Spotty Fishing in Niagara Region is Downright Exciting!

Joel Spring of Ransomville, NY, poses with a prehistoric-looking long nose gar, he caught on a rope fly while fishing a favorite Lake Ontario tributary.

The 29th Steve Harrington Memorial Erie Canal Fishing Derby is over. We won’t know who will win the boat, motor, and trailer, though, until the Awards Ceremony on Sunday, July 21 at the Gasport Fire Hall starting at 3 p.m. There will be a random drawing of first-place winners to see who the lucky winner will be.

Chris Walczak of Amherst, NY, caught this walleye in the Erie Canal on a spinnerbait this week.

In the bass division, Ed Mort of Lockport was in first-place with a 5.66-pound fish. Sam Hillman from Lockport was the top walleye catcher at 7.04 pounds, and James Nix, Jr. of Tonawanda topped the pike division with an 11.81-pound fish. The biggest bullhead was a 1.58-pound fish reeled in by Michael Boncore of Buffalo. Biggest catfish is an 8.75-pound fish reeled in by Keegan Walczak of Amherst and Matthew Clark of North Tonawanda was the leading carp with a 26.11-pound fish. Carleen Beback of Buffalo won the sheepshead category with a 12.21-pound fish. Check out for final results.

In Niagara Falls, USA, Lake Ontario salmon and trout action has been a little spotty of late and some of it can be blamed on the weather.

With Tropical Depression Barry showing up this week, the hottest weather of the season is on our doorstep through the weekend. One sleeper area could be the Niagara Bar, as mature kings have been reported this week.

Capt. Frank Campbell of Lewiston had some customers looking for some salmon slammin’ and they were rewarded with some mature kings in 100 to 200 feet of water, pulling magnum spoons in greens and white-glow spin doctors, with green flies, behind dipsy divers 30 to 50 feet down.

Off Wilson, fishing has actually been pretty good, but the information was tough to come by with the Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Association events taking place on Friday and Saturday this week. Some bigger fish are available. Robyn Wolf of Wilson came close to the top prize with a 27 pound, 15-ounce King that is currently in second place in the Salmon Division. She was fishing out of her home port with Capt. Mike Johannes of “On the Rocks” charter service and caught the fish on a magnum spoon. Darker colors have been working.

Blake Kenney from Grand Island, NY, with a walleye from the upper Niagara River. He was fishing with Capt. Connor Cinelli of Grand Island.

Capt. Tim Sylvester of Tough Duty was fishing out of Olcott on Monday and hit a 28-plus pound King on a 400-foot copper line with meat. However, the person that caught the fish was not in the LOC Derby currently going on.  He was fishing in 300-plus feet of water. Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctors in Olcott says, “Try fishing a little east of Olcott in 400 to 450 feet of water or a little west off the red barn in 315-375 feet of water.”  The new Grand Prize leader is 29 pounds, 6 ounces.  The derby ends on July 28.

In the Niagara River, bass fishing in the lower river has picked up according to Lisa Drabczyk of Creek Road Bait & Tackle. The moss is still an issue, but it does seem to be getting a little better. Worms, crabs, and tube jigs have been the bait of choice. A few walleye have been reported, too.

Max Gavigan from Buffalo with a nice bass he caught on a crab in upper Niagara River over the weekend fishing with Capt. Chris Cinelli of Grand Island.

Upper river action has been great for bass, as well. According to Capt. Ryan Shea of Brookdog Fishing, his best bass bait has been a NED rig. That same rig has been producing an amazing number of muskellunge, too. So far this year he has connected with 16 muskies, all caught and released with care. Some decent walleye fishing in the river too, especially in the Emerald Channel.

Bill Hilts, Jr. – Outdoor Promotions Director

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