Biggest fishing news update this week is a caution to New York boating anglers coursing through waters bordering Ontario Province.
Ontario enforcement officials have increased patrol presence on the Great Lakes, in particular along the upper Niagara River and open waters of Lake Erie.
Boats on Ontario waters, not just fishing vessels, have been stopped along border areas for inspection of safety equipment, presence of alcohol, absence of a Can-Pass report and other violations.
For anglers, bait-possession regulations are strict. Worms (nightcrawlers) must be contained in bedding, not earth/soil. Included on page 10 under General Fishing Regulations of the 2015 regulations summary regarding import of bait is the regulation: “It is illegal to bring any crayfish, salamanders, live fish or leeches into Ontario for use as bait.”
These rules have been in effect for years, but this year the ministry is more rigorously enforcing bait/baitfish regulations. Anglers have been cited with violations that result in fines ranging from $200 to $500 and officers do not issue warnings the first time that non-resident fishermen are found with uncertified bait aboard their vessels.
Check the charts and GPS settings when boating anywhere close to Ontario waters at all locations along Great Lakes waterways.
For the average angler the walleye count might top the perch take right now. Boaters from Buffalo to Barcelona have seen walleye schools suspended and bottom-bumping. Not every area is packed with ‘eye schools and even expert charter captains are not sure if the Ohio fish have begun showing in New York waters, but the bite has improved from the head of the Niagara River to east of Barcelona.
Off Dunkirk and Van Buren Point the bite was solid over the weekend. Better numbers now show west of Cattaraugus Creek. Trollers start at depths of 5 to 60 feet, with a high bite early in the day and better rig reactions near bottom by afternoon and day’s end.
Both worm harnesses and minnow-type artificial baits work. Each angler has differing preferences for trolling baits. Harnesses catch other fish as well as walleyes; the right size and color in a well-chosen minnow bait can take good numbers of walleye without as many “trash fish” hits (white perch, white bass, sheepshead, etc.). Hard baits also increase the odds for trout, both lakers and steelies.
Trollers do well off Buffalo Harbor, but the better numbers for walleye have come on worm-harness rigs bounced along bottom at depths of 40-50 feet.
Upper river bass are feeding on crayfish and hitting golden shiners as well as “crabs” along drifts on either side of Grand Island. The occasional walleye shows, but for numbers the smallmouth is big. River temperatures have risen to 70 degrees this week and lower river moss started showing but not in the volume usually seen most summers.
Bass has been the main bite for game fish. Sheepshead and white (silver) bass have been bait stealers on most of the major bass drifts, said Capt. Frank Campbell.
Salmon can be found almost everywhere on Lake Ontario right now, according to Capt. Vince Pierleone working out of Olcott Harbor. Pierleone took third in a tourney at Oswego last weekend and he found king salmon along the way.
When waters and wind directions settle, kings have been holding over 100- to 135-foot depths and hitting at mid depths of 40 to 60 feet. Pierleone has done well with either spoons or flasher-fly rigs with shades of green working best on spoon finishes and glow/white coloration on flashers.
The northern pike has yet to reach last summer’s numbers, but a few fair-sized pike have been seen and taken at Wilson and Olcott Harbors during afternoon and evening hours.
Erie Canal Derby results
Entrants brought in some impressive catches for all seven divisions of the Erie Canal Derby, including four fish that were tagged for this contest.
But the most impressive weigh-in was the last division (sheepshead) entry of Lockport angler Holly Sewar, 16.51 pounds.
Girl/lady entrants fared well during this competition in all divisions. First-place winners in the other six divisions are: Bass, Sara Caltagirone of Lockport, 3.87 pounds; Walleye, Michael Boncore of North Tonawanda, 6.9 pounds; Northern Pike, Dan Converso of Medina, 5.87 pounds; Bullhead, Katrina Russell of North Tonawanda, 1.97 pounds; Catfish, Carlene Beeback of North Tonawanda, 10.57 pounds; and Carp, Joe Z. Henneburger of North Tonawanda, 21.41 pounds.
For listings of the top three winners in the derby, visit eriecanalderby.com.
Free Facebook fishing contest
The first ever National Youth Catch-Photo-Release contest is open for 2015. Entry is free and can be done on Facebook. For entry details, call (956) 238-9476 or visit fishingfuture.org.