Just a reminder: Free Fishing for Lake Ontario, the lower Niagara River and St. Lawrence River all the way through Labor Day! It’s the state’s way of trying to help out the businesses along the Lake Ontario shoreline that have suffered from the high water levels. Yes, Lake Ontario is open for business and fishing is great! In addition, it’s half-price for admission into some 30 state parks along the lake and rivers and half-price camping in those parks. Enjoy!
In the lower Niagara River, Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls managed to climb around the gorge a bit this week and caught some nice smallmouth bass, walleye and silver bass from shore. Water is still high but fish are available. A No. 3 spinner did the trick on the 7 pound walleye and small tube jigs were working on the bass. Also, outdoor writer Bob Holzhei of St. Mary’s, Michigan was fishing with Capt. Joe Marra of Niagara Rainbow Charters on Sunday. They boated over a dozen walleyes using a worm harness off three-way rigs. Holzhei caught some bass using crabs, too. Action was decent throughout the morning. In the upper river, Jeff Pippard with Niagara Outdoors in North Tonawanda sends word that the bass fishing in the east river has been good along the shoreline. Time of day is key. Focus on early morning or later afternoon/early evening. Crabs and golden shiners are the best live baits for bass. Drag a worm harness and you can catch a walleye … or a sheepshead.
Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctors in Olcott reports that the king and steelhead action out deep has been good of late in Lake Ontario. Look for 350 to 400 foot depths and put your baits down 40 to 60 feet. Spoons and flasher-fly are working. Mirage and purple flies were the best colors. The inside waters of 120 to 220 feet was hot and cold. Try meat or flasher-fly for those waters. Terry Walker of Kennedy, NY had an early leader in the Orleans Co. Derby last weekend with a 25 pound king weighed in at Olcott, but it didn’t last long. The current salmon leader is a 27-1/2 pound king reeled in by Larry Duckworth of Corfu. Mary Duckworth is leading the steelhead division with a 13-pound, 3-ounce Point Breeze fish, the same spot and size for the top brown trout by Georgia Barkdoll of Pa. No lake trout have been weighed in yet. The derby runs through August 18. Niagara Bar action was picking back up for Scott Rohe of Cheektowaga over the weekend. One day he went 5 for 8 on kings, the biggest was about 19 pounds. Cut bait on copper was hot. Also flasher-fly was a good enticement for the salmon. The next day he reported going 9 for 13 on salmon. The biggest king was 26.41 pounds. They caught fish on everything – spoons, cut bait, and flasher-fly. Best area was just off the ledge in 90-220 feet of water. His 300 foot copper rod was hot, along with his rigger set at 60 feet. Dipsy divers set back at 120 and 160 feet were both working. Another good one was cut bait on a twinkie rig with a spin doctor. Rohe caught some fish on Pro Troll paddles and A-Tom-Mik flies. Meanwhile off Wilson, Capt. Mike Johannes of Ransomville reports that action was good in 300 to 350 feet of water, putting his baits 45 to 60 feet down on the riggers. Dark magnum spoons were his best. Carbon 14, Sea Sick Waddler, Road Toad and Frostbite patterns all worked. Divers were 110 to 150 feet back. All the fish were above the thermocline, which was down 80 feet. Johannes says that there has been a real strong current lately so you have to watch down speed and direction closely.
August is a celebration of fishing contests as we head into the final full month of Summer. The Greater Niagara Fish Odyssey Derby (www.fishodyssey.net) set for August 17-25 has registrations available online starting August 1 and in the shops by August 2. Kids 15 and under can fish for free. The Reelin’ for a Cure ladies tournament to help benefit cancer-related causes will be held out of Wilson and Olcott on August 16. Call Stephanie at 481-6388 for more info. That same day, the Fall Lake Ontario Counties Trout and Salmon Derby begins and runs through Labor Day, Sept. 2. Grand prize for the biggest salmon is $25,000. More info at www.loc.org. Good luck and good fishing!