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Fishing Line


How often do the weather forecasters casually offer this adjective when predicting what's to come outdoors?

Breezes -- for anglers working open areas of larger water bodies - have been a bigger plague than cold fronts, east winds or any other harbinger of bad fishing conditions.

Warming air and water put fish and fishermen on the move, and - all too often - the better bite is well away from the shoreline shallows as the first week of summer unfolds.

Early emergence of weed and moss growth has fouled fish hooks for many a fisherman working waters that usually see these green mats and masses weeks later in the spring and summer.

One suggestion when working weeds: what looks like a solid bottom-to-surface weed covering often can be the extended end of a surface canopy. Pike, bass, walleye and assorted panfish gather under shaded edges of these overhangs and hit whatever swims or starts settling to the bottom near weed edges.

The general baitfish and gamefish movement is to deeper waters. But, if shoreline weeds skirt the lake, bay, river, creek or pond you plan to fish, check the weeds for a possible edge on fish hits.

> International waters

Anglers fishing waters along Ontario's border in Lake Erie, the Niagara River and Lake Ontario come back with mixed stories about enforcement officials. Different agencies in Canada have issued varying accounts of how one can fish in Canadian waters.

Two springs ago, a young angler in the Thousand Islands area was cited for entering waters he and his father had fished without incident for decades. Calls to offices in Ottawa generate different procedural requirements from calls to customs offices near Buffalo.

But a few steps are consistent. When planning to enter Canadian waters - to fish and not land on shore - must report each trip with a call to 1-800-CAN-PASS.

A local (905) number also exists but can be difficult to reach at times.

Further requirements are that all aboard must have means of identification: driver's license and a birth certificate. A U.S. Passport is not necessarily suited for Canadian Customs while crossing on water.

Most Canadian officials strive to avoid citing anglers legitimately fishing with current, valid licenses. But, to be safe, U.S. boaters are cautioned to know what areas are in New York State and avoid crossing into Canadian waters until after placing a call to the CanPass system.

> Lake Erie

Winds hinder many an attempt to get to the great perch, walleye and bass action out in Erie's open waters.

During the odd hours boaters could get out to depths at and beyond 50 feet this past week, last summer's early-season perch patterns prevailed.

Schools held fairly tight, but the bite was scattered.

Off Sturgeon Point, depths of 56 to 62 west of the point were productive. With the arrival of walleye schools, more boats can be seen trolling around for suspended ‘eyes.

Bait schools change depths, but good clusters often show close to bottom, with some movement as high as 20 feet off bottom. To get in on the jumbo perch run, most boaters check previous hot spots but keep an eye on new places to set up over working bait and ringbacks.

Walleye seekers share similar approaches. Schools are on the move and chase suspended bait schools at mid depths and close to the surface.

Drifting has caught on again with boaters seeking "yellows" or yellow pike.

Unlike worm harnesses wound for trollers on a wire base, drifters usually go with monofilament spinners that can be worked slowly over the bottom as well as at mid depths.

Trollers have connected well east of Dunkirk Harbor as well as along the "trench" between Dunkirk and Brockton Shoals. If harnesses came down to one color, go with chartreuse green blades.

Bass anglers have gone with green on lures of late. Jigs fitted with tubes or tails can be effective along rocky edges and ledges at Seneca Shoals and Myers Reef at 20-foot depths mornings and slightly deeper as the sun rises to overhead.

> Niagara River

Upper river drifts can be fun around current-changing structures and water outlets such as the power plant and any creek or feeder. As always, watch for the state/provincial line and be sure to have an Ontario fishing license when you call to report a fishing trip from NYS.

> Basseye try

Bidders have a chance to get in on auction items at Rich's Renaissance Atrium on Niagara Street Thursday evening and perhaps get in on the fishing competition out of Buffalo Small Boat Harbor on Friday.

For complete details on this event, go to