Moss is still an issue in the Niagara River, but fish are available to be caught if you can solve the moss problem. Lisa Drabczyk with Creek Road Bait and Tackle reports some decent bass action the past week in the lower river, but you do have to work for them. Shoreline access is minimal in the lower river due to the high-water levels. Launch ramps are open at Lewiston and Fort Niagara for boaters. In the upper river, some nice muskies are being reported including a 49.75-inch fish reeled in by Denis Kreze of Fort Erie, Ontario. He was using a Venom Musky Spinnerbait. Mixed reports on bass and walleye due to the moss. Some bass were caught off the Bird Island Pier this week.
The hard-northeast winds changed things up over the weekend. Out of Olcott, Capt. Tim Sylvester of Tough Duty and his first mate Blake Kowalski of Tonawanda headed out to 400 feet of water to find more stable conditions on Tuesday. It was a long line bite as he used meat rigs on 300- and 400-foot copper lines. You had to be patient. They caught kings up to 20 pounds and steelhead up to 10 pounds. The downrigger bites were up high in 35 to 50 feet of water. Things are starting to turn around after the weather cooperated this week. Some good catches were reported out of Wilson yesterday. Dave Scipione of Lewiston added a 25 pound, 1 ounce king from the Niagara Bar on Tuesday so the fishing should be turning on just in time for the Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Association’s contests set for July 19 and 20. The 19th is the free Curt Meddaugh Memorial Event for the best 3 fish and the King Salmon Tournament for biggest fish will be held July 20. Check out www.lotsa1.org for details. You must be a club member, but it only costs $10 to join. In the Summer LOC Derby, there’s a new Grand Prize leader when Doug Higgs of Medina reeled in a 28 pound, 5 ounce king salmon out of Point Breeze. He was using cut bait. First place brown trout is a 16-pound, 9-ounce fish weighed in by Jim Sanford of Clifton Springs. Ed Klejdys of North Tonawanda is the top laker taker so far with a 24-pound, 4-ounce Niagara Bar fish. In the Steelhead Division, Steve Biernacki of Medina is setting the pace with a 14-1/2-pound fish he reeled in off Point Breeze. Check out loc.org for a current leaderboard. The derby ends on July 28th.
The 29th Annual Steve Harrington Memorial Erie Canal Fishing Derby is entering its final weekend, running through July 14 in Niagara, Erie and Orleans Counties. All of the fish species categories are up for grabs, but it will take a little work. In the bass division, Tyler Hillman of Lockport is in first place with a 4.92-pound fish. Sam Hillman from Lockport is the top walleye catcher at 7.04 pounds, and James Nix, Jr. of Tonawanda is setting pace in the pike division with an 11.81-pound fish. The biggest bullhead so far is a 1.58-pound fish reeled in by Michael Boncore of Buffalo. Biggest catfish is an 8.75-pound fish reeled in by Keegan Walczak of Amherst and Ron Robel of Wheatfield has the leading carp with a 24.88-pound fish. Rachel Izzo of Sanborn is leading the sheepshead category with a 10.91-pound fish. Check out www.eriecanalderby.com for details. The awards ceremony will be July 21 at 3 p.m. at the Gasport Fire Hall.