Winds have been a big factor in fishing both the smaller, inland lakes and on the big lakes.
We took a four-day trip to a small lake out of Gogama, Ont. (north of Sudbury), last week and endured four days of dead calm waters that pushed fish (northern pike and walleye) deeper at times, but the bite held.
Bass anglers working the shallows at mid to late summer rely on at least a slight chop on water surfaces to draw fish out of cover and more aggressive with bait offerings.
But stiff breezes make things difficult for both access and outcomes. Most anglers do not man 30-foot vessels, and even landing-barge type hulls are not stable in waves that whip up on Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.
After each gusty wind settles, anglers have to head out on reconnaissance missions that often involve more hunting than fishing. Nonetheless, both Great Lakes have been great, and inland lakes offer some nice options usually not open until early fall.
Perch and walleye keep boaters busy in deeper waters.
Monday and Tuesday perch runs had been best at 63-foot depths off Cattaraugus Creek. Trollers could still find walleye school suspended and drifters could run bottom bouncers at 65 to 85 feet from just west of Sturgeon Point to the Pennsylvania line.
Many a “trash” fish hits harnesses fixed with worms, but the worm harness has done a bit better than hard baits as water temperatures rise.
East winds stirred things again, but trollers off Point Breeze have had success over two-hundred-foot depths and worked spoons with a blue finish at 60- to 100-foot depths for bigger king salmon, says Sharon Narburgh at Narby’s Superette and Tackle in Kent.
In general, the kings are moving closer to shore where trollers can hook into suspended salmon, steelies and browns and into lake trout close to bottom.
Credit excess rainfall and relatively cool nights this month for an enjoyable reduction in algae bloom and growth on western Finger Lakes. In general, the bass and walleye bite becomes slight and panfish are the prime target wherever waters remain clear, but this year bass anglers have more open-water options, and panfish that usually turn on after the first frost are making a cool showing along shoreline shallows and along deeper drop-offs.
Runoff from high spring and early-summer rainfall has left many of the smaller western Finger Lakes with higher water levels.
• Silver Lake – The Castile Sunoco station has a new owner, Rob Patterson. The business will continue its extensive bait and tackle services at 62 South Main St.
Minnow and nightcrawler sales are good, indicating the Silver Lake bite is above average for late summer.
• Conesus Lake – Bass continue as the main draw with the eastern shore showing the better smallmouth bite. With the right amount of searching, small schools of bigger bluegills have been found, says Ted Decker at Ted’s Tackle in Lakeville. Smallies seem to get more active as the sun rises. Boaters and shore casters need not be out at sunrise for all the action.
• Honeoye Lake – The water level remains a foot above average and weed growth is down from years previously. For anglers, that means dropping deeper for the bigger bluegills and sunfish and moving around for feeding walleye.
Walleye trollers had a Ginza at 15-foot depths for most of the early summer, but now the ’eyes are looking in all directions. Trollers bottom-bouncing smaller worm harnesses have done fairly well at 20-to 25-foot depths around deeper holes north and south of Log Cabin Point.
• Chautauqua Lake – Water levels are slightly up, but weeds and water temperatures have been greater aids for anglers this summer, says Skip Bianco at the Hogan’s Hut Bait & Tackle Shop.
“The lake hasn’t gone above 75 degrees this summer and they are doing well on muskies, walleye and bass,” Bianco said of waters that have shown normal weed growth with a late arrival of algae.
For muskies, trollers have been doing better than casters, and Bianco suggests the Salmo Fatso lure with a perch finish. Walleye have scattered, but casters work blade baits and darker jigs around weed edges for walleye.
Both bass and walleye have held in relatively shallow water this summer and casters can do well in either the North Basin or the South Basin.
• Lake Ontario Counties Fall Derby – Salmon and trout divisions, began Friday and go to Sept. 1. Anglers can enter daily. Visit loc.org.
• 38th Annual Niagara Fish Odyssey – Many fish species divisions for fish from Lake Ontario, Lake Erie and the Niagara River, began Saturday and go to Aug. 24. Anglers can enter daily. Visit fishodyssey.net.
• Niagara River Anglers Association Lower Niagara River Walleye Contest, Lewiston Landing, Sunrise-2 p.m., Saturday. Register at Creek Road Bait & Tackle in Lewiston, call 807-6248, or visit niagarariveranglers.com.