It was almost a derby trifecta for Niagara County as the Lake Ontario Counties Fall Salmon and Trout Derby came to a close on Labor Day. The derby kicked off in high gear as Codey Allen of West Seneca reeled in a 33-pound, 8-ounce king salmon out of Olcott on the first day of the derby to take over the early lead and never give it up. They were looking for stable water and headed 10 miles out to over 500 feet of water. That was when he saw 3 rods start screaming. They managed to bring in two of the fish, both 20-pound class salmon. Allen was fighting the big boy, a 33-pound, 8-ounce king salmon that hit a Michigan Stinger spoon in green, black and white behind a dipsy diver set back 140 feet on a No. 2 setting. They won the $25,000 Grand Prize plus big fish of the day, earning another $500. Top steelhead also came from Olcott. Nicholas Dougherty of Lockport was fishing in the same general area as Allen on the second day of the derby (August 17) over 500 foot depths with his brother Christopher of Lockport and his father Thomas of Niagara Falls. They were enjoying a banner day out of their 22-foot Triumph Chaos named “Thor’s Hammer II” as they caught over 20 fish and hooked up and lost over twice that many. At 9:30 a.m., they had a fish hit that they thought was a salmon. When they finally netted the fish, they realized it was a 15-pound, 6-ounce steelhead. That lunker fish also held on for the duration of the derby, earning a check for $2,750. The lucky lure was a Purple-Glow Moonshine spoon, fished behind a dipsy diver that was set out 88 feet back on a 1.5 setting. In the Brown Trout Division, only 10 ounces separated first from fifth. Third through fifth came from Niagara County waters. Kim Hubert-Bickel of Newfane was third place with a 15-pound, 7-ounce Olcott fish. Richard Barber of Niagara Falls tied Bickel with a 15-pound, 7-ounce Niagara Bar brown, but hers was weighed in first (tiebreaker). Patrick Barber of Niagara Falls was fifth with a 15-pound, 3-ounce brown he caught on the Niagara Bar. It was the one that was NOT weigh in the derby that would have made the difference. Capt. Vince Pierleoni on the Thrillseeker out of Olcott had a young 10-year-old customer out-duel a 21-pound brown trout the first week of the derby, but he had failed to enter the contest because it was a last-minute afternoon trip. Meanwhile, it has been a slow but steady pick the last few days out of Olcott according to Ed Dlugozima of Mercer, Pennsylvania. Best fishing for them was in 70-110 feet of water on mostly meat rigs. They also ran down and fished the eastern edge of the Niagara Bar on Labor Day. They found an active school of fish in 80-120 feet of water and spoons were the lure of choice. The crew managed 22 bites, landing 9 in the process. Their 300-foot copper pulled 3 kings; riggers at 50 and 60 feet did most of the damage. High divers 140 feet back on a three setting hooked a couple screamers. It was another great trip from the Keystone State crew. As salmon move in closer to the creek mouths for staging, don’t rule out deep water action off Wilson and Olcott. Steelhead and salmon are both available and action can be great if you find the fish. Some consistent reports have come in from 500 to 550 feet of water. Fish the marks on your electronics. In the Niagara River, bass and walleye are going into a little autumn funk with the early migration of a few salmon moving into the lower Niagara River. When that happens, the other species of fish have a tendency to be hot and cold depending on the day. Capt. Ernie Calandrelli of Lewiston reports decent bass action on the Niagara Bar and along the Coast Guard station with crayfish a top bait to use fished off three-way rigs. Walleye are also in the same general area, available all the way up to Artpark and Queenston on a spinner and worm rig. Remember that the limit on walleye in the lower river and Lake Ontario is different than the state regulation. Fish must be at least 18 inches long and the daily limit is 3 per person. Some walleyes are being caught along the shoreline in the Artpark area on jigs according to Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls. He picked up 3 on one outing over the weekend. A few more salmon were reported in the river and a few have been seen jumping in the Devil’s Hole area. Some were caught by walleye fishermen drifting worm harnesses in the lower drifts.