The moss in the Niagara River is starting to subside according to reports from Creek Road Bait and Tackle in Lewiston. As a result, the walleye fishing is starting to pick up, especially on the Niagara Bar at the mouth of the river. Worm harnesses have been the bait of choice using hammered copper blades with red beads. Bass action is also starting to pick up. Tube jigs are the lure that seems to be working best with what moss is left in the river, both above and below Niagara Falls. In the upper river, bass, walleye and musky have been cooperating for some anglers. Add Ned rigs, worm harnesses and crayfish to the list of preferred baits and lures. The Erie Canal Fishing Derby is officially over. Read this week’s outdoor column to check out where and how the big fish were caught.
One of the hot spots on Lake Ontario this week has been the Niagara Bar off the mouth of the river. Fishing 50 to 80 feet down over 90 to 200 feet of water was producing plenty of mature king salmon. John Van Hoff hit a 29-pound king on Sunday with flasher-fly on the Bar, one of many mature kings he caught the day after the LOTSA contests. On Monday, it was Doug Parker of Lockport that caught a 29-pound, 9-ounce Bar king to take over the lead for the Grand Prize in the Summer Lake Ontario Counties Trout and Salmon Derby, also with a flasher and fly. Capt. Joe Gallo of Two Bulls Charters reports that he teamed up with Capt. Alan Sauerland for the LOTSA contests and they produced over 50 bites over two days of fishing. They fished in over 300 feet of water, a few miles west of their home port using flasher-fly and meat programs. On Sunday they moved into shallower water in front of their home port and it paid off with a 17 for 24 king salmon day with a dozen salmon up to 25 pounds. Capt. Mike Johannes of On the Rocks had the catch of the week with a 31-1/2-pound salmon caught out of Wilson, but the customers didn’t get into the derby. The LOC event ends on Sunday. Out of Olcott, Capt. Tim Sylvester of Tough Duty ran out to 300-plus feet of water to hit an early spoon bite on Tuesday. Magnum spoons off the riggers were the way to go, 50 to 80 feet beneath the surface. His best depth was 75 feet down.
In the Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Association’s Curt Meddaugh contest on Friday, Hooked Up led by Dustin Petersen of Indiana, Pennsylvania took top honors when they weighed in 3 king salmon totaling nearly 68 pounds. For the Saturday big fish contest, Joe Yaeger of Amherst and his savvy Salmonella team weighed the big fish for the day, a 27 ½ pound Niagara Bar king salmon. Marty Polovick of Lockport and his 4 Poles Team won the 3-2-3 contest, the best 3 fish over 2 days, with over 80 pounds of salmon. He beat the runnerup, Kyle Hovak and the Mean Machine team by just .01 of a pound. Next derby up on Lake O. is the Orleans County Rotary Derby set for August 3-18. James Nix, Jr. of Amherst was the lucky angler as the 29th Annual Steve Harrington Memorial Erie Canal Fishing Derby comes to an official close. Nix, who was in the final drawing by virtue of his first-place win in the pike division, was selected at the awards ceremony last Sunday to receive the Grand Prize of a boat, motor and trailer from Brobeil Marine in Buffalo. What made it even more exciting for him is that this was his first derby ever, encouraged to join by a previous grand prize winner, Keegan Walczak. Keegan was in that same drawing for the boat package this time around, too. However, it was Nix who came out on top. Rebecca Thering of Appleton won the Kids Division Grand Prize, a new kayak. Check out www.eriecanalderby.com for final results.