Three ounces made a world (record) of a difference for one fisherman.
Stephen M. Sheets Jr. of Woolrich, Pa., broke the New York State record for coho salmon with a 33-pound, 7-ounce fish, which topped the standing record by 3 ounces. The record was set in 1989.
Sheets credits Capt. Mike Stilin's skills for his taking the coho with a flasher and cut bait run 43 feet down over 73-foot waters off Oswego Harbor.
Les Wedge, Department of Environmental Conservation Region 7 fisheries manager, identified and officially weighed the fish for the record. The DEC provided Sheets with documentation needed for the IGFA (International Game Fish Association) to confirm this fish as a world record for that species.
On the same day (Aug. 13), Wedge checked another trophy-sized coho (32 pounds, 9 ounces) taken by Carl Spitler fishing out of Oswego Marina.
"Having two fish of this size come in on the same day is one heck of a surprise, considering the old record stood for 10 years," Wedge said.
Other record Lake Ontario fish taken in Oswego County waters include a state record Chinook salmon (47 pounds, 13 ounces) taken in 1991 and a state record brown trout (33 pounds, 2 ounces) taken in 1997.
No one can fully explain it, but solid walleye schooling continues to hold well east of Dunkirk through all this summer's heat.
Boaters out of Sturgeon Point usually run east past Cattaraugus Creek to find late-summer walleye schools. This year, waters deeper than 67 feet are enough to hold good walleye numbers.
Dunkirk trollers head northeast toward the Canadian line to fish a huge school of walleye holding in the direction of Point Abino.
At Barcelona Harbor, boaters head straight out to 90-100 feet and fish down 40-60 feet. Both bait and fish hold in "green" (not blue) water, which is rarely seen east of Ohio.
Moss is lifting in the upper and lower river in time for the Greater Niagara River Classic Team Challenge Bass Tournament on Sept. 12-13. This tourney is part of the Fall Classic Fishing Derby held Sept. 12-20. For entry information, call 549-7969 or 439-7300.
Steelies hold in the top 40 feet all along the Ontario shoreline. A good crop of three-year-old Chinook salmon move with the steelie schools.
Sea fleas, yet another menacing invader, now appear close to shore in Lake Ontario. Unlike their relatives, the spiny water flea in Lake Erie which fall off lines, sea fleas gunk up lines and force anglers to cut and retie lines matted with these critters. They're not as bad out in deeper water, most charter captains say.
The next generation of the Banjo Minnow, a Bionic Minnow, will bring exposure to the region this winter. Manufacturers used Capt. Dan Dietzen's Sea-Cin Charters out of Dunkirk this summer to shoot an infomercial on the lure.
Usually, camera crews must wait a long time or stage a catch to get the needed footage. Not with Dietzen.
"While we were doing the commercial in waters off Dunkirk Harbor, a Bionic Minnow set off a down rig as the camera was on the rig," he said.
The result was a 7-pound walleye.
Basic fishing class
Lake Ontario Trout & Salmon Association, as part of the Sport Fishing and Aquatic Resource Education Program, runs a free clinic on alternate Mondays starting Sept. 14 from 7 until 8:15 through Dec. 7 at the 4-H Training Center on Route 78 in Lockport.
Enrollment is limited to 25 students. For more details, call Bob Fishlock (683-3301).