The third Saturday in June is the statewide opening of the regular bass season and Great Lakes muskellunge season. To help kick the bass season off, there are plenty of options going on such as the 1st Annual Brauer’s Restaurant Opening Day Bass Contest. This fun competition is for two-person teams and score will be based on the weight of the best two fish. You can fish the upper Niagara River and Lake Erie OR the lower river and Lake Ontario. The challenge will be on. Sign up at Brauer’s Restaurant on Campbell Blvd. in Pendleton or sign up at Creek Road Bait and Tackle in Lewiston. Cost is $40 per team. If you have any questions, contact Dave or Kathy Muir at 695-5552. Bass fishing has been decent in the Niagara River, both above and below the falls for anyone casting artificial baits like tubes or swimbaits. As of Saturday, you can use live bait again to target bass with the opening of the regular season. Gianni Etopio of Youngstown has been doing well off the NYPA Fishing Platform on silver bass, walleye and smallmouth. Boaters are bouncing bottom with tubes and swimbaits or dragging bottom with three-way rigs using Kwikfish. There are still a few trout in the river but it won’t be for long. The upper river, too, was producing some trout. Capt. Chris Cinelli of Grand Island reported that he caught four chunky steelies while walleye fishing around Strawberry island. Some walleye were caught this week by fishermen using jigs, but with the Southtowns Walleye Contest going on, we can’t tell you where.
For Lake Ontario, northeast winds have stirred up the water a bit. Capt. Roy Letcher of Newfane reported good action off Olcott in the top 40 feet of water over 200 to 300 foot depths using spoons. Everything was up high due to the cold water upwellings. We’ve had no other reports with many of the boats heading east last weekend to fish in the Orleans County Open tournament
For the kids, the Wilson Conservation Club will be holding its annual youth fishing derby from 8 a.m. to noon on June 16. Eligible waters are any waters in Niagara County and the contest is based on fish length. All the measuring will take place at the club located on Route 425 in Wilson. There is also a special Huck Finn division this year for kids using cane poles. Pick up your free pole prior to the contest or use your own. To find out more information call Mike Melcher at 930-7500. There’s also a kids contest on the upper Niagara River in Niawanda Park sponsored by the City of Tonawanda on Saturday June 16. Registration starts at 8 a.m. Don’t forget that next weekend is the Free Fishing Weekend around the state, June 23 and 24. There are some special events going on that weekend such as the Hooked on the Tonawandas out of Gateway Harbor in North Tonawanda. Call 628-1247 for more information. On Saturday, June 23, the Olcott Kids Fishing Derby will be held out of the Town of Newfane Marina from 8 a.m. to noon. Kids age 4 to 15 are eligible. Call the marina at 778-5462 if you have any questions. Also on Saturday the 23rd, there will be a kids fishing contest at 9 a.m. on Hyde Park Lake in Niagara Falls, held in conjunction with a summer bash. After fishing, try your hand at kayaking with Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper at 12:30 p.m.