Lake Ontario has three different fishing derbies going on this weekend. The Orleans County Rotary Derby has been going on for 2 weeks, ending this Sunday, August 19 and Niagara County is part of it. On Friday, August 17, the Fall Lake Ontario Counties or LOC Derby started up for 18 days, offering contestants a chance to earn $25,000 for the largest salmon. Finally, the Greater Niagara Fish Odyssey Derby is set for August 18 to 26 in Erie, Niagara and Orleans counties. Cash prizes for the adults, merchandise prizes for the kids. If you were to catch a big salmon or trout, and you were entered in all three contests, you could conceivably win all three competitions. For the LOC Derby, find out more information at www.loc.org. Species categories include salmon, brown trout and rainbow/steelhead trout. For the fish odyssey, check out www.fishodyssey.net. Species categories include salmon, smallmouth bass, lake trout, walleye, carp and brown/rainbow trout. Kids can fish in a special youth division for free. The leading fish in the Orleans County contest is currently a 29-pound, 14-ounce king salmon reeled in by Joseph Miller of Harrisburg, Pa. Top rainbow trout is a 12 pounder caught by Dan Heglin of Gardner, Mass. Big brown is 14 pounds, 13 ounces, weighed in by Michael Grager of Lyndonville. Brian Gambell of Hilton is still leading the lake trout division with a 17 pound, 12 ounce fish. The Orleans derby ends Sunday.
The bite has been good offshore since the big east blow on Friday according to Capt. Matt Yablonsky of Wet Net Charters. There are fish spread out from 300 to 450 feet of water off Wilson and Olcott. The hot spot has been changing every day. Start shallow and go north till you start getting bites according to Yablonsky. He has been using a mix of spoons and flasher-fly combinations. He hasn’t had to run any meat yet. As things settle back in, look for staging fish off the creek and river mouths. Target the area out front of Wilson and Olcott for mature kings in 50 to 150 feet of water. J-Plugs, magnum spoons, flasher-flies and cut bait were all working on kings. Don’t forget about the Niagara Bar for staging fish, too, as we advance later into the summer. Some salmon have been seen porpoising in the lake.
Capt. Arnie Jonathan of AJ’s Guide Service says that the walleye fishing in the lower river has been good the past week. Leeches fished off three-way rigs has been effective. Some anglers prefer the old standby, a Yellow Sally fly, spinner and a worm fished off a three-way rig. Standard worm harnesses will also work, but you will catch other species of fish, too, when using live bait like sheepshead. Smallmouth bass action has been good for crab drifters. The NYPA fishing platform is still producing a mix of fish. Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls caught 6 bass and a couple big sheepshead the last time out using a small white tube that he super-glues to a small jig head. While standing on the platform looking down, you will see muskies, gar pike, carp, bass, suckers and more.
The 5th Annual End of Summer Free Kids Fishing Derby will take place on August 25 at Widewaters Marina in Lockport. Registration starts at 8 a.m. and fishing will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.