What a week is all we can say. The start of the Lake Ontario Counties Trout and Salmon Derby kicked off, the CIPS International Fishing Congress was going on and the Salmon Slam and $1,000 a Day Derby started on Monday as a precursor to the Wilson Harbor Invitational Tournament May 19. Yes, there were plenty of things going on and, yes, the fishing has been great!
Some big catches have been coming to the scales in the Lake Ontario Counties Trout and Salmon Derby going on right now. Even if you are going fishing for one day, take the chance and sign up. There are plenty of ways you can win some cash prizes. The leader for the $15,000 Grand Prize is Daniel Manti of Cortland with a 28-pound, 10-ounce king salmon caught off Oswego. While anglers have been catching salmon at a variety of locations around the lake, the best place to be is still the waters off Niagara County. The king fishing has been crazy good so far this year. Kings can be found from the Canadian line off Fort Niagara to Wilson. Most are fishing water depths of 60 to 150 feet anywhere from 30 feet down to 90 feet down. Magnum spoons, flasher-flies and cut-bait rigs have all been working off riggers, divers and copper set-ups. Look for the Wilson Harbor Invitational Salmon-only Tournament to be a good one this Saturday. Top LOC Derby lake trout so far is 22 pounds, 5 ounces from the Niagara Bar and weighed in by Steve Klejdys of North Tonawanda. Big brown trout is 15 pounds, 9 ounces caught by Gerald Darling of Maine fishing out of Oswego, and the walleye leader is an 11-pound Eastern Basin fish caught by Dan Peschler of Pulaski. Check out www.loc.org for details. It ends Sunday.
Niagara River fishing was really spotlighted during the International Fishing Congress the past week. There was a potpourri of fish species, with the focus being on bass or trout depending on where you were fishing. Above Niagara Falls in the upper river, the Strawberry Island area was a hot one for smallies, fished with tubes or swim baits. There were several spots around Grand Island that were also good. There has been a good walleye bite off Unity Island at night. Below Niagara Falls in the lower river, a similar night walleye bite is occurring at the sand docks in Lewiston with plastics like Fin-S Fish. If you are looking for a trout, try Devil’s Hole from boat or shore. Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls was starting to haul in some big silver bass as the water hit 45 degrees, along Artpark and off the NYPA platform. Some big smallmouth bass are also available from Lewiston down to Lake Ontario on Strike King swim baits and tubes. Andries Maree of South Africa hit a personal best just under 5 pounds on Monday.
Capt. Chris Cinelli of Grand Island had it happen again in the past week, catching another tagged smallmouth bass from the same event, the Canadian Tire Lake Erie Open, run out of the Upper Niagara River. For the fourth time, this one came from the lower Niagara River (yes, below Niagara Falls) after being reeled in by Steve Vargo from Vermont. He was dragging a Strike King tube. Cinelli has also caught one from the Upper Niagara River around Strawberry Island. Amazing!