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The Fishing Beat (Feb. 22)

The countdown is starting for the New York State Winter Classic that will end on Feb. 28. Big fish this week to focus on is a 2.35-pound perch caught by Steven Wright in Seneca Lake. It nearly broke the Winter Classic record! The perch lead changed hands three times in two days – all from the same body of water. Check out the leaderboard.

In the NYS Ice Pro-Am Series event held on Oneida Lake last weekend, the first-place team of Dan Jackson and Cat Gumtow (Team Gaff Lunkage) collected 44.69 points for the win. Marty and Marty Sovey (Team Eye Guys) took second with 44.49 points. Jared Ekross and Bryce Leitten (Team Smalleye) placed third with 34.66 points. Biggest walleye was 2.19 pounds, weighed in by Team Drag Screamers. Largest yellow perch went to Team Aquaholics and Team Iceholes with 1.08 pounds. Biggest white perch was a 1.55 pound fish reeled in by Team Rippin’ Raps. The Chaumont Bay Team Ice Pro-Am Event set for Saturday, Feb. 25, has been cancelled due to unsafe ice conditions.

Capt. Bob’s Outdoors is still going strong, too, and that contest will run through March 15. In the perch division, Jim “Doc” Stoll of Eden beat out Curtis Loveless of Williamsville this week when he weighed in a 1.62-pound yellow perch that stretched 14-3/8 inches. The previous leader was 13-5/8 inches. Both first

Jim "Doc" Stoll of Eden.

and second place were caught in Lake Simcoe, Ont. “Doc” caught his on a Genz jig tipped with a spike. There was a new walleye leader this week, too. Kody Wagner of Middleport reeled in a 24 inch walleye from Tonawanda Creek this week. He was casting a Northland Whistler Jig tipped with a minnow. It narrowly beat out Dave Fisher’s Silver Lake fish he caught at night while fishing for crappies. The fish was 23-1/4 inches long, but weighed 5.5 pounds. Fisher is from Cheektowaga. If you are thinking about checking out Tonawanda Creek, wait a few days – it was stained and high after the rain Tuesday afternoon.

Niagara River

The water changed from stained on Monday to a nice green color on Tuesday. However, wind and rain could change things up as we enter into the weekend. Some nice steelhead and lake trout were taken this week. Egg sacks, minnows and Kwikfish top the list of baits from boats, all fished off three-way rigs. Shore casters started to do well again with some reports coming from Ric Davila of Wheatfield using pink spoons and Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls using a No. 3 homemade spinner with a silver blade and blue beads – from the Whirlpool to Artpark.

Lake Ontario

Some trollers have made it out into the lake again for some brown trout action according to Wes Walker at The Slippery Sinker in Olcott. Small stickbaits like Bay Rats, Challengers, Rapalas and Thundersticks are working nicely off boards in 6 to 20 feet of water. A fair number of pike are being caught, too. Piers are ice-free so casting spoons and spinners will produce some trout. Up at Burt Dam on 18 Mile Creek, a fresh salmon was caught this past week. Water was a nice green color, with a flow of about 140 cfs. That was before the rain. Good reports were also coming from Johnson and Sandy creeks in Orleans County, as well as in the Oak Orchard River according to Mike Waterhouse of Albion. Steelhead and browns. The All in the Same Boat Annual Catch and Release Steelhead Tournament starts Feb. 24 and runs through March 25. Entry fee is $15. Niagara and Orleans County tributaries only. Register at the Newfane tackle shop and pick up the rules. Remember the State of Lake Ontario Public Meeting will be held March 7 at Cornell Cooperative Extension Niagara, 4487 Lake Road, Lockport starting at 6:30 p.m.

Lake Erie

Most of the tributaries are dirty off Lake Erie but Silver and Walnut creeks were fishable on Tuesday according to Bob Rustowicz of Cheektowaga. Egg sacs are good baits to start with. Nick Sagnibene of Ellicottville reported that some of the inland stream were looking good, but they were cold. Fish have been slow to react to anything but nymphs. The warm-up this week, combined with some warm rains, should create some nice spring-like conditions. Cattaraugus Creek could be fishable by the weekend, but that will depend upon how much rain we receive. Some trollers hit the lake proper and picked up some nice walleye, but no other details were available.

Chautauqua Lake

Last weekend was probably the last hurrah for ice fishermen in Chautauqua according to Rich Davenport of Tonawanda. After seeing 5-6 inches of ice, it didn’t take long for some open water to start showing up.

Ice Fishing Overview

Ice fishing in Western New York is pretty much over with according to Scott Brauer of Gasport, NY’s Ice Team Pro. Heading north or east could help matters out to find hard water. Elevation lakes in the Adirondacks, Vermont or Canada should still have ice for a few weeks. Always exercise caution.

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