The calendar reaches the Ides of August Thursday and trout anglers have much to ponder and enjoy.
Trout movement seen in deeper Great Lakes waters have shore anglers looking for an early and bountiful run of trout in both Erie and Ontario and an influx of big kings in Ontario feeder streams shortly.
All the while, bass anglers have seen a solid bite in the big lakes, in major streams and in many of the larger inland lakes. Live bait has been a mainstay, but “purists” tossing crankbaits, jigs, spinner baits and spoons all report good numbers and sizes for both largemouth and especially smallmouth bass this season.
Cool nights and abundant rainfall has moved many a school of game and panfish closer to shore and not so tight to weed beds. As baitfish schools diminish in late summer’s relatively warm waters, anything resembling a minnow or chub could be good earlier than usual.
With Erie’s perch and walleye, Ontario’s kings, steelies, browns and lakers, and inland lakes producing good bass prospects, anglers have more options than time to get to all the good fishing available around the area this week and weekend.
Walleye are on the move. Most trollers are heading to the International Line out of ports from Sturgeon Point to well west of Dunkirk Harbor. Canadian waters could be good; be sure to check licenses and make the call to the CANPASS number [*(888) 226-7277] before headed to fish Erie’s boundary waters.
Both worm harnesses and body baits connect on suspended walleye schools. Most trolling rigs are set either side of 60 feet for feeding fish. But ’eyes move up and down the water column without necessarily feeding.
Tighter turns and an occasional release of a down-rig line could draw a strike that might not have happened during a straight-line trolling route.
Perch activity continues. Schools of bigger fish have shown just west of Cattaraugus Creek at 60 feet, but pocket schools of nice eaters have shown in 42- to 45-foot depths as well. Every day out calls for a search-and-sort start before ringing in respectable ringbacks.
Bass dominate the fishery in upper- and lower-river right now. Shore anglers and boaters have done best with small crayfish in the upper river.
Lower river anglers have also done well with “crabs” but Lisa Drabczyk at Creek Road Bait & Tackle in Lewiston has had river reports of chubs/shiners doing even better on bass in recent days.
Some walleye have shown along drifts deeper that shore-edge structures holding bass. Depths over 20 feet have been more productive for nice-sized ’eyes.
Derby and recreational fishing folk will have a busy weekend and late-August outings.
King salmon have yet to show heavily off and around the Fort Niagara Bar, but east of Wilson Harbor to well east of Point Breeze the kings are the things for trollers set up with the right suspended gear (both spoons and flasher-and-fly rigs) set at 60- to 100-foot depths.
Steelies seem to be stacked behind kings as salmonids move southward towards Ontario and New York’s shoreline. Spoons with either a green or purple color and with touches of a glow finish seem to finish off fish right now. The Spin Doctor flasher with a pearl- or tinsel-toned fly also does well on both kings and steelies.
Two derbies begin this week and another next weekend. The Fall Lake Ontario Counties Derby begins on Friday.
The salmon run at the west end of Ontario has been such that Derby coordinator is looking for record numbers of entries in all trout and salmon divisions. The summer derby saw all top twenty Salmon Division winners weight in kings above the 30-pound mark, with the top fish a nudge over 35 pounds.
For Fall Lake Ontario County Derby details and entry info, go to loc.org.
The Greater Niagara 2013 A Fish Odyssey, dedicated this year to the memory of Dick Robinson, begins for waters of Niagara, Orleans and Erie Counties on Saturday.
Seven Divisions, including carp, are open to anglers fishing until Aug. 25. A special Youth Division for ages 15 and younger allows kids to fish for free.
For Fish Odyssey information, call 282-8992 (ext. 303) or go to fishodyssey.net.
Next weekend the Niagara River Anglers Association stages its Annual Walleye Contest out of Lewiston Landing. The contest goes from to 5:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. August 24 and anglers can register that morning at the landing from 5:30 to 8 a.m.
For more details, call Creek Road Bait & Tackle (807-6248) or go to niagarariveranglers.com.
Look for a detailed column on trout and salmon fishing off Oak Orchard Creek on the Sunday Outdoors Page.