Anglers can make lasting memories this holiday weekend. Great Lakes action has moved to deeper waters. Inland lakes still offer good places to score along shore.
Remember those enlisted to preserve our freedom to fish and recreate during outings this Memorial Day weekend.
"Saturday was a flat calm lake with clear skies and a lot of big fish caught," said Ray Barren, Southtowns Walleye Association (SWA) Perch Tournament coordinator.
When the contest ended and the top five fish of each entrant had been weighed in, veteran angler Herb Schultz of Hamburg took first place with a 7.67-pound total. Bruce Wager of Lakeview came in a close second with a 6.78-pound catch. Wager also took laurels for the biggest individual fish, a 2.27-pound "slob."
Perch abundance and size were confirmed in this tourney; the top 10 winners all weighed in five fish above the five-pound mark.
For depths, most boaters set up over 52- to 62-feet and worked at and off the bottom to get more and bigger perch. The Sturgeon Point-to-Cattaraugus Creek area hot spot varies. In recent days, Rick Miller at Miller's Bait & Tackle in Irving hears of a better bite to the east off Evangola State Park.
Walleye workers look forward to similar weight totals during the Annual SWA Walleye Tournament held June 9-17. For entry details, call 629-8202 or go to southtownswalleye.org.
Steady heat has pushed walleye schools away from the night shoreline bite, but dayside trollers and drifters have yet to see steady schooling concentrations at the usual 40- to 60-foot depths where post-spawn walleyes usually set up when surface waters rise above 55 degrees.
Bass anglers can find smallmouths almost everywhere a boater can drift the upper and lower Niagara River.
Lower River casters have done better in Devil's Hole. Suspended moss is more of a challenge than river currents. The "jerkbait" craze has caught on in the river. Boater had done well with minnow-type surface lures that suspend and can be popped or jerked along on the retrieval to simulate an injured minnow. In all river areas, bass must be caught and released until the statewide season opener June 16.
Upper river shore fishing for panfish is hit, miss and hit again. Bait and panfish schools are on the move and show up around Grand Island and along the Buffalo shoreline at varying times and intensities. In general, the better bite has been evenings just before dark.
"Kings are in transition," are the work words for salmon seekers. Charter Captains and bait dealers see Chinook salmon at 110 feet, coho salmon at 40-foot depths and steelhead trout up near the surface at 20-foot depth.
Wes Walker at Slippery Sinker Bait & Tackle in Olcott Harbor notes that same moss bothering river anglers has made it out to Lake Ontario depths to about 50 feet -- a good two to three weeks earlier than usual for the moss menace.
Shore anglers continue to see good perch and rock bass numbers at Wilson Harbor, Olcott Harbor and both sides of Oak Orchard Creek. That northern pike presence continues in every bay and creek mouth with weeded shallows.
Surface water temperatures read in the western Finger Lakes and along the Southern Tier-peak above 70 degrees during most sunny days. Bass and bluegill vie for the most active feeder fish in virtually every inland lake, and all of the action takes place in the top 20 feet.
*Silver/Conesus/Honeoye Lakes -- Varied sun and wave action moves 'gills onto and away from shore. Despite the early warmth this spring, some panfish -- especially sunfish -- are still carrying eggs.
Silver Lake 'gills have moved deeper at the south end. Conesus Lake 'gills hold around weed at the north end. The Honeoye Lake 'gill bite has been lakewide, but the crappie run stalled weeks earlier.
*Chautauqua Lake -- For fun, cast for catch-and-release bass. For food, take along nightcrawlers and small minnows for perch. Both species bite well in both basins. Bass look better in the south basin; perch school everywhere.
The Randolph Hatchery has stocked these sites with yearling trout in time for weekend anglers:
Allegany County-Little Genesee River (Wellsville) 1,150 brown trout; Rushford Lake (Caneadea) 1,600 brown trout; Rushford Camp Pond (New Hudson) 200 brook trout; and Letchworth Park Pond (Genesee Falls), 290 brook trout.