The 41st Annual Greater Niagara Fish Odyssey Derby ended on a high note as the awards ceremony was held last Sunday at the Olcott Fire Hall. This year, the $3,000 Grand Prize winner was the Lake Trout Division and the lucky angler was Ed Klejdys of North Tonawanda. He earned the right to be in the drawing by weighing in a 21-pound, 6-ounce lake trout caught on the Niagara Bar.
In the Walleye Division, Tony LaRosa of Lewiston was dragging a worm harness along the bottom on the Niagara Bar off the mouth of the Niagara River to reel in an 11 pound, 6 ounce winner. The most interesting thing about his catch is that it came during the solar eclipse. In the Smallmouth Bass Division, there was a tie for first place. Both were 5 pound smallmouth bass from Lake Erie … and they were caught by a husband and wife fishing duo – Dave and Kathy Muir of North Tonawanda. Since Dave’s was weighed in first, that was the tie breaker.
Biggest salmon for the Odyssey was a 34 pound 8 ounce king caught out of Wilson in Lake Ontario by Joe Oakes of Lockport. Oakes also won a special $500 prize for the largest salmon caught by a LOTSA member. Biggest brown or rainbow trout was a 13 pound 9 ounce brown reeled in by Ken Trontel of Sharon, Pa. In the Carp Division, Paul Natiella of South Lima reeled in the winner from the Oak Orchard River using corn – a 30 pound 9 ounce fish. Nice catch!
There is also a Junior Division for kids 15 and under. For the second year in a row, the Grand Prize species category was panfish. And, for the second year in a row, the lucky winner was 6 year old Alyssa McGrath of Niagara Falls. This time it was a 1 pound, 2 ounce Lake Erie perch that did it for her.
Other Junior Division winners were: Megan Walsh of Niagara Falls with a 7 pound, 14 ounce lower river walleye; Abigail McGrath of Niagara Falls (Alyssa’s sister) with a 4 pound, 5 ounce Lake Erie bass; Cole Gallo of E. Amherst with an 8 pound Wilson steelhead; Alex Heath of Sanborn with a 26 pound 3 ounce Niagara Bar king salmon; and Jacob Velesko of Middleport with a 16 pound 6 ounce carp from the Oak Orchard River.
The LOC Derby is still going on through Labor Day and the Grand Prize leader is now a 39 pound, 3 ounce king salmon reeled in by Daniel Klinger of Auburn. Top steelhead is a 16 pound, 9 ounce fish from the Oak, weighed in by Steve Gardinsky of Ohio. Big Brown is a 16 pound, 15 ounce Rochester fish checked in by Anthony DiGiovanni of Rochester. We still have a few days to go. Check out www.loc.org.
Lake Ontario rolled over and there is cold water close to shore. In fact, a nice salmon was caught off the pier in Olcott (west pier) by casting a Moonshine spoon. The east pier should be ready to go byas they are doing some renovations and clean up from the high water earlier this year. Lots of steelhead around and many fish were caught off Wilson in 150 to 300 feet of water in the top 50 feet. Spoons seem to work the best. For salmon, flasher-fly or flasher-cutbait has been the ticket. The Niagara Bar was tough with the roll-over but it should pick back up by the weekend if past performance is any indication. Lower river bass action has been great on leeches, crabs and shiners. Worm harnesses are working for walleye. Shad raps and Rapalas are producing walleye in the gorge under low light conditions. No word on the NYPA fish platform, but it could be opening soon.