Last weekend there were three fishing derbies and a tournament going on in Niagara Falls USA waters. John Van Hoff of North Tonawanda went out fishing last Sunday, the final day for the Orleans County Rotary Derby. The leader was 30 pounds, 9 ounces. Using a flasher and meat rig, he pounded the Niagara Bar all morning. With less than an hour to go in the derby, Van Hoff hit a fish that looked to be over 30 pounds. Would it beat Keith Sheffield’s king salmon … and could he make it to the Slippery Sinker in Olcott in time by the 1 p.m. cut-off? Van Hoff made it with 15 minutes to spare and the weight was 30 pounds, 12 ounces – taking over the lead and eventually winning the $4,000 Grand Prize. Other divisional winners were Robert Griffith with a 16 pound steelhead; Bill Cole with a 14 pound brown trout; and Dan DeGeorge with a 17 and a half pound lake trout. Meanwhile, two hours after Van Hoff was catching his winning salmon, Joe Oakes of Lockport was reeling in a 34 and a half pound salmon out of Wilson that would take over the lead in the Fall Lake Ontario Counties Trout and Salmon Derby and the Greater Niagara Fish Odyssey in the Salmon Division. The bar has been set as the LOC Derby continues through Labor Day and the Odyssey continues through Sunday. Speaking of the Odyssey, updates are now being put on the Fish Odyssey Facebook page due to the fact that webmaster Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctors needed emergency surgery. Say a prayer. The awards for the Odyssey will be Sunday at Olcott Fire Hall on Route 78 starting at 4 p.m. Congratulations to the Just One More Cure team led by Capt. Bryan Lukehart of Pennsylvania. His ladies crew won the 2nd annual Reelin’ for a Cure event held last Friday with a score of 149 points while fishing out of Olcott. The tourney raised over $4,000 for the Breast Cancer Network of WNY.
Fishing on the local front has been pretty darn good; at least when Mother Nature cooperates. Salmon can be found from the Niagara Bar to east of Olcott. Van Hoff caught a dozen mature kings on the Bar using meat on Sunday. Oakes hit his leading king between 350 and 400 feet of water out in front of Wilson using a flasher-fly – the A-Tom-Mik Stud fly – 90 feet down on his rigger. At the same time, John Shafer of Jamestown was fishing a J-plug in front of Olcott and hit a 33 pound, 7 ounce king that is first place in the salmon division. There are a lot of kings around. And if you want to target steelhead or browns, they are available, too. In the LOC Derby, George Hovak of North Tonawanda is in second with a 12 pound steelhead out of Wilson. The leader is from Point Breeze, a 16 pound, 9 ounce fish. Top brown is also from the Point, a 14 pound, 3 ounce trout. But second place is from Olcott. Both leaders came on Moonshine spoons. In the Odyssey, top lake trout is a 21 pound, 6 ounce Niagara Bar fish reeled in by Ed Klejdys of North Tonawanda. Leading walleye is an 11 pound, 6 ounce Niagara Bar fish weighed in by Anthony LaRosa of Lewiston. Big bass so far is a 5 pound smallie reeled in by Dave Muir of North Tonawanda from Lake Erie. Ken Trontel of Pennsylvania has the first place brown trout with a 13 pound, 9 ounce Olcott fish. Leading carp is 19 pounds, 12 ounces caught by Michael Boncore of Buffalo in the Niagara River. Some impressive kids catches, too.
Niagara River fishing has been good for bass and walleye both. Crayfish and shiners are working the best, fished off three-way rigs.