- Lake Ontario and tributaries – Salmon and trout action continues to be very for trollers and Karen Evarts at the Boat Doctors in Olcott reports limit catches by many of the charter captains. One in particular was Capt. Jim Gordon of the Hawg who has been doing excellent on a mix of kings and steelies anywhere from 100 to 400 feet of water, depending on the day and the winds. Sometimes he will fish a little bit west (as far as the red barn); sometimes a little bit east. Using a Hog Wild spin doctor and a Dreamweaver (DW) Kryptonite (green and gold) fly, he’ll run those set-ups off this divers 170 to 180 feet back on a No. 1.5 setting for salmon. N and D Cutbait (AKA The Good Stuff) has also been working like dynamite. For steelhead, he’ll run the divers 100 to 150 feet back on a No. 3.5 setting with his best bait being a DW super slim “spook” spoon in black-white-silver. For his riggers, the spooks are working there, too, set down 50-60-70 feet. Fishing has been the best he’s seen in years. A little closer to the Niagara River, John Van Hoff of North Tonawanda had another banner weekend targeting kings. Saturday it was between 4 Mile and 6 Mile in 120 to 140 feet of water, 50 to 80 feet down using DW cut bait and DW Twinkie rigs. They only ran four rods. Sunday it was 200 feet of water from 4 Mile to the Red Can on the Niagara Bar.
Lower Niagara River – Bass and walleye are starting to pick up. No results on the NRAA bass contest but we did hear from Lisa Drabczyk at Creek Road Bait and Tackle that there’s been some action around the fort and the green can. In addition, Yellow Sally rigs turned a few mid-sized walleye at the Stella drift this week so that aspect of the fishery is starting up. The Whirlpool Stairs are open again for gorge trekkers. Get down there and catch some bass from shore on spoons and spinners. The 11th Annual Bass Fishing Derby to benefit Independent Living of Niagara County is August 7 at Fort Niagara. Call 284-4131 Ext. 146 for more info. The 40th Annual Greater Niagara Fish Odyssey Derby is slated for August 20-28 this year and the prize structure has been increased to honor the four decades of derbies. Go to www.fishodyssey.net. Registration page is live and registrations are at most of the outlets.
- Upper Niagara River – Best action has been for sheepshead and silver bass around Ontario and Ferry Streets from shore. Smallmouth bass can be caught with regularity from boats. There is a restricted area off Strawberry Island on the inside due to nesting bald eagles. In the Bassmaster Bracket Tournament held on the upper Niagara River last week, it was the legend – Kevin Van Dam of Michigan – winning his 23rd Bassmaster contest in the unique catch-weigh-release live time event. In the finals against Brett Hite of Arizona, a change in the rules saw the two bass catchers try to reel in as many fish as they possibly could in the time allotted. In the end, Van Dam hauled in 11 fish for a total weight of 20 pounds, 3 ounces. Hite tipped the scales with 13 pounds, 9 ounces on seven bass. KVD’s main baits were Strike King tubes, drop shot rigs and jerk baits. There was a little controversy going on when KVD caught a fish out of the boundaries, but that fish was disqualified. In the Erie Canal Fishing Derby, it was John Justice of North Tonawanda winning the boat, motor and trailer in the special drawing of winners at the Gasport Fire Hall last Sunday. Justice earned the right to be in the drawing by catching a 3.8 pound bass. Other first place winners were Shawn West of Lockport with a 3-1/2 pound walleye; Albert Whaley of North Tonawanda with a 7.9 pound pike; Joe Cwiklinksi of Depew with a 2.9 pound bullhead; Patty Young of Kent with a 9.8 pound catfish; Craig Udell of Gasport with a 20 pound carp; and Ron Robel of Wheatfield with a 8.4 pound sheepshead. In the youth division, Kyler Nowak of Lockport won the Grand Prize bike. He caught the top walleye at 1-1/4 pounds. Other junior division winners were Jakob Bensiger of North Carolina with a 3.1 pound bass; Tim Hughes of Amherst with a 4.9 pound pike; Emma Hermam of Medina with a 1-1/2 pound bullhead; Cassandra Sanney of Lockport with a 5.6 pound catfish; Ava Udell of Gasport with a 17-1/2 pound carp; and Colby Lawrence of Sanborn with a 3.3 pound sheepshead. The Third Annual End of Summer Free Kids Fishing Derby is set for Wide Waters Marina in Lockport on August 13 from 10 am to 2 pm. Awards to follow at 2:30 pm.
- Lake Erie and tributaries – Walleye action has been hot and cold for anglers. In the Sunset Bay Shootout, Team Ice Breaker led by Randy Jarozewski of Hamburg score a win with a six-fish total that weighed 46.03 pounds. They fished in Pennsylvania waters. Big fish was caught off Sturgeon Point, 10.18 pounds reeled in by Craig Sleeman of Rochester. Northwest of Sturgeon Point there has been some good action in 70 to 80 feet of water. Worm harnesses are the way to go right now – black and purple; watermelon; copper are all popular colors right now but it’s not limited to those. You still have to work for bass and you will catch many sheepshead in the process if you are using crayfish or shiners. Fish the deeper side of structure to avoid unwanted hookups. The Dunkirk Fishing Pier in Dunkirk Harbor is back open again.
- Chautauqua Lake – Chautauqua Lake muskies are being caught by casters working the weed beds in front of We Wan Chu cottages according to Craig Robbins. Trollers are still doing well in 12 to 15 feet of water from Ashville Bay to the Bridge. Bass are being caught around the docks at Chautauqua Institution and in Maple Bay on sluggo-style baits.
Courtesy of Bill Hilts-Niagara-USA on July 28, 2016