The Fish Odyssey is over, the LOC Derby continues through Labor Day and river and stream anglers are itching to see some salmon and trout in the rivers and streams. The first king salmon was caught in the lower Niagara River last week. No, the run hasn’t started but we aren’t far off. Every year, there are a few caught in the gorge the last week of August. September is when the run will start to take off, usually around the 2nd or 3rd week. Walleye and bass are still the most sought-after species right now. The winning walleye in the Fish Odyssey Derby was a 12-pound lower river fish reeled in by Richard Barber of Niagara Falls on a worm harness. Maribou jigs have also been working for walleyes, tipped with a worm. Both the river and the Niagara Bar have been good for walleye action. Bass fishing has been consistent, especially down by Fort Niagara. According to Capt. Chris Cinelli, most of the drifts in the lower river are holding bass. Crabs are still the best bait. Dropshotting has been working also with most Strike King plastic baits. In the upper river, Cinelli reports that there has been good bass fishing with crabs on the flat between Donnelly’s wall and the roundhouse.
Out in Lake Ontario, Northerly and easterly winds have things messed up in the lake. Your best bet is to head out deep according to Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctors. Target 400 to 500-foot depths for a mix of kings and steelhead on spoons, flasher-fly and even cut bait rigs. When you find them, you can do well. Capt. Jim Gordon of Appleton went out Tuesday and found a pocket of kings between 400 and 450 feet of water straight out of Wilson. He found good temperature 80 feet down and staggered his riggers in 60, 70 and 80 feet with green and black Moonshine spoons to limit out in short order. Brown trout can be found near-shore in shallower depths. Target 100 feet or less. That’s where Eric Bickel’s 12-pound, 4-ounce brown came from on a Stinger spoon to win the Brown Division in the Odyssey and his wife’s (Kim Hubert-Bickel) 15-pound, 7-ounce brown came from to place second in the LOC Derby so far. The LOC Derby continues through Labor Day. Check out www.loc.org for details. Lake trout are starting to stack up on the Niagara Bar.
The 43rd Annual Greater Niagara Fish Odyssey Derby for Erie, Niagara and Orleans counties ended last Sunday, August 25 and it was a battle all the way to the final minutes for some species categories. In the drawing for the Grand Prize, it was the biggest fish of the tournament that was the lucky winner of the $3,000 check – a 36-pound, 12-ounce carp that Paul Natiella of South Lima reeled in while fishing the Oak Orchard River. This year’s contest remembered the late Jamie Brolinski of Lewiston who passed away earlier this year.
The carp category was drawn from a hat with other first place winners that included Lindsay Yaeger of Amherst with a 26-pound, 7-ounce Point Breeze salmon. She also won the special $700 prize for the largest salmon caught by a LOTSA member. Larry Wills of Lewiston caught the first place Rainbow, an 11-pound, 10-ounce fish he reeled in on the first day of the derby while fishing out of Wilson. Eric Bickel of Newfane hauled in the top brown trout, a 12-pound, 4-ounce fish he caught off Olcott. Marty Polovick of Lockport had some last minute heroics with a 20 pound, 10-ounce lake trout he caught from Lake Erie and weighed in with 13 minutes to spare to beat out Pat Barber of Niagara Falls with a 20-pound, 1-ounce fish he also caught the last day on the Niagara Bar. Big smallmouth was Brendan Walsh of Niagara Falls, weighing in a 6-pound, 7-ounce Lake Erie smallmouth. Grand prize in the Junior Division went to Dominic Jeffords of Ransomville with an 8-pound, 3-ounce lower river walleye. Other first place winners who were included in the Grand Prize drawing were Braylee Lukehart of Reynoldville, Pa. with a 24-pound, 4-ounce king salmon; Taven Lukehart of Reynoldsville, Pa. with an 11-pound, 15-ounce trout; Gabriella Geiger of Lackawanna with a 5-pound, 5-ounce smallmouth bass from Lake Erie; Megan Walsh of Niagara Falls with a 2-pound, 3-ounce carp; Abby McGrath of Niagara Falls with a 1.01-pound panfish (perch); and Alyssa McGrath of Niagara Falls with a 7-pound, 14-ounce sheepshead she caught from Lake Erie.