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The Fishing Beat by Bill Hilts Jr. (Oct. 5)


Catches of the Week

Scattershot: News & notes from the great outdoors

Go take a hike: The Niagara Gorge

Lake Ontario

Some more salmon finally showed up in the lower sections of 18 Mile Creek and the first entry in the King of the Creek salmon contest was caught off the piers, a 27.93 pound salmon hauled in by Josh Wittcop of Lockport. He caught it on a K-O Wobbler. Stop in at All in the Same Boat in Newfane for more info. Dr. John Syracuse of Newfane was involved with taking a student from Iran on his first salmon fishing adventure. Capt. Taz Morrison of Barker offered to take out Syracuse and Amir Nasrollahi, an engineering student with University of Pittsburgh who was visiting the area through an international student ministries program. Fishing in the lower stretch of 18 Mile with egg skein under a float, it wasn’t long before Nasrollahi scored on his first salmon ever! Burt Dam is seeing a few more fish show up, but it’s usually at first light. A few browns are being caught in other locations as they get ready to make the run up the streams. One nice brown was reported off the beach in Olcott; another off the mouth of Johnson Creek; some others off the piers in Wilson. Speaking of Wilson, a couple local pastors from Grace Bible Church in Newfane (Dave Emmons and Nate Hlad) had a field day on Northern pike recently in the harbor, casting spinnerbaits.

Niagara River

The cool rains finally brought some more salmon into the Devil’s Hole area. According to Capt. Ernie Calandrelli of Lewiston, salmon have been hitting Pro Cure-treated egg skein off three way rigs,

Capt. Steve Drabczyk of Lewiston shows off one of the catches reeled in by customers in Devil's Hole.

A catch reeled in at Devil's Hole by a client of Capt. Steve Drabczyk of Lewiston.

bouncing bottom with a 3-ounce weight. Leaders were roughly 5-6 feet long with 20-pound test on the leader and main line. Key to his success is fishing the current rip where the main current and the slack water come together. Shoreline casters are doing okay, too. Spoons, spinners, rattle baits and even egg skein fished under a float. Better fishing seems to be further up into the gorge. The south launch ramp at Fort Niagara was closed down on Oct. 3 so that some work could be performed on the ramp and the docks, as well as the shoreline. When the work is completed there, they will move on to the north launch and reopen the south. In the upper river, smallmouth bass are starting to hit a bit more frequently and the size is increasing according to Ryan Shea with Brookdog Fishing Company.

Lake Erie and tributaries

The walleye bite is still going strong if Mother Nature will let you venture out into the lake. Capt. Larry Jones of Mostly Muskies reports that the big school of fish has moved a little bit to the west of Cattaraugus Creek between 70 and 75 feet of water. Try off Silver Creek. Best baits have been Renosky stickbaits in purple-pink or rainbow trout; trolling spoons in black and purple or black and pink. One technique that was really working well was to get your lure under the school (at least 65 feet down if not deeper) and pop the lure from the downrigger, letting it float back up through the fish. A few 'eyes are being caught on worm harnesses, too. Watermelon or orange over copper has

Pastor Nate Hlad of Newfane with a nice pike from Wilson Harbor.

Pastor Nate Hlad of Newfane with a nice pike from Wilson Harbor.

been one color pattern that has been producing consistently. Perch action over the weekend was highlighted by the Richard Brauer Memorial Perch Contest held Oct. 1. The combination of crummy weather and inconsistent fishing forced many of the boats to head to Chautauqua. The three boats that braved the elements in Erie came home with no perch to show for their efforts. A total of $3,000 was raised for KidsPeace. Winning team was Rob-Bob Kurczyski, Jr. and Mark Bognar with 60 fish that won total weight. Second place was Eric Chronister and Mike Eschborn with 66 perch, but their weight was less. Third place went to Dave Muir and Jim Ackerman. A few  steelhead are starting to show up in some of the lower stretches of Lake Erie creeks, but they are smaller in size. Hope for rain this weekend to attract more trout. Lower Cattaraugus and 18 Mile creeks has seen a trout or two, but nothing to shake your fish sticks at. Trout seekers may be better off casting or trolling off the mouths of the creeks in the main lake.

Chautauqua Lake

The muskellunge were snapping with the cold rains recently. According to Capt. Larry Jones of Tonawanda with Mostly Muskies, some boats had as many as nine of these much sought-after fish – primarily in the southern basin of the lake. Trolling in 12 feet of water with smaller baits like 51/2-inch Wiley plugs or 4-inch Baker or Tuff Shad baits did the trick. Lure color was natural colors – brown, brown-perch or perch patterns. Speed of troll ranged from 3.5 mph to 4.5 mph with the average speed around 3.8 mph.

Chad Lapa with a 44.5 inch musky in a Muskies, Inc. Chapter 69 tourney on Waneta Lake.

Chad Lapa with a 44.5 inch musky in a Muskies, Inc. Chapter 69 tourney on Waneta Lake.

Waneta Lake

Speaking of muskies, Muskie’s Inc. Chapter 69 held its annual Mark Troy Memorial Tournament on Waneta Lake in Schuyler County last Saturday. The early word is that nine fish were caught in the one-day contest by the 40 anglers competing. Three anglers tied for big fish at 45 inches in length. We’ll try and get some more definitive answers for you soon as to who those three winners were. In the meantime, Chad Lapa of Rochester came up a little short with a 44.5 inch musky on a jerk bait. Capt. Ed Cragg, who served as the official judge for the contest (so didn’t fish on the record), managed to catch a 46.5-inch fish while fishing a Rapala X-Rap. All the muskies were released unharmed.

Lime Lake

While this lake has limited access, there is a state-operated launch for kayak or canoe. Recent reports have shown some decent bass fishing taking place. One of the top artificial baits has been Senkos. However, any bass bait will work as these fish start to go on their fall feed. Take your personal watercraft out and give it a go some time.

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