Lake Ontario Derby Time!

  • Niagara Falls USA Fishing Report from Destination Niagara USA

The calendar has aligned once again to bring Lake Ontario anglers 3 different fishing derbies for one special weekend.

Parker Cinelli of Grand Island withan 11-1/2 pound lower Niagara River walleye he caught on Monday.

The Orleans Rotary Derby is winding up and will end on Sunday, August 18. It’s still not too late to enter. The current Grand Prize leader is Larry Duckworth’s 27-pound, 8-ounce Point Breeze salmon.

The Fall LOC Derby starts August 16th and runs thru Labor Day with a $25,000 Grand Prize. Check out for details.

The Greater Niagara Fish Odyssey Derby is August 17th to the 25th for Niagara, Orleans, and Erie counties. Kids 15 and under can fish for free in any of the three counties. Grand Prize for the adults is $3,000. There are seven different categories for the adults and the kids, and they are somewhat different in each. Check out for details.

The NYS Summer Classic Derby is into its final two weeks of action, too. Check out

Capt. Jim Gordon of Appleton had this great catch out of Olcott this week fishing deep with a gang from Heritage, Pa.

Remember that it’s free fishing on Lake Ontario and the lower Niagara River through Labor Day thanks to a special state promotion. It’s also half-off any Lake Ontario state campgrounds or admission into state parks.

Denis Kreze of Fort Erie, Ontario caught this upper Niagara River walleye recently using a Venom Lures tube.

Lower Niagara River action has been great for walleye. Parker Cinelli of Grand Island caught and released an 11-1/2 pound fish early this week on a spinner and worm. There has been some big bass around, too. George Shively, a 19 year old from Annapolis, Maryland, was fishing with Capt. Joe Marra of Lewiston on Tuesday when a 6-1/2 pound smallmouth hit his minnow in the lower river. Action overall has been consistent from Artpark to Lake Ontario.  This will be a popular stretch of water for the Fish Odyssey Derby that will be starting up on Saturday, August 17.

Capt. Jim Gordon of Appleton headed out of Olcott about 9-10 miles and did well on a mix of salmon and trout using spoons, flasher-flies, and meat. Rigger depths were 50, 60 and 80 feet, producing a limit on kings. The spoon bite was hot with silvers, greens. The in-shore bite in 100 to 200 feet of water was good last weekend and started to pick back up Tuesday, but it’s anyone’s guess what will happen with the east wind in the forecast for the start of the LOC and Odyssey contests. Fish were also reported on the Niagara Bar drop-off, but many of those fish were smaller according to reports from Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctor’s. Rock bass and bowfin were being caught in Olcott Harbor, too, from shore.

George Shively of Annapolis, MD reeled in this 6-1/2 pound smallmouth from the lower river that he caught on a minnow fishing with Capt. Joe Marra of Lewiston who is holding up the fish.
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 Fish, Big Money, More to Come! August is FISHING CONTEST Month!

  • Bill Hilts Niagara Falls USA Fishing Forecast (August 1, 2019)
  • Hot Fishing getting HOTTER
Jake Romanack with Fishing 411 shows off the bait and the salmon he used while catching a big king on the Niagara Bar.

August is a celebration of fishing contests as we head into the final full month of Summer.

The Greater Niagara Fish Odyssey Derby ( set for August 17-25 has registrations available online starting August 1 and in the shops by August 2. Kids 15 and under can fish for free.

The Orleans County Rotary Fishing Derby kicks off on Saturday and runs through August 18. Niagara County waters are eligible and The Boat Doctors in Olcott is now the official weigh station. Check out

The Reelin’ for a Cure ladies tournament to help benefit cancer-related causes will be held out of Wilson and Olcott on August 16. Call Stephanie at 481-6388 for more info.

That same day, the Fall Lake Ontario Counties Trout and Salmon Derby begins and runs through Labor Day, Sept. 2. Grand prize for the biggest salmon is $25,000. More info at

Charlotte Shea, Lucy Carlisi, and Carmella Carlisi from Tonawanda, NY and Flagler Beach, Florida caught this Smallmouth bass in the Upper Niagara River using a Ned Rig while fishing with Capt. Ryan Shea of Brookdog Fishing.

On August 4, the 14th Annual Bass Fishing Derby with Independent Living of Niagara County will be going on. Call 836-0822 Ext. 146 for more info or to register.

Speaking of derbies, Doug Parker’s 29-pound, 9 ounce Niagara Bar King Salmon didn’t win the Grand Prize. He ended up 1st place in the Salmon Division. He lost by just one ounce. Ed and Steve Klejdys of North Tonawanda won 1st and 2nd place in the lake trout division with their Niagara Bar fish and Newfane’s Tanner Niezgoda ended up in second place in the Steelhead Division with a 13-pound, 13-ounce Olcott fish.

Zack Blain of Honeoye won the Summer LOC Derby grand prize with a 29-pound, 10-ounce king salmon he caught west of Point Breeze in Orleans County. He caught it on the last weekend of the derby, winning $11,000 for his fish.

On to the fishing. Lake Ontario action has been good to very good in 100 to 200 feet of water, 70 to 90 feet down west of Wilson according to current reports from Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctors. The hot set-up has been white with green dot Pro Troll flashers with N&D cut bait. Purple Kingfisher with meat took some nice kings this week, too. Sea fleas were not as bad inside, but you needed to clean your lines regularly. Some browns were starting to show up, too, but it’s been spotty. The offshore bite is still pretty strong, too, with a mix of steelhead and king salmon being reported. The inside kings are starting to change color. Best spoon colors were caramel, monkey puke, and greasy chicken colors. East of Olcott to the power plant has been great for an evening bite. The Niagara Bar area still has fish stacked up on it, a good option for trollers. If kings aren’t on the bar drop off, slide out a little bit deeper.

Mark Romanack of Fishing 411 TV Show caught king salmon up to 24 pounds in filming a show last week on the Niagara Bar.

Mark and Jake Romanack’s Fishing 411 TV show last week, they caught most of their fish on Wolverine Tackle Mag spoons. Green skirt and Green Chilly Willy color patterns we’re best. They also caught a couple of studs on the Yakima Spin Fish plug stuffed with Pro-Cure gizzard Shad Super Gel. They use 300-foot lead cores and 300-foot weighted stainless steel lines and they took the most fish. Riggers were 45-55 feet down, and they were also productive.

The moss is almost gone in the Niagara River and fishing has really picked up in the lower Niagara River according to Lisa Drabczyk of Creek Road Bait and Tackle. Bass and walleye action has improved dramatically. For bass, focus around Lewiston and Youngstown using leeches and crabs. Walleye action has been decent around the Stella Drift on worm harnesses.

Ed and Steve Klejdys of North Tonawanda with their winning 1st and 2nd place Niagara Bar lake trout.

Some of the Canadian drifts have also been producing fish. Make sure you have a Canadian license if you venture across the international line. In the upper river, the action is improving for bass and walleye as the moss dissipates. The head of Strawberry Island is always a favorite location, as is the head of the river. Best baits have been crabs, tubes and ned rigs. Worm harnesses are best for walleye.

Good luck and good fishing!

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

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

  • King’s, Coho Salmon on Niagara Bar ON-THE-MOVE to Devil’s Hole
  • Browns Biting at Night from Shore
  • Rainy Weather May Cause Big Run
  • Bass & Walleye Biting in Upper Niagara/Lake Erie
Mike Rzucidlo with an October brown trout casting from shore in the Lower Niagara River.
Jon Gwara with a nice King Salmon fishing with Captain Frank Campbell.
Ricardo Davila with a King Salmon caught from shore.

Get ready for another slug of fish to arrive in the lower Niagara River and area tributaries off Lake Ontario! Both wind and rain are in the forecast and that could be the trigger to bring some more fish into area waters.
In the lower Niagara River, Capt. Frank Campbell of Niagara Region Charters called me at 9:30 a.m. to say he had limited out for his two customers. That’s six salmon in just a couple hours. Not every day is like that, but if the rains in the afternoon trigger a run, there are a bunch of fish – kings and Coho salmon – hanging out on the Niagara Bar waiting for a push from Mother Nature.
We haven’t seen good numbers of Coho salmon in the fall in a number of years. This is great news! For boaters, the Devil’s Hole area is the place to be. Pautzke-treated egg skein is the ticket for taking Pacific salmon, fished off three-way rigs.
Shore fishermen have been doing pretty well too. Ricardo Davila of Wheatfield has been tossing glow-in-the-dark spoons and spinners to take salmon early in the morning. When that sun comes up though, fishing gets a bit tougher in that Devil’s Hole area.
From shore, Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls has been using the same kind of hardware. He’ll also toss a Rat-L-Trap. Today he started catching some brown trout mixed in with his salmon in the Whirlpool area. He also reported some good bass fishing along the shoreline at Artpark.
If you enjoy fishing around the Schoellkopf Site near the Discovery Center (yes, there’s an elevator there), this new access point will be closed Oct. 11-12, next week, as they use a crane to complete some work.
Over at Olcott and 18 Mile Creek, Burt Dam has seen more fishermen than fish. Hopefully that will change soon. Some fish are being caught from boats anchored around the harbor, as well as around the piers.
Pier casters are only picking a few fish up now, but hopefully that will change, too. Spoons and spinners will work, but harbor boats are using treated egg skein and fished under a float.
Boat trollers are still pounding the mature salmon with flasher and fly or meat until they hit. Sometimes it’s tough getting them mad enough to strike, but when they do you have your hands full. If the weather cooperates, you can always run out deep off Wilson and Olcott to take a mix of salmon and trout.

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

Capt. Alan Sauerland of Instigators Charters out of Wilson found some salmon and trout in 450-plus feet of water, but he had to go deep to find the right temperatures. His riggers were from 75 to 110 feet deep, the divers were 280 and 300 feet back and he needed 500 feet of copper line to hit the fish zone with spoons and flasher-fly presentations.
In the Upper Niagara River, bass and walleye are still the primary focus. Capt. Chris Cinelli has been hitting some nice fish at the head of the river with shiners and spinner-worm combos.
Bill Hilts, Jr., Director, Outdoor Promotions
Niagara Tourism & Convention Corporation, 10 Rainbow Blvd., Niagara Falls, NY USA 14303
p: 716.282.8992 x.303| 1.877 FALLS US, f:716.285.0809
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Sportfishing has a $30 million annual economic impact in Niagara USA!