Walleye action is slowly starting to turn on during the day and timing should be good for the 33rd Annual Southtowns Walleye Association’s Tournament June 10-18 on Lake Erie and the Upper Niagara River. Make sure you check out today’s Outdoor Column for some tips on catching the prize-winning fish. In the meantime, Niagara River fishing has been good this week and Lake Ontario salmon are still snapping despite the high waters. Look for some good catches to come from the Orleans County Open Trout and Salmon Tournament this weekend.
In the lower river below Niagara Falls, shore fishermen and boat fishermen have been doing well the past week – the last hurrah before the moss storm. The first sign of the dreaded river moss is starting to show up, but you still have time to get some fishing in before it turns bad. Rich Pisa of Kenmore sends word that the gorge area has been producing a good mix of trout and bass on a consistent basis. White tubes and bucktail jigs were rippin’ on Monday and paddletails and inline spinners were also producing fish. From boats, smallmouth bass have been cooperating nicely on tubes, swimbaits, jerk baits and Kwikfish. Trout have been hitting shiners and Kwikfish or MagLips, fished off three-way rigs. Outdoor writer Mike Brown from Ohio had a good day on the water Sunday fishing with family and friends while out with Capt. Joe Marra of Lewiston. They caught over 40 fish, a mixed bag of warm and cold water fish species. It would have been more … but Brown set his rod down for a quick picture and then wondered where his rod went. Fish on! Tip of the week: Never set your rod down while fishing the Niagara. Capt. Frank Campbell of Niagara Falls had a similar day on Monday, trying to get Jackson Krebs of Niagara Falls his first trout ever. It wasn’t easy because the bass were being a little too cooperative. Fishing with Malik Leverette and Jim Manella of Niagara Falls, steelhead and lake trout were hitting Kwikfish and MagLip lures for them, but not for Krebs … until the last drift. It’s great when a plan comes together. See the weekly catch of the week gallery online. Water temperatures were still in the upper 50s but the trout will probably be leaving soon to head back out into the lake. Give it another week.
Yes, water levels are high on the lake and yes, there is a state of emergency along the lake shore. Yes, you do have to take some precautions due to floating debris and yes, you do have to be careful coming into port if the winds are wrong. Is the fishing good? Yes! Salmon and trout fishing continues to be good to very good when Mother Nature isn’t too crazy out there with wind. Good reports have come in from both Wilson and Olcott, with best baits being spoons and flasher-fly combinations. One combo that Capt. Matt Yablonsky of Wet Net Charters couldn’t resist was a flasher with the new A-Tom-Mik stud fly and he had to try it because of all the hype. The lure produced several nice king salmon to make him a believer. Many of the boats going out have been working from 150 feet of water out to 300 feet of water. The Orleans County Open Tournament is this weekend and many boat captains are tight-lipped right now as to not reveal their favorite spots or programs. We’ll hear plenty after the tournament ends on Sunday. The next Lake Ontario Counties Trout and Salmon Derby will be June 30-July 30. Check out www.loc.org for details.
Walleye action is slowly starting to turn on but getting any more information will be difficult with the fact that the Southtowns Walleye Tournament is about to begin on Saturday. Capt. Mike Rauh was fishing over the weekend out of Dunkirk Harbor. He hit the water early and headed west. Surface temperature was 61 degrees and the down temperature at 45 feet was 51 degrees. The lake is still cold. They found some fish, but they were mostly smaller. Look for warmer water. Better reports have come from the west of Dunkirk. Night action has dropped right off along the shoreline. Capt. Joe Fonzi of Gasport found a mix of fish on Sunday by drifting minnows. Young 10-year ol- Dawson Draper of Gasport was given a workout as he was given the opportunity to reel in most of the fish for the day – including a 6-pound smallmouth and a good number if walleyes. The most effective method for walleye was trolling at 1.6 mph, using worm harnesses 20 feet down over 35 feet of water. They caught 15 for the day. That is certainly encouraging. They also boated bass and perch in their fish exploration trip.
Good reports this past weekend came out of this unsung Finger Lake. Auburn, the Cayuga County seat, is at the north end of the lake. Trollers were working a variety of baits such as a Warrior spoon in orange peel or hot pink, chartreuse stickbaits and a mix of other spoon colors fished off riggers (60 foot was a good depth), dipsy divers, 500 copper and 5 and 10 colors of lead core lines fished off in-line boards. Lake trout were the primary focus but walleye and perch were in the bi-catch. The north end produced smaller fish; larger fish could be found in the southern end of the lake.