Despite record high water levels in Lake Ontario, salmon and trout fishing continues to be good in the lake although it did slow down a bit with the recent east winds. Some good fishing was being reported over the weekend from Tanner Niezgoda of Newfane while fishing out of Olcott. Best depths were 60 to 80 feet down over 150 to 300 feet of water with spoons and flasher-fly combos. Salmon up to 22 pounds were caught by Tanner and his sister. Many of the captains have been tight-lipped on information with the Orleans County Open happening this weekend. Be forewarned about the Niagara Bar with a report that moss is starting to come down through the river system.
In the Lower Niagara River, the fishing has been good to very good the past week. Steelhead and lake trout are still holding on, but they probably won’t be around for long as the water nears the 60 degree mark. Minnows, Kwikfish and MagLips were all working on trout from boats up in Devil’s Hole; shore casters in the gorge have been using tubes, swim baits and marabou jigs. That same hardware will also work on smallmouth bass downriver but Chuck Booker of Amherst proved that his signature in-line spinners can also catch bass by going 17 for 20 on his last outing this week north of the sanddocks in Lewiston. Yes, some moss is starting to show up be you can still catch fish just fine. It will continue to get worse, though, as the month progresses. Outdoor Writer Mike Brown of Ohio came into town over the weekend and his crew of family and friends managed to catch about 40 fish while fishing with Capt. Joe Marra of Lewiston. Tip of the week: Don’t set your rod down to take a picture for your story in the Niagara River without reeling in a little line first. Anyone who hooks into a nice spinning outfit in the river with a brand new reel on it could be returned to Capt. Joe.
Upper Niagara River bass fishing also continues to be good. Remember that the regular season doesn’t open until the third Saturday in June (June 17 this year) and if you are targeting bass, you must use artificial baits. Speaking of bass, the Annual Opening Day Bass Contest sponsored each year by Kelly’s Korners will NOT be held this year. Organizers for the tournament didn’t want to see the big bass end up in a fish fry and they decided to retire the event to help protect the resource. Some walleye are being caught at the head of the river and at the head of Strawberry Island on worm harnesses and jigs. This could be a sleeper area for the Southtowns Walleye Association’s tournament that kicks off on Saturday, June 10. www.southtownswalleye.org
To help Celebrate National Fishing and Boating Week, there will be a Free Fishing Clinic at Ellicott Creek Park on Saturday, June 10 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Call Mike Todd at 851-7010 to pre-register – although it’s not required. Just a quick reminder on water levels: There is still a state of emergency along the Lake Ontario shoreline for high water levels. This isn’t really going to affect the fishing that much, but the Niagara County Sheriff is asking that boats creating a wake stay at least 600 feet from shore. This doesn’t include trolling. Caution is advised for floating debris when you are out in the lake moving around. The problem seems to be launching. The best spot to be right now is the Town of Newfane Marina in Olcott. Fort Niagara has an open launch but you need boots up to your knees or above. Golden Hill State Park launch is closed and Wilson-Tuscarora Park is day to day (but you need hip boots there, too). It’s worth the effort for the good fishing!!