Summer is here, the Fourth of July weekend is about to start, and area fishing prospects are exploding all around.
The Great Lakes big-fish circuit is well connected. Lake Erie walleye trollers have been hitting into bigger fish west of Barcelona Harbor. Elma angler Chuck Bowen pulled the winning Southtowns Walleye Tournament fish from Barcelona waters. A detailed account of Bowen's catch will appear on the Outdoors Page Sunday.
Lake Ontario salmonids continue to hold relatively close to shore. Despite a long, cool spring season, salmon sizes are down slightly. But the catch count for a health schooling of 2-year-old kings is up in both numbers and sizes. Many a young Chinook is taken for a mature 3-year-old. Some of this "teeners" push the scales to 14 pounds.
Inland lakes often hit mid-depth temperatures well above 70 degrees and boaters are forced to look for cool as well as hot pockets to find both panfish and larger game fish.
Keep an eye on those reliable weed edges. Often, growths will cant over open water and create shelter pockets/zones where bass, pike, pickerel, and even walleye will hold up rather than dig for deeper waters.
Schools of emerald shiners continuously move out of upper Niagara River waters and bait dippers will have a hard time getting these baitfish, an essential for consistent perch catches.
Ringback schooling has been scattered in pockets out deep. Most good numbers come from 50-foot depths and rarely can a boater return to an exact spot [waypoint] the day after a good catch and hit into them as well again.
Walleye offer a bit more consistency right now. Trollers have a nice mix of matures and younger fish in the 18- to 24-inch range off ports from Buffalo to Barcelona.
Capt. Fred Forsythe (Castaway Charters, 560-9216) has put the numbers together for good-sized eyes. Trolling mainly out of Barcelona, Forsythe has had to work hard to keep clients happy. But this past weekend he saw not only the big fish seen in the SWA tourney but good numbers each day out. All but one of our fish last weekend were well over 20 inches, he said of his most recent trips.
Trollers from Sturgeon Point and Cattaraugus Creek begin touching good fish at 45-foot depths and most still don't have to move past 60-foot readings to have walleye hit their harnesses. Many colors have succeeded, but the newer tiger-strip patterns have received profuse praise of late.
Don't write off the deep-water runs just yet. The feeder-stream bite is off, but a good south or westerly wind brings both salmon and trout well into range for near-shore boaters.
Capt. Bob Cinelli has run spoons and a few Spin Doctor rigs to find bigger 2-year-old kings, brown trout, and some steelies within three miles of shore.
Berkley trailer in town
The Berkley Experience Trainer makes a stop at the Gander Mountain in Tonawanda Thursday to Saturday.
This 60-foot trailer offers anglers tips and tricks to improve fishing skills of rookie and experienced rod benders of all ages. The trailer offers videos and interactive demonstrations along with seminars scheduled throughout each day to cover the topics such as line selection, rigging techniques for bait, reel maintenance, rod selection and individual concerns.
The trailer will be open to visitors during all open store hours at 880 Youngs Road in Tonawanda.
An all-New York team took first place in the 444 Walleye Tournament held out of Port Colborne June 24-26. The team of Looney Tunes Sport Fishing won Big Fish of the Tournament honors with a 31-inch, 11.51-pound walleye.
The team was comprised of Jim Tunney, Irving; Ray Adamczyk of Angola, Ron Morcio of Alden and Mike Dursky of Patchen.
This same team took the 2005 tourney with a 30-inch, 10.52-pound eye.