Roy Larson has found the tools to hammer steelheads.
Larson, a retired North Tonawanda history teacher and licensed charter captain, does as well or better while just fishing with friends.
While in the 2008 Niagara River Anglers Association Winter Steelhead Tournament, he fished with Capt. John DeLorenzo and took first place during a cold but sunny day.
On Aug. 31, a warm, sunny day, Larson fished with friends Hubert Hall of Morgantown, W. Va. and Dale Copenhaver from Johnstown, Pa., aboard their vessel, Killing Time. He had fished with Hall and Copenhaver recreationally for more than two decades, and this day they all were entered in the Fall Lake Ontario Counties (LOC) Derby.
Fishing deep waters off Fort Niagara, Larson ran a black and pink Silver Streak spoon to hook into a monster steelie that weighed in at 18.5 pounds. At derby's end, that fish held top slot in the Rainbow/Steelhead Division three pounds above the second-place entry, gathering $2,500 for the fish and another $200 as a catch of the day.
"We used the glow-finished ladder back silver/green spoons as well as the pink and black," Larson said after competition ended.
"In fact, running rigs down as much as 56 feet over 450-foot depths, we caught nothing but steelies," he added of their catch-and-release day that included double figures by 1 p.m.
Double figures and being from North Tonawanda went well for the Klejdys clan.
Steve Klejdys and his dad Edward Klejdys found the right route to lake trout. The son-and-father team finished in first place and third place in the LOC Lake Trout Division.
Steve used a Big Game spoon to weigh in his 25-pound, 1-ounce laker to take the top prize. Dad Edward came in third in that division with a 21.5-pound trout he caught with a Cajun red/Hammer Head lure seven days after his son got the top trout.
In general, anglers working western Lake Ontario waters took the most top lakers and steelies, eastern ports around the Salmon River collected the most kings and it was a virtual coin toss for which end of the lake brought in the best brown trout. Boaters east of Rochester probably had a slight edge.
For a complete rundown of top winners on the LOC leader board, go to loc.org.