Fish can feel angling pressure. Several local anglers experienced exactly that – what can happen when too much pressure is applied on local fish stocks … and what can happen when that pressure is relieved.
Lake Erie and tributaries
The Canadian Tire Lake Erie Open was held last weekend and Joe Fonzi of Gasport and Larry Mazur of Lancaster had a good feeling. They were on some decent fish. In fact, Fonzi guided some clients to three 6-pound smallmouth a few days before the Oct. 8 tournament was run out of Chippewa, Ont. This was a two-person, best-five fish contest and the Fonzi-Mazur duo worked 40 feet of water just off Buffalo along a specific rock ledge. In the first hour and a half, they boated 25 fish using drop shot rigs outfitted with Jackall Crosstails; and swim baits. They definitely attracted the attention of some of the competitors. It wasn’t long before they were surrounded by boats. The rest of the day they only caught 15 more fish and they never hauled in
that 6-pound kicker fish that they needed. They finished a respectable fifth in the 75-boat field with a five-fish weight of 22.80 pounds. Winners were Rob McIntosh and Scott Huffman of St. Catharines with 25.07 pounds. Bass are starting to go on their fall feed. According to Capt. Chris Cinelli of Grand Island, he’s been doing extremely well from the round house to Donnelly’s Wall using large golden shiners. Water depth is 12 to 20 feet, bouncing bottom humps with the lightest weight possible. It could be as light as a quarter to three-eighths ounce. Everything is 8-pound test line as the water can be super clear. Off Sturgeon Point and Cattaraugus Creek, Capt. Jim Hanley sends word that the bigger goldens are working for him, too. Best bass action has been in 15- to 40-foot depths, but the most consistent has been at the 25-foot mark. Tubes and drop shots with gulp minnows have also been working. That big walleye school is still hanging off Point Breeze, but getting them to bite has not been easy. Trying force-feeding them with stickbaits, worm harnesses or blade baits. No solid perch reports yet. Fonzi did some checking on Tuesday this week and managed to catch a handful. However, he did encounter one angler who had a limit of yellow perch that he caught in 68-70 feet of water. Salted minnows did the trick. In closer to shore, some anglers are casting the mouth of Cattaraugus Creek with Cleos and stickbaits and picking up some nice steelhead. We also had reports of a few more trout showing up in the lower stretches of the Catt, but a good rain is needed to really trigger the run. Don’t be surprised if you catch a pink salmon. All the other tribs are low and clear.
The salmon are starting to get a bit more finicky in the Devil’s Hole area and boat pressure over the weekend forced salmon to go into a lock-jaw mode. However, after some of the local captains started to complain that just maybe the run was starting to dwindle, lessened pressure on Tuesday brought a good bite to those that stuck it out. Capt. John DeLorenzo of Niagara Falls was
guiding Stephen Owens of Niagara Falls, Bob Nudo of Phoeniz and Joe Beck of Apache Junction, Ariz., for a nine-fish limit using treated egg skein. They weren’t the only ones catching fish, either. Every captain was catching salmon and a fair number had limits for the day thanks to the lessened pressure on the fish. Good numbers of casters were working the shoreline of the gorge over the weekend with a fair amount of success using spoons, spinners, jigs and egg skein under floats. In the upper river, some early reports of walleye are being taken off the Bird Island Pier by night casters using Husky Jerks. A few musky have started to show up and Nate Hlad of Newfane hauled in a 37-inch fish on a spinnerbait around Strawberry Island. It was caught and quickly released unharmed.
Lake Ontario and tributaries
Fishing is slowly starting to pick up off the piers and in the harbor according to Jamie Stanley at All in the Same Boat Tackle in Newfane. Josh Wittcop of Lyndonville is leading the King of the Creek contest with a 27.93-pound king caught off the piers in Olcott. The largest fish caught off a boat so far is a 24.03-pound king reeled in by John Drotter of Burt. According to Stanley, top baits have been egg skein, egg sacs, Rapala J-13 stickbaits; Little Cleo, Moonshine and K-O Wobbler spoons; and No. 6 Vibrax Blue Fox spinners with glow tails. With the cool nights starting to bring temperatures down, the only thing missing is a good rain or two. Not too much action is going on out in the lake right now.
The walleye bite is still going on in the south basin from Ashville Bay to the bridge, trolling sticks that are imitating the perch in the lake according to Craig Robbins. Some jiggers are working the deeper holes to the north to also take some nice 'eyes – fish up to about 7-8 pounds which are nice fish for that lake. Use a blade bait or a black hair jig tipped with a crawler. Ashville Bay is also a good spot for perch and crappie right now.
Case, Quaker, Red House Lakes
Brood stock trout plants for the fall started up last week from the Randolph Fish Hatchery, breeder trout that are all over 2 years old. Red House Lake received 250 brown trout (15- to 26-inch fish); Quaker Lake was the recipient of 200 15-inch rainbows and 150 browns 21 to 26 inches in length; and Case Lake accepted 300 of the 15- to 26-inch browns and 25 rainbow trout up to 28 inches long. If you are thinking that the inland trout season closes on Oct. 15, these particular waters are open all year long.