Adventures in the LAND of CHAUTAUQUA MUSKY…and Bass

Here is one nice musky I caught while fishing for smallmouth bass in Chautauqua Lake, what a nice surprise! Not that uncommon. Susan Creason Photo

By Rich Creason

My better half, Susie, and I have enjoyed numerous trips to the land of Chautauqua, an area located in the far western end of New York State, and about eight hours from our home in central Indiana. To get there, we leave home around five in the morning and arrive at our destination with time for an afternoon of fun to start our visit.

Chautauqua County in New York has a lot to offer anyone interested in the outdoors. Our favorite spot is Chautauqua Lake. It is 13,000 acres, being 17 miles long and about two miles wide with a depth of 78 feet. We have fished it on numerous occasions catching many panfish, walleye, smallmouth bass, and one musky. On one trip, we were fishing for musky. The weather wasn’t cooperating, being cold and windy, so we cut our fishing short. As always, I had a backup plan. We got our metal detectors out of the truck and spent several hours on the beach digging bottle caps, pull-tabs, and coins. No jewelry, but we will look again on our next trip.

One of many great smallmouths we caught while fishing Chautauqua Lake.

On another trip with a group of outdoor writers, I was fishing for smallmouth and we were using light tackle rigged with a four-pound test line. I was dragging some kind of rubber worm and had caught a dozen or so bass, all in the four to five-pound range. I had another hit and started reeling. I told the guide I had a good one on, maybe six or seven pounds.

With the light tackle, I had to be careful. When I finally got the fish to the boat, we looked down and it was a large musky. He saw the boat and immediately took off, taking most of my line with him. I slowly worked him (or her) back again, and the fish once again took off after seeing the boat.

On the 5th time, the fish was tiring and the guide grabbed the net. Unfortunately, the net was a small, one-handed thing, suitable for bass. He tried to net the musky, but only half would go in and the fish slipped out and ran again. The 6th time was a repeat. The fished slipped the net and slowly swam away. Finally, on the 7th return to the boat-side, the guide placed the net under the fish and flipped him in the boat.

Immediately, the lure flew out of his mouth. The guide said he saw the hook just barely in his mouth on the 4th or 5th visit to the boat, and he knew I would lose him if I tried to horse him to the boat. Fortunately, I have been catching muskies for over 40 years and have had some practice. Our guide picked up a measuring stick that was only 16 inches long and normally used for bass. I reached in my pocket, where I always carry a 39-inch tiny tape measure and got it out. That wasn’t long enough. The fish was 41 and a half inches — no way to weigh him.

My better half, Susie, as we enjoyed hiking through Panama Rocks

That same morning on Chautauqua Lake, two other writers caught muskies, both over 40 inches. One was fishing from a Hobie kayak, and a nearby pontoon came over and netted the fish for him. We all took pictures and released them. The musky season was not open yet.

On another trip to Chautauqua County, we were fishing the eastern end of Lake Erie, near Buffalo. The weather was expected to go downhill in a few hours, so the guide didn’t take us very far into the lake, but we immediately started catching some fine smallmouth bass. All were over four pounds. We could look west and see a storm heading our way, so the guide moved the boat back closer to shore. We continued fishing, catching, and moving closer toward shore. We finally decided to head in before the storm arrived. That was the best smallmouth fishing day I had ever had, even though it was a short one.

Many tributaries are available for fishing in Chautauqua County. Autumn and winter steelhead are numerous and are great fun to catch.

While I haven’t done any hunting in the county yet, turkey, deer, and bear are plentiful. Archery season for deer and bear is open there in October and runs through December, and while I am a bowhunter (for black bear), I won’t be able to go this year.

If you have extra time while after fishing or hunting, Chautauqua County has many attractions to help fill your visit. We have hiked Panama Rocks, a scenic park with million-year-old rocks that are 60 feet high, with trails running through them. This park is only 15 minutes from Chautauqua Lake. For more details, go to

We also spent a few days at Peek and Peak Mountain Adventures. This resort offers a treetop course with 69 obstacles, including cargo nets, ladders, ziplines (one 1400 feet long!), and eight different difficulty levels. Segway trails snake through the woods with instruction provided before heading out. Great amenities including pool, spa, and outstanding lodging can be found here and at

Peek and Peak Resort Hotel Resort offers comfort and access to the adventure of the Chautauqua Outdoors, including zip-lines, enjoyable for all ages in many ways.

Double D.A.B. Riding Stables ( has been in business since 1982, local wineries and breweries attract many visitors, and roadside stands offer grapes from nearby vineyards in season. If you visit the Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau website at, you can find much more information about where to go and what to see.

The author may be reached at

Snow is here – Musky, Browns and Steelhead too!

  • Niagara Falls USA Fishing Report from Destination Niagara USA
Keegan Walczak of Amherst with a big Niagara County tributary steelhead.

This week it was 10-plus inches of snow and cold temperatures that is impacting local angling action.

There are a few bright spots though. Trout action on the lower Niagara River was good as waters cleared up and fish became a bit more aggressive, especially for steelhead. Lisa Drabczyk of Creek Road Bait and Tackle in Lewiston reports good action for trout throughout the gorge on beads and sacs.

Brown trout have been staging at the mouth of the river, too. Glow spoons were working for shoreline casters around the Fort.

Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls reports he’s been getting some trout on eggs, jigs, and spinners. He even caught a salmon on a jig. He noted that the NYPA plant has had the No. 1 pump off all week. It’s been slow in there, but trout are jumping. The NYPA fishing platform was closed on Tuesday and today due to icy conditions and it wasn’t getting any warmer until the weekend. Call 796-0135 Ext. 45 (twice) to find out if it’s open.

In the Tim Wittek Memorial Musky Tournament last Sunday, Josh Kane was the winner with a 46-1/2-inch Buffalo Harbor fish. Runner ups were Dave Gorski and Jay Decarolis with 42-inch Buffalo Harbor muskellunge. Capt. Chris Cinelli of Grand Island reports he’s been taking two muskies on average each trip out when the weather conditions allow for it.

Wade Winch of North Tonawanda with an upper Niagara River musky.

There was some decent flow in some of the bigger Lake Ontario tributaries and eggs and beads were producing some fish at places like Burt Dam according to Jim Evarts at The Boat Doctors in Olcott. Jigs, Wooly Buggers, and other egg imitations are catching fish, too.

Remember that there will be a meeting hosted by DEC to discuss the Lake Ontario forage base on Wednesday, Nov. 13 starting at 6:30 p.m. That’s tonight. The meeting will take place at Cornell Cooperative Extension Niagara, 4487 Lake Avenue, Lockport and it is free and open to the public. If you can’t make the DEC meeting, there will be an online/phone call presentation on Nov. 14 from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Visit the DEC website at to find out details.

Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls caught this king salmon on a jig.

There are a few changes on the leaderboard according to Steve Hawkins at Capt. Bob’s Outdoors in Clarence for the store’s fall derby.

California Joe Pavalonis of Buffalo is back, taking over the lead with a 17-1/8-inch Rudd from the upper Niagara River that weighed in at 2.61 pounds.

Ethan Bronschidle of Newfane took over second place in the Brown Trout division with a 27-1/2-inch Lake Ontario tributary fish.

The new leader in the Yellow Perch category is Barry Ball of Alden with a 14-1/4-inch fish.

Aaron Horvatits of Buffalo with a nice lower Niagara River steelhead.

Bill Hilts, Jr.- Outdoor Promotions Director

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



Big Browns at Olcott Trib’s, Musky in Upper Niagara River

  • Niagara Falls USA Fishing Forecast for Nov. 6, 2019, from Destination Niagara USA
Aaron Woods of Ransomville with a dandy brown trout he caught at a favorite Lake Ontario tributary.

For Lake Ontario, lots of rain late last week and part of Saturday caused turbid conditions in the bigger creeks. Smaller creeks are producing browns and steelhead right now. Egg patterns and streamers work well according to Scott Feltrinelli of Ontario Fly Outfitters. Try using egg patterns in orange and natural color buggers.

Brian from Ohio with another nice Lake Ontario tributary brown trout from last weekend.

Many fish are spawning on the redds right now, so those fish have had lockjaw. Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctors in Olcott reports good action on egg sacs, artificial eggs, marshmallows, beads, and wooly buggers. Pier action has been slow, primarily due to the winds keeping people off of them.

The Niagara River was still very stained as of today, but we’re getting close to fishable conditions for boaters. Use scent or something with vibration. Steelhead and brown trout top the list, but a few out-of-season lake trout are showing up, too. There are still bass and walleye around, too, according to Lisa Drabczyk with Creek Road Bait and Tackle.

Lower river fishing has been better for the shore casters than the boaters for sure with the condition of the water since the storm. The shoreline usually clears first when you have conditions like this, allowing for better fishing close to the rocks. Egg sacs or imitations, spoons, spinners will all work. It should continue to improve the closer we get to the weekend, barring any further wind events.

11-year-old Nick Adam of the Town of Tonawanda caught this 39-inch musky in the upper Niagara River last week using a perch-colored shallow raider – his first musky ever!

If we see some snow and ice, there’s a good chance that the New York Power Authority fishing platform will be closing temporarily. Call 796-0135 Ext. 45 to find out if it’s open.

Dan Woods from Ransomville caught this lake trout and released it while casting off the NYPA fishing platform.

In the upper Niagara River and Buffalo Harbor, musky fishermen are chomping at the bit to get out there and target these toothy fish. The season ends there on Nov. 30. Hans Mann of Buffalo Harbor Outfitters reports that we need some green water for fish to start turning on, and they should be hungry. Fishing was good in the river prior to the storm. When the water finally clears, it should be game on in Buffalo Harbor, just in time for the re-scheduled Tim Wittek Memorial Musky Tournament on Sunday, Nov. 10. The contest is sponsored by the Niagara Musky Association.

Remember that there will be a meeting hosted by DEC to discuss the Lake Ontario forage base on Wednesday, Nov. 13 starting at 6:30 p.m. The meeting will take place at Cornell Cooperative Extension Niagara, 4487 Lake Avenue, Lockport and it is free and open to the public.


John Antone from Niagara County caught this 47-plus inch muskellunge from the upper Niagara River while fishing with Capt. Connor Cinelli of Grand Island just before the storm blew in last week.
Bill Hilts, Jr. – Outdoor Promotions Director
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Destination Niagara USA, 10 Rainbow Blvd., Niagara Falls, NY 14303

Niagara Musky’s CHOMPING-UP Angler Lures

Gary Laidman of South Wales caught this 48-inch musky this week in the upper Niagara River fishing with Capt. Chris Cinelli of Grand Island.

  • Niagara Falls USA Fishing – Walleye, Brown Trout, Musky, Carp, Lake Trout, WOW
  • Destination Niagara USA is a vacation destination for fall fishing
  • One angler caught 4 Musky on the same trip!
  • Story includes Fishing Forecast for week of Oct. 30, 2019
Dan Ettipio of Clarence with a 40-inch Upper Niagara River fish he caught this week fishing with Capt. Chris Cinelli of Grand Island.

Will it be a trick or treat for area fishing this week?

High winds over the weekend created turbid conditions for drifters and casters.

Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls with a NYPA platform carp caught on eggs.

Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls found some decent success off the NYPA fishing platform despite 2 feet of visibility, using eggs to take steelhead and carp; colorful jigs to take salmon and walleye over the weekend. There have been a few high water issues on the NYPA platform so be aware of that.

Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls with a lower river walleye caught on a jig off the NYPA platform.

Some fish are available along Artpark from shore, both steelhead and browns. Lake trout are also being caught, but lake trout season is closed. Spinners and eggs or egg imitations like beads are catching primarily trout. Lisa Drabczyk of Creek Road Bait and Tackle reports bass are cooperating by Fort Niagara and big walleyes have been hitting along Artpark and Stella, as well as up in Devil’s Hole.

Ricardo Davila of Wheatfield with a lower Niagara River brown trout last week.

The water was clearing, but the next big wind event is set for the end of the week and will impact water conditions in the river. This could rile the water up again and affect the Niagara Musky Association’s Tim Wittek Memorial Tournament set for Sunday, Nov. 3. Musky action has been good in the upper river.

Jeff Pritchard of Lockport shows off a big musky, one of 4 he caught in the upper Niagara River, fishing with Capt. Chris Cinelli of Grand Island on Saturday. He was drifting large shiners.

Jeff Pritchard from the Lockport area was fishing with Capt. Chris Cinelli of Grand Island last Saturday and caught four muskies in one trip bottom bouncing with large shiners. That is an incredible day.

Ricardo Davila of Wheatfield with a lower Niagara River steelhead from last week.

Many of the tributaries flowing into Lake Ontario are murky, making for some tougher fishing. However, Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctor in Olcott reports that fish are being caught in places like 18 Mile Creek with egg sacs and beads at the top of the list for fish-catching. Reports of a fresh run of salmon moving into the creek were substantiated on Tuesday by Evarts and things were hopping at Fisherman’s Park where Burt Dam is located. Some days are better than others, though.

Lisa Cicciarelli of Lockport holds up her first-ever lake trout before it was released in the lower Niagara River. She was fishing with Capt. Arnie Jonathan of Lockport.

A few fish are being caught off the piers casting spoons, spinners or fishing eggs under a float. 12 Mile Creek (Olcott) was muddy, but as water levels drop and conditions clear, there should be some fish available.

There will be a special meeting with DEC to discuss the status of the Lake Ontario forage base on Nov. 13 at Cornell Cooperative Extension Niagara, 4487 Lake Avenue, Lockport starting at 6:30 p.m.

If you can’t make it, there will be an online presentative (or you can call in) on Nov. 14.

Check the DEC website out for more information at

Bill Hilts, Jr. – Outdoor Promotions Director
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Destination Niagara USA, 10 Rainbow Blvd., Niagara Falls, NY 14303


Niagara River Mucky Madness! Happening Now.

Musky, Brown Trout, Coho, Walleye, Bass…Fish-Catching Madness: Niagara Falls USA – Full Report, Nov. 21, 2018

Double on Musky! Brad and Virgil Mosiman were fishing with Capt. Ted Kessler of Grand Island on the upper Niagara River this week.

The place to be this week is the Niagara River both above and below Niagara Falls. The musky are on their usual hot fall bite.

In the Upper Niagara River, Capt. Ted Kessler was reporting some good musky action recently, including a double-header for two brothers – Virgil Mosiman of Kenai, , and his brother Brad from Warsaw, NY, with 47-inch and 38-inch ‘skies while fishing with Capt. Ted Kessler of Grand Island in the Upper Niagara River. The musky season closes on Nov. 30 in the upper river and Lake Erie, as well as the rest of the state, except for the Lower Niagara River and Lake Ontario.

Gary Hall of Niagara Falls with a nice lower Niagara River musky. The season is open until Dec. 15 in the lower river.

Gary Hall of Niagara Falls had a good day fishing with Capt. Frank Campbell on Monday and he was rewarded with a big musky on a MagLip lure in silver and chartreuse. The musky season is open until Dec. 15 in the Lower Niagara River and Lake Ontario. The Niagara Musky Association will be hosting the John Henning Memorial Musky Tournament on Dec. 2. Call Scott McKee at 225-3816. You must be a member to participate.

Ethan Bronschidle of Newfane caught this nice steelhead at Burt Dam.

Also at the top of the list the past week in the lower river has been the steelhead and brown trout. As of Monday, river conditions were near perfect according to Capt. Chris Cinelli of Grand Island. Pink egg sacs were the ticket for steelhead in Devil’s Hole and along Artpark. Head down river for brown trout. Egg sacs were working on them as well.

Lake trout continue to be caught too, as part of incidental catch. Lake trout season is closed until the end of the year.

Dick Hill of Maryland caught this lower Niagara River steelhead this week.

One popular fishing spot will be closing for the winter on Nov. 30 at dusk – the NYPA fishing platform in the gorge, including the parking area and stairs. They’ll be shutting down for the season due to the winter conditions. This also includes the Upper Mountain Road access point for the reservoir.

Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls is still picking up a few fresh salmon and some walleyes at the NYPA fishing platform on spinners and jigs. Swimbaits work, too.

Action in the streams off Lake Ontario has slowed for browns and steelhead, as well as the occasional late king salmon. We’ve heard a few Coho’s being caught, too. Water has been slightly stained and conditions aren’t too bad, but fish have been finicky.

It’s a good bet that many people are hunting. There hasn’t been a lot of fishing pressure.

Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving!

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

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TRIPLE-UP WINTER FUN in Chautauqua County, NY


  • Anglers – Ice Fish for Walleye
  • Hunters – Get Ready for Goose Season
  • Families: It’s Maple Syrup Time and Late Winter Adventures
Brock Windoft of Lakewood, NY, with a beautiful winter musky caught and released from Chautauqua Lake ice.

Chautauqua, New York – Feb. 22, 2018: Winter Fishing – Anglers on Chautauqua Lake have enjoyed one of the finest ice fishing seasons in several years. Huge crappie over three pounds, walleye over 10-pounds, lots of toothy musky – some better than four feet long, as well as bluegills and yellow perch, all have been testing the lightweight winter fishing lines of anglers from Mayville to Jamestown. Hard ice off the north side of Long Point has provided excellent fishing, though anglers accessing the lake from the Mayville Town Park parking area have enjoyed good catches as well. With spring warming trends, the once solid ice of 10-12 inches thickness will thin quickly.  Open water flows from tributary creeks will soon begin and runoffs from warming canals will initiate the onset of early crappie fishing for hardy anglers, well ahead of the usual calendar start.  For the latest fishing news, check with Skip Bianco at Hogan’s Hut,, 716-789-3831 or Mike Sperry at Chautauqua Reel Outdoors,, 716-763-2947.

Shotgun Hunters: Canada geese – they abound as a golden Chautauqua opportunity for 5-bird daily bag limits with the nine-day late Goose Hunting Season that runs March 2-10. Cackling geese and white-fronted geese may be taken as part of the Canada goose daily and possession limit. Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset. Snow geese season is open now too, they may be taken by special Conservation Order through April 15, daily limit is 25 birds. The geese species, possession limit is three times the daily limit, except for snow geese. Use of non-toxic shot required and hunters should remember that the possession limit is the maximum number of birds with you in the field, at home, in transit or in storage. For special hunter regulations visit:

Maple Syrup Family Adventures – the sunny winter weather has been with us, maple tree sap is flowing in Chautauqua County. Maple weekends are just ahead: March 17-18 and March 24-25, 2018. There are three Sugar House Sites that will offer free, family-oriented events to learn about maple syrup making, each site offering different “See & Do Fun,” many with free samples. Mmmm! Learn about boiling tree sap, filtering, bottling, packaging and making maple sugar candy. Enjoy horse drawn wagon rides, hiking tours, other activities.  Events run no matter rain or snow or shine. Wear boots. Add these stops to your schedule: Big Tree Maple, 2040 Holly Lane, Lakewood, NY,14750,, 716-763-5917; Clear Creek Farm, 5067 Morris Road, Mayville, NY, 14757,, 716-269-2079; Fairbanks Maple, 9265 Putman Road, Forestville, NY, 14062,, 716-965-4208.

For any of these outings, spend the weekend at a bed and breakfast, a warm winter cottage or a deluxe winter water playground hotel. Some options:

Outdoor Media Contact: Dave Barus – Fishing & Hunting Promotions Associate, Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau, P.O. Box 1441, Chautauqua, NY, 14722; email:; Cell: 716-597-4081.  Visitors Bureau Travel/Accommodations Contact: R. Andrew Nixon, Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau, P.O. Box 1441, Chautauqua, NY, 14722; Office: 716-357-4569; email:; web:;   


Phantom Lures Applies Thru-Wire Technology to Bait Line Up

  • Phantom Lures Line Up of Baits Now Use Thru-Wire Technology

Ramsey, MN – Jan 17, 2018: Phantom Lures, widely known for its design and manufacture of high quality, proven baits will now be using Thru-Wire Technology in its lineup of baits. The strong, single wire design connects the tow point and hook hangers, making the Phantom Lures more durable and able to handle violent strikes.

The use of Thru-Wire construction will yield a more consistent build process and open doors to expanded fishing applications. By not relying on screw-in eyelets, the overall strength of the bait is increased, and the need to tune immediately after purchase is eliminated. This technology has proven to be very successful in the Phantom Lures’ Freak and HardHead baits, and will now be expanded into other popular baits.

“Adding thru-wire construction to several of our already effective muskie baits increases the strength and durability of the lure as a whole,” stated Product Manager Jeff Schulte. “In addition, it also provides anglers the added benefit of consistent performance by eliminating the need to further tune the bait. Our thru-wire design delivers superior cast after cast performance.”
The Thru-Wire Technology will be available in the following Phantom Lures:
• Softail
• Softail Live Series
• Standard
• Freak
• Hardhead
• Hardhead Live Series

Please note that Thru-Wire Technology will be immediately available in the 6” and 7.5” baits. The 4” models look to have a later release date. The Standard’s will be sold as a thru-wire bait once we sell out our current inventory of standards.

For more information about the full product lines from Phantom Lures, visit the Phantom Lures website or contact Jack Gavin at:

About Phantom Lures: Since 1996, Phantom Lures has built a strong and loyal reputation in the muskie fishing industry by making excellent, custom, quality baits that are used by first time fishermen, guides and tournament anglers. This reputation is now migrating to the walleye and bass world. Our tournament –winning baits produce actions that put trophy fish on your line, leaving you with great pictures and lifelong memories. For more information about Phantom Lures, visit or call 763.951.2902.


  • GAME-CHANGER: EChip with Proven Phantom Musky Baits, will be MORE DEADLY than ever
  • Select Phantom Lures will include Pro-Troll EChip

Ramsey, MN (August 21, 2017) – Phantom Lures, widely known for its design and manufacture of tournament-winning muskie lures and innovative walleye and bass crankbaits, is excited to announce their exclusive partnership with Pro-Troll.
Beginning in 2018, select baits from Phantom Lures will incorporate the Pro-Troll E-Chip. New fresh water styles and finishes will be available to cover any angler who wants to catch trout, salmon, bass, walleye and muskie.
“This exclusive partnership with Pro-Troll is very exciting for all of us at Phantom Lures. It furthers our commitment to growing the Phantom Lures brand,” stated Phantom Lures Co-Owner, Roger Neilson, Jr. “The technology that Pro-Troll offers with their EChip is remarkable and when combined with our Phantom Lures, it is sure to put more fish in the boat.”
The EChip from Pro-Troll is the world’s first microchip designed to go into a bait and replicate the voltage discharged by the nervous system of live bait. It has been scientifically and practically proven to attract more and bigger fish.
“Pro-Troll is pleased to enter into this exclusive partnership with Phantom Lures,” commented Dick Pool, President and Founder of Pro-Troll. “Their baits and brand are well known within the muskie world, and their presence in the walleye and bass world continues to grow. We look forward to integrating our EChip into their popular line of baits.”
The entire line of Phantom Lures can be found at  In addition, you can view the baits in action on the phantom lures video page.  Here you will find underwater video showing the baits in use, with commentary and feedback from former touring walleye angler and co-owner of Wired2Fish, Scott Glorvigen. Stay connected with Phantom Lures via their social media channels, and on Instagram (phantom lures) and via the #BelieveInGhosts and #BIG.

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

About Phantom Lures: Since 1996, Phantom Lures has built a strong and loyal reputation in the muskie fishing industry by making excellent, custom, quality baits that are used by first time fishermen, guides and tournament anglers.  Our tournament –winning baits produce actions that put trophy fish on your line, leaving you with great pictures and lifelong memories.  For more information about Phantom Lures, visit or call 763-951-2902.
About Pro-Troll: Founded in 1978, Pro-Troll Inc. creates and markets innovative fishing and marine products and is a leading developer of technology-driven fishing tackle.  Its proprietary fish attraction device, The patented EChip, replicates in lures the electrical nerve discharge of bait.  Pro-Troll sells its technology and products globally in the U.S., Scandinavia, Germany,


Destination Niagara USA Fishing Forecast

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

Water levels are continuing to come down in Lake Ontario to the delight of boaters and landowners. However, even the high water levels have not had any negative effects on fishing in the lake.
Salmon fishing continues to be very good out on the Niagara Bar, as well as out of Wilson and Olcott. Salmon action just outside the drop-off on the Bar continues to be excellent. Spin doctors and flies are near the top of the list for preferred baits; a flasher and meat rig with cut bait is another. Some fish are being caught on spoons, too, but they seem to be third on the list. The new A-Tom-Mik stud fly has been mentioned quite a bit by trollers in the lake. Niagara Falls USA waters are still at the top of the Lake Ontario stage for the Summer LOC Derby that is going on through July 30. Leading grand prize salmon is still a 27 pound fish caught by Lee Beaton of Clifton Springs, he caught that one out of Wilson, The first place salmon is another Wilson

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

fish, a 26 pound, 10 ounce king weighed in by Charles Jaenecke of North Tonawanda. Steve Klejdys of North Tonawanda is back at the top of the lake trout leaderboard with a 23 pound – 13 ounce Niagara Bar fish, and Darryl Raate of Fulton is in first place in the steelhead division with a 13 pound trout he caught while fishing out of Wilson. Top brown trout is a 16 pound, 2 ounce fish weighed in by Joey Guernsey of McGraw while fishing out of Fair Haven.

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

Lower Niagara River action has been good and the moss has not been as much of a factor as in previous years for some reason. Shoreline casting with 2-inch pearl tubes was working for Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls this week, catching double digit bass and even a 9 pound steelhead. Boaters are still doing well on bass by casting the shoreline with spinnerbaits or working shiners or crayfish off three-way rigs. On July 17, the Devil’s Hole State Park stairs and trail will be shut down until the spring of 2018 for reconstruction and repairs. There are still plenty of other access points to get you into the gorge, but this trail is one of the more popular ones. Alternative access can be gained through the New York Power Authority’s South Access Road where a fishing platform and a stairs to the shoreline is available from Apr. 1 to Dec. 1. Other access points include the stairs at Whirlpool State Park; the Suspension Bridge Stairs (under the Whirlpool Bridge); the Great Gorge Railway Trail (that begins at the Niagara Gorge Discovery Center); and the elevator at the Schoellkopf Site (adjacent to the Discovery Center). A copy of the Niagara Gorge Trail Map is available at:
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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Lake of the Woods Muskie Season Opens Saturday

  • Musky Season Opens Saturday, June 17, 2017
  • Minnesota and Ontario Seasons Open Together
  • Helpful Links for More Info
Jean-Paul-Tessier with a nice musky from Lake of the Woods.

Musky fishing exciting!  There is always one place where you can almost always find cooperative fish that will provide an exciting trip.

Any muskie hunter knows that Lake of the Woods is one of the best fisheries of muskie.  Anglers come for miles around to fish our trophy waters.  So make your plans as the 2017 muskie opener on Lake of the Woods for both the Minnesota and Ontario sides of the lake begins this weekend, Saturday, June 17th.

Lake of the Woods is a world class muskie fishery with over 65,000 miles of shoreline and 14,552 islands.

The majority of muskie anglers are catch and release.  Many resorts, especially at the NW Angle specialize in muskie guides.  These muskie nuts keep a good handle on fish movement, lure preference, colors and areas muskies are prevalent.  It is also a great way to save time really learning the nuances of becoming a better muskie angler.  Check out a list of NW Angle Resorts who can set you up with some of the best guides in the business.

For those that just love the sport, here are some tips on safely practicing catch and release:

Careful Handling Makes Catch & Release Successful

A big muskie is an old muskie.  Females require 14 to 17 years to reach 30 pounds.  Northern pike grow even more slowly.  Once taken out of the water and hung on a wall or carved into fillets, a trophy is not soon replaced by another fish of its size.  So, the key to creating trophy northern pike and muskie fishing is catch-and-release angling.  Unfortunately, some fish are mortally injured by improper handling and cannot be successfully released.

All northern pike and muskie are difficult to handle because of their slippery hides, lack of good handles and sharp teeth.  Big fish are particularly troublesome because of their great size and power.

The first step to successfully releasing fish is to use artificials rather than live bait.  The second step is to keep the fish in the water if at all possible.

Caught on artificials and handled carefully, nearly all fish can be returned with no permanent injury.  Here are some effective methods, courtesy of Muskie Canada, for handling large northern pike and muskie:

·         Hand Release.  Grip the fish over the back, right behind the gills (never by the eye sockets!) and hold it without squeezing it. With the other hand, use a pliers to remove the hooks, while leaving all but the head of the fish in the water.  Sometimes hooks can be removed with the pliers only; the fish need never be touched.

·         Landing Net.  Hooks can be removed from some fish even as they remain in the net in the water. If that’s not possible, lift the fish aboard and remove the hooks while the fish is held behind the head and around the tail. To better restrain large fish, stretch a piece of cloth or plastic over the fish and pin it down as if it were in a straight jacket.

·         Stretcher.  A stretcher is made of net or porous cloth about 2 to 3 feet wide stretched between two poles. As you draw the fish into the cradle and lift, the fold of the mesh supports and restrains the fish. This method requires two anglers.

·         Tailer.  Developed by Atlantic salmon anglers, a tailer is a handle with a loop at one end that is slipped over the fish’s tail and tightened. The fish is thus securely held, though the head must be further restrained before the hooks are removed.

If you must lift a big fish from the water, support as much of its body as possible to avoid injuring its internal organs.

Never grip a fish by the eye sockets if you intend to release it.  By doing so you abrade its eyes, injure the surrounding tissue and may cause blindness.

Muskie anglers are a very passionate breed, often fishing from dawn to dusk.  They also have the deepest respect for muskies and overall do an excellent job of making sure these ultimate predators return to the water unharmed.

Best of luck to all muskie anglers not only this weekend but this year.  The muskies have been active this spring, are in good numbers and should be active.

For lots more info on where to fish, guides and lodging:

  1.  Web:
  2. Phone: 1-800-382-FISH (3474)
  3. Email:
  4. US Mail: Lake of the Woods Tourism, PO Box 518, Baudette, MN, 56623

All photographs and information: Lake of the Woods Tourism Bureau.

Rise of Legend Elite Musky Rekindles an Ancient Battle


St. Croix Rod has made its choice; what side of the battle-line will you land on?

From their home base in Park Falls, Wisconsin, an old wound has been reopened.  The subject sat silent for so many years, double-decades, but it has resurfaced like an awakened pandemic from beneath the crust of the silent earth.

In this time of steeped “political angler” gamesmanship, where no participant or candidate can seemingly offer a conclusive and straight answer, St. Croix Rod is taking full responsibility for reopening the wound: the age-old, sometimes contentious debate over the correct spelling.

Is it “MUSKY” or “MUSKIE”?

Best we can tell, the polarizing topic respawned with this year’s birth of Legend Elite Musky.  (Yes, St. Croix says “musky”.)  This is best-of-the-best musky fishing tool that got elite anglers off their seats and talking smart about the incredible rod, and as a byproduct, reinvigorated the age-old spelling dispute.  Before delving into the debate, it’s prudent to first share essential Intel about the incredible Legend Elite Musky fishing rod.  “We’ve been working quietly behind the scenes for the past two years to create what serious musky anglers have long awaited,” says Rich Belanger, St. Croix Promotions Director.


Specs point to Legend Elite Musky weighing 10-18% less than the popular St. Croix Legend Tournament, a big deal when you add up the hours, days, weeks and months that serious musky anglers spend on upper body workouts.  The fish of a thousand casts.

“As baits are getting larger and heavier and anglers put in longer hours chasing even bigger fish, the Legend Elite Musky Series represents that dream musky rod family that reduces physical fatigue and keeps anglers fishing longer, raising their odds at trophy fish,” says Belanger.

St. Croix engineering head Dave Schlitter say, “They quite literally went back to the drawing board with the new series.  They cut weight by re-thinking the blank, utilizing SCV carbon fiber, a high-modulus, high-strain material that creates a lighter, quicker, and faster and more responsive blank.”


“The new Legend Elite Musky also features a completely re-designed guide train utilizing Fuji® Torzite® for rings that are harder and half the diameter of the SiC Concept Guide System, and guide frame weight reduction while maintaining optimal guide opening size,” adds Schluter.

With the overall reduced weight in the blank and less mass on the guide train, the rods practically “float” in the hand.  Pick one up and you’ll notice a significant reduction in tip mass.  All that amounts to the lightest (and best) muskie (oops) rods on Earth.

Musky vs. Musky Contest

Now back to the spelling hullaballoo.  Full diplomacy at play, St. Croix wants your spin on this election year controversy and there’s no better free-world means than to put it to vote.  Here’s your chance to tell the world what you think and win a St. Croix Musky rod!  St. Croix is giving you FOUR chances to win!  And, yes, you can win more than once!

  • STEP ONE: Simply fill out the entry form and vote Musky or Muskie. One randomly drawn lucky winner will receive a St. Croix Rod Mojo Musky. Enter once every 24 hours between March 18 and March 24, 2016.
  • STEP TWO: Make a 30 second video (or less) stating your case on Musky or Muskie and why. Load your video on YouTube, or Vimeo. Fill out the Entry Form and submit your video.  One randomly drawn lucky winner will receive a St. Croix Rod Legend Tournament® Musky.  Only one entry per person. Enter March 18 and March 24, 2016.
  • STEP THREE: All submitted videos will be open to public vote between March 25 and April 1, 2016.  The video with the most votes will win a St. Croix Rod Legend Elite® Musky rod. Winner will be announced on April 2, 2016.
  • Instagram Only:  Record a 15 sec. or less video stating your case for Musky or Muskie between March 25 – April, 1.  The video with the most likes wins a Mojo Musky rod.


About St. Croix Rod

St. Croix Rod is a family-owned and managed manufacturer of high-performance fishing rods headquartered in Park Falls, Wisconsin with a 65-year heritage of USA manufacturing. Utilizing proprietary technologies, St. Croix controls every step of the rod-making process, from conception and design to manufacturing and inspection, in two company-owned facilities. The company offers a complete line of premium, American-made fly, spinning and casting rods under their Legend Elite®, Legend® Xtreme, Legend Tournament®, Avid Series®, Premier®, Wild River®, Tidemaster®, Imperial® and other trademarks through a global distribution network of full-service fishing tackle dealers. The company’s mid-priced Triumph®, Mojo Bass/Musky/Inshore/Surf, Eyecon® and Rio Santo series rods are designed and engineered in Park Falls, Wisconsin and built in a new, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Fresnillo, Mexico. Founded in 1948 to manufacture jointed bamboo fishing poles for a Minneapolis hardware store chain, St. Croix has grown to become the largest manufacturer of fishing rods in North America.