The fall salmon run is within sight as the big Lake Ontario Counties Trout and Salmon Derby ended on Labor Day. The $25,000 fish came from Oswego when Drew Kersic of Philadelphia, Pa., reeled in a 34-pound, 9-ounce king salmon from 75 feet in front of the power plant – his first salmon on his first Lake Ontario fishing trip ever! He was fishing with Capt. Chad Gehrig of Oswego aboard the “Son of a Gun,” using a gold/chrome Golden Boy attractor rig with a chartreuse bait head and cut
bait. It was caught on Sept. 4.On Sept. 5, the first-place salmon was weighed in, a 34 -pound, 6-ounce king caught by Lynn Thomson, Jr. of Syracuse, also off Oswego. Closer to home some bigger fish were caught, too, but they were not entered in the derby. Like the lottery, you have to be in it to win it! In the Brown Trout Division, the father-son duo of Skip Foster of Wilson and Scott Foster of North Tonawanda connected with a first- and third-place on the same day while trolling between Wilson and Olcott. Working a lime green-yellow Bay Rat stickbait (my secret) in 50 feet of water, they used a dipsy diver set back 120 feet on a No. 3.5 setting to take a 17- pound, 4-ounce brown that was caught by Skip – his personal best. He reported it was their best brown trout fishing ever, too, finding a little honey hole off the red barn. In the Steelhead Division, John Jankowski of Sloan came through with some last-minute heroics on his own when he caught a 15-pound, 15-ounce steelie on a silver and black DW spoon sporting a pink ladderback. He caught it on the second-last day of the derby, 65 feet down over 490 feet of water between Wilson and Olcott. King salmon are stacked on the Niagara Bar according to Capt. Matt Yablonsky with Wet Net Charters. “It’s the most I’ve ever seen,” he commented. White-glow spin doctors or E-Chip flashers with green-colored flies are working best for him in 100 to 150 feet of water. A few salmon and
brown trout are being caught off the piers at Olcott on Cleos and K-O Wobblers according to Wes Walker at The Slippery Sinker. Trollers are hitting the 60-90-foot depth contour in front, moving even shallower under low light conditions with cut bait rigs, J-plugs, flasher-fly rigs and magnum spoons.
Some pretty darn good bass and walleye fishing was reported over the holiday weekend in the lower Niagara on a variety of baits, but those fish failed to show up in “school” on Tuesday as anglers struggled a bit to get a consistent program going. John Van Hoff and Randy Tyrrell of North Tonawanda limited out on walleye at the mouth of the Niagara using worm harnesses to catch fish up to 12 pounds. Bass action was good, especially for bigger fish as Capt. Bruce Blakelock of Riverside Sportfishing and Mitch Grant of Virginia with Rapid Fishing Solutions used tubes rigged with a small spinner trailer to catch smallmouth up to 5 pounds. In the Upper Niagara, caution is advised by the Niagara Musky Association if you are thinking about targeting muskellunge. With the 75 degree water temperatures, it will put some added stress on those fish. Hold off targeting these fish until the water temps come down a bit. If you do catch one, don’t take it out of the water and release it immediately.
The bass bite is on according to Capt. Terry Jones of Tonawanda. Tube jigs (Big Boy brown with purple fleck) and live bait (crabs and shiners) were his best enticements in 26 to 32 feet of water along the humps outside the breakwalls at Buffalo Harbor. He had one of his best days of the year on Tuesday, catching over 70 smallmouth. You should also be able to catch fish on the deep side of Seneca Shoal and Myers Reef in 30-40 feet of water, too. The walleye bite continues to be very good around the 70-foot mark for trollers and drifters. Capt. Jim Hanley was finding success off Sturgeon Point in 68-72 feet of water with worm harnesses trolled around 1.5 mph. White and orange willow leaf blades or white and chartreuse Colorado blades were working for him with three-way rigs bouncing bottom or trolling 10 colors of lead core. As long as the presentation is right, color and style should not be a big deal. Perch seekers have started to look for early schools, some in preparation of the Oct. 1 Brauer’s Restaurant Perch Contest to benefit KidsPeace. Call Eric at 698-4505 for details.
Best bite has been for walleye from the Bell Tower at Chautauqua Institution to Long Point in 15-26 feet of water. Trolling has been the best method of attack with a silver-black or perch colored No. 13 Rapalas the best lure offering according to local guide Craig Robbins. Robbins will be busy this coming week, hosting the Assn. of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers starting this weekend, followed by the NYS Outdoor Writers group. Good luck!