The more summer fisheries change, the more they remain somewhat similar to last year.
Great Lakes fishing runs are distant but productive. Inland lakes see a fair share of algae as well as weed growth, but the bloom is not as full-blown as last summer.
The walleye “word” is that they are everywhere – if you can just get at them out in deeper water.
Weather woes have kept boaters off Erie and other big lakes of late, but the bite has been good each day waves are on the wane.
Perch searchers continue to seek schooling sites, but the walleye find is generally on line – the International line. Boaters out of New York and Ontario ports head out to mid-lake depths to find active ‘eye schools. From Sturgeon Point to well west of Barcelona Harbor boaters are told to head straight out.
Dave Watts at Dave’s Bait & Tackle in Derby has good feedback on 60-foot depths off Sturgeon. In good view of the Point Abino lighthouse, trollers are doing well with worm harnesses. Watts has nice reports on the black and purple finish on copper harness blades.
Off Cattaraugus Creek, trollers have been running to depths of 75 to 85 feet for walleyes, with many limit catches on harnesses, along with many “rough” fish (silver bass, sheepshead, etc.), says Rick Miller at Miller’s Bait & Tackle in Irving.
Gerri Begier at Bill’s Hooks west of Dunkirk gets good depth reports of 85 to 110 feet for waters between Dunkirk and Barcelona Harbor. Deeper waters west of Dunkirk also hold fair numbers of lake trout, fish that normally hold close to bottom in deeper water and chase spoons and minnow-type bait. But this year a few lakers have hit worm harnesses.
Perch schools typically start tightening in deeper waters by mid-August and show better in deep waters at 60- to 80-foot depths. Miller got reports one day of nice catches at 40 feet and heard that the only ringbacks responding the next day were at 70-foot depths.
Watts noted that despite recent rains the feeder streams are low with little current flow. Rainfall has been hefty but sudden; water runs off fast and does not settle into streams enough to draw early runs of trout some anglers see starting to school when the kids start back to school.
For now, Erie boaters can drop down drop shots for bass around deep rock piles or work walleyes. Along with the array of side-planer, lead core and down rig gear, many a boater has pulled a limit of ‘eyes with bottom bouncer rigs run either with a motor or drifted along in the right breezes.
Ontario’s king salmon run stays the 2013 course, with good fish out but not deeper. True, trollers can hook fair numbers of kings running flashers down 100 feet over depths either side of 400 feet.
But the good mix of bites from salmon and trout often come higher than expected, says charter captain Bob Cinelli. His suggestion is to run rigs higher. “Most of our fish are coming at depths of less than 40 feet,” Cinelli says of cool waters off Olcott Harbor.
Part of the problem with salmonid reading right now comes from many northerly and easterly winds that move cold water close to shore and bring in fish that normally will not show close to shore until later in the summer season.
For now, boaters can make runs out of ports between Wilson and Oak Orchard and find fish over depths of less than 400 feet, but many a good bite might be missed when rigs are set below feeding fish. A silver-backed spoon that flutters at varying speeds could be good for kings, cohos, browns and steelies all at the same depth and time.
• Lake Ontario Counties (LOC) Fall Derby, salmon and trout divisions, begins Friday and goes to Sept. 1. For registration rules info, visit loc.org.
• The 38th annual Niagara Fish Odyssey offer boating and shore anglers many fish species divisions for fish taken from Lake Ontario, Lake Erie and the Niagara River. The Odyssey begins Saturday and continues to Aug. 24. For details, visit fishodyssey.net.
• Niagara River Anglers Association holds its Lower Niagara River Walleye Contest out of Lewiston Landing from sunrise to 2 p.m., Aug. 23. Call 807-6248.
Water quality workshop
A Workshop on Water Weeds and Water Quality will be held at the Sodus Point Fire Dept. from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. this evening at 8364 Bay St.
Environmental groups in and around Sodus Bay will offer presentations on aquatic plant life emergence, identification and control efforts.
For more details, email Jennifer.firstname.lastname@example.org.