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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.
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“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.
Devil’s Hole Stairs to Gorge – Repaired and Reopened!
Big Musky on a Good Bite All Week
Walleye, Steelhead and Lake Trout fishing good from Shore and Boat
There’s another storm blowing in this weekend, but Niagara County could luck out on some of the rain and white stuff, should it arrive. Keep your fingers crossed!
This just in from New York State Parks: The stairs into the Niagara Gorge at Devil’s Hole State Park will be reopened on Saturday, November 18, after having been closed all summer so that they could be rebuilt. The stairs had been expected to be closed until Spring 2018. This is great news for shore fishermen who like to cast for trout in the Devil’s Hole area.
Lower Niagara River trout fishing has been good from both boat and shore. We will have to wait and see what the storm blows in for water clarity. Rain and wind in Lake Erie can sometimes impact the lower river fishing. Conditions were near perfect the past week and steelhead are cooperating nicely along the Artpark shoreline. Boaters were bouncing egg sacs off three-way rigs to take some nice steelhead. Of course, you will catch some lake trout along the way. Be careful with them and release the fish immediately. Lake trout season is closed until Jan. 1 in New York waters, Dec. 1 in Canadian waters. Other baits that you should try if the egg sacs don’t work for you include plugs like MagLips and Kwikfish. Minnows will also catch you a fish or two, as will egg imitations like yarn flies.
From shore, any egg or egg imitation will catch fish as will spoons, spinners and jigs. Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls is still doing well off the New York Power Authority fishing platform to catch walleye, trout and the occasional Coho salmon. This week he was using homemade jigs.
Upper Niagara River musky fishing was good the past week according to Capt. Chris Cinelli of Grand Island. He caught three on Monday using large common shiners.
In the Niagara Musky Association’s Tim Wittek Memorial Musky Tournament last Sunday, a total of 28 anglers competed – catching 16 fish for the day. Top fish was a 50 and a half inch fish caught by Jeremy Schneider of Stratford, Ontario using a homemade body bait. Second place was John Pensyl of Lockport with a 48-inch fish jigged a Red October Tube. Third place was Stratford with a 46-inch ‘lunge jigging a Red October Tube. All the fish were released unharmed to fight another day. Other notable catches included a 46-inch musky reeled in by Daniel Lacko of Kenmore, a 43-inch fish hauled in by Andrew Lacko of Kenmore (Dan’s father) and Andrew Porzio of East Aurora with a 40-inch ‘lunge. The season closes on Nov. 30 in the upper river and around the state – except in the lower river and Lake Ontario. That season closes on Dec. 15.
The Lake Ontario tributaries like 18 Mile Creek are still muddy but not high. Some salmon are still struggling to swim around as the browns and steelhead are taking over. While eggs and egg imitations are still good baits to use, the past week seemed to switch over to more of a live bait presentation like crawlers, wax worms and spikes according to Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctors.
Smaller Streams HAVE FISH NOW, especially AFTER EVERY RAIN
Musky Tournament is ON, Nov. 5
Weather conditions have certainly impacted the fishing this past week. High winds and rain resulted in water temperatures dropping 5 degrees since last weekend. That said, it could be just what the “Fish Doctor” ordered to force a transition into the next phase of fall fishing.
In the Upper Niagara River, the last month of musky fishing action improved with the adverse weather, just in time for the Niagara Musky Association’s Tim Wittek Memorial Catch and Release Tournament. The action will take place on Nov. 5 out of the launch ramp area at the foot of Sheridan from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. To get your blood circulating again, there will be a post-tourney chili-fest at the foot of Sheridan in Tonawanda. Cost is $25 to enter this catch-and-release “iron man” tournament. Call Scott McKee at 716-225-3816 for more information. If you just want to find our more information about fall musky fishing in the Niagara, stop in at the NMA monthly meeting at the Eldredge Club, 17 Broad St., Tonawanda, NY, on Tuesday night (Nov. 7) starting at 7 p.m. Guest speaker will be Marc Arena with Red October Baits. Water conditions were murky this week thanks to the wind. The lower river musky season extends to Dec. 15.
And speaking of the lower Niagara River, we had a report that there were some boats on the water today, just prior to the weekend. The first fish they caught was a musky – drifting MagLips off three-way rigs. They also caught a walleye before they hit some trout – steelhead and lake trout. Lake trout season is closed until the end of the year, but sometimes you just can keep them off the hook!
In the gorge area of the lower river, shoreline casters are still catching a mix of salmon and trout. Treated egg skein fished under a float has been a consistent producer for Rich Pisa of Kenmore around the whirlpool area. Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls was picking off some steelhead and salmon on a No. 4 spinner while casting the New York Power Authority Fishing Platform before he was chased off due to high water levels (probably due to the high winds).
If you want to check whether or not the Fishing Platform is open, call 716-796-0135, ext. 45. It usually closes down for the winter around Dec. 1.
At Olcott Harbor and 18 Mile Creek, good reports of steelhead and brown trout have surfaced to complement the salmon that are still hanging around upstream at Burt Dam. Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctors in Olcott reports that there are king and Coho salmon in various stages of their life cycle, including some fresh ones entering into the system. Egg skein and egg sacs work best. If the water is stained, chartreuse and orange-colored egg sacs are best. If we get the rain we are supposed to receive, you can try drifting an egg sac or a single egg in some of the smaller streams like Keg Creek to the east of Olcott, or 12 Mile Creek at Wilson, west of Olcott. Fishing pressure should drop off a little bit as whitetail deer fall into their rut stage and as crossbow season opens Nov. 4.
The regular big game season kicks off for the Southern Zone on Nov. 18. Waterfowl and other small game are also open to spread the activity out. No reports on perch in the harbors, but if the waters are clear enough, they should be starting to move in and become active. If you catch any nice fish, please share with us at email@example.com.
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!
Today is Tuesday October 31, 2017.
This Halloween, the trick is to make the perfect cast with that special fly to that very special spot and catch that ever-elusive fish you have been dreaming about for years.
This fall has been an absolute bonus year for both Lake Ontario and the tributaries of Orleans County.
Those with small boats are still doing well in the near-shore waters of Lake Ontario, while all of our tributaries within Orleans County are alive and producing an abundance of the cold-water species.
Salmon are still entering the tributaries from the lake in good numbers, and the brown trout and rainbow/steelhead trout are starting to really pick up in numbers.
With temperatures falling to more seasonal levels and with water flows at excellent levels, great fishing is in the forecast for well into the future this year.
The Erie Canal has yet to start their dewatering process, so good water flows should continue well into the winter months.
On the lower stretches of the “Oak,” perch fishing has been good and reports have an occasional northern pike being taken, along with a bass or two in the mix.
On Lake Alice it’s been mostly bass in the upper stretches.
I haven’t had any fishing reports from the Erie Canal, but I have to believe that at least bass are still active. 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
There are many fishing activities going on right now so you will have to pick
and choose what you want to do.
For example, salmon fishing is good in Olcott right now at 18 Mile Creek and the lower Niagara River still has a mix of king salmon, Coho salmon and steelhead. If you want trout, you can catch them wherever there is good water flow. The most popular areas are the Niagara River and 18 Mile Creek, but you can do well after a rain in some of the smaller streams, too. Fishermen were picking up some trout in places like Keg and 12 Mile Creeks last week. Anglers are getting a few perch on Lake Erie and there are some hungry bass around as well. There are lots of fish to cast for if you so choose.
The piers in Wilson and Olcott are both good spots with spoons or spinners. The talk of Olcott this past week was the huge musky that was caught off the Olcott pier by a fisherman using a homemade spinner. According to reports, the fish was over 60-inches long, which would put it into a 50 pound class of fish. Huge! It was released to fight another day. The same angler did manage to catch a nice brown trout for the smoker later in the day.
In Olcott Harbor and up the creek, some nice salmon and trout are being caught by casters and drifters. One salmon caught by John Miller of Pennsylvania stretched 45 inches long! At Burt Dam and Fisherman’s Park, there have been lots of fish, but also lots of fishermen. Mostly salmon right now, but steelhead and browns are both being taken as well.
Lower Niagara River action for salmon has been slowing down for boat drifters in the Devil’s Hole area. A few kings are still being caught, but Coho salmon have arrived, as well as a few trout. Steelhead and browns are both possible catches. Lake trout season is closed, but you may start to catch a few when the water temperatures finally drop below 60 degrees – probably this weekend.
Shore casters are still doing well in the gorge on salmon, but it is starting to slow a little bit. Spoons and spinners with glow in the dark tape is one approach; treated egg skein under a float is another option.
Downriver, boat drifters are started to target steelhead along Artpark. Capt. Joe Marra of Lewiston even managed to pick up a few salmon there while targeting trout. Ethan Brolinski, a 7 year-old fisherman from Lewiston, was casting around the launch ramp in Lewiston this past week when local captain Frank Campbell of Niagara Falls tossed him a “lucky” fishing lure to use. Before Ethan’s day was up, he managed to catch 3 Coho salmon from the docks.
Today is Tuesday October 24, 2017.
The temperature yo-yo continues with the temperatures looking more like late September than late October.
Runs of all of the cold-water species are on again and off again on all of the tributaries within Orleans County.
That’s not to say that there is any shortage of any of the cold-water species in our tributaries, they are not the bigger runs that one would normally see this time of year.
Temperatures will be above average into late next week and beyond.
What this means to me and others is that the tributary season will be extended this year and that is great news.
Another positive part of this whole weather thing is that people with boats still in the water have been having great success in the near-shore waters of Lake Ontario off Orleans County.
All of the inland stream and lakes have been fairly quiet right now, but bass fishing is still doing well, especially on the upper reaches of Lake Alice. Please don’t forget that bass season closes on November 30th this year, so bass catch and release starts on December 1st.
Yellow perch are being caught on the lower Stretches of the “Oak”.
The Catch and Release Fly Fishing Derby at the St. Mary’s Archers Club was, once again, a great success with some fantastic fish being weighed in. There was great food being served, great prizes being awarded and great new friends made.
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: email@example.com
Sportsman’s Lodge, Oak Island Resort, Eagle Ridge Lodge
Catch a Sturgeon here too!
By David Gray
It goes without saying that Sportsman’s Lodge on Lake of the Woods, Minnesota, is one of those iconic destinations where everybody with a fishing rod meets to catch fish. If you are a walleye angler and live in the north or mid-west, you have probably visited (or heard of) The Sportsman’s Lodge. It’s a bucket list destination for every honest angler.
If you have never been to Sportsman’s Lodge, you need to go. You WILL enjoy the lodge, the staff and most of all, the fishing. Anglers can target walleye, sauger, northern pike, musky, sturgeon, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, yellow perch or crappie. Choices. A good thing. I’m drooling again! On each of three trips there, my friends and I caught more than 50 walleye and sauger per trip, simply jigging with a minnow, the old-fashioned fun way. Hard to beat the fun. So many fish.
Located right on the Rainy River, Sportsman’s Lodge offers long-standing fishing success story traditions with a proven heritage. The service of hosting outdoor guests started here in the 1940’s (Jesmes Resort) and has continued to grow since. For the last decade, Gregg and Diana Hennum have expanded services with modernization and new comforts for guests.
For 46 years Sportsman’s Lodge has been a family owned and operated resort. Family-owned means the guests are treated like family and that is evident the minute you walk thru the door.
The staff are hard-working, friendly folks, dedicated to assuring that your stay is nothing but the best. Sportsman’s Lodge can handle groups from 2 to 200. They host weddings, family reunions, corporate groups, meetings and father-son fishing trips. The Lodge is full service. They provide anything and everything you need.
The great restaurant selections are offered in two large dining rooms: the Dockside and Riverside. At the end of the day, the “Sandbar” will accommodate your fish catching tales and provide refreshments for relaxation, the bar is over 70 feet long! A choice of hotel rooms, cabins, villas, ice houses and, of course, fishing guide services are at your option and are available. You only need to bring your clothes, a camera, yourself and be ready to put some fish in the boat.
In 2003, Sportsman’s Lodge expanded with the addition of Oak Island Resort, 34 miles up the lake by water. Oak Island is smaller, but a full service operation for multi-species fishing. Favorite fishing targets from this location include musky, walleye and smallmouth.
Not far from Oak Island Resort is Eagle Ridge Lodge, a beautiful and ultra-private vacation home resort with all the allure of the wilderness and all the comforts of home. Eagle Ridge provides the best of both worlds not often found on an island located in one of the worlds best sport fisheries.
In any location, you have choice of meals and guides, or if you are an accomplished angler, bring your own boat and guide yourself.
Gregg shared that a new “Adventure Package” is becoming popular. You leave Sportsman’s Lodge main location in Baudette on a Charter Boat, then fish your way up the 34 miles to Oak Island, stay overnight, then fish your way back. A no-hassle fun fishing outing, though customized trip packages are also available.
Fishing is king at Sportsman’s Lodge and Oak Island Resort. Winter Ice fishing is very popular and Gregg added, “More people are coming in the summer to get some relief from the heat of farther south, but winter fishing is also a tradition here for hundreds of families.”
Sportsman’s Lodge is a large, family-owned resort that has not forgotten its roots of treating guests like family. Fishing is king at Sportsman’s Lodge. This location on the Rainy River area of Lake of the Woods is noted to be the Walleye Capitol of the World. I asked Gregg Hennum why, he answered, “Because we have 10 Million of them!” After just spending three great days at Sportsman’s Lodge, I think it may be more than 10 Million!
My buddies and I can’t wait to go back next year.
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.
St. Mary’s Archers Club Tourney set for Oct. 18-20th
Today is Tuesday October 10, 2017.
This is the time of year that the crispness in the air and the changing of the leaves begs us to get outside and enjoy the wonders that Mother Nature is providing us with.
With the amount of rain we have received over the past several days, flows on all of the tributaries within Orleans County are at a slightly high level with a slightly stained water clarity.
Salmon are being reported in all our tributaries and the water flows are keeping them on the move and spread out. Brown trout are starting to enter the tributaries.
When the weather cooperates, fish are still being taken in Lake Ontario especially in those close-to-shore waters.
On the lower stretches of the “Oak” perch are starting to show up in some decent numbers from the County Marine Park to the bridges area.
The upper stretches of Lake Alice are still producing some nice bass, mostly smallmouth, while bluegill and crappie fishing has dropped off a bit.
The Archers Club Catch and Release Fly Fishing Derby will be held on October 18th, 19th and 20th this year which is always a great event.
Tomorrow will be the last day of operation for the Erie Canal System but will not signal the beginning of the dewatering procedure. There is work to be done on the canal so water will remain in the system for a while yet.
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.
King’s, Coho Salmon on Niagara Bar ON-THE-MOVE to Devil’s Hole
Browns Biting at Night from Shore
Rainy Weather May Cause Big Run
Bass & Walleye Biting in Upper Niagara/Lake Erie
Get ready for another slug of fish to arrive in the lower Niagara River and area tributaries off Lake Ontario! Both wind and rain are in the forecast and that could be the trigger to bring some more fish into area waters.
In the lower Niagara River, Capt. Frank Campbell of Niagara Region Charters called me at 9:30 a.m. to say he had limited out for his two customers. That’s six salmon in just a couple hours. Not every day is like that, but if the rains in the afternoon trigger a run, there are a bunch of fish – kings and Coho salmon – hanging out on the Niagara Bar waiting for a push from Mother Nature.
We haven’t seen good numbers of Coho salmon in the fall in a number of years. This is great news! For boaters, the Devil’s Hole area is the place to be. Pautzke-treated egg skein is the ticket for taking Pacific salmon, fished off three-way rigs.
Shore fishermen have been doing pretty well too. Ricardo Davila of Wheatfield has been tossing glow-in-the-dark spoons and spinners to take salmon early in the morning. When that sun comes up though, fishing gets a bit tougher in that Devil’s Hole area.
From shore, Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls has been using the same kind of hardware. He’ll also toss a Rat-L-Trap. Today he started catching some brown trout mixed in with his salmon in the Whirlpool area. He also reported some good bass fishing along the shoreline at Artpark.
If you enjoy fishing around the Schoellkopf Site near the Discovery Center (yes, there’s an elevator there), this new access point will be closed Oct. 11-12, next week, as they use a crane to complete some work.
Over at Olcott and 18 Mile Creek, Burt Dam has seen more fishermen than fish. Hopefully that will change soon. Some fish are being caught from boats anchored around the harbor, as well as around the piers.
Pier casters are only picking a few fish up now, but hopefully that will change, too. Spoons and spinners will work, but harbor boats are using treated egg skein and fished under a float.
Boat trollers are still pounding the mature salmon with flasher and fly or meat until they hit. Sometimes it’s tough getting them mad enough to strike, but when they do you have your hands full. If the weather cooperates, you can always run out deep off Wilson and Olcott to take a mix of salmon and trout.
Capt. Alan Sauerland of Instigators Charters out of Wilson found some salmon and trout in 450-plus feet of water, but he had to go deep to find the right temperatures. His riggers were from 75 to 110 feet deep, the divers were 280 and 300 feet back and he needed 500 feet of copper line to hit the fish zone with spoons and flasher-fly presentations.
In the Upper Niagara River, bass and walleye are still the primary focus. Capt. Chris Cinelli has been hitting some nice fish at the head of the river with shiners and spinner-worm combos. Bill Hilts, Jr., Director, Outdoor Promotions Niagara Tourism & Convention Corporation, 10 Rainbow Blvd., Niagara Falls, NY USA 14303 p: 716.282.8992 x.303| 1.877 FALLS US, f:716.285.0809 website | facebook | twitter | blog Sportfishing has a $30 million annual economic impact in Niagara USA!
Niagara Falls USA Fishing Forecast for September 21, 2017
Egg Skein from Boats is #1
Glow-In Dark Spoons are Hot from Shore
Increasing Near-Record Temp’s Could Slow Run
The salmon run is happening in the Niagara River right now from both boat and shore. From boat, treated egg skein is the ticket. From shore, try tossing glow in the dark spoons or spinners under low conditions.
The amazing weather we’ve been experiencing does have a down side. Water temperatures in the river have risen by 4 degrees already and it could impact the salmon run.
If the Chinook and Coho’s make it up into the warm water, they probably won’t last long…or they could head over to the tailrace of the power plant and the fishing platform guys and gals will do better. Things have slowed down a little there. Some bass and walleye are still available in the river, too. One area is just north of the Lewiston Landing area, where they have also been taking some perch. Directly relating to the run of salmon in the river is the Niagara Bar fishing.
Capt. Matt Yablonsky of Wet Net Charters reports that the Chinook (kings) are staging again at the drop-off in 70 to 80 feet of water with E-Chip flashers and A-Tom-Mik flies or meat. Glow in the dark spoons work early morning and at dusk.
In Olcott and Wilson, there has been some pier action for salmon and trout. Again, spoons and spinners work best. There was actually a hot bite for steelhead the past 24 hours for some reason up a Burt Dam, but with the warm temperatures near record-breaking the next 4 or 5 days, those fish will probably head back out into the lake.
Speaking about out in the lake, trollers are using spoons, flasher-fly, flasher-cut bait or J-plugs to take salmon and the occasional trout inside of 100 feet of water. Fish are also available out deep.
Wilson harbor was also producing some nice northern pike on spinnerbaits.
Check out some of the catches featured this week in the Buffalo News website to see what’s really happening here fishing-wise (www.buffalonews.com).
Upper Niagara River action has been good for bass and walleye the past week. Try fishing around the head of Strawberry Island, at the head of the river and around the walls off Buffalo.
National Hunting and Fishing Day is Sept. 23. Niagara County’s version of this celebration is tied directly to the Wildlife Festival sponsored each year by the New York Power Authority and the Niagara County Federation of Conservation Clubs. The Festival is held both Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the NYPA Visitor’s Center located at 5777 Lewiston Road, Lewiston. Call 716-286-6661 for more information.
All of the old stand-by presenters and vendors will be in attendance like the Primate Sanctuary, the Buffalo Zoo-mobile, Hawk Creek and Nickel City Reptiles.
The Niagara River Anglers has their fishing pond set up and the Niagara Federation’s shooting trailer will be up for some plinking. Did we mention that this is ALL FREE? It’s great fun for the whole family. This event will be held, rain or shine.
If you are a goose hunter, this is the final weekend for the nuisance goose season, ending on September 25.
Lake Ontario, Niagara River, Piers, Creeks – All Have Fish.
Shore or Boat, Grab Your Gear.
The salmon are snapping all around Niagara Falls USA as the mighty fish have shown up in the Niagara River and off the piers in Olcott. Lake action is continuing too, for pier head trollers seeking a mature king. Out deep, some salmon are available along with a mix of two and three year olds, as well as steelhead.
Let’s start with the Niagara River where king salmon action in Devil’s Hole area was on fire from both boat and shore. Boaters were drifting treated egg skein all week to take some limits of kings. Three way rigs get the presentation on the bottom. Capt. Frank Campbell of Niagara Falls reported good success every day he’s been out, with his best day being 9 mature kings.
For shore casters along Artpark, Devil’s Hole and the Whirlpool, glow in the dark spoons and spinners have been taking fish under low light conditions.
A few walleye and bass are around, too. Ricardo Davila of Wheatfield was 5 for 7 on kings Tuesday, before he went into work in the Hole. Remember that the stairs at Devil’s Hole State Park are closed for improvements until next spring. The New York Power Authority fishing platform is open and kings are being taken by hardware tossers, especially in the tailrace of the power generators. If you want bass and walleye, fish are hitting drop shot rigs and tubes, as well as live bait like leeches, crabs and shiner.
Out in the lake, the Niagara Bar has been a little slow for king action. Your better bet is to target mature kings on J-plugs, spoons, flasher-fly and flasher-meat rigs inside 100 feet. Capt. Mike Johannes of On-the-Rocks Charters out of Wilson, reports that the Niagara Bar was ice water after the recent northeast winds. He was finding good action in 300 to 400 feet of water straight out from his home port, 40 to 80 feet down on the riggers, 300 copper and 10 colors of lead core. Use flashers and meat for the biggest kings, UV orange spoons for steelhead. Out of Olcott, Capt. Vince Pierleoni of Newfane was doing some thrill-seeking out to 500 foot depths, focusing his DW spoons and A-Tom-Mik flies in the top 80 feet of water.
Off the piers, Cleo’s and other heavy spoons are taking both salmon and trout, but the action isn’t hot and heavy. We need a good cool rain to really trigger a run. The east pier at Olcott is now open.
Mark your calendars for National Hunting and Fishing Day on Sept. 23. The big celebration in Niagara County is the Wildlife Festival at the New York Power Authority’s Visitors Center, set for both Sept. 23 and 24. Doors are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and it’s free. This event is cosponsored by the Niagara County Federation of Conservation Clubs and there will be a fishing pond, shooting trailer, archery and crossbow demos and more. Carmen Presti with the Primate Sanctuary will be there along with a pile of kids activities. Bring the whole family! Good luck and good fishing in Niagara Falls USA.
Allowing Lures, Lines, Rigs, Rules and Laws, to Meet Each Other
Communication, Great Fishing and Laughter Create EFFECTIVE FUN
Summer Fishing for Lake Erie Walleye in Chautauqua County, NY
By Forrest Fisher
If there is a language common between anglers and fish, they were talking to each other off Chadwick Bay in Dunkirk, New York, during the Great Lakes Experience earlier in August. More than 20 charter boats each caught dozens of walleye. Yes, each. If we average the catch at 20 fish per boat, that’s about 400 walleyes in less than four hours of fishing. And when the fish are biting, good things happen, especially when folks from local, state, county and federal positions get together to discuss the recreational fishery and all that goes with it.
That’s what happened during the 9th Annual Great Lakes Experience Fishing Day. About 100 people from Erie County, Niagara County and Chautauqua County were invited to fish together. Attendees met at the harbor at about 6:00 a.m. on August 9, 2017, for the annual Tim Horton’s “Meet & Greet” session. Nothing like donuts and hot coffee at sunrise! We divided into groups from there as we were assigned to captains from the Eastern Lake Erie Charter Boat Association (ELECBA), that provided a unified effort with a simple goal: To catch some fish and share more about reasons why the Lake Erie resource is so important and so priceless.
I was fishing with Captain Jim Skoczylas (Ultimate Adventure Sportfishing (716-796-5372) and first mate, Tom “TJ” Yetzer. They provided guests on board Jim’s 31-foot Tiara, a fun and comfortable time, even in the 4 to 6 foot waves that came up later in the morning.
Skoczylas says, “While the fishing has been really good this year, each day we play it by ear to adapt when we need to change lures and methods. On some days the fish want crankbaits, other days they want spinner/worm rigs, on finicky days – color matters, but on most days this year, it has not mattered too much what you put down there. The walleye have been looking to eat and there are many year classes, especially young fish, in our New York, Lake Erie, fishery right now. Many of us are wondering if there might be a shortage of emerald shiners and smelt – the primary baitfish groups out here, because the fish usually want to eat our lures quite readily.”Between hearing Yetzer holler, “Fish-on, who’s up?” and Tom Hersey, Erie County Commissioner of Environment and Planning say, “Oops, I think I might have lost that one (four times),” there was lots of kidding, laughs and honest fascination with the rigs and processes used to catch fish.”
On the other hand, Ally Pawarski, Sales and Services Manager with the Buffalo Niagara Sports Commission, didn’t lose a single fish and was tuned-in for the whole trip – landing the largest walleye on our boat.
Dan Rizzo, Commissioner of Erie County Parks, Chris Catanzaro, Project Manager for the Erie County Harbor Development Corporation, along with Patrick Kaler, CEO of the Buffalo Niagara Visitors Bureau, all enjoyed fish-catching and common conversation. I was happy to be among this dedicated group.
We talked about the fishing goodness, Buffalo Harbor State Park boat ramps, the Central Train Station location, Canalside activities, Buffalo Riverworks, Lake Erie recreational access, kayaks, the health of the fishery, the Coast Guard, the people and the fun of the outdoors on the waterfront. Add in ideas for marketing and distribution, thoughts of a virtual fish-catching program from Lake Erie on the internet, on-board drone videos for future customers fishing Lake Erie along the New York shoreline, and you can see, conversation was all-inclusive with new ideas.
Running 12 coordinated lines at depths of 70 to 80 feet down in 85 to 105 feet of water, and using all the gear dressed up with spinner/worm rigs and stickbaits, we hooked up with 26 fish in a very short 4 hours on the water. Diving planes, weighted leadcore lines, downriggers and lots of lures and stickbaits were all part of the presentation mix with a trolling speed of 2.1 mph. It was a perfect scenario for catching fish and to discuss issues/answers.
After the fishing, the perfect walleye fish fry lunch was served at the Northern Chautauqua County Conservation Club. We heard from several speakers, perhaps the most notable was about raw sewage overload on our Great Lakes from Rich Davenport, Director from the Erie County Fish Advisory Board.
Everyone enjoyed a great time networking about life in the outdoors and the incredible natural resource, Lake Erie, and agreed to work hard together to keep this treasure alive and well into the future.
There were representatives from the NYSDEC, including Stephen Hurst – Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources Bureau Chief from Albany, Patricia Riexinger recently retired from that same position, Don Einhouse and Jason Robinson, fisheries biologists from the NYSDEC Lake Erie Fisheries Unit, a host of legislative leaders – Senators and Assemblymen, the charter captains and their crews – the proper combination for networking and laughter too.
This annual event allows local groups to bring certain very real issues to light and provides the potential for discussion on the battlefront of conservation, the outdoors and our Great Lakes resources. There is nothing like a face-to-face meeting of the minds. Issues and solutions, in between catching fish and a few grins, become a solid focus.
Amidst the apparent visual complexity of multiple rods/reels, downriggers, diving planes, planer boards, temperature measurement and trolling gear, and lots of lures, the confidence in the voice of our hosts on board each charter craft was reassuring. Confidence reigns.
The event was organized by Zen Olow (Northern Chautauqua County Conservation Club), Lance Erhardt (Eastern Lake Erie Charter Boat Association) and Andrew Nixon (Executive Director Chautauqua County CVB), and a supporting cast of dozens.
By request, the Orleans County Hotline Report will now be updated every Tuesday instead of Wednesday.
First, the location of the Rotary Derby Awards Ceremony this Sunday has been changed from the Carlton Rec Hall to the Black North. Hope to see all of you there for a great time and I know that great food and drink will be available. After a slow start to the derby this year, the leader board is filling up with some fantastic catches in all of the categories, and there’s still time to enter and be one of those on the leader board at the awards ceremony.
Hit and miss showers are in the weather forecast over the next week, so let’s hope for more miss and less hit.
The mid-water fishing, around the 200 feet of water mark, has started to come on with mostly salmon in the catches. The off-shore fishing has moved out to almost the border and is producing a good mixed bag of both salmon and steelhead. The baits being used are all over the place so the best advice I can give is to use what you have the greatest confidence in and then change as needed.
Please remember that we now have two great ports to fish out of and two great charter fleets for you to book trip with, Point Breeze and Bald Eagle Creek Marina. The marinas at Point Breeze have been working all season long to provide the very best of service while fighting the high-water conditions as has the great crew at Bald Eagle Creek Marina.
On Lake Alice, around the Waterport Bridge, catches of Bluegill are good but a lot of smaller fish in the mix. Please remember that those smaller fish are the future catches so put them back to grow into next year’s catch. Bass fishing on Lake Alice remains good to very good in the upper reaches.
On the lower stretches of the “Oak” a good mixed bag of the warm water species is being taken. One gentleman I know of says that Gar pike fishing in this area are just about the best anywhere.
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.
When a Fishing Rod Icon creates a Walleye Fishing Eyecon®
By David Gray
Part of the fun in the sport of fishing is the never-ending search for new equipment that works and fishes better. Last April, a friend introduced me to a new rod, the Eyecon ECS-70LF from St. Croix. The rod had such a “great feel,” I talked him into letting me borrow it for a couple of months so I could try it out.
The Eyecon ECS-70LF is one of the most impressive rods I have used in a long time. It says “Walleye Series” on the rod and it does a great job presenting finesse baits, but that is not all this rod does. The rod fishes well for walleye, crappie, bluegill, float fishing for smallmouth, and is great when spin fishing for trout. I used the 7-foot Eyecon with 3-pound line and 1/32 ounce jigs for trout and the rod was pure joy. Such are the numerous unadvertised advantages, since it can also handle medium-sized crankbaits with ease too.
How a fishing rod casts, or more precisely, how the rod transfers energy to cast a lure, is where most rods fall short. It is one performance task to bring a large bass or walleye to the boat, but a very different performance task to achieve casting distance and accuracy. The Eyecon excels in both performance tasks.
My first use of the Eyecon was an eye-opener. When I picked it up, it made me stop to do a double-take on the rod, then the line and the lure. There was a captivating synergy in just picking the rig up to hold. Simple moments that are remembered like that mean good things. My first cast with the Eyecon surprised me. It went 10 feet farther than I was aiming. My second, third and fourth cast did the same. Every cast was 10 to 15 feet further than my aim point. The Eyecon is so efficient at transferring energy, it was casting farther than most similar action 7-foot spinning rods.
My experience with fishing rods is that when they can cast light lures well, they usually do not have super-sensitivity, but the Eyecon surprised me there. It is a very sensitive rod and lives up to its finesse label.
Every once in a while, a new product raises the performance bar and the Eyecon does exactly that. Everything that you want a fishing rod to do well this rod does extremely well.
The Eyecon ECS-70 LF is as a great buy in a 7-foot spinning rod. It delivers a higher level of fishing performance, helps you fish better and makes you a better fisherman. You gotta love fishing tools that allow you to achieve all that. I have one of my own Eyecon’s now. They sell for $120-$130 and come with a 5-year warranty backed by St. Croix Superstar Service.
If you need more info: http://stcroixrods.com/products/freshwater/eyecon/.
Integrated Map Provides Fish Locations, Shore Fishing Access, Boat Access
Depth Contours ZERO-IN on Hotspot Fishing Locations
Bait Shops, Marina Locations, Shipwrecks, ALL HERE…ALL FREE
By Forrest Fisher
There is a NEW interactive, online, Western New York Hotspot Fishing Map application that is yours FREE at this link: https://wnyfishing.mrf.com.
The regional website map has been designed for everyone, including for cellphone and laptop use. It is the perfect “get-it-now” reference tool for many user groups. Boaters, anglers, scuba divers, vacationers and many other groups, family fishing groups, now have good waterway reference map. Need to research waterway areas of the Greater Niagara Region of New York State BEFORE the trip? Here is your resource.
The map spotlights lake depth contours, boating access points, marinas, shore fishing sites, sunken wrecks, fish species locations, bait shops, information sources, dining establishments and give all that to the user with GPS coordinates. Erie, Niagara and Chautauqua counties offer some of the best freshwater sportfishing the world has ever seen!
World class walleye, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, musky, trout, salmon, all here, and many species of panfish. Nearly everything an avid fisherman would ever want. Carp and Channel Catfish too.
The Greater Niagara Region has established a reputation that boasts excellence in sportfishing, boating, kayaking, and outdoor on-the-water recreation. Hire a charter, bring your own boat or fish from shore, the new regional map website will be useful for everyone who looks to quench a hungry angling appetite.
The website map is perfect for the outdoor enthusiast and for families looking to get back to finding the family fun of the outdoors through fishing and boating. There are many other outdoor attractions, state and county parks, hiking paths, bird-watching opportunities (the Niagara River Corridor is internationally recognized as an important bird area), hunting options and more. There are cultural, historical and recreational highlights from Lewiston in Niagara County, to Buffalo in Erie County and to Jamestown in Chautauqua County. The new website and map app offers access to outdoor information and adds value for visitors and residents alike.
The website (https://wnyfishing.mrf.com) offers information to get you started and headed in the right direction, from charter listings to marina information; from shore fishing spots to license information. Unfortunately, it can’t help you set the hook and reel the fish in!
Greater Niagara – You’ll “fall for us” all over again reel soon!
This map was made possible through the funding of Erie and Niagara Counties. It was prepared cooperatively between Erie and Niagara County’s respective Sportfishing Promotion Programs, with assistance from the Erie and Niagara County Fisheries Advisory Boards. Additional maps may be obtained by calling: Buffalo-Niagara CVB at 800-BUFFALO or Niagara Tourism and Convention Corp. at 877-FALLS US.
Thursday, July 20, 2017
The King Salmon fishing in Lake Ontario is one of the hottest bites going, especially in the waters off Niagara County! “Salmon fishing has been on fire at the Niagara Bar in 120 to 180 feet of water,” says Jake Joseph of Jiggin’ Jake’s Charters. “The fish zone has been 60 to 80 feet down.
Dipsy divers are out 180 to 240 feet with flasher fly combos; riggers down 65 to 85 with flasher and cut bait combos. Best colors have been mostly pearls and greens. Smaller fish have been coming on spoons and some steelies have been mixed in, being taken on sliders and king lines.
Wilson and Olcott are also offering up some great catches, too. Just take a look at the Lake Ontario Counties Trout and Salmon Derby leaderboard at www.loc.org.
John Van Hoff of North Tonawanda reeled in a 27-pound, 9-ounce salmon off of Wilson last Sunday (but launching at Olcott) and his fish would beat out Lee Beaton’s Grand Prize leading king, a 27 pounder, also caught out of Wilson back on July 1. Van Hoff caught his king on a Northern King spoon over 450 feet of water. Van Hoff’s Grand Prize lead would be short-lived as two more fish would come to the scales that Sunday that would tip the scales even more – a 29-pound, 8-ounce king hauled in by Ed Klejdys of North Tonawanda while fishing on the Niagara Bar. Then a 30-pound, 13-ounce Chinook that was reeled in by Richard Peaslee of Lowman while fishing out of Fair Haven. If the last name of Klejdys sounds familiar, his son Steve is the current leader in the Lake Trout Division with a 23-pound, 13-ounce Niagara Bar laker.
On Monday of this week, a new rainbow leader came out of Olcott, knocking out the leading Wilson fish – a huge 17-pound, 4-ounce steelhead that was caught by Adam Robinson of Portland, Oregon while fishing with Capt. Vince Pierleoni and Thrillseeker II. He caught it on a Dreamweaver spoon in charteuse signature series. Tuesday brought us a new Grand Prize leader out of Point Breeze, a 31 pound, 10 ounce king reeled in by Kristin Wilson of Rockstream, NY. We have until July 30 to post up some bigger fish and that will probably happen if the weather continues to cooperate.
Joseph also reports that “walleye are starting to show up in Lower Niagara River and the green can at the mouth. You just have to work for them. Worm harnesses on the bottom with three-way rigs. Bass fishing is good as always!” Bass can be caught from Devil’s Hole to the mouth of the river on a variety of baits like minnows, crayfish, worm harnesses, spinnerbaits, tubes and drop shot rigs.
Shore fishermen have been struggling in the gorge because the shoreline access has been limited due to the high water levels. In addition, the Devil’s Hole stairs are closed until next spring. There are still plenty of other access points to use, but that one is being reconstructed.
Upper Niagara River action continues to be good for both bass and walleye with an occasional musky showing up.
The 27th Annual Erie Canal Fishing Derby ended last Sunday and the first place winners are waiting for the awards ceremony to take place July 23 at the Gasport Fire Hall starting at 3 p.m. All the first place winners – both for the adults and for the kids – will be in two separate drawings for the Grand Prize. For the adults, a boat, motor and trailer; for the kids a kayak. Some great fish came to the scales during the 12-day event. Top bass was a 4.94-pound largemouth reeled in by Chris Walczak of Amherst. His son, Keegan, checked in with a 9.65-pound northern pike to take that division. Albert Whaley of Tonawanda was the winner in the walleye category with a 5.19-pound fish. Big bullhead was a 2.25-pound fish reeled in by Anthony Moule of Lyndonville. Top catfish was a 14 pounder weighed in by Charles Rizzo of North Tonawanda. First place carp was a 28.02 pound fish out-muscled by Mike Boncore of Buffalo. Sheepshead winner was Todd Wells of Medina with an 11.39-pound fish. Yes, the Erie Canal has some impressive fish swimming around in it. Another great job by Steve and Lynn Harrington of Gasport.
Bill Hilts, Jr., Outdoor Promotions Director
Destination Niagara USA
10 Rainbow Blvd.
Niagara Falls, NY 14303
p: 1-877 FALLS US | 716-282-8992 x. 303
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.
Free Fishing this Weekend in New York State (June 24-25, 2017)
New USA-CANADA Border Fishing Rules Eased
Lake Ontario Counties Tourney Series Starting
Detailed Fishing Report for June 22, 2017
Lots of good news in this week’s report. It’s a Free Fishing Weekend in New York State. However, you do have to abide by the fishing regulations. Check out www.dec.ny.gov to find out what the rules are in the waters you intend to fish.
This is also the weekend for the Hooked on Fishing Tournament presented by the Boys and Girls Club of the Northtowns both Saturday and Sunday. Everything is run out of Gateway Harbor, North Tonawanda. Register June 23 from noon to 6 p.m. or any time after 7 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. For more info visit www.bgcnt.net or call 873-9842 Ext. 211.
Lake Ontario salmon fishing continues to be very good all along the Niagara County shoreline. Good reports are coming from the Niagara Bar to Olcott and beyond. Salmon in the upper 20 pound range were caught all last week and Capt. Dan Evans out of Wilson, fishing in a tournament on the north shore, managed to reel in a 32 pound chunk pre-fishing and releases the fish to fight another day. Top lures include a variety of Dreamweaver metal, Silver Streaks and Michigan Stingers.
However, the bigger fish seem to prefer the spin doctor and fly combos. The new A-Tom-Mik Stud Fly is really working well, producing that 32 pounder we just mentioned. White crush-glow pattern. Meat rigs are also tricking fish to hit. Yes, Lake Ontario is open for business! Start in 100 feet of water and head north out to 300 foot depths. Salmon seem to be in the top 80 feet of water. And some steelhead have started to move in to accompany the salmon so make sure you put a few baits out for them, too. In other good news, the lake levels have started to come down.
According to lake level reports, the waterline has dropped over 4 inches already and the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Water Board has announced that after the three-day experiment last week to increase outflows, they are going to continue with it to provide additional relief in the lake. The Town of Newfane Marina launch area and the Lewiston Landing launch are your two best bets for easy boat launch access.
More good news is that the Canadian Government finally passed a law that no longer required Americans to call into Canada Border Services when crossing the international boundary. You still need a fishing license and need to abide by the country’s regulations, but the hassle of calling in is no longer required. Remember no live bait other than worms in approved bedding or in water. Nothing in dirt. No minnows or crabs. Still, it’s just gotten a whole bunch better.
With the Lake Ontario Counties, trout and salmon summer derby just around the corner, set for June 30 to July 30, anglers are excited to take advantage of the summer action. Check out www.loc.org for details. In addition, the New York State Summer Classic Fishing Tournament is on and running through August 31. There are a total of 10 different fish species categories and 55 weigh stations throughout the state. To find out more information, check out www.nyssummerclassic.com.
In the LowerNiagara River, water temperature are still slowly creeping up there. Lake Erie hit 72 degrees this week, so the trout are history. The bad news is that the moss has become more of a problem. Mostly bass were caught this week on jigs, Kwikfish and MagLips. Shore casters in the gorge have been using tubes, swim baits and marabou jigs. Inline spinners will work, too. They can be caught but you will be cleaning your lures frequently.
Upper Niagara River bass fishing also continues to be good, but the moss is putting a kink in that action. Some walleye are being caught at the head of the river and at the head of Strawberry Island on worm harnesses and jigs. The Great Lakes musky season opener was slow, probably due to the warmer water already flowing through the system. For an outdoors update this week, check out www.buffalonews.com/section/sports/outdoors/ to find out what’s happening.
Certain optional kayak gear is handy and necessary.
Customize your fishing kayak for comfort and function.
By Jim Low
With a new Kayak, there are quite a few features to look for, understand and think about. Here are some of the features that are important to me:
ADJUSTABLE SEATS & FOOT BRACES
Before writing a check, take time to sit in several kayaks to see if you can stand to sit in it for hours. Try to find a dealer that will allow you to test “drive” kayak before purchase. Ideally, a seat should have an adjustable, padded back rest. The seat should also be padded with a material that allows water to drain away from your kiester.
Equally important are adjustable foot rests. Pushing on these anchors you in your seat, providing a solid paddling platform. They should be adjustable, not only for different leg lengths, but to allow you to change your leg position to avoid stiffness. The surfaces of these pedal-like accessories should have a non-slip surface.
Sometimes these are built into the kayak’s hull and hold rods upright. This works fine, as long as you don’t encounter any overhead obstructions. Much better are rod holders with swiveling mounts that fold parallel with the deck. Having multiple rod holders allow you to switch baits without re-rigging.
Most kayaks have fore and aft cargo compartments, but these are hard to reach on the water. Small compartments within reach of the seat are more practical.
You don’t need much of an anchor for kayak fishing, but they do come in handy when you want to hold your position against current or wind. Anchors need ropes, and having loose rope around your feet is inconvenient, not to mention dangerous. Anchor trolleys keep your anchor rope organized with cleats and allow you to instantly tie off anchor rope at the desired length and release it just as quickly. A small, foldable anchor will fit easily under or beside your seat, out of the way but available when needed.
You laugh, but nothing is worse than cracking open a drink only to have it tip over in your lap moments later. Well, okay, lots of things are worse, but a spilled drink is bad enough. When not holding drinks, cup holders are useful for holding snacks, phones, lures, pliers and a dozen other things.
ACCESSORY MOUNTING SYSTEMS
These really are the mothers of all accessories. Factory-installed accessory mounting systems permit you to customize your kayak in ways limited only by your imagination. They accept universal mounting plates can be drilled to accept anything you want. This is an easy way to keep cell phones, tablets, GPS units and other electronic devices handy. Naturally, if you are short on imagination, manufacturers have lots of ideas, including tackle bins, live wells, rod holders, fish finders and, yes, cup holders.
Paddling into the wind can be a challenge when fishing on lakes or large streams. A rudder or tracking skeg keeps you on track without constant correction. This is especially handy for trolling.
Speaking of trolling, trolling motors made specifically for canoes and kayaks are available. Hobie offers kayaks equipped with their patented MirageDrive, the original kayak peddle-drive system. These items aren’t cheap…unless you compare their prices to the cost of a bass boat.
One often-neglected accessory is a top-quality paddle. A cheap paddle will wear you out if it doesn’t wear out first. Don’t balk at spending a couple hundred dollars on an ergonomically friendly paddle that keep you, your wrists and shoulders out of the orthopedic surgeon’s office for years.
Fishing kayaks have become so popular that organizations dedicated to them are springing up around the country. Missouri has two that I know of: Missouri Kayak Fishing Association and the Show Me Kayak Fishing. You might consider hooking up with these folks for help learning the ropes of kayak angling. Once you go ‘yak, you’ll never look back!
By Forrest Fisher with guide, Frank Schoenacker (Infinity Charters)
When great guides and charter captains talk, honest anglers that don’t always catch fish listen. So I listen very well. I’m as honest as they come. One thing I’ve discovered, when anglers share life through the gift of a fishing charter, good things can happen!
During a recent Chautauqua Lake fishing trip for one client couple, there came lasting memories and lots of fishing fun.
The client contacted my friend and local guide, Frank Schoenacker, in December, as she had purchased a charter fish trip as a Christmas gift for her boyfriend. Frank said, “They both fish, but haven’t done much walleye or musky fishing. So last week, they had a couple of firsts. She landed her first ever walleye, which was a nice 17-inch fish, then she followed up with 5 more! That’s not all, her boyfriend caught his first musky while fishing for walleyes.”
Frank added, “I teach my clients to fish simple. It all starts with meeting them at a common place. At Chautauqua Lake, for many guides and for me too, that place is the Bemus Point boat launch. The next thing is not overcrowding the action and the people aboard. On Chautauqua, I limit clients to two people maximum and I don’t fish when I have clients. I provide equipment and have it setup before the trip.”
When Frank talks, he explains juicy details, “On my boat, I use an 8-horse kicker to troll weed edges at slow speed (1 mph or so), mostly using a very simple, old-fashioned, spinner/worm harness. Small beads, a small spinner blade and small hooks are essential when fishing Chautauqua.Lots of reasons why, they have to do with catching your targeted species.Boat control and using electronics to see the weed edge is critical. My boat is a tiller steer, so I have direct contact with my motor and boat direction. I tie my harness with small hooks (size one), then use a small copper or fire-tiger blade (size 2) off a clevis, then I usually add small red beads as attractors – or whatever fish think those are!They work.”
Schoenacker uses a sliding-sinker for weight on his 6 to 8 lb braid as mainline. He adds, “Pretty much an old school setup. Normally I’m anywhere from 8 to 14 feet of water depth depending on the weed edge where we fish. Early in the season when water is cool, I’ll use nightcrawlers (sometimes half-worms are better than whole ones) and I start to use a rubber worm soon after, as white perch get pesky and they won’t touch a plastic worm.” He was smiling with a big grin.
“Starting at the tail end of June, I fish a rubber worm instead of a live worm pretty much all the time. When the bite slows at mid-morning, I have one client go to a live worm. Sometimes we can get an extra bite or two. “
What if the fish aren’t biting?Franks says, “I move around and pre-fish before guided trips so I have a plan based on wind and weather for the day. Generally, during the early season I’m in the lower lake mostly (south of Route 86 bridge). This year (2017), the channel in Bemus was good early.”
“It’s not as simple as I’m making it sound, you need to adapt and you know when that needs to happen after a few decades of fishing, ”Schoenacker says.“Weed lines off the creek mouths are good, so I look around Prendergast Bay, Dewittville Bay, Goose Creek, etc. The fish tend to be active at different places and at different times, so this is where the knowledge of the guide comes in.Add the varying style of fishing we can do and add the potential to change position, “run and gun,” from spot to spot, we find them most every day we try.”
If you live on or near the lake, that is a bonus.He adds, “Pre-fishing helps me have several spots planned. Any angler that fishes today needs to have pretty good electronics so they can see the fish for as many times as they work the weed line. I have also seen that when walleyes are active, the white perch are less of a problem. I’m seeing several good year classes of walleyes in the lake now, lots of 13-14 inch throwbacks, then there are numbers of 17 inchers and then a class of 20 inch-plus fish. “
Anglers are pleased that the walleye population is doing well in the lake and folks are also very pleased that the DEC lowered the walleye minimum size limit to 15-inches in 2017.Schoenacker adds, “I do some musky trolling, but my primary focus is on fishing for walleyes.”
“I’ll fish the weed lines until the water warms and fish move deeper. At that point I move to open water trolling and snap-jigging. Snap-jigging works for me right on through the fall. I like the weedline and jigging programs best because you hold the rod and feel the fish hit. Hard to beat that for sure,” says Schoenacker
Schoenacker adds, “I want to help people have more fun finding and catching fish, so I’m sharing some of my program plan with walleye anglers everywhere that plan to fish Chautauqua Lake sometime soon.This gives you the background on my simple walleye program, but don’t forget, you can always call me for a hands-on trip.”
Lastly, Schoenacker has two boats, he uses the smaller one (Lund Pro–V Tiller with 60hp Yamaha and 8hp Yamaha) for that up-front experience on Chautauqua Lake, but he is also a licensed Lake Erie Charter Captain and member of the Eastern Lake Erie Charter Boat Association and National Association of Charter Boat Operators. He will also share his fish–catching secrets while aboard his Pro-Line 25 (powered by Evinrude 225hp ETEC and 9.9hp Yamaha kicker). You can reach Capt. Frank Schoenacker by phone at 585-406-5764, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or on his website at: http://www.infinitycharters.com/.
You know, we never stop learning when people that know way more than we do are willing to share.Hat’s off to Captain Frank!
May 28, 2017; Bison City Rod & Gun Club, Buffalo, N.Y.
141 Kids, 322 Total Attendance; 21 Volunteers; 8-Learning Stations
By Forrest Fisher
The forecast for rain and fog was swept aside when bright, sunny skies with a gentle 75 degree breeze surprised families with kids from Buffalo and Western New York. They came to fish and learn at Bison City Rod & Gun Club for the 13th Annual Jimmy Griffin Memorial Teach-Me-To-Fish event.
Once a polluted waterway that would burn from the heat of a lighted match, today the Buffalo River waterfront is clean, alive, and hopping with fish, kayaks, canoes and kids with fishing poles. The Buffalo-Niagara Riverkeeper Group is a big part of the clean-up progress.
The kids and their families all learned a bit more about the adventure of the outdoors through the fun of fishing, many for the very first time!
While the river was running a bit muddy from recent heavy rains, the steady flow of riverfront kayakers, sailboats, canoes and power boats showed proof that water color is not a deterrent. Kids fishing from the Bison City fishing pier were busy. Even single adults without kids came to discover the fun and adventure of “how-to-fish”. More and more people want to know.
Lynda Kollar, Rose Barus and Linda Cooley energized a positive first-moment connection with folks at the registration welcome station.
Kids and parents learned “How-To-Fish” and what to do from Western New York bass pro, Scott Gauld, who took time to share “easy tips” for everyone in the program. He explained that catching a fish with a rod and reel (bait or artificial lure) is not only possible, it is fun and not difficult. Gauld provided that special seal of “sure-fun is right around the corner” that only a professional angler might be able to influence for new onlookers. Kids went away looking for the fishing pier!
Marine Unit 2 with Erie County Sheriff Tim Dusza and his team, provided tours of their vessel. Everyone learned about water-safety, kids were allowed to blow the horn and turn on the flashing lights. Big smiles there!
Russ Johnson and Bob Carlson, members of the East Aurora Fish & Game Club, who have perfected the system for educating kids and parents on how to tie a perfect Palomar Knot and Clinch Knot, taught everyone how to tie on a hook in only a few seconds.
Rigging a weedless plastic bait, a plastic worm or jig tail, was made easy with a hands-on demonstration by junior Bassmasters Alex Gauld and Collin Voss, as they provided each youth with a souvenir plastic creature bait sample from Cabela’s. The kids could use the bait to fish with or take home. The girls seemed to pick the pink squiggly-tail crayfish!
Environmental Conservation Officer, Jeff Jondel, and firearm safety instructor, Joe Mills, provided hands-on firearm safety training. They shared the rules of responsibility for parents and kids, so they could experience the Cabela’s BB-Gun Range, an inflated and fully enclosed, fully safe, “bounce house” style event. The NRA safety-instructors provided easy 1, 2, 3 steps for responsible use of a firearm, using a BB-gun. Kids and parents took turns checking their aim using Daisy Red Ryder BB-Guns, shooting at suspended souvenir paper targets. Happy kids took their targets home with ear-to-ear smiles as souvenirs.
Lifetime youth educator and certified New York State Archery champion, Paul Stoos, worked with Earl Farrel, Sr., to provide first-time how-to lessons for kids at the Cabela’s Archery Booth, using air-suspended floating ball targets.
Charter Captain Jerry May and walleye master, Ted Malota, taught kids how to cast a spincast fishing rod with hookless casting baits. The kids were sailing their lines a very long way toward hula-hoop targets in just minutes. Ted shared, “Wow, some of these kids are really good with so little practice!” Fun for all!
The kids and adults fished from “George’s Landing,” the legacy honor name for the Bison City fishing pier. It was a fun and exciting adventure station for kids, even more exciting for some parents who had never touched a live fish before. On-site fishing educator, Dave Solowski, provided eager kids with bait, pre-rigged rods, reels, bobbers, hooks, split-shot and plenty of nightcrawler bait supplied by Weekley’s Worms. Weekly’s Worms provides more than 50 million redworms and nightcrawlers to anglers every year. Imagine that!
Dockside outfitter, Donna Kayes, provided solid “pre-fish confidence” while outfitting each youth with a life-preserver before entering the fishing pier area. Several first-fish catches were recorded, with new adventure and fun had by all. The fish were placed in the aerated “Lunker Pool” and released by the kids after the event. Kids that did not catch a fish enjoyed seeing the swimming fish that others caught. After the event, the kids helped release all the fish to swim another day, a meaningful lesson in conservation for our youth.
At the newest learning station, “OUTDOOR AWARENESS,” outdoor educator, Sheri Voss, provided hands-on lessons for families with advice on how to stay prepared, protected, informed and proactive, whenever they head outdoors. There was special focus on deer ticks and the Lyme disease outbreak in northeast USA.
As families completed the learning station tours, a 70-page slide show was shown on the 7-foot screen indoors, allowing for continued fishing and outdoor adventure education. While observing the screen, the kitchen crew provided world famous Sahlen’s grill-cooked hot dogs, Perry’s Ice Cream, Paula’s Donuts, Gwen Jozwiak’s hand-made “fish cupcakes,” beverages and other munchies.
During the random gear raffle, 76 happy youths won a free rod/reel combo. Everyone else, adults too, took home fishing maps, tackle, and special prizes from the “Bison City Tackle Treasure Chest.”
The kids and the adults were all BIG WINNERS!
This special youth outreach event was sponsored and coordinated by the Bison City Rod & Gun Club with special thanks to Ted and Doraine Malota, Cabela’s, Erie County Federation of Sportsmen, WNY Safari Club, Sahlen’s Meat Packing, the Norby Antonik Foundation, Weekley’s Bait, Paula’s Donuts and 21 dedicated volunteers who donated their time to help youth and their families learn more about the outdoors through the fun of fishing! Dave and Rose Barus, Chairpersons
Just a quick reminder on water levels: There is still a state of emergency along the Lake Ontario shoreline for high water levels. This isn’t really going to affect the fishing that much, but the Niagara County Sheriff is asking that boats creating a wake stay at least 500 feet from shore. This doesn’t include trolling. Caution is advised for floating debris when you are out in the lake moving around. The problem seems to be launching. The best spot to be right now is the Town of Newfane Marina in Olcott. Fort Niagara has an open launch but you need boots up to your knees or above. Golden Hill State Park launch is closed and Wilson-Tuscarora Park is day to day (but you need hip boots for sure). It’s worth the effort for the good fishing!!
Lake Ontario Pro-Am Tourney
Congratulations to all of the winners in the Lake Ontario Pro-Am Tourney out of Wilson and Olcott last weekend. The Screamer team led by Dave Antenori of Pennsylvania was on a mission. After placing second in the Wilson Harbor Invitational the weekend before, they wanted to take the first place prize in the Niagara County/Lake Ontario Pro-Am Salmon Team Tournament held May 19-21 out of the ports of Wilson and Olcott. After catching a 12-fish tournament limit the first day, he was poised to be in a perfect position as he sat in second place – behind Team Maverick and Capt. Chris LoPresti. After a very windy blow day on Saturday, it was all business on Sunday as the team boated another limit and won the Niagara County version of the Pro-Am and the $15,000 prize with a score of 471.02 points (10 points per fish and a point per pound). Second place was Maverick led by Capt. Chris LoPresti, taking home a check for $7,500 with a score of 448.59 points. Third place went to Dirty Goose/Cold Steel led by Capt. Casey Prisco ($5,000) with 447.79 points, followed by Vision Quest and Capt. Pete Alex ($2,500) with 429.84 points. Big fish for the tournament was a 24.04 pound king salmon caught by Thrillseeker led by Capt. Vince Pierleoni. He won $300 plus a new Raymarine Axiom Unit.
In the Amateur Division, it was Mother Moose winning the $500 prize and a special Cup for the three day event. Anonymous, last year’s cup winner, led by John Muehl, won the Day 3 contest for the amateur open, but it wasn’t enough to repeat. Big fish for the day was Dipsy Ranger with a king salmon weighing 19.23 pounds. In the Amateur Open, each day was a separate contest. Day one winner was Dipsy Ranger led by John Nevlezer. Day two winner (by drawing due to inclement weather) was HK1 and Chris Petrucci. Big fish prizes, good for $500 and an ITO Flies prize package were: Day one – Mean Machine and Kyle Hovak with a 19.43 pound king salmon; Day two (drawing) – Streaker and Matt Dunn; Day three – Dipsy Ranger with a 19.23 pound king salmon.
Best action for kings and cohos has been out in 110 to 300 feet of water. DW Super Slims and Spin Doctors with the new A-Tom-Mik stud fly doing pretty good right now in the top 80 feet of water. Riggers, dipsy divers and 200 and 300 feet of copper. Browns can still be caught inside of 50 feet. Congrats to Jon Eckert of Lockport who reeled in a 30 pound king last Thursday out of Olcott on a flasher-fly. He was fishing with Capt. Mark Vilardo, Kingfisher Charters.
Lower Niagara River
Lower Niagara River fishing action is still good in Devil’s Hole where boaters were using minnows and egg sacs to take trout off three-way rigs. Try coloring up the minnows with Pautzke Fire Dye in chartreuse. Steelhead, lake trout, silver bass and smallmouth bass are still all being caught from boat and shore but water temps are heating up so the trout won’t be around long. The New York Power Authority stated that the fishing platform was closed down again on Monday due to high water levels. It will remain closed until water levels recede. Before you head down fishing there, you might want to call 796-0135 Ext. 45 to see if it’s open. White jigs were working for Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls earlier in the week when he caught silver bass, smallmouth and lakers. No problems at the Lewiston launch ramp but Fort Niagara is having some issues with the high water. The south ramp is closed. As waters continue to rise, the north ramp could be closed soon, too.
Upper Niagara River
Upper Niagara River fishing action has been good for a mixed bag of fish the past week. Decent walleye have been caught along with bass and lake trout. Good numbers of lake trout are showing up as bass casters target catch and release smallmouth.
Fly fishing for trout is a new adventure for fishermen more familiar with trolling for Great Lakes walleye or casting for tournament bass.That makes it a new adventure for yours truly.
The new unfamiliar tool? A lightweight fly rod about eight-feet in length with a single-action reel that holds a heavy-looking fluorescent color “fly line” with a long, fine, clear leader tied to the end.
We were fishing Quittapahilla Creek, a small stream in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania (near the candy-making city of Hershey), known locally as the “Quittie,” and my mentor for the day, Chuck Swanderski, a member of the Doc Fritchey Trout Unlimited Chapter, shared some of the history of this waterway.
The creek starts as a clear, clean, upward bubbling spring, just a few miles upstream from where we were standing.Problem was that it had become an industrial waste discharge outlet for 80 years ending just after WWII.At that time, the stream was dead with little aquatic life and no fish.From WWII until about 1990, the area had become a waste dump when concerned citizens started a clean-up with organized angler groups.They petitioned for grant monies and project funding from state and federal sources, and got them.
Trout Unlimited assisted with the hard work and planning efforts, providing manpower for stream improvement that included invasive plant removal, stream clean-up, riparian buffer tree plantings, bank retainer netting, in-stream boulder structure placement and habitat construction, cedar chip trails (anti-deer tick), safety-minded access, parking areas, stream stocking and harvest monitoring.And more.
The downstream areas of the riffles created from water flow over the in-stream boulder placements become highly oxygenated, providing preferred comfort zones for oxygen-seeking trout.They are also preferred areas for anglers to ply their skills with fly presentations.
For this day, Chuck provided me with an intro to learning on-stream etiquette and made it a fun adventure for yours truly. He supplied details about the usual “how to do” things with the nearly weightless feathered hooks.It might have been a sort of day-long ordeal for Chuck, but I think we had some great fun.
We shared conversations, we laughed, and we joked about modern life, mostly comparing it to ancient life in America five decades ago when we were kids. Lots to compare with 27 cent gas and Dick Tracy wristwatches from back then.Beam me up Scotty.We’re almost there!
It is humbling to watch a skilled fly angler cast a nearly weightless fly with so little effort.Chuck was VERY good.With a curious and watchful eye, it is easy to see that there is an artful rhythm to the whisper of the unassuming fly line soaring gently overhead to land so softly in a riffle 40 feet upstream. No sound, no vigor, just a small feathery sample of barbless food for a hungry trout.
As I listened to Chuck direct my ability to make unfettered motion with a 50-year old Fenwick “gold series” fiberglass fly rod and fly, I forgot about all of the many issues on my mind. Paying bills, story deadlines, emails to answer, calls to make and the ever-growing to-do list for around the house back home in East Aurora, New York, five hours north. They all disappeared during these few hours of on-stream renewal. I was developing something I had only heard about from other fly rod anglers, a kinship with the natural world of a water flow and feathered, fuzzy hooks.
My heart and soul was at peace with nature in this restored stream. I was feeling quintessential on the Quittie! The gurgle of the flowing water was such a welcome sound. It is, perhaps, a sacred signal that these same swish and chinkle sounds occurred hundreds of years before.
At that moment, I was again stopped in mid-thought, feeling bonded by nature to our forebears. I thought to myself, again, such peace. I measured my heartrate, it was 52. Indeed, heart-found peace! This fly rod stuff was really good stuff.
Earlier we tied on a two-fly rig using nymph stage Hare’s Ear flies to imitate aquatic insect larvae in the stream. After an hour of casting skill improvement, we moved from hole to hole and rifle to riffle checking for active fish. The fish were moving toward the fly, but would turn away, perhaps the wrong size or pattern. Maybe my leader was too heavy. So Chuck switched me to a hand-made streamer fly made by his old fishing buddy at Neshannock Creek Fly Shop from another favorite fishing spot of his near Pittsburgh (visit http://www.ncflyshop.com/).
The retrieve was fairly simple when compared to some bottom big jig bass fishing tactics. This simply was cast out with a roll cast, then retrieved in a pull, pull, and stop manner. Bringing in a few inches of line with each pull.
On the second cast, a 15-inch rainbow trout slammed the fly. Wham! My arm jolted forward as the fish ran the other way, then leaped high in summersault fashion some four times before coming to our welcome net about 45 seconds later. My heart rate zipped a bit too, awesome fun that was measurable. What fun this was! We carefully released the fish to fight another day, maybe to provide these same moments of fun for some youngster tomorrow or the next day.
Lastly, Chuck was really happy to share something that might serve as a learning lesson for thousands of other streams in the country, the Quittapahilla Creek Garbage Museum.Here was a collection of hundreds of various shapes of disposed plastics. Bottles, baby toys, plastic chain, plastics in many forms, most of it tattered, broken, but still identifiable.
According to a written message from the Garbage Museum Executive Director, an educator person who placed numerous informational learning signs for others to study and whose name is not known to me, “Most plastics will DECOMPOSE, but never BIODEGRADE.Breaking into smaller chunks, the plastic molecules will be with us for millions of years, ingested and excreted millions of times by fish, birds and other organisms.”After reading this I thought to myself…and we wonder where cancer comes from – something we didn’t have much of 50 years before plastics.
Then I recalled the movie named “The Graduate,” where most of us remember the most significant word from that steamy movie made in 1967, “plastics.”There is goodness and not-so-goodness, perhaps, with every invention.I wondered if the preceding native ancestors, the Lenape Indians, would continue to use plastics if they understood what we now know about plastics?
It was getting late, we had walked about 3,000 feet downstream stream from the public parking lot on this 34-acre Quittie Nature Park stream and the temperature was 90. It was time to recap our trip with friends from the Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association at the nearby Snitz Creek Brewery, a tasteful beer-making facility not far from the stream. We took a beer plant tour with co-founder, Patrick Freer, then discovered a few moments later that there is nothing quite like a microbrew they call “Opening Day IPA.” This is particularly true among fellow fly-rodders that can tell a tale, if you know what I mean. “No, my fish was bigger. I caught two. I caught four.” And on and on. You get the picture. A fun, thirst-quenching, long-winded, joke-filled lunch. The best kind.
When friends and community work together to create a revitalized stream treasure and nature area, the future is brighter for everyone. On a related note though, while we seem to have saved our second amendment with our current legislators – a good thing, the work of clean streams and waterways may become more challenging due to currently retracting rules of the Clean Water Act. Be watchful as sportsmen, speak up when we need to.
Hats off to all those volunteers that take the time to reclaim lost parts of nature for the benefit of our common future.
April showers brought more than May flowers in the Ozarks. They brought near-record flooding and a mess that residents are still trying to clean up.
That’s the bad news.
There’s also plenty of good news.
Though reservoirs such as Truman, Table Rock and Taneycomo are still high, guides and resort owners report that the fishing has been surprisingly good. If anything, they say, the floods may have helped the fishing.
And then there’s the long-term outlook. Fisheries biologists with the Missouri Department of Conservation say that high-water springs usually result in boom year-classes of fish because of the added cover in which fry can hide from predators.
“We’re certainly not minimizing the hardships the high water has brought for many residents,” said Brian Canaday, chief of fisheries for the Missouri Department of Conservation. “But some of our largest year-classes of fish have come in these flood years. So this wasn’t a bad thing as far as the fish were concerned.”
At Table Rock Lake, a 43,100-acre reservoir near Branson, Mo., the water level reached almost the top of flood pool in late April after almost 10 1/2 inches of rain in a three-day period. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been releasing water ever since.
It is now down to 11 feet above normal and some boat ramps are still hard to access. But those who have been able to get on the lake have found good bass fishing.
Buster Loving, a longtime guide on Table Rock, has guided his customers to some impressive catches throughout May.
“The bass were in the process of spawning when the high water hit, and they didn’t move,” Loving said. “For the most part, they stayed where they had fanned out their nests.
“I’m fishing the old banks. Those places might have been in 10 to 12 feet before, and they went to 25 to 30 feet after the water came up. But the fish have still been there.”
Loving remembers years when the high water hit before the spawn and the bass would pioneer into newly flooded cover.
“I won back to back tournaments one year when the lake was flooded,” Loving said. “The fish were in flooded campgrounds, around buildings and lantern holders and in green yards.
“But I haven’t seen that as much this spring.”
The huge releases from Table Rock into Lake Taneycomo caused some nervous times for resort owners, residents and fishermen for a time. But now that release rates have slowed to a fishable rate, trout fishermen are finding excellent fishing. They’re even catching some fish not normally found in the nationally known trout lake that were flushed out of Table Rock.
“I’ve never seen so many smallmouth bass caught,” said Phil Lilley, who owns Lilley’s Landing Resort and Marina in Branson, Mo. “And the trout fishing from the dam to the Lookout area has been really good.”
“We’re seeing lots of 20-inch rainbows and more browns than normal, too.”
Lilley isn’t surprised. Every time high water hits at Taneycomo, an abundance of shad is flushed from Table Rock into Taneycomo and it sets off a feeding spree among the trout.
White jigs, shad flies, drift rigs and spoons have been the most effective lures.
The fishing has also been good at Truman Lake, the 55,600-acre reservoir in west-central Missouri that was hit hard by flooding. As of May 18, the water level was still 20 feet above normal pool, but guides such as Jeff Faulkenberry are still helping their clients catch limits of crappies.
“The crappie spawn was about over when the water came up,” said Faulkenberry, who runs the Endless Season Guide Service. “The fish just followed the water into the new cover.
“You have to move around to find them; they’re not bunched up in one place. But if you stay on the move and fish the green bushes, you can catch a limit. The key is finding the schools of shad and fry.”
The biggest problem at Truman? Access. With the lake still high, some of the boat ramps are inaccessible.
Saturday, September 24, 2016 Kids and Adults Invited to Discover the Fun of the Outdoors Johnny Morris named 2016 Honorary Chair
National Hunting and Fishing Day, formalized by Congress in 1971, was created by the National Shooting Sports Foundation to celebrate conservation successes of hunters and anglers. From shopping center exhibits to statewide expos, millions of citizens have learned to appreciate America’s sportsman-based system of conservation funding. That system now generates more than $1.7 billion per year, benefiting all who appreciate wildlife and wild places.
In locations all around the country, kids and adults alike, can share in a few of the fun and challenging hands-on activities that include fishing, outdoor gear, archery, firearm safety and much more. Sportsman and conservation groups will feature exhibits with displays of hunting and fishing equipment with demonstrations of outdoor skills.
National Hunting and Fishing Day (NHF Day) has named leading national conservationist and Bass Pro Shops founder, Johnny Morris, to serve as the honorary chair for NHF Day 2016. A lifelong sportsman with a passion for hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation, Morris is one of the country’s foremost leaders working to ensure natural habitats, wildlife and the outdoors remain healthy for future generations to protect and enjoy.
“America’s sportsmen and women are among our nation’s most active conservationists and it’s important we recognize and celebrate everything they do to protect outdoor habitat and ensure thriving populations of wildlife,” said Morris. “I’m proud to lend my support and raise awareness for hunters and anglers, America’s conservation heroes through National Hunting and Fishing Day.”
The NHF Day event is just one more of the ways Morris is honoring the unsung heroes of conservation. Later this year, Morris will unveil the new Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium in Springfield, Missouri, a 315,000-square foot conservation destination envisioned as a tribute to America’s hunters and anglers. Through immersive habitats and interactive displays the experience will inspire future generations to enjoy, love and conserve the great outdoors.
“NHF Day is continually looking for folks that have a true passion for the outdoors and is very involved with conservation,” said Misty Mitchell, national coordinator, National Hunting and Fishing Day. “Johnny Morris is leading the charge in all facets of conservation. We couldn’t be happier to have him serve as our National Chair.”
This annual event takes place on Saturday, September 24, 2016, with activities taking place across the country.
Morris joins a distinguished group that has included Jim Shockey, Eva Shockey, Craig Morgan, Bill Dance, T. Boone Pickens, Louise Mandrell, Hank Williams Jr., Jeff Foxworthy, Wade Boggs, Arnold Palmer, the USA Olympic Shooting Team, Tony Stewart and others.