The days are getting shorter as Pacific salmon slowly migrate closer to their home ports. Last Saturday morning, Keegan Walczak of East Amherst was casting a spoon off the Olcott pier when he caught the first salmon of the year. A few more were caught over the weekend by other anglers. This is the first sign that we’re getting close to some fall fishing but we still have a ways to go. High temperatures will be in the 60’s over the weekend and we will see some cool rain on Sunday so that should make a difference. In the meantime, the Niagara Bar is holding fish at the drop-off according to some mixed reports. Off Wilson, the salmon were stacking up in 40 to 80 feet of water according to Kyle Duncan of Newfane. He was fishing with Capt. Carl Martin of Dublin Up Charters and doing very well on matures. Duncan says use spoons and cut bait early in the day and switch over to spoons later, using your electronics to help identify prime areas. These fish could feed at any time so stay on them until you figure out what they want. Flasher-fly combos were also catching numbers of fish, including brown and rainbow trout while boaters are targeting salmon. Off Olcott earlier in the week, 60 to 90 feet was a good depth contour to follow. J-plugs, flasher and cut bait, flasher-fly and magnum spoons were all producing fish early in the day. Russell Pray of Kesseville went fishing Labor Day weekend with his buddy Rick Coon of Kesseville and they were greeted with a torrential downpour out on the waters in Eastern Lake Ontario. In the middle of the downpour, a rod went off so Pray went and started to fight a king salmon – a fish that took nearly 400 feet of line in a matter of seconds. Twenty minutes later, after fighting (and losing) another salmon, 4 foot waves and a very long leader on their dipsy diver, they netted a 31 pound, 4 ounce salmon – his biggest ever in the lake – to take home the Grand Prize check for $25,500 to win the Fall Lake Ontario Counties Trout and Salmon Derby that ended on Labor Day. That story would have been secondary had Kyle Kraft of Ohio insisted to his buddy that he get into the derby. Fishing with Capt. Frank Campbell, they caught a 32 pound salmon on the Niagara Bar – but everyone on the boat must be in the derby. In the salmon division, Eric Beaver of Locust Gap, Pa. was just 3 ounces behind Pray when he reeled in a 31 pound, 1 ounce king, winning a check for $5,500. One angler who didn’t wait until the last minute was David McGowan of Rush who reeled in the winning brown trout – a 16 pound, 4 ounce fish reeled in on the first day of the 18 day derby while fishing off Braddocks Bay. Jason Dale of Lockport caught the second place brown trout off Wilson on Monday morning of Labor Day (the final day of the derby), a 15 pound, 12 ounce brownie on a customized Stinger spoon. Braden Petrucci of Coal Center, Pa. caught the winning steelhead out of Olcott Labor Day weekend, a 14 pound fish caught on a Moonshine spoon – his biggest steelhead ever. The second place steelhead was caught the same day – September 1 – a 13 pound, 11 ounce fish reeled in by Anthony Alonzo of Monongahela, Pa., also fishing out of Olcott. No salmon yet in the lower Niagara River, but bass and walleye are still snapping. Shore anglers have been using plugs and spinners off Artpark to take some nice walleye and bass both. The better fishing has been at night. Remember that Sept. 22 is a kids fishing derby on Hyde Park Lake in Niagara Falls starting at 8 a.m. and NYPA will be hosting a Wildlife Festival Sept. 22 and 23 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day to honor National Hunting and Fishing Day weekend. Good luck and good fishing!