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The Fishing Beat (May 10)

The wet and cool weather has been creating some problems in the streams, on the Great Lakes and in the Niagara River. You will need to be flexible. The Bass Border War between the WNY Bassmasters and the St. Catharines Bassmasters was postponed last Saturday and will be held May 13 out of Safe Harbor Marina in Buffalo. Meanwhile on Lake Ontario, the Lake Ontario Counties (LOC) Trout and Salmon Derby is full steam ahead through May 14 and many anglers think it’s postponed due to the high water levels. It’s not too late to enter. If you want to learn more about getting the ladies out fishing and shooting, check out Cabela’s this weekend for a “Ladies’ Day Out” promotion. Kicking off the fishing end of things will be Capt. Joe and Dawn Fonzi with Thumbs Up Charters starting at 11 a.m. See Scattershot for details.

 Lake Erie and tributaries

Capt. Joe Fonzi of Gasport did pretty well on perch the tail end of last week and into the weekend despite the weather. Best depth for perch was 36 to 38 feet between Sturgeon Point and Cattaraugus Creek. He was using orange and chartreuse fly rigs in the stained water. However, when he went out Tuesday he could manage only  four perch. There’s a huge mud line that is hampering all the fishing right now. If you can find some clearer water, you have a chance to catch some fish. Last opportunity to sign up (and become a member) of the Southtowns Walleye Association is May 18 for the club’s annual perch tournament on May 20. For more info call Jerry Lesinski at 649-8202. Capt. Jim Hanley of Angola scooped up some shiners from the Niagara River with his daughter Hollie and then headed out into Lake Erie Tuesday. Using a mix of emeralds and goldens in 32 to 36 feet of water, they managed to catch some chunky smallmouth. Visibility was about 4 feet. Speaking of bass, the Border War Spring Open was postponed last weekend and it has been rescheduled for this Saturday, May 13. Everything is the same. Fishing in the U.S. waters of Lake Erie from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Register at the Safe Harbor Marina before 6:45 a.m. Two person teams; best two fish. Entry is $100 per boat. For more info contact Keith Pease at 818-7350. Safe Harbor Marina construction should be completed by May 15 if everything goes as planned. With the walleye opener last Saturday, we have not had any reports from the night trollers. The muddy water along the shoreline is too severe. Drop me a line if anyone is doing any good. Tributaries levels are finally coming down. Some catfish are being caught in Cattaraugus Creek at night with nightcrawlers. Bass can be found in the lower stretches of the creeks as long as there is some decent water clarity.

Niagara River

The NYPA fishing platform was closed Monday due to high water. Call 796-0135 Ext. 45 to see if it’s open. Some trout and bass have been caught from shore. Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls hit some lakers casting white and silver jigs on Monday.  Also on Monday, Capt. Frank Campbell of Niagara Region Charters had a crew from Maine fishing. Water was still murky and they struggled to catch two trout mixed in with some bass. However, as the water started to clear, the trout started to turn on. They ended up boating over a dozen fish – a mix of lakers and steelies – in the afternoon.. Minnows fished off three-way rigs worked best on the trout and silver bass were plentiful, too.  All of the fish were in Devil’s Hole. Downriver was still stained. The north ramp at Fort Niagara is still open but water continues to be an issue at the south launch. Bring your boots.

Catches of the Week (May 10)

Lake Ontario

The Lake Ontario Counties Trout and Salmon Derby continues through May 14 and you can still register. Check the leaderboard out at The current Grand Prize leader for the $15,000 check is now Paul Nienaltowski of Michigan with a 27-pound, 8-ounce king out of Wilson. No sharing of information there – too many fishing contests coming up. First place in the Salmon Division is a 22-pound, 9-ounce king out of Wilson, reeled in by William Jennings of Interlaken. Big brown trout at 16 pounds, 12 ounces is out of Olcott – weighed in by Dave Rafle of Pennsylvania. Top lake trout is also out of Niagara County, a 22-pound, 10-ounce fish from the Niagara Bar – reeled in by Brian Marketich of Beaver Falls, Pa. Most of the salmon seem to be in 80 to 120 feet of water. Water color is a factor. Most of the fish are coming on spoons, but flasher-fly and cut bait rigs are also working according to Wes Walker at The Slippery Sinker in Olcott. The Wilson Harbor Invitational Tournament is Saturday. The Don Johannes and Pete DeAngelo big fish-three fish contest is May 18 – sign up at any of the LOC Derby weigh stations in Wilson and Olcott. The Lake Ontario Pro-Am Tourney is May 19-21 – sign up at The deadline is May 15 at 5 p.m. At Wilson-Tuscarora State Park the launch is officially closed. If you are participating in the LOC Derby, parks personnel can help but try to find alternative plans. The new floating dock system for transient boaters is in place. The launch at Golden Hill State Park is also closed. Look out for floating debris in the lake.  Burt Dam and Eighteenmile Creek is still tough to fish. CFS was still at 600 on Tuesday and it was very muddy. Some bass were caught at the dam and some bluegills and perch were reported upstream from the bridge. Point Breeze in Orleans County actually has some marinas closed down.

Chautauqua Lake

The crappie bite is still slow on the lake with the water temp in the low 50's but things should pick up by the weekend, according to Mike Sperry at Chautauqua Reel Outdoors. Perch are plentiful using minnows under a bobber in 4 to 8 feet water. Walleye fishing has been good since the opener if you're willing to cast from shore after dark. Use F9 and F11 Rapalas, Smithwicks, and Thundersticks.

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