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Mix tackle items and take along an assortment of live bait.

Most fisheries are following typical early-summer patterns, but the better catches have been reported by anglers willing to change depths, trolling and retrieval speeds, lure sizes and colors and -- if need be -- locations.

It is not unusual for two separate anglers to report catches in the same area with minnows and night crawlers, spoons and body baits or jigs and spinners.

Successes, of late, go to the flexible fish finders.

Lake Erie

Successful lures selected by the 200 winners in the Southtowns Walleye Association's tournament tell much about the diverse pattern of walleye movement in Western New York waters of Lake Erie.

Only 11 finalists cited a spinner-and-worm combination, but shoreline trollers at Sturgeon Point, Cattaraugus Creek, Dunkirk and Barcelona have taken several big fish this week while trolling this rig at or near the bottom.

NK (Northern King) spoons led all other spoons, with 16 bringing in money fish. Shifting walleye patterns sometimes call for slower trolling speeds, and a thin-bodied NK spoon fits the bill.

Bomber lures registered number-one among all lures entered, as indicated by 55 entrants.

Anglers are faced with choosing the larger 25A or the smaller 24A when running along either shoreline structures or among suspended schools of walleye. Both charter captains and avid recreational anglers have put out both sizes this week.

James Archie of Buffalo broke from the pack and has had limit catches daily when running unweighted Rapalas off side planers over deep water in the Barcelona area.

Many walleye trackers have graphed big schools of both bait and mid-sized walleyes between Barcelona and Dunkirk -- just west of Brocton Shoals.

Additional big-school movement has been charted well out into shipping channels between Dunkirk and Sturgeon Point. Trollers out of Sturgeon have hit these fish over depths of 55-70 feet.

Caution: When working open waters closer to Buffalo, be sure to have both a Canadian and New York State fishing license. When moving into Canadian waters, drop to only one rod per person on board.

Niagara River

Upper river walleye action picks up evenings for casters on Bird Island Pier -- the farther out on the pier the better. Minnows or light-colored Rapalas get these shore-running fish. Also, some anglers have been using chubs to entice northern pike on the inside of the pier.

Nice-sized panfish have been schooling along the foot of Ontario Street, with the occasional smallmouth bass moving through schools of perch and white bass.

Chubs have accounted for fair catches of northern pike around Blue Island Marina and in the slack water between Strawberry and Grand Island.

Lower river drifts have been invaded by heavy schools of shad. All the fishing activity has been from shore upriver.

The power project pier and the Whirlpool area offer both good smallmouth and silver bass, with a lingering lake trout occasionally taken.

Lake Ontario

The same two spoon color patterns prevail: green and silver or black and purple.

King salmon catches, though possible, are slow and many trollers have locked on 100-foot depths with lines set in the top 25 feet for steelhead trout or 40-60 feet down for lake trout.

Both Olcott- and Oak Orchard-area trollers saw some signs of king salmon movement. Olcott trollers head due north to depths of 200 feet. Oak Orchard trollers swing over greater depths (120-300 feet) and drop spoons 30-70 feet for bigger kings.

A Shad Rap trolled along shore between Wilson and Fort Niagara River is deadly on smallmouths.

Yellow perch outnumber the bass along shoreline structures between Point Breeze and Johnson Creek. Most anchored boaters rely on a bucket of minnows to take a bucket of perch.

Trout streams

Low-water stream conditions have been demanding, but promised weekend rainfall should allow for good fly casting all hours of the day, says Rick Kinecki at the Orvis Shop.

For most of the day (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.) a blue winged olive pattern in size 20 brings trout to the surface.

By late afternoon, the wet-fly version of a light cahill simulates subsurface bug life.

As evening arrives (dusk until full darkness), a size 14 & 16 light cahill in the dry fly pattern takes over. Kinecki suggests using an extended leader (12-15 feet) with the dry cahill.

Both East Koy and Oatka Creek have done well through low water. Exceptional fly fishing conditions exist on the upper stretches of the Genesee River -- the Town of Shongo upstream to the Pennsylvania state line.

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