This is fishing contest time, for both the adults and the kids. Last weekend was the Lake Ontario Pro-Am Salmon Team Tournament and kids' derbies at the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge and in East Aurora. This weekend is the start of the Southtowns Walleye Association’s big walleye tournament June 9-17 and the Orleans County Open Salmon and Trout Tournament June 9-10 out of Point Breeze. For the kids, there’s a Youth Derby at West Canal Marine Park in Pendleton and a Teach-Me-To-Fish Program at Tifft Farm in Buffalo. It seems like something is going on every weekend. Get out there and enjoy yourselves. Check out the weekly outdoor calendar online at www.buffalonews.com/section/sports/outdoors.
The daytime open water walleye bite has improved considerably according to Capt. Don Ruppert with Wave Tamer Sportfishing, perfect timing for the Southtowns Walleye Association’s big walleye tournament that opens on Saturday. Stickbaits run on shallow lead core line (3 to 4 colors) or short copper lines (30 to 40-foot) run off planer boards was very effective recently. Top baits were purple or pink Bay Rat or Renosky lures, but other colors were also working. According to Ruppert, they found that running a bit faster (2.1 to 2.3 mph) was working well for them. Best depths were 50 to 52 feet of water using a west-bound troll. Not much more information than that was available due to the tournament on Saturday. Capt. Chris Cinelli of Grand Island had his son Connor and friend Jacob Spencer of Grand Island worked three-way rigs bouncing bottom near the windmills off Buffalo to take some chunky walleye using worm harnesses.
Steelhead fishing in the lower Niagara River was very good the past week, but many of those fish were smaller in size. A few lake trout are still hanging around, too. Running minnows or plugs like Kwikfish or MagLips off three-way rigs is still working, but the end of the trout action is near as water temperatures will be chasing these fish back out into the lake soon. A few trout are being caught along Artpark in Lewiston by shoreline casters using No. 3 spinners according to Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls. He was also doing well with Northern pike in the upper Niagara River using jigs and plugs from his canoe.
Read this week’s outdoor column to find out about how the fishing was for the Niagara County Pro-Am Tournament held June 1-2. The Niagara Bar was a hot spot last Friday, leading to an Amateur Open win for the Hound Dog team and Jim Spinelli of Wellsville. It was also the spot that Yankee Troller and Capt. Rich Hajecki fished to take the early lead in the Professional Division and second place overall. However, fishing was more difficult on Saturday when a northeast wind moved some things around and chased the bigger fish to a different location. Pro Am winner Capt. Matt Yablonsky found the most productive waters right off his home port of Wilson and didn’t need to run anyplace to find his winning fish. He stayed in 120 to 180 feet of water, running divers and riggers in the 50 to 70-foot depth profile. Top baits were UV and Glow chartreuse and green magnum Silver Streak spoons.
The walleye fishing continues to be terrific according to Mike Sperry of Chautauqua Reel Outdoors. Slow trolling worm harnesses on the weed lines is producing both numbers and big fish. You must stay real close to the line. Trolling at 1 mph seems to be best. Jigging in the weed pockets and on the weed lines is working, too. Water temperatures were at 75 degrees in the south basin Saturday. Musky has been decent, with some reports of mid-40-inch fish caught casting and trolling. Around the lake. Water is still very clear. Perch are abundant. Try using a partial crawler on a jig, under a float or trolling a worm harness.
Scott Feltrinelli of Ontario Fly Outfitters sends word that the action has been good inland for brown trout the past week. He caught several browns in the 16 to 18-inch class using a Prince nymph on his 3-weight fly rod. He also hit some of the Lake Erie tributaries in the lower stretches near the mouth and did very well on smallmouth bass using top waters. He also has been using a chartreuse hotbead woolly bugger to take some bass and managed to catch a nice gar pike on that same bait.