Congratulations to the U-Betcha team led by Capt. Chris Vogt of Albion. They won the Wilson Harbor Invitational Tournament and nearly $15,000 in cash last weekend. The tournament is based on the best six salmon for the day and their 6 fish weighed in at 90.92 pounds for a total score of 150.92 points based on 10 points per fish and a point per pound.
Second place was the Elise K team from Michigan, less than 3 points behind. The Hound Dog team from Wellsville was less than a point behind them. Big fish for the tournament was a 22.34-pound king salmon reeled in by the Tri-Lakes Sportfishing team headed up by William Jennings. Vogt found his winning combination between 4 Mile Creek and the red buoy marker drop off on the Niagara Bar in 250 feet of water. Rigged cut bait and Stingray spoons worked best for him during the tournament.
Capt. Mike Johannes of Ransomville, has been doing good about 6 miles west of Wilson in about 150 to 300 feet of water. Mostly dark spoons such as Carbon 14 and Seasick Waddler patterns have been best in the magnum size. Some fish have come on divers 150 feet back with 8-inch e-chip flashers and flies, too. Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctors reports that fishing is tough but 200 to 280 feet of water right out in front of Olcott has been producing a few big kings over 20 pounds. Depth varies. Mag spoons in green, white, black, and lemons. Chartreuse and glow flies or meat rigs are working, too. Some perch have been coming from 12 Mile Creek and Tuscarora over in Wilson.
Whether you are fishing above or below Niagara Falls in the Niagara River, pay attention to the border. Canada has once again shifted its policyto keep anglers and boaters from entering Canadian water space, announcing huge fines and possible boat confiscation for violators. The change took place June 1 and it will be revisited again on June 21, but it could be extended again.
Lower Niagara river action has been hampered by the arrival of the moss according to Lisa Drabczyk with Creek Road Bait and Tackle. Fishing has been a bit slow. There are still a few steelheads up in Devil’s Hole believe it or not with water temperatures into the mid-60s. Bass action has been tough. Best spots have been at Joe Davis and the Coast Guard drift for boats. Tubes work best.
From shore, Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls has been using jigs. Bass action has been tough. About the only fish really cooperating has been sheepshead and he has caught some bruisers this week.
On the Bar near the green buoy, Capt. Frank Campbell of Lewiston reports some decent Coho action on MagLips off three-way rigs. Upper river bass action has been tough according to Capt. Ryan Shea. Fish are on the beds. Ned rigs have been producing a few fish, but you must work for them. There are some walleyes around, too.
This is National Fishing and Boating Week through June 14th. Get out there and enjoy our waters. Charter captains are back operating again. Stay safe!
Hunters ages 12 or older may purchase a license and head afield this spring.
The cost of the course is $19.95
The online course will be available April 15 through June 30, 2020
First-time hunters who want to hunt during New York’s turkey hunting seasons must first earn a hunter education certificate prior to purchasing their first hunting license. This applies to both the regular season, May 1-31, and the youth (ages 12-15) turkey hunting weekend April 25-26. Unfortunately, all traditional hunter education courses have been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving many new hunters unable to get a certificate before spring turkey season.
Now there is a new option for earning a hunter education certificate. For a limited time, first-time hunters in New York can complete the required hunter education course entirely online.
The online course is available to anyone ages 11 and older and can be completed from a computer, tablet, or smartphone at any time. Students who complete the online course and virtual field day, and pass the final exam, will receive their hunter education certificate and can purchase a hunting license.
Only those hunters ages 12 or older may purchase a license and head afield this spring.
The cost of the course is $19.95. The online course will be available April 15 through June 30, 2020 on the Kalkomey website.
Smart Troll with diving planes is highly effective
Warrior Spoon lures proved they are hot
By Forrest Fisher
High Great Lakes water levels have raised concerns for shoreline issues, but it sure has not affected the fishing. In Lake Ontario where the water level is the highest above average when compared to the other Great Lakes, we fished Lake Ontario to find heavy fun with no issues.
Working out of Hughes Marina in Williamson (NY) with part of our fun group aboard Dandy Eyes Charters and the other half aboard Miss Demeanor Charters, we readied for action. Our troop of anglers was a team of outdoor communicators from the New York State Outdoor Writers Association that were challenged by the team from Rush Outdoors TV (Pursuit Network). Led by Realtree camo superstar, Tim Andrus, the battle of Lake Ontario for heaviest weight at the scale after just three hours of fishing, was on.
There is always more than just playing the game with outdoor media – there are jokes, tales from impractical history, shoelace tying fun (tying laces together when the other guy is sleeping, then yelling fish on!), and other such shenanigans. It’s all in real fun, and it is, and it was, real fun for everyone.
We left the marina at about 9:00 a.m. and headed northwest into the mild 8 mph wind that had created a perfect “chop” for keeping the mayflies off the boat. Aboard the comfy 31-foot Baha with Captain Jerry Snyder and Captain Sandy Miller from Dandy Eyes, we discovered so much about high-tech fishing.
Using 8-1/2 foot Okuma fishing rods with Daiwa Salt 30 or Shimano Tekota 600LC reels, each filled with 9-strand/45 pound test Torpedo Diver wireline, we trolled a King John flasher with a trailing Warrior silver-plated spoon in “Spoiler” color to fool some nice King Salmon.
In all, we hooked up with 8 of these incredible fighting fish. Some of them took as long as 38 minutes to bring in! Fun? WOW! Sore arms and shoulders? Yes! Need for oxygen? Yes!
Captain Snyder uses Smart-Troll electronics to measure the water temp, lure depth and lure speed – yes I think a fishy degree is required to figure all this hi-techy stuff out, as the fish were hoodwinked into thinking some of the flashy/UV-coated spoons presented at just the right depth for the day, 70-80 feet down in 130-140 feet of water, was their late breakfast. WHAM! Fish On! Love that sound from the captain.
Captain Jerry Snyder proved to all of us writer folks that he might just understand a little about the very tricky Lake Ontario salmon and trout fishery. Among all of us jousting him with jokes, laughable tales and more, he maintained his reliable and proven fishing method self to put the boat on fish that could be caught. We watched many fish we could not catch on the sonar screen, but then he changed his fishing tactics to win the FooltheFishzitzer prize. Masterful. Really was.
Fishing aboard Dandy Eyes, we zeroed in on bringing fish to the boat even when the fish were not biting for many other charters. It might be embarrassing for other charters, as you might guess, but it’s quite a lot of fun at the dock when you return to share stories of your catch. Biggest fish, smallest fish, most fish – you know, the big fish tale spins abound. So that’s how it was last weekend when we fished with my outdoor media buddies Chris Kenyon, Leo Maloney and Bill Hilts in this fish-off match vs the TV stars and the camera crew from Rush Outdoors TV. Once more time – Fun? WOW! Yes it was. I’m trying to wipe the grin off my face, so please don’t mention it.
In a fun day of fishing, sharing jokes, bantering about all things, like where you might find a deer tick – no, not going there – and all that followed by the biggest question from Captain Jerry time after time: “Who’s Up?!! Fish On!”
We caught fish, King Salmon to 16 pounds – our smallest at 5 pounds, to win the jesting tussle at the scales. Hardy thank you to Wayne County superman outdoor educator Christopher Kenyon and TV stars, Tim Andrus and John Lenox, for wholehearted vying in this funfest battle. Both groups, a total of 12 people, are dedicated professionals committed to furthering the message of the great outdoors with everyone everywhere.
Love the battle hymn aboard our boat last weekend: “FISH-ON!” What a great tune.
This week’s Orleans County Fishing Report is from Ron Bierstine from Oak Orchard Tackle & Lodge – March 26, 2019.
Nice flows in the Oak are still somewhere near slightly high or just less. Good upstream supplies have been keeping these “high turbine flows” going. Chance of flows are coming down some toward, say, medium, through this week with no significant precipitation in the near forecast. Forecast is a chance of precipitation toward the weekend and slowly warming temps through this week. Any precipitation for maintenance of flows and some stain to the water would help preserve the nice tributary conditions. Water color on a slow clear in the Oak with still some cold nights. Water color is going on 3 ft of visibility.
Fishing pressure seems light through this mid-week period, some guys are still at the dam and some anglers are able to move around – fishing other downstream fast water spots. Action has been good for deep and slow drifters covering the fast water spots on mostly fresh steelhead that are giving themselves a good account in hard battles. That seems like an encouraging sign for steelhead conditions. There is some evidence of spawning from the earlier higher water but right now most fish seem tight and fresh. Water temperatures are nearing 40° F and with warmer days and especially not cold nights ahead look, for the water temperatures to continue to warm.
Other area smaller tributaries have medium flows and just slightly stained water color. Guys are spread out on all the waterways with reports of browns and some steelhead on those smaller tributaries. There are good opportunities now and ahead while cool conditions may hang on for spring steelhead action and some browns spread over all the different waterways.
Provided by Ron Bierstine, Oak Orchard Tackle & Lodge.
Visit our Fishing Report on Orleans County Tourism.com, including weather forecasts and our “At the Oak, Orleans County” Facebook feed.
Steelhead Pen Rearing at the Oak
Volunteers are needed for 3 -4 weeks during April for feeding, cleaning and supporting steelhead pen rearing. Steelhead along with salmon have been pen reared at the Oak since the inception of pen rearing efforts. Last year steelhead were not reared at the Oak, as they were direct stocked. Pen reared fish always have greater survivability over direct stocked fish and hopefully better imprinting.
NYSDEC oversees pen rearing efforts and a large part of the financial burden for supplies which contributes greatly to Orleans County being a World Class fishing destination. This year, 2 new pens have been assembled by Spencerport BOCES students. Many thanks to past volunteers, NYSDEC and students for their support. This year, many Rochester Seth Green chapter TU volunteers have stepped up and we are looking for additional help. Please indicate your willingness to help in the workload in any capacity by contacting Ron Bierstine at 585-682-4546. If you’d like to help out for salmon pen rearing efforts Ron can direct you for that too.
We support all pen rearing efforts and any efforts for the betterment of the tributary and open lake fishery.
From Point Breeze on Lake Ontario, the World Fishing Network’s Ultimate Fishing Town USA and the rest of Orleans County, let’s make everyday a great fishing day right here in Orleans County!
The Team at Orleans County Tourism
1400 New Kids – FIND the OUTDOORS for the First Time
Parents of Kids – DISCOVER FISH and FUN of New York OUTDOORS
Kudo’s to TV Station Crew and Outdoor Sportsman Volunteers
By Joe McAdams – ECFSC Kids Fest Co-Chairman
This was the Erie County Federation’s 1st participation of the WNED-TV Kids Fest. I’ve attended this event with my grandson last year, so I had an idea of how the event worked and what to expect as an attendee.
The press release was sent out and we prepared to add another community event to our calendar. Unfortunately, we had no idea what to expect as a vendor.
Our platform consisted of standard Erie County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs (ECFSC) banners and signage, Teach-Me-To-Fish posters supplied by Dave Barus, printed handouts for the Federation and an awesome supply of NYS fishing maps, fishing regulations and beginning fishing guides.
The crew consisted of President Jeff Jondle (event co-chair), Joe McAdams (event co-chair), Tom Fischer, George Rockey, Gary Melnyk, Hope Melnyk, and DEC biologist representative, Mike Todd.
Thanks to the assistance of the WNED studio crew members – we had our banner high on the wall. We went right to work setting up shop. This seasoned crew had everything ready to go in record time.
Our location in the TV studio – adjacent to the “Curious George and Friends” photo op and the “See Yourself on TV” green screen camera – gave us opportunity to present the Federation and all our programs to the interested parents.
Not knowing how many kids to expect and not having a large supply of prizes, we wanted to use a prize wheel to award drawing prizes. We brought 20 fishing poles, 100 mini-tackle boxes and over 200 Cabela’s braided wrist bands in hunter orange.
We couldn’t get a prize wheel, so we used a Plinko board with a 1-in-4 chance to win a top prize (fishing pole). Everyone else received a wrist band or mini tackle box. We expected our cache of over 300 prizes to easily last the day.
To say that we were WAY OFF is an understatement! Saturday’s pre-registered attendance was a little over 500, but an additional 400 kids purchased tickets at the door bringing the attendance to over 900 kids. This was amazing!
There was genuine interest in the Teach-Me-To-Fish program with many parents eager to attend this year’s events. I could not believe how many parents had never heard of ECFSC and Teach-Me-To-Fish. We had more face time with parents than any other Federation event!
DEC representative Mike Todd brought the popular fish identification display and a new event – the “fish pool”.
The fish pool consisted of numerous laminated color prints of various regional fish with a Velcro nose. Fishing poles equipped with a Velcro lined plug were used to make the catch. The water consisted of a blue tarp and nautical rope rigging to prevent those fishing from “falling in”.
The idea was to have the kids hook their fish, then take it to the identification chart behind the pool. This reinforced the fun of fishing with educational interaction. The fish pool was a huge success. Parents were taking pictures of their kids landing everything from Perch to Lake Trout! At times, the line to fish in the DEC Fish Pool stretched across the room.
After the first day, we exhausted our supply of prizes. We eliminated the mini-Plinko game and expanded the fish pond to account for the extra space. Sunday’s attendees would have been disappointed if it wasn’t for George Rockey. George came to the rescue with 200 stuffed emoji’s and 30 Frisbees to give away.
Sunday’s event was smaller and shorter in time with a schedule of 12-4. There were 300 pre-registered and another 180 walk-ins that brought the total kids to almost 500. The crowd was enthusiastic and parents snapped up anything that had information about Federation programs.
Hope and Gary Melnyk kept an eye on the prizes and managed to stretch them out until 2PM. Even without prizes, the kids still loved the fishing pond.
During this one event, we were able to reach more kids and engage more parents than the last 3 years of the “Teach-Me-To-Fish” program. More importantly, was that the majority of kids that attended this event were under the age of 6.
Our literature, fishing guides and maps weren’t taken by browsers strolling by, but were methodically acquired by young parents that were engaged by our Federation volunteers.
As a Director, former President, and longtime member of the Federation, I couldn’t be more proud of our all-volunteer team. They took this opportunity to educate and enlighten. To engage and provoke interest.
A special note of thanks for Mike Todd. This passionate New York State DEC biologist and educator does not get paid to support our events. He re-arranges his work schedule to cover the Federation sponsored events.
His fish pond was the hit of the show and had all of WNED-TV talking about what a great activity it was.
I can’t wait until next year…
About the Erie County Federation of Sportsmen (ECFS):The Erie County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs, Inc. is an all-volunteer, charitable, non-profit organization that is dedicated to the promotion of fish and wildlife conservation, education of outdoor participants and related outdoor recreation. This promotion is accomplished in several ways. We conduct or sponsor a variety of educational opportunities for young and old. Including, but not limited to: • Sponsoring youths to conservation education camps.• Scholarships for conservation related education.• Instructor Workshops • Sponsoring Outdoors Woman program candidates. We also sponsor many community service programs that include: • Hunters Helping the Hungry • Family Fishing Clinics • National Hunting & Fishing Day hands-on event for youth. ECFS programs Grow with the Community: We are actively involved with the community – acting as liaisons to state and local government agencies that affect New York State conservation laws and activities; attempting to improve the hunting and angling conditions for the sportsman – promoting the multiple use of our lands, forests and waters for recreational purposes for all the people. We sponsor legislation, participate in fish stocking in Lake Erie and tributaries, inland lakes and streams of Erie County. We assist the Conservation Department in pheasant stocking – and we are involved in the 4H pheasant stocking program. Visit us and keep track of our outdoor educational event programming throughout the entire year: www.eriectyfsc.org/
Lake Erie – Buffalo, NY – Trophy Smallmouth Bass Fishery, is NEW ADDITION to FLW Northern Series
Lake Guntersville will host 2018 Costa FLW Series Championship November
MINNEAPOLIS (Aug. 22, 2017) – Fishing League Worldwide (FLW), the world’s largest tournament-fishing
organization, announced today the 2018 Costa FLW Series schedule, which will consist of three events in each of the five divisions – Central, Northern, Southeastern, Southwestern and Western – along with the no-entry-fee Costa FLW Series Championship to be held on Lake Guntersville in Guntersville, Alabama.
The top 40 pros and co-anglers in the final point standings in each division after three qualifying tournaments will advance to the 2018 Costa FLW Series Championship, provided they fished all three qualifiers in a division.
The highest finishing pro from each of the five Costa FLW Series divisions based on final results at the 2018 Costa FLW Series Championship qualify for the Forrest Wood Cup, along with the highest finishing pro from the championship’s international division. A total of six Costa FLW Series pros will advance to the 2019 Forrest Wood Cup, the world championship of professional bass fishing.
Complete rules and entry dates will be announced soon.
2018 Costa FLW Series Season Schedule:
Central Division Fishery City Local Host
April 19-21 Table Rock Lake Branson, Mo. ExploreBranson.com
June 7-9 Lake Barkley Cadiz, Ky. Cadiz-Trigg County Tourism
Oct. 11-13 Lake of the Ozarks Osage Beach, Mo. Tri-County Lodging Association
June 21-23 Lake Champlain Plattsburgh, N.Y. City of Plattsburgh
July 26-28 Lake Erie Buffalo, N.Y. Buffalo Niagara Sports Commission
Sept. 6-8 1000 Islands Clayton, N.Y. Clayton Chamber of Commerce
Jan. 4-6 Lake Okeechobee Okeechobee, Fla. Okeechobee County Tourism
March 1-3 Lake Seminole Bainbridge, Ga. Bainbridge CVB
April 5-7 Santee Cooper Summerton, S.C. Clarendon County CC
Feb. 15-17 Sam Rayburn Reservoir Jasper, Texas Jasper-Lake Sam Rayburn CC
March 22-24 Grand Lake Grove, Okla. City of Grove
Oct. 4-6 Fort Gibson Lake Wagoner, Okla. Wagoner Area CC
Feb. 8-10 Lake Havasu Lake Havasu City, Ariz. Lake Havasu City CVB
May 10-12 Clear Lake Lakeport, Calif. Konocti Vista Casino Resort/Marina
Sept. 27-29 California Delta Bethel Island, Calif. Russo’s Marina
Costa FLW Series Championship
Nov. 1-3 Lake Guntersville Guntersville, Ala. Marshall County CVB
The full schedule and details for each fishery can be found at FLWFishing.com.
About FLW – FLW is the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money in 2017 across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, with offices in Minneapolis, FLW conducts more than 258 bass-fishing tournaments annually across the United States and sanctions tournaments in Canada, China, Mexico, South Africa and South Korea. FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated “FLW” television show, broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, while FLW Bass Fishing magazine delivers cutting-edge tips from top pros. For more information visit FLWFishing.com and follow FLW at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat.