It’s a Free Fishing Weekend in New York State, an opportunity to test the Empire State’s waters without having to worry about purchasing a fishing license. However, you do have to abide by the fishing regulations. Check out www.dec.ny.gov to find out what they are in the waters you intend to fish. There are many activities going on around Western New York, too. Here’s a few to choose from:
- Free Teach-Me-To-Fish Clinic on June 24 at Chestnut Ridge County Park from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Pre-registration is preferred by contacting DEC’s Mike Todd at 851-7010. Adult supervision required for all children.
- Hooked on Fishing Tournament presented by the Boys and Girls Club of the Northtowns both Saturday and Sunday. Everything is run out of Gateway Harbor, North Tonawanda. Register June 23 from noon to 6 p.m. or any time after 7 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. For more info visit bgcnt.net or call 873-9842 Ext. 211.
- 9th Annual Family Fishing Days (Saturday and Sunday) at Broderick Park, Buffalo (foot of Ferry Street) from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Food, fun and games; fishing contest; demonstrations.
- Kids Fishing Derby out of Celeron Park, Chautauqua Lake from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday. Sign up at Chautauqua Reel Outdoors or Affinity One Federal Credit Union. For kids age 12 and under. Call 763-2947 for more info.
Fishing was a little tough for the nine-day Southtowns Walleye Association’s tournament that ended Sunday, but some big fish were caught. If you want to find out who the winners were, head to the group’s clubhouse for the tournament picnic at 5895 Southwestern Blvd., Hamburg, starting at 12 noon on Saturday. We’ll have a full report for you next week. The bottom-bouncer bite for walleyes is starting to pick up at the east end of the lake according to Capt. Joe Fonzi of Thumbs Up Charters. Target 35 to 42 feet of water with copper or gold-backed spinners on harnesses. Some yellows are hitting tubes in 33 to 38 feet of water while jiggers are targeting bass. Closer to shore, hair jigs tipped with a crawler will take a few more ‘eyes. Boards and 30 Jet Divers, in-line weights or 3 colors of lead core line is working between Sturgeon Point and Myers Reef in 40 to 45 feet of water. The further west you go, the better the fishing seems to get. Out of Dunkirk, the hard winds on Tuesday scattered things around according to Capt. Lance Ehrhardt with Sassafras Charters. A few fish were being caught in close in 25 to 30 feet of water before the wind. There were also piles of bass around the harbor and on the outside of the breakwall. Head west for more consistent walleye fishing.
King fishing in Lake Ontario continues to be good, especially for June. Big fish are being reported up and down the lake, from the Niagara Bar to the Oak and beyond. Capt. Carl Martin with Dublin Up Charters reported that last weekend he did well trolling from 175 to 290 feet of water out of Wilson on a northwest troll. Spoons on the riggers worked well, using such favorites as DW 42nd, DW frostbite, and DW seasick waddler, from 40 to 75 feet down. Meat rigs with Familiar Bite Herring took most of the fish Sunday on divers and 300/400 foot copper set-ups. Olcott trollers were reporting similar success, as were anglers out of the Oak. The Niagara Bar was producing a few fish, too. Capt. Mark McGranahan of Sparky’s Charters found fish 70 feet down over 180 foot depths on the Bar. He said they lost one huge fish on an E-Chip green dot flasher with a crazy bitch fly set on 2.5, stretching back 225 feet. It straightened the treble hook out. Capt. Matt Yablonsky reports that some steelhead are starting to show up with the salmon, too. As the moss increases in the Niagara River, look for the Bar action to slow as your lures become junked up. Stay out of the river current.
The moss is starting to get worse, making fishing a bit more difficult. Upper river musky action was slow for the opener, probably due to the fact that water temperatures have hit 70 degrees already, chasing out the bigger fish. We’ll find out more as the acoustic telemetry study continues for the next few years. Bass action has been okay in the river, but moss is having a negative effect if you are using lures or live bait. The best fishing in the upper river was for walleye as Connor Cinelli of Grand Island reeled in six while fishing with a buddy using three-way rigs and worm harnesses. There were a few bass snapping in the lower river over the weekend, with some nice ones being taken around the green buoy marker at the mouth of the river. The biggest news for river anglers deals with the announcement that there’s a new law about to go into effect for entering into Canadian waters. Check out Scattershot this week.