beautiful coho salmon from a local tributary stream in Niagara County.

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.

Bill Hilts, Jr.
Outdoor Promotions Director
 
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Destination Niagara USA
10 Rainbow Blvd.
Niagara Falls, NY 14303
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Catching Crappie on the Original Road Runner – PART 1

  • “We just wanted a lure that would catch fish.”
  • Spinner beneath Horsehead-Type Jig is MOST EFFECTIVE
  • No Line Tangles, No Missed Strikes
  • Fish it SLOW…’Nuff Said!

By Keith Sutton

Author, Keith Sutton, with a nice crappie.

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.

Click picture to Learn More.

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.

Click picture to Learn More.

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.) 

Orleans County/Lake Ontario Fishing Report – Nov. 28, 2017

  • Trout/Salmon Trib Fishing is GOOD
  • Mile Weather this Week
  • Erie Canal Continues to Supply Trib Water Flow

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.

Email: sportfishing@orleansny.com

TILLY, TILLY – It’s a Thankful Season for Walleye Fishing

  • A Highly Versatile Walleye Bait that Produces in a Variety of Situations
                                                                                                 Tilly TL 5-7 , 1/4 oz, Bumble Bee

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: jack@providencemarketinggroup.net.

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 Live Bait Container, a BEST GIFT IDEA for your Fisherman

  • 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
The Bait-Up bait product keeps live bait fresh in your pocket without batteries. Click the picture to see how it works.

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.

FLOATING BASKET
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.

Learn more at this link: www.bait-up.com.

 

Rapala® Ice Baits, It’s Time!

Rapala Ice Bait Family:

  • Jigging Rap® — the world’s No. 1 ice lure
  • Slab Rap®
  • Ultra Light Rippin’ Rap® No. 3

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 ICE ANGLER Project on the Move in Minnesota’s OTTER TAIL LAKE COUNTRY

  • Women Empowered to FISH ON ICE
  • 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:

  • Shelly Holland
  • Bonnie Timm
  • Shantel Wittstruck
  • Rikki Pardun
  • 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 icefishher@gmail.com or call 608-692-7386.

STORM® 360GT SEARCHBAIT® JIGS & BODIES NOW Sold SEPARATELY

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

Niagara Falls USA Fishing Forecast for Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017 from Destination Niagara USA

  • 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
Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls is still doing well off the New York Power Authority fishing platform, catching walleye, trout and occasional Coho salmon, all on homemade jigs.

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.

Rich Pisa with a nice steelhead from Niagara County, NY.

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.

Bill Hilts, Jr.
Outdoor Promotions Director

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Destination Niagara USA
10 Rainbow Blvd., Niagara Falls, NY 14303
p: 1-877 FALLS US | 716-282-8992 x. 303, f: 716-285-0809

Where is the Guide?

  • Lake of the Woods: Walleye Capital of the World
  • Anchor, Relax, Catch Fish All Day…Seriously
  • Simple Jig-Minnow Fishing

By David Gray

Captain Cassy Geurkink makes happy anglers when they come to fish Lake of the Woods near Baudette, Mn.  Dave Gray Photo

“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!  

I enjoyed every minute of our fishing trip on Lake of the Woods, catching walleye and sauger at an unbelievable rate. Forrest Fisher Photo

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.

The new Kamooki Lure is spreading like wildfire across the fishing world. They’re a unique vertical jerkbait that will invoke a strike even when fish are not hungry.  Forrest Fisher Photo

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. 

Charter Captain Cassy Geurkink at the helm, showed us a fun time on a rainy day when nearly no other boats dared to leave the dock due to the weather.  With the best country and western music playing from Sirius, we knocked the socks off the fish!  David Gray Photo

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! 

Share the Outdoors editor Dave Barus says, “We learned that walleye and sauger, big and small, live and thrive here thanks to a good fisheries management program and plentiful baitfish supply.  David Gray Photo

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. 

For more info, here is the link: http://www.borderviewlodge.com/.

Where Fishing is King

  • Walleye Capital of the World – Lake of the Woods
  • Sportsman’s Lodge, Oak Island Resort, Eagle Ridge Lodge
  • Catch a Sturgeon here too!

By David Gray

Thanks to the fisheries management program for Lake of the Woods, happy angler and book author, Bob Holzhei, caught many healthy and plentiful walleye like this one, while fishing with guides from Sportsman’s Lodge.  Forrest Fisher Photo

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.

Walleye and sauger during September and October can fill the sonar screen just a half-mile from the outlet of the Rainy River.  Forrest Fisher Photo

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.

Gregg and Diana Hennum have provided coordinated programs for fishing, food and accommodations at the Sportsman’s Lodge.  David Gray Photo

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.

The new villa accommodations offer brand new rustic seating that is accompanied with a view of the Rainy River and a beautiful sunset each evening.

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.

Lake George Village, October Smallmouth Bass ON-THE-BITE…40 feet down!

  • 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

Walt Lockhart with one of many smallmouth bass we landed fishing the southern basin of Lake George in eastern New York State. Forrest Fisher Photo

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, NY, 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.

My fishing partner, Frank Tennity, is a charter captain from Conesus Lake, NY, but he was able to charm those Lake George smallmouth bass into the boat as well.  Forrest Fisher Photo

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.

Using his Lowrance sonar with Navionics map chip, Walt found lots of fish for us to catch.  Forrest Fisher Photo

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!

For size and color details on the highly effective jig tail we were tossing, visit: (http://www.tacklewarehouse.com/Keitech_Swing_Impact_FAT_Swimbait/descpage-KSIF.html), we were using the Sun Gill color.

The Keitech fat swimbait jig tails we used were VERY effective. The fish would hit them on the descent.  Forrest Fisher Photo

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.

Located right on Glen Lake, 10 minutes south of Lake George Village, the Docksider Restaurant was a cozy place to relax for lunch and meet with friends. Forrest Fisher Photo

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.

Niagara Falls USA Fishing Forecast for October 19, 2017

  • Olcott Pier and Burt Dam turn on!
  • Watch wind for Pier Action hot bite.
  • Lower River Shore Fishing has been HOT

There are plenty of fish around to be caught!

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.

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!

A Special CASE for “Border Water Walleye and PERFECT Boneless Fillets”

  • 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

Nature and the peaceful wilderness to be found near Sportsman’s Lodge in Baudette, Minnesota, will create NEVER-FORGET memories for all that visit. Forrest Fisher Photo

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.

Hungry Lake-of-the-Woods walleye are asking anglers, “What’s for Dinner?”  Forrest Fisher Photo

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.

Captain Ralph Christofferson provided the expertise that enabled us to catch walleye and sauger at the unbelievable rate of more than 20 fish per hour.  Forrest Fisher Photo

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.

My 6-inch W.R.Case fillet knife is unequalled as an angler tool and doubles as my favorite kitchen tool.

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.

We’ll be back soon (http://sportsmanslodges.com/).

 

 

Fall Frenzy – Northern Pike

  • Catch more and bigger autumn pike by following their favorite prey

By Gord Pyzer

The author with a giant northern pike caught during their fall binge feeding period. Gord Pyzer Photo

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.

Location

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.

Conditions

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.

Gear

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 …..

To continue to the end of Gord’s great pike story, please click on this link: http://www.outdoorcanada.ca/One-simple-trick-to-catch-more-and-bigger-northern-pike-this-fall.

MAG-12 BUZZ Worm: MASSIVE Action & GIANT Motion ATTRACTION

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.

 

USA Heads to World Bass Fishing Championships In South Africa

  • Competition Begins Oct. 5, 2017
  • Live Weigh-In Results Available On-Line
  • 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.
The U.S. Angling Board of Directors selected the USA Bass team (L to R): Lionel Botha, Fred Roumbanis, David Dudley, Team Captain – Scott Martin, Scott Canterbury, Mark Rose, James Watson and David Fritts.

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.

Bass World Championship Event pages:

Thanks to the USA Bass supporters that made this trip to South Africa possible:

Gold “Title” sponsor:  Capital City/Lake Murray Country RTB.

 

 

Silver sponsors:  Hidden Bay Graphics, Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits, Bay Rat Lures, Regional Jet Center:

Bronze sponsors: Kid Casters, Careco TV, Bass Kickin’ Tackle, Uranus Fudge Factory, Bob’s Machine Shop

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’s and Brown Trout Wacking Baits from Boat & Shore in Lower Niagara River

  • 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
Mike Rzucidlo with an October brown trout casting from shore in the Lower Niagara River.
Jon Gwara with a nice King Salmon fishing with Captain Frank Campbell.
Ricardo Davila with a King Salmon caught from shore.

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.

Captain Chris Cinelli with another nice walleye rom the Upper Niagara River / Lake Erie.

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!

 

Walleye & Sauger Slamming Jigs at Lake-of-the-Woods – Baudette, Minnesota

  • Usual Fish Catch Rate is 4-7 Fish/Hour
  • 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

Lake of the Woods offers top notch walleye and sauger fishing just 5 to 15 minutes from the dock.  This graph is typical for fall fishing stints. Forrest Fisher Photo

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.

Roger Nieson with a nice walleye from LOTW (Lake of the Woods). Forrest Fisher Photo

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.

Executive Director, Julie Knutson, from the Watertown, South Dakota, Visitor’s and Tourism Bureau, were visiting and fishing with us at the conference…the action was non-stop!Forrest Fisher Photo

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!.

Welded stainless steel side plates and fixturing is standard gear with this Angler Qwest pontoon boat model. Forrest Fisher Photo

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!

Trax Tech Rod Holders  allow high-tech fishing with boards, riggers and divers. Forrest Fisher Photo

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.

David Gray of the VEXPO North American Sportshow shared fish-catching fun moments. Forrest Fisher Photo

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.

Lovin autumn life in the outdoors!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

King Salmon, Coho’s Walleye, Steelhead – Lower Niagara River & Lake Ontario IS HOT

  • 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
Jim Rores King Salmon in the Lower Niagara River.

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.

Joe Czyrny with a nice King.

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.

Young Keegan Walczak with a nice Steelhead.

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.

Ricardo Davila with a nighttime walleye from Artpark.

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.

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!

 

Vincent DeLoraenzo with a giant King rom the Lower River.

Niagara Falls USA Fishing Forecast for September 15, 2017

  • King Salmon are SNAPPING!  The Run is ON.
  • Lake Ontario, Niagara River, Piers, Creeks – All Have Fish.
  • Shore or Boat, Grab Your Gear.
Captain Jeff Draper with another mature King Salmon caught in the Lower Niagara River. Fishing if HOT right now.

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.

Even the kids are enjoying the salmon fishing this year! Ricardo Davila’s daughter is one happy angler!

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.

Gary Hall with a nice King Salmon in the Lower Niagara.

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.

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!

FLW Costa Bass-Fishing Series Moves to Buffalo, NY, in 2018

  • FLW Costa Series to Buffalo, NY
  • Competition Event Set for July 26-28, 2018 
  • Eastern Lake Erie Bass Fishing Resource DRAWS WORLD CLASS ANGLERS 
  • Abundant Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass will Provide Highlight for Region
Patrick Kaler, President and CEO of Visit Buffalo Niagara and Buffalo Niagara Sports Commission, has worked with FLW executives, local bass fishing organizations and  local members of the Erie County Fish Advisory Board to bring the Costa FLW Bass Fishing Series to Buffalo in 2018. Forrest Fisher Photo

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. 

FLW fishing coming to Buffalo, New York, is exciting news covered by several local and regional communication and news networks.  Forrest Fisher Photo

Barcelona Walleye RUSH OUTDOORS to Offshore Bite for TV

  • 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

Tim Andrus, outdoor mentor and star of Rush Outdoors TV, lands a nice 5-pound walleye near Barcelona Harbor, New York.  Forrest Fisher Photo

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.   

Captain Brad Smith ran 10 well-equipped lines with no tangles and 31 fish boated over the day. Forrest Fisher Photo

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. 

With John Lenox on the left, Tim Andrus on the right, we enjoyed 7 double-headers through 4-hours of fish catching. Forrest Fisher Photo

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.”

John Lenox caught many walleye like this one, perfect table fare, over the trip. Forrest Fisher Photo

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.

Tim Andrus landed his biggest ever lake trout, a 20 pound-7 ounce monster fork tail, on a Captain Brad Smith homemade spoon. Forrest Fisher Photo

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.

Captain Brad Smith (left) and his 1st mate and wife, Darcy Smith, offer a friendly, enjoyable fishing day aboard their 28-foot Marinette Fisherman charter boat, rigged and moored at Monroe Marina, Barcelona Harbor, Chautauqua County, New York. Forrest Fisher Photo

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.

(left to right) Forrest Fisher, John Lenox and Tim Andrus,with a nice photo summary of the bigger fish caught on the fun trip. Captain Brad Smith Photo.

Lake Ontario King Salmon: FISHING FROM SHORE “IS-ON”

  • 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
Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls, NY, with Lower Niagara River King Salmon caught from shore.

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.

The Olcott pier action has started, the east pier will open at 4 p.m. on Friday (Sep. 8).

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

FAST-RIPPING, HARD-STOPPING RAPALA® RIPSTOP® ELICITS EPIC BITES

  • Cast. Reel. Twitch.
  • Reel. Rip! Reel. Stop!
  • Wait for it … Set the hook!
The RipStop™ tail design creates a fast-ripping, flashing swimbait action. Hard-stopping, forward motion stops on a dime, with a subtle shimmy before coming to a rest, then ever so slightly lifts its head with a super slow-rise. (Photo Credit: Rapala)

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.

Fish-Catching Fun in Comfort on Lake Ontario

  • 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

Whopper steelhead are among usual late summer catches when your lure and feeding time for the fish are in-sync, as they were for Rick Updegrove the last week of August. Forrest Fisher Photo

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. 

The big question for many anglers is how to fish and with what. What color? What spoon? How Deep? Charter captains often have ALL THOSE ANSWERS.  Forrest Fisher Photo

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.

O

Success is a double header with some high-flying steelhead.  L-R: Mike Norris, John Syracuse, Rick Updegrove.  Forrest Fisher Photo

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.  

Need the right sensor gear to catch fish? Sonar, radar, surface water temp, water temp at the ball, boat speed, and a radiotelephone to phone home are all part of the half-day fish trip.  Forrest Fisher Photo

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.

Fish on! Who’s up?!

Bass Fishing Escape to Cassadaga Lake

  • Drop-Shot Rigs Simplify Lure Location
  • Venom Worms Offer Unique Action on Drop-Shot Rigs
  • Colors, Bottom-Weight, Make a Difference

By Forrest Fisher

Scott Gauld showed us that big smallmouth bass and big largemouth bass can live together in the unique, healthy underwater habitat of Cassadaga Lake. Forrest Fisher Photo

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. 

A Drop-Shot rig and “Standout Hook” are effective when used with a properly hooked Venom plastic worm. Forrest Fisher Photo

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 “Standout Hook” allows for perfect presentation and perfect hook set to allow release of the fish unharmed in any way. Forrest Fisher Photo

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.  

The Rattle-Shake swim jig lure tipped with a white Venom Skip Shad tail fooled at least one musky while I had been casting for bass. Fun! Forrest Fisher Photo

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.

The best part of the fish day can be the rabble-rousing jokes that fly among fishing buddies that share their love for the outdoors with a rod and reel. From L to R: Leon Archer, Wayne Brewer, Scott Callen, Mike Joyner and Scott Gauld.  Forrest Fisher Photo

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.

Tight lines everyone!

DONUTS, HOT COFFEE and WALLEYE AT SUNRISE!

  • The “Great Lakes Experience” EVENT is Exemplary
  • 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

Which lures to choose are among key questions that anglers ask each time they head out to Lake Erie for walleye.  This year, some of the solid choices are shown here. Forest Fisher Photo

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. 

 

Ally Pawarski from the Buffalo Sports Commission, shares in the walleye fun and bounty of Lake Erie with a nice 5-pound fish. Forrest Fisher Photo

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.” 

Captain Skoczylas found fish about 70 feet down in 80 to 105 feet of water. Downriggers, diving plans and long lead-line rigs were used to catch 26 fish in less than 4 hours of fishing. Forrest Fisher Photo

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.

Spinner/Worm rig colors for blades and beads, and hook size, can vary from day to day, but the question can be finding the right one on the day you are fishing. Forrest Fisher Photo

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.    

Gene Pauszek, outdoor communicator for the Dunkirk Observer, caught this 11.41 pound walleye monster a few days before the Great Lakes Experience in early August.  He was fishing aboard Sassafras Charters with Captain Lance Erhardt and using a borrowed fishing rod and rig to fool this whopper.  Go figure.

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. 

Fish on!  Who’s up?! God Bless America.

The 2017 Lake Erie Experience: A “Must Do” Destination – Dunkirk Harbor

  • 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.

-MJ

© 2017 Joyner Outdoor Media (Link: http://www.turkey-talk.com/tblog/?p=622)

KING SALMON BITE is ON! Niagara Falls USA Fishing Forecast for August 23, 2017

  • King’s Salmon are Schooling on Niagara Bar
  • Derby Results Yield 30-pound King Miracle Win
  • Big Fish Catching is on RIGHT NOW
  • Brought to you by Destination Niagara USA

John Van Hoff with this derby-winning Niagara Bar king salmon caught on a meat-rig.

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.

Joe Oakes with his 34 pound King Salmon from Wilson.

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.  

John Schaeffer of Jamestown, NY, shows off a 33 pound King Salmon from 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.  

Evan Rohe of Cheektowaga, NY, with a nice trout entry in the Odyssey Contest.

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. 

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!

Ozark Bass are Easy Pickin’ when You Know How

  • Canoe Fishing with Dennis Whiteside
  • Old-Fashioned Topwater Fishing Fun

By Brent Frazee

Dennis Whiteside, 69, shares how to catch Ozark bass in the middle of stifling hot summer weather.

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.

To reach Dennis Whiteside, call 479-692-3372.

Need a Small Boat Transducer Mounting Rig?

  • Hands-On REVIEW of a Cabela’s Product: Video & Commentary
  • Affordable & Works Perfect for Small Boats
  • Durable & Adjustable, but Instructions are Difficult
The Sonar Transducer Mounting Rig works perfect, but the instructions could have been more clearly written.  It did help me understand more about finding the bigger fish!

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.

 

FLW ANNOUNCES 2018 COSTA FLW SERIES SCHEDULE

  • 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

2018 Costa FLW Series Schedule is Official 

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      

Northern Division

  • 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    

Southeastern Division

  • 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

Southwestern Division

  • 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        

Western Division

  • 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.

For complete details and updated information visit FLWFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the Costa FLW Series on Facebook at Facebook.com/FLWFishing and on Twitter at Twitter.com/FLWFishing.

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 FacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube and Snapchat.

PHANTOM LURES PARTNERS WITH PRO-TROLL FISHING

  • 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.

Individually hand-painted, factory tuned, and tank tested, the Phantom Standard MUSKY LURE gives you ultraconsistent, proven, side-to-side wander of the venerable glide bait.  Built torture-tough from a high-impact resin that fishes like maple with a bonus: This Beauty’s got a death pause that kills.  Sink with a  reliable 1′ per second, letting you dissect open water reefs, weediness or sections of emerging weed tops with a surgeon’s precision. A threaded brass receiver securely locks in interchangeable Phantom weights to fine tune sink rates and intrude any zone, making Standard a countdown’s dream for suspended fish. Forrest Fisher Photo

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,

 

Niagara Falls USA Fishing Report for August 16, 2017 – Presented by Destination Niagara USA

Lake Ontario Fishing Derbies Start this Weekend

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.

Jim Gasewski of Ohio hoists of a tasty salmon caught fishing aboard the Hawg with Capt. Jim Gordon.

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.

Ricky Deubel of Cleveland, Ohio, reeled in this 31 pound king salmon while fishing with Mark Lewandowski of Buffalo.

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.

Capt. Jim Gordon holds up a trophy steelhead.

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.

Get Walleye Savvy Quick – ST. CROIX Walleye EYECON® FISHING ROD SERIES

  • PRODUCT REPORT:
  • Eyecon® ECS-70LF, 7ft., Lite-Power, Fast-Action, SCII Graphite
  • When a Fishing Rod Icon creates a Walleye Fishing Eyecon®
The St. Croix Eyecon® WALLEYE SERIES of fishing rods are sensitive, powerful and affordable.  

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.

Finesse fishing for walleye can be very successful with the right tools, beginning with the right fishing rod.  Forrest Fisher Photo

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/.

Big Beast Bass Adventures at Conesus Lake (NY)

  • Silent Presentation is KEY
  • Simple Fishing Rigs can be MOST EFFECTIVE
  • Quality Line, Sharp Hooks, Stiff Rod can help ASSURE Hookup & Catch
Simple Fishing can be effective, things to consider and details are part of this fish-catching story. Forrest Fisher Photo

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.

Lake Erie-Lake Ontario-Niagara River “On-Line” Fishing & Vacation Map is FREE

  • 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
Depth Contours as well as on-shore landmarks for boater access, shore fishing, restaurants and marina locations are included for Niagara County, Erie County and Chautauqua County waterway areas.  The website map link and info is 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 area below Dunkirk, NY, and Barcelona Harbor, in Westfield, NY, is the “HOT WALLEYE ZONE”. Here is the 1st look-see from a free fishing map link that all anglers can enjoy for the very first time at no charge.

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!

Lake Erie Fishing Hotline, (716) 855-FISH, www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/, fishhotlines.html

Niagara Co. Fishing Hotline, (877) FALLS-US, www.niagarafallsusa.com

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.

Jay Wallen Wins Hobie Bass Open on Kentucky Lake

  • Kentucky Lake, Kentucky
  • Home of Big Bass

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, iniehaus@hobiecat.com

YETI FLW COLLEGE FISHING TOURNAMENT AT CHAUTAUQUA LAKE

  • ADRIAN COLLEGE WINS YETI-FLW NORTHERN CONFERENCE
  • Jarret Martin & Zachary Graham Haul in 20 Bass, Weigh 5 biggest: 16lbs-3oz
  • Presented by Bass Pro Shops
Adrian College anglers, Jarrett Martin and Zachary Graham, both of Gallipolis, Ohio, won the YETI FLW College Fishing Northern Conference tournament at Chautauqua Lake.  FLW Photo

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 Rebel Pop-R has been the judging standard for topwater poppers/chuggers. Visit http://www.rebellures.com/rebel-pop-r-8054 to review all color options. Rebel Lures Photo

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

Complete results can be found atFLWFishing.com<https://www.flwfishing.com/results/2017-07-22-chautauqua-lake> .

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:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/FLWFishing

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/flwfishing

Visit FLW Fishing at http://www.collegefishing.com to sign up or to start a club at your school.

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 on-line at: http://www.flwfishing.com/ and also follow FLW here:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/FLWFishing

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/FLWFishing

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/FLWFishing

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/flwfishing

Snapchat: https://www.snapchat.com/add/flwofficial

Kevin VanDam and His Nephew, Jonathon, will lead St. Lawrence Elite Series Event into Finals

  • 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
Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich., holds the lead for the third day of the Huk Bassmaster Elite at St. Lawrence River presented by Go RVing, bringing 22 pounds, 10 ounces to the scales on Saturday for a three-day total weight of 66-7.  Photo by Seigo Saito/B.A.S.S.

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.

Niagara Bar, Lake Ontario: SALMON & STEELIE Fishing is HOT!

  • 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.

    The new Mr. & Mrs. Kimball enjoy a honeymoon fishing trip with BIG SMILES of Niagara Bar.

    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.

    The new steelhead leader came out of Olcott Harbor – a huge 17-pound, 4-ounce fish that was caught by Adam Robinson of Portland, Oregon while fishing with Capt. Vince Pierleoni and Thrillseeker II.

    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
    f: 716-285-0809
    www.niagarafallsusa.com

Destination Niagara USA Fishing Forecast

  • For Wed. July 12, 2017
  • Salmon, Trout, Bass, Walleye, Musky…WOW!
Kristy Cox from New Vienna, Ohio, with her very nice King Salmon caught near Wilson Harbor, Niagara County, New York.

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

Mike Rzucidlo with a nice Steelhead that he caught in the Lower Niagara River on July 5.

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.

Jerry Howe of Grand Island, New York, caught this 30 lb musky in the Niagara River.

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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Walk the Dog with a Frog!

  • Built-in “Walk-the-Dog” Action
  • 2-1/2 inches, 9/16 oz, 16 colors
  • Extra-wide Premium VMC® double hook
The Terminator Popping Frog is one topwater frog lure finally made to cast well, endure vicious strikes with strong design in the hook tie and extra-wide VMC hook, to bring the big bass to your live well. Forrest Fisher Photo

By Forrest Fisher

YOUR TOPWATER FROG CHECKLIST:

  1. Like to fish for bass in the summertime?  Topwater action can be the most exciting! CHECK
  2. The Terminator Popping Frog is designed for flawless, big, fish-catching fun.  Many crankbaits have their action built in by design of the lip and weight placement, why not the same on a frog.  Now, YES, we have built-in action on a topwater frog too.  The Terminator Popping Frog provides a cupped face to create a loud, strong pop, it will drive fish crazy, even from deep below. CHECK

                                                                               Bass-catching happiness! Forrest Fisher Photo
  3. The weight is positioned to allow long, perfect casts and the extra-wide hook gap converts strikes into hook sets.  The extra-soft body compresses easily to expose those hooks.  CHECK
  4. The round rubber lug tentacles articulate life-like action.  Even the line tie is extra-duty and is welded for no line-wiggle escapes during the hook set.  The Terminator Popping Frog is a unique bass-catching tool for all serious Bass anglers.  CHECK
  5. The Model 25 is the only model made at this time, but it is a perfect size at 2-1/2” in length and 9/16 oz. Perfect.  CHECK
  6. The color on the right is my favorite “Lime Leopard” color, but there are 16 colors.  The lure is a topwater fish killer that allows every angler to fish effectively with the effortless walking and/or popping action built into this topwater frog lure. CHECK
  7. The premium VMC® double hook allows you to hook up with new bass friends as you “Walk the dog with a frog!” FISH-ON!

Get one. CHECK!

Cost?  Under $10. Check colors and supply: http://www.tacklewarehouse.com/Terminator_Walking_Frog/descpage-TWFG.html?gclid=CIzzjd6egdUCFcKKswodEigFdw.

 

 

17 Walleye, Less than 90 Minutes: HERE’S HOW

  • SLOW-TROLL Tricks are Deadly on Walleye Waters
  • Lake Sakakawea, North Dakota, offers Hands-On Learning
  • Bring a Camera: Canyon Colors and Walleye Go Good Together
Delicious, tasty walleye are a top goal for anglers fishing everywhere, but on Lake Sakakawea, the pristine clean water is chilly all year long and the walleye taste better than most anywhere. Forrest Fisher Photo.

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.

Capt. Jeremy Olsen is a top fishing guide that will teach you how to have fun catching fish. Imagine catching 17 walleye in less than 90 minutes! Forrest Fisher Photo

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.

To learn more about Smiley Blades, a video with details about rigging, design, styles and colors is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FoO7MxmD-rA.

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/).

For additional general information on Lake Sakakawea and other North Dakota sites to see, visit http://www.ndtourism.com/blog/lesson-about-lake-sakakawea.

This may have been one of the most fun, most learning trips I have ever had the pleasure to experience. One last word, I love North Dakota!  My sweetheart of 48 years and I will be back soon.

Destination Niagara USA Fishing Report – July 6, 2017

  • FISH: King Salmon Action is HOT
  • WHERE: Wilson Harbor, Niagara County, NY
  • 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.

Big King Salmon are becoming the norm off Wilson Harbor, Niagara County, NY, these last few days.

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. 

Fishing with Captain Frank Campbell, visitors to the Lower Niagara River in Niagara County, NY, are cashing in on GIANT smallmouth bass, like this 6-pound bronzeback.

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

FINDING HIDDEN TREASURE in SUMMER

  • They Exist Near Your Home
  • They Beckon for Your Next Cast
  • They Can Hold State Record Fish

By Larry Whiteley

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.

 

NO SUNDAY BAY

  • Where there are no fish. 
  • Where you won’t catch the largest smallmouth of your life.
Trip leader, Tim Mead, leads a scrappy smallmouth to the boat. Jim Low Photo

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.

A big female snapping turtle visited us off and on for two days, trying to find a spot to lay her eggs. Jim Low Photo

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!

Mike Quinn with a 28-inch Northern Pike.  Jim Low Photo

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.