Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls was fishing along Artpark when he hooking into this lunker bass on a No. 3 spinner
Fall was in the air last weekend as cooler temperatures and rain triggers some early movement into the Niagara River and closer to the mouths of area streams.
Staging kings off Wilson and Olcott were finicky the past few days, forcing boats to head out for more stable conditions starting in 300 feet of water off Wilson and Olcott. It was a spoon program for Capt. Mike Johannes of On the Rocks to take a mix of salmon and trout out deep. His last trip he was 7 for 13 on salmon and trout – not as good as it’s been but it kept his customers happy.
Staging kings should be cooperating again soon. Use J-plugs, flashers with cut bait, flasher-fly or magnum spoons for the kings and some trout are also available in the same waters.
The piers at Olcott were hot on Monday and Tuesday according to Karen Evarts of The Boat Doctors in Olcott. J13 Rapalas in perch and firetiger were working for Mark Vogt of Newfane Tuesday, but Booker glow spoons and spinners have been catching fish, too, according to Evarts.
Nothing to speak of in 18 Mile creek yet.
In the Niagara River below Niagara Falls, small schools of mature salmon were seen moving up into the gorge area. Lisa Drabczyk of Creek Road Bait and Tackle was reporting salmon action off the NYPA fishing platform in the gorge over the weekend and early this week. Nothing from boats in Devil’s Hole. Bass and walleye are still hitting from shore along Artpark and further down river, too, for boaters dragging crabs, shiners and worm harnesses along the bottom on 3-way rigs. The river water temperatures dropped 5 degrees from last week, but so far that has not made a huge difference. If cooler temps prevail, it could trigger more of a river run of kings.
In the meantime, make sure you mark Sept. 22-23 on your calendar for activities. Sept. 22 is a kids fishing derby at Hyde Park Lake in Niagara Falls from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Young anglers from 6 to 16 are eligible. Register at the Oasis Pavilion off Robbins Drive in the park.
Sept. 22 and 23 is the NYPA’s Wildlife Festival, co-sponsored by the Niagara County Federation of Conservation Clubs in honor of National Hunting and Fishing Day. The event is held on the visitor center grounds adjacent to Niagara University both days from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
And just so you know, Saturday Sept. 22 is a free fishing day in New York State being declared by the state in honor of National Hunting and Fishing Day. Everyone 16 years of age and older do not need a license, but you must abide by the regulations.
Good luck and good fishing!
Bill Hilts, Jr. – Outdoor Promotions Director
Destination Niagara USA, 10 Rainbow Blvd., Niagara Falls, NY 14303
Fall Lake Ontario Counties Trout and Salmon Derby Winners – BIG FISH!
Kings are coming in closer to shore each day, BE READY
New York Power Authority hosting Wildlife Festival Sept. 22/, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The days are getting shorter as Pacific salmon slowly migrate closer to their home ports.
Last Saturday morning, Keegan Walczak of East Amherst was casting a spoon off the Olcott pier when he caught the first salmon of the year. A few more were caught over the weekend by other anglers. This is the first sign that we’re getting close to some fall fishing, but we still have a ways to go. High temperatures will be in the 60’s over the weekend and we will see some cool rain on Sunday so that should make a difference.
In the meantime, the Niagara Bar is holding fish at the drop-off according to some mixed reports.
Off Wilson, the salmon were stacking up in 40 to 80 feet of water according to Kyle Duncan of Newfane. He was fishing with Capt. Carl Martin of Dublin Up Charters and doing very well on matures. Duncan says use spoons and cut bait early in the day and switch over to spoons later, using your electronics to help identify prime areas. These fish could feed at any time so stay on them until you figure out what they want. Flasher-fly combos were also catching numbers of fish, including brown and rainbow trout while boaters are targeting salmon.
Off Olcott earlier in the week, 60 to 90 feet was a good depth contour to follow. J-plugs, flasher and cut bait, flasher-fly and magnum spoons were all producing fish early in the day. Russell Pray of Kesseville went fishing Labor Day weekend with his buddy Rick Coon of Kesseville and they were greeted with a torrential downpour out on the waters in Eastern Lake Ontario. In the middle of the downpour, a rod went off so Pray went and started to fight a king salmon – a fish that took nearly 400 feet of line in a matter of seconds. Twenty minutes later, after fighting (and losing) another salmon, 4 foot waves and a very long leader on their dipsy diver, they netted a 31 pound, 4 ounce salmon – his biggest ever in the lake – to take home the Grand Prize check for $25,500 to win the Fall Lake Ontario Counties Trout and Salmon Derby that ended on Labor Day. That story would have been secondary had Kyle Kraft of Ohio insisted to his buddy that he get into the derby. Fishing with Capt. Frank Campbell, they caught a 32 pound salmon on the Niagara Bar – but everyone on the boat must be in the derby.
In the salmon division, Eric Beaver of Locust Gap, Pa. was just 3 ounces behind Pray when he reeled in a 31 pound, 1 ounce king, winning a check for $5,500.
One angler who didn’t wait until the last minute was David McGowan of Rush who reeled in the winning brown trout – a 16 pound, 4 ounce fish reeled in on the first day of the 18 day derby while fishing off Braddocks Bay. Jason Dale of Lockport caught the second place brown trout off Wilson on Monday morning of Labor Day (the final day of the derby), a 15 pound, 12 ounce brownie on a customized Stinger spoon.
Braden Petrucci of Coal Center, Pa. caught the winning steelhead out of Olcott Labor Day weekend, a 14 pound fish caught on a Moonshine spoon – his biggest steelhead ever. The second place steelhead was caught the same day – September 1 – a 13 pound, 11 ounce fish reeled in by Anthony Alonzo of Monongahela, Pa., also fishing out of Olcott. No salmon yet in the lower Niagara River, but bass and walleye are still snapping.
Shore anglers have been using plugs and spinners off Artpark to take some nice walleye and bass both. The better fishing has been at night.
Remember that Sept. 22 is a kids fishing derby on Hyde Park Lake in Niagara Falls starting at 8 a.m. and NYPA will be hosting a Wildlife Festival Sept. 22 and 23 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day to honor National Hunting and Fishing Day weekend.
Good luck and good fishing!
Bill Hilts, Jr.- Outdoor Promotions Director
Destination Niagara USA, 10 Rainbow Blvd., Niagara Falls, NY 14303
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.
Lower Niagara River, Wilson Harbor and Olcott Harbor ALL Provide Easy Access to Big Ocean-sized Fish
Boat Trollers and Pier Casters both SCORE on Fall King Salmon
Charter Fishing from a Boat is FUN, Affordable and Comfortable
By Forrest Fisher
With water levels slowly returning to normal, late summer on Lake Ontario means fishing fun at nearly every port of angler access, from shore and boat.
The end of August is the start of peak fishing for King Salmon, but steelhead, lake trout and other cold water species also add to the reel-sizzling, fish-catching fun.
Fishing out of Wilson Harbor with Charter Captain Bob Cinelli aboard his aptly named “White Mule,” a 36-foot Tiara – ask him how that name came to be, was a simple day of fishing pleasure. The boat is big, bold and beautiful. Rest room below decks, sleeping compartments…nice.
The fishing rigs aboard “White Mule” are brand new models of time-tested rods, reels, lines and lures. Cinelli only uses the best and he should know after more than 30 years of fishing experience on the “Big-O.” Daiwa 4011 hi-speed reels, Heartland rods, Big Jon downriggers, 20-pound test Ande monofilament lines on the downriggers – tipped with Seaguar fluorocarbon leaders, copper line for use with the giant “Otter” planer boards, and the sharpest hooks on his select set of favored spoons.
Fishing with friends Mike Norris, Rick Updegrove and John Syracuse, we all took turns landing King salmon and steelhead. Our trip started early at sunrise and we were back to port at noon or so, with plenty of fillets for the smoker.
North winds over the previous few days had started a small turnover offshore, but that did not hold up the fishing action with Captain Bob, as he revised the fishing program to find the winning combination to find King Salmon and steelhead.
We started out running lines at 30, 40 and 50 feet down using downriggers with 8-foot sliders, diving planes off copper out 100 feet, all with some variation of green-colored spoons in 125 feet of water. To find the hot fish, we slowly trolled out to 300 feet and then back shallower, looking for active fish on the feed. Back and forth Captain Bob moved us around, then we found active steelhead off the planer boards and riggers.
Just like fishing for marlin in the ocean, steelhead in Lake Ontario fly out of the water. Up, up and away. The fish not only soar above the water, they swim fast to the left, to the right, and then right at you. When that happens, you need to test your shoulder and arms for durability, and turn the reel handle very fast.
I had a nice steelhead on, it was my turn when the port side Otter board with the copper line jerked free with a jolting, rod-throbbing pulse as it exited the line release. We all thought it was a King as John hollered, “Forrest, you’re up!” I vaulted from my seat to take the rod from first mate, Nick, and moved to the padded rear railing on the boat. A very safe and adequate spot to lean on as the fish was battled back to the boat.
“How much line is out Nick?” I asked. “About 400 feet, just keep reeling, you’re doing just fine.” Rick joined in the verbal fun, “Feel that burn Forrest?!” How did he know? Indeed, my shoulders were on fire. How could this be? I was being worn out by a less-than-monster fish. Mike shared, “Hang on to him, it looks like the biggest one so far.” Easy for him to say. Then John added, “If you’re tired, I can take the rod.” I didn’t say anything, but was thinking, “No way John,”…I’m not sure I even heard that.
Maybe I was just hearing voices in my subconscious state of fish-fighting mindset?
Nope, on the other hand, these are what fishing friends are for. Heckling. Bantering. Funning. A few minutes later, my arms really were actually getting numb – 400 feet of copper is a LONG WAY, but we landed the fish just fine. I turned to grin at “my friends” not saying a word about my frozen arm joints. It was 65 degrees out and I was forming sweat on my brow.
Love this fishing!
John added, “Imagine how that guy felt yesterday that caught that 51-inch King, 39 pounds – 3 ounces, to take the lead in the LOC Derby?” He was not making me feel any better. “Honestly,” I returned, “I cannot imagine that. I think you might need to share the rod with your friends in that case.” John grinned and said, “Hey, that’s what fishing friends are for.”
We were having a great day.
Over the course of the morning trip, we had 12 releases and this was a “SLOW DAY” according to Captain Bob. My sore shoulders did not agree. I gotta start working out harder. We caught lots of “shakers,” the term for young-of-the-year King Salmon that weigh 2-3 pounds. The future fishery. All were released unharmed.
This fishing trip was fun. Maybe the best part of such a trip is that when four guys head out to fish this way in total comfort with the latest gear, hottest lures, a captain that can navigate and a first mate that coaches you along the way, and it’s affordable.
“Leave the dock at sunrise and back by about 12-12:30 with four guys,” Captain Bob said, “Our usual pricing is not expensive at $150 apiece. $25 more each and you can fish the whole day.” Unreal. Affordable fun. We all chipped in to tip the first mate.
A lot of us spend that much on just one good fishing reel (I do).
My new view, I’m getting older – save time, save money, fish with a charter. Not only do you get to fish with the best gear and fish with friends, you go the hottest fishing places at the best times and someone else cleans your catch! Then you just head home for the freezer with all of your healthy dinner meals for the next few months.
If you’re looking to do this, you can contact Captain Bob Cinelli Sportfishing directly by calling 716-860-5774. You might also learn a lot about the lake, the fishery, the forage, the predator fish, invasive species, why the fish are able to be caught on certain lures and bait, the Lake Ontario water level, issues and more.
Captain Cinelli is the chairman of the Niagara County Fishery Advisory Board. He has the inside line on what’s happening on Lake Ontario and the Lower Niagara River. And with the hottest fishing.
Allowing Lures, Lines, Rigs, Rules and Laws, to Meet Each Other
Communication, Great Fishing and Laughter Create EFFECTIVE FUN
Summer Fishing for Lake Erie Walleye in Chautauqua County, NY
By Forrest Fisher
If there is a language common between anglers and fish, they were talking to each other off Chadwick Bay in Dunkirk, New York, during the Great Lakes Experience earlier in August. More than 20 charter boats each caught dozens of walleye. Yes, each. If we average the catch at 20 fish per boat, that’s about 400 walleyes in less than four hours of fishing. And when the fish are biting, good things happen, especially when folks from local, state, county and federal positions get together to discuss the recreational fishery and all that goes with it.
That’s what happened during the 9th Annual Great Lakes Experience Fishing Day. About 100 people from Erie County, Niagara County and Chautauqua County were invited to fish together. Attendees met at the harbor at about 6:00 a.m. on August 9, 2017, for the annual Tim Horton’s “Meet & Greet” session. Nothing like donuts and hot coffee at sunrise! We divided into groups from there as we were assigned to captains from the Eastern Lake Erie Charter Boat Association (ELECBA), that provided a unified effort with a simple goal: To catch some fish and share more about reasons why the Lake Erie resource is so important and so priceless.
I was fishing with Captain Jim Skoczylas (Ultimate Adventure Sportfishing (716-796-5372) and first mate, Tom “TJ” Yetzer. They provided guests on board Jim’s 31-foot Tiara, a fun and comfortable time, even in the 4 to 6 foot waves that came up later in the morning.
Skoczylas says, “While the fishing has been really good this year, each day we play it by ear to adapt when we need to change lures and methods. On some days the fish want crankbaits, other days they want spinner/worm rigs, on finicky days – color matters, but on most days this year, it has not mattered too much what you put down there. The walleye have been looking to eat and there are many year classes, especially young fish, in our New York, Lake Erie, fishery right now. Many of us are wondering if there might be a shortage of emerald shiners and smelt – the primary baitfish groups out here, because the fish usually want to eat our lures quite readily.”Between hearing Yetzer holler, “Fish-on, who’s up?” and Tom Hersey, Erie County Commissioner of Environment and Planning say, “Oops, I think I might have lost that one (four times),” there was lots of kidding, laughs and honest fascination with the rigs and processes used to catch fish.”
On the other hand, Ally Pawarski, Sales and Services Manager with the Buffalo Niagara Sports Commission, didn’t lose a single fish and was tuned-in for the whole trip – landing the largest walleye on our boat.
Dan Rizzo, Commissioner of Erie County Parks, Chris Catanzaro, Project Manager for the Erie County Harbor Development Corporation, along with Patrick Kaler, CEO of the Buffalo Niagara Visitors Bureau, all enjoyed fish-catching and common conversation. I was happy to be among this dedicated group.
We talked about the fishing goodness, Buffalo Harbor State Park boat ramps, the Central Train Station location, Canalside activities, Buffalo Riverworks, Lake Erie recreational access, kayaks, the health of the fishery, the Coast Guard, the people and the fun of the outdoors on the waterfront. Add in ideas for marketing and distribution, thoughts of a virtual fish-catching program from Lake Erie on the internet, on-board drone videos for future customers fishing Lake Erie along the New York shoreline, and you can see, conversation was all-inclusive with new ideas.
Running 12 coordinated lines at depths of 70 to 80 feet down in 85 to 105 feet of water, and using all the gear dressed up with spinner/worm rigs and stickbaits, we hooked up with 26 fish in a very short 4 hours on the water. Diving planes, weighted leadcore lines, downriggers and lots of lures and stickbaits were all part of the presentation mix with a trolling speed of 2.1 mph. It was a perfect scenario for catching fish and to discuss issues/answers.
After the fishing, the perfect walleye fish fry lunch was served at the Northern Chautauqua County Conservation Club. We heard from several speakers, perhaps the most notable was about raw sewage overload on our Great Lakes from Rich Davenport, Director from the Erie County Fish Advisory Board.
Everyone enjoyed a great time networking about life in the outdoors and the incredible natural resource, Lake Erie, and agreed to work hard together to keep this treasure alive and well into the future.
There were representatives from the NYSDEC, including Stephen Hurst – Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources Bureau Chief from Albany, Patricia Riexinger recently retired from that same position, Don Einhouse and Jason Robinson, fisheries biologists from the NYSDEC Lake Erie Fisheries Unit, a host of legislative leaders – Senators and Assemblymen, the charter captains and their crews – the proper combination for networking and laughter too.
This annual event allows local groups to bring certain very real issues to light and provides the potential for discussion on the battlefront of conservation, the outdoors and our Great Lakes resources. There is nothing like a face-to-face meeting of the minds. Issues and solutions, in between catching fish and a few grins, become a solid focus.
Amidst the apparent visual complexity of multiple rods/reels, downriggers, diving planes, planer boards, temperature measurement and trolling gear, and lots of lures, the confidence in the voice of our hosts on board each charter craft was reassuring. Confidence reigns.
The event was organized by Zen Olow (Northern Chautauqua County Conservation Club), Lance Erhardt (Eastern Lake Erie Charter Boat Association) and Andrew Nixon (Executive Director Chautauqua County CVB), and a supporting cast of dozens.
Lake Ontario – The hottest action out deep has been for steelhead off Wilson and Olcott. Boats have been heading out to 400-500 feet of water for salmon and trout, but most of the fish have been nice steelhead taken on spoons.
Flasher-fly will work for trout but if there are kings and coho’s around, those seem to be the best baits to use. The DW 42nd spoon keeps popping up for one popular bait; for spinnies, white on white, white 2 face, and chrome green dot flashers with stud fly, purple or lime mirage fly have worked best, but other colors are working, too.
A few salmon have started to make it in closer to shore, but the best and most consistent fishing has been out deep.
The Niagara Bar is producing some nice fish, as well.
John Van Hoff of North Tonawanda was out last weekend and did well with flasher-fly 90 feet down over 100 feet of water right at the drop off. He caught a dozen nice kings to 25 pounds.
Out of Wilson, Capt. Mike Johannes has been reporting fish about 8 miles out, but fish are also available in the 100 to 200 foot depth range. Spoons and flasher-fly, what’s been working elsewhere, has been the hot bite. Meat will also work for kings as we move closer to the time when salmon will be making their way in to the ports they were stocked at.
The Orleans County Rotary Derby has been plugging along slowly the past week. Mike Schaeffer of Sligo, Pa., is leading the grand prize quest with a 28 pound, 6 ounce salmon out of the Oak. In the Salmon Division, Chase Lamb of Burt is in first place with an Olcott king that weighed 23 pounds, 15 ounces. The contest runs through August 20th, which helps set up for one of the busiest weekends of the year as far as the fishing scene is concerned.
The Fall Lake Ontario Counties Trout and Salmon Derby kicks off on August 18 and runs through Labor Day. Also on August 18, the Second Annual Reelin’ for a Cure will be held out of Wilson and Olcott from 6 a.m. to noon. This all-ladies event will be raising funds for the Breast Cancer Network of WNY. Last year there were 12 teams. This year it looks like it has more than doubled! They need boats – charter boats and rec boats – to make it all happen. It’s a fun time for sure. Contact Stephanie Pierleoni at 481-6388 for more information or go on the event’s Facebook page.
The final contest that starts up next weekend is the Greater Niagara Fish Odyssey Derby, set for August 19th to the 27th. Six species categories for the adults and a Grand Prize of $3,000. For the kids, it’s free to enter with loads of merchandise prizes and trophies. Sign up at any of the LOC weigh stations or at www.fishodyssey.net. This is for Niagara, Orleans and Erie counties. Many thanks to Jim and Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctors in Olcott, who do a lion’s share of the work behind the scenes, such as the website and the leaderboard. This is a great way to get the whole family out to enjoy the waters of Western New York.
Niagara River action, both above and below Niagara Falls, has been dominated by bass, but the walleye fishing can be pretty good, too. Bass are liking crayfish and shiners, in that order.
Walleye are liking worm harnesses and other spinner-worm combinations. Yellow sally rigs are a local favorite in the lower river.
Captain Ernie Calandrelli of Lewiston also hit the top walleye on the same drift, using the same bait as Fox – a softshell crab.
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
Water levels are continuing to come down in Lake Ontario to the delight of boaters and landowners. However, even the high water levels have not had any negative effects on fishing in the lake.
Salmon fishing continues to be very good out on the Niagara Bar, as well as out of Wilson and Olcott. Salmon action just outside the drop-off on the Bar continues to be excellent. Spin doctors and flies are near the top of the list for preferred baits; a flasher and meat rig with cut bait is another. Some fish are being caught on spoons, too, but they seem to be third on the list. The new A-Tom-Mik stud fly has been mentioned quite a bit by trollers in the lake. Niagara Falls USA waters are still at the top of the Lake Ontario stage for the Summer LOC Derby that is going on through July 30. Leading grand prize salmon is still a 27 pound fish caught by Lee Beaton of Clifton Springs, he caught that one out of Wilson, The first place salmon is another Wilson
fish, a 26 pound, 10 ounce king weighed in by Charles Jaenecke of North Tonawanda. Steve Klejdys of North Tonawanda is back at the top of the lake trout leaderboard with a 23 pound – 13 ounce Niagara Bar fish, and Darryl Raate of Fulton is in first place in the steelhead division with a 13 pound trout he caught while fishing out of Wilson. Top brown trout is a 16 pound, 2 ounce fish weighed in by Joey Guernsey of McGraw while fishing out of Fair Haven.
Lower Niagara River action has been good and the moss has not been as much of a factor as in previous years for some reason. Shoreline casting with 2-inch pearl tubes was working for Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls this week, catching double digit bass and even a 9 pound steelhead. Boaters are still doing well on bass by casting the shoreline with spinnerbaits or working shiners or crayfish off three-way rigs. On July 17, the Devil’s Hole State Park stairs and trail will be shut down until the spring of 2018 for reconstruction and repairs. There are still plenty of other access points to get you into the gorge, but this trail is one of the more popular ones. Alternative access can be gained through the New York Power Authority’s South Access Road where a fishing platform and a stairs to the shoreline is available from Apr. 1 to Dec. 1. Other access points include the stairs at Whirlpool State Park; the Suspension Bridge Stairs (under the Whirlpool Bridge); the Great Gorge Railway Trail (that begins at the Niagara Gorge Discovery Center); and the elevator at the Schoellkopf Site (adjacent to the Discovery Center). A copy of the Niagara Gorge Trail Map is available at: http://www.nysparks.com/parks/attachments/WhirlpoolNiagaraGorgeTrailMap.pdf
There are lots of fishing contests going on. The 27th Annual Erie Canal Derby is going on through Sunday, July 16th. Some pretty impressive catches have already come to the scales that will be tough to beat. For example, Michael Boncore of Buffalo is leading the carp category with a 28.02 pound fish; Todd Wells of Medina leads the sheepshead category with an 11.39 pounder; and Charles Rizzo of North Tonawanda has the leading catfish with a 14 pounder. The new walleye leader is Albert Whaley of Tonawanda with a 5.19 pound fish.
Upper Niagara River action continues to be good for bass, walleye and the occasional musky. A spinner and a worm produced all three this week for Capt. Chris Cinelli. The musky was about 46 inches long, probably in the mid-30 pound range as far as weight. It was caught by Jerry Howe of Grand Island and released.
Bill Hilts, Jr., Outdoor Promotions Director
Destination Niagara USA, 10 Rainbow Blvd., Niagara Falls, NY USA, 14303
p: 1.877 FALLS US | 716.282.8992 x.303 | f:716.285.0809
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LURES: A-Tom-Mik Twinkie set-ups & Dreamweaver UV Frog Spin Doctor
Lake Ontario salmon action is continuing on a consistent clip to the delight of trollers at Wilson, Olcott and the Niagara Bar.
Don’t take my word for it, though, just ask Capt. Casey Prisco of Matamoras, Pennsylvania.He was fishing in the Monroe County Offshore Classic last weekend out of Rochester and ran his boat 153 miles round trip in the one-day contest, settling in to fish off Niagara County in Wilson. The fish zone was 71 to 111 feet down over 130 to 180 feet of water, using a Dreamweaver UV Frog spin doctor and an A-Tom-Mik Twinkie set-up.With the A-Tom-Mik meat set out 205 feet on a diver. Another productive rod was a 10-inch white green dot Dreamweaver spin doctor with A-Tom-Mik meat set down 91 feet. He went 21 for 22 on fish for the morning before running back – catching nearly 84 pounds for five fish.
For local captains, the new A-Tom-Mik stud fly has also been a hot ticket for kings, too. Earlier this week, we had some fishing writers from Germany show up in town for an “I Love NY” familiarization tour. They did spend a few hours in the morning, catching salmon and steelhead with Capt. Mike Johannes and On-The-Rocks charters out of Wilson before travelling to their next stop.
The day before, they fished the Lower Niagara River for smallmouth bass with Capt. Frank Campbell of Niagara Region Charters, catching roughly 25 fish on spinnerbaits. The biggest was 6 pounds.
There are quite a few fishing contests in the month of July and two are going on right now.They include the Lake Ontario Counties Summer Trout and Salmon Derby and the 27th Annual Erie Canal Fishing Derby.
If you are going fishing on Lake Ontario, if even for a day, make sure you sign up. Day passes are available. Leading fish for the $10,000 Grand Prize is Lee Beaton of Clifton Springs, NY, with a 27 pound King caught out of Wilson. Darryl Raate of Fulton is leading the steelhead division with another Wilson fish – this one weighing 13 pounds. Top brown is 16 pounds, 2 ounces and the first place lake trout is 22 pounds, 10 ounces. The derby continues through July 30. Go to www.loc.org for details.
Meanwhile on the Erie Canal, the derby kicked off on Wednesday, July 5, and will continue through July 16. There is a family pass for just $25 if you want to take advantage of a group entry fee. The leader board is wide open. Get out there and catch some fish. Find out information at www.eriecanalderby.com.
The Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Association is ready to have a party – a fishing party for its members. You can join for just $10 and become part of the festivities, set for July 21-22 out of Olcott. The first event on the fishing calendar is the Curt Meddaugh Memorial Tournament on Friday, a big fish contest that is free for club members. All you have to do is register! Big fish for the day must be weighed in by 3 p.m. at the Town of Newfane Marina in Olcott. On Saturday, the LOTSA Club Tournament will be going on all day. This is a big fish contest, as well, and entry fee is $60. Weigh in at Krull Park by 3 p.m. to be included for the cash prizes. The final piece to the LOTSA fishing puzzle is the club’s 3-2-3 contest over the two days. Best 3 fish over 2 days of fishing, paying out the top 3 weights. Entry fee is $50 for this portion of the contest. The club picnic will be immediately following on Saturday and the awards will be handed out. You can find out more information and also register for these contests at www.lotsa1.org. And speaking of LOTSA, the next meeting is July 13 at Cornell Cooperative Extension Niagara in Lockport, guest speaker will be Capt. Matt Yablonsky: “Talking Small Boat King’s” at 7 p.m.
As we mentioned, bass fishing in the lower Niagara River has been decent and the moss really hasn’t been that bad. In the upper Niagara River, bass and walleye are still cooperating at the head of the river and around Strawberry Island. The best bait has been with a spinner and a worm. Remember that you can now venture into Canadian waters without calling in. Make sure you understand the live bait regulations and you are carrying a Canadian fishing license if you do cross the border.
Bill Hilts, Jr. Outdoor Promotions Director
Destination Niagara USA, 10 Rainbow Blvd., Niagara Falls, NY 14303; p: 1-877 FALLS US | 716-282-8992 x. 303, f: 716-285-0809; www.niagarafallsusa.com
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.
Lake Ontario and tributaries – Spring has finally arrived this week to the joy of both shore and boat fishermen. In the weather department, the bullhead contest in Wilson was a week off. This weekend will be more like May than April. Shoreline trollers are working the waters inside of 15-20 feet to take a mix of browns and Coho salmon with an occasional steelhead thrown in. Stickbaits in fire tiger, rainbow trout and black-silver or black-blue have all been working off boards. Some boaters have been using spoons to take some fish, as well.
Casting spoons or spinners off the piers is another way to take a trout or two. Fishing minnows under a bobber will also work. In the streams, fresh trout are still available, primarily steelhead. Burt Dam and 18 Mile Creek is still producing, but so are some of the smaller streams like Keg. Fish a small jig under a float and tip it with some meat. Egg sacs will also work.
Over at the Oak, one surprise for a trout caster was a 15-plus pound walleye reeled in by Matt Bedient of Lockport. He caught the monster on a jig.
Walleye season is closed and he released the lunker immediately. Remember that come May 7 when the season opens. Walleye is a category in the LOCWalleye is a category in the LOC Derby. The LOC Derby will be May 6-15 and registrations are coming in hot and heavy now. Go to www.loc.org for details or sign up at any Niagara County location.
Richard Haun of Niagara Falls braved the cold temperatures to win the Wilson Bullhead Contest last weekend with two fish totaling 3.69 pounds. He as using nightcrawlers at Wilson Tuscarora State Park after dark. Second place was Terry Molinari of Appleton with 3.56 pounds. He was fishing near the cow bridge in Wilson with worms and shrimp at dusk and after dark. John Pittsley of Niagara Falls and Bob Shank of Wilson tied at 3.53 pounds but Pittsley won the tie-breaker with length of his two fish. Top youth angler was Zachary Heath with two fish totaling 2.21 pounds. Nearly 40 anglers competed in the contest.
The Lake Ontario Pro-Am Tournament, set for May 20-22 this year, has a live website now for registrations at www.lakeontarioproam.net.