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The Fishing Beat

August is here and it’s a cavalcade of contests on both Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. Get ready to rumble!

Lake Erie

Sometime it’s for pride, sometime it’s for big bucks. Bob Rustowicz of Cheektowaga sends word that they held the “Battle of the Points” last weekend. Each year, 10 boats from Sturgeon Point, 10 boats from Fox Point and 10 boats from Point Breeze hold a friendly contest for who catches the most walleye. This year it was Sturgeon Point setting the pace. Losers had to clean and cook the catch. Check out the online photo gallery for this week to see one of Bob’s nice walleye.  Capt. Jim Steel of Dream Catcher Charters normally fishes out of Cattaraugus Creek, but water temperatures have been poor. However, the further west you go, the better the conditions are.  One of his better areas was 90 feet of water east of Dunkirk. Lead core line and dipsy divers were two of the best methods for taking fish. Best lures were Challengers, BayRats and Yaleyes. The fish zone was 15 to 50-feet below the surface with the best spot in the water column being 25 to 35 feet down. Capt. Lance Ehrhardt of Sassafras Charters was pre-fishing for the Lake Erie VIP Day next week and found some bigger fish up to 11.4 pounds, that one reeled in by Gene Pauszek of Dunkirk. He was using a retired Rebel stickbait behind 10 colors of lead core line over 100 feet of water to take the bruiser. Closer to Buffalo, bottom bouncers are still working the best. The walleye seem to like it in the mud, whether you are in Buffalo Harbor, working the international line (60 to 62 feet was working well the other day) or fishing on the edges of reefs and shoals. We had a report or two of captains doing well inside of 12 feet of water. Capt. Chris Cinelli of Grand Island led Ferguson Electric to a big win in the 16th Annual Greater Niagara BassEye Celebrity Challenge last Friday. The team scored 1,750 points, more than double any other team. Cinelli fished the Buffalo Harbor area and had found fish a few days before the friendly contest. A spinner-worm combination did the damage as they weeded through fish to make the tournament minimum 18 inches for walleye and 14 inches for bass. Most anglers headed out in the lake first thing in the morning, but a strong wind kicked up and forced everyone inside. See Scattershots this week for further details. This coming weekend is the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club’s 13th Annual Walleye Derby, held in Dunkirk Aug. 4-6. They will be hosting a contest for the top three fish each day. Entry fee is $100 per team. For more information contact Zen Olow at 640-2776.

Niagara River

Bass fishing continues to be good both above and below the falls. Crayfish and shiners lead the way for best baits. In the lower river, the walleye bite had been hot for a week or two, but it was slowly starting to subside. Worm harnesses on the bottom in the Stella Drift was the program in the river. The mouth of the river around the green buoy was also a good spot to target. Devil’s Hole is still producing some bass. Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls is still catching some gar pike along Artpark using a rope fly tied to a jig (see the Catches of the Week photo gallery). Independent Living of Niagara County will be invading the lower river waters this Sunday for its 12th Annual Bass Contest. Upper river action has been around Strawberry Island and at the head of the river, as it has been most of the summer.

Lake Ontario

After the huge northeast blow last week, most of the charter captains and recreational anglers have been heading out deep to target steelhead, Coho salmon and the occasional mature king according to Capt. Vince Pierleoni of Newfane. Best depths have been over 300 to 500 feet of water. He whacked a 28.5 pound king earlier this week over 400 feet with a spin doctor and fly set-up. Thanks to the blow, Sandra Brown’s 32-pound, 4-ounce king from the Niagara Bar held up to win the $10,000 grand prize (see this week’s outdoor column). Other winning fish from local waters included a 23-pound, 13-ounce Niagara Bar laker taken by Steve Klejdys of North Tonawanda with a homemade spoon, a 17-pound, 4-ounce Olcott steelhead caught by Adam Robinson of Portland, Ore., while fishing with Pierleoni, and a first-place salmon out of Point Breeze caught by Kristin Wilson of Rockstream that weighed 31 pounds, 10 ounces. Next up on the derby docket is the Orleans County Rotary Derby, set for Aug. 5-20. Check out The Greater Niagara Fish Odyssey Derby is Aug. 19-27 (see Scattershots) and the Fall Lake Ontario Counties is slated for Aug. 18 to Sept. 4 (

'Last cast' results in $10,000 (and change) derby payday

New Online WNY Hotspot Fish Map

A new Western New York online fishing map focusing on the Great Lakes was unveiled this week. Check out Scattershots for details on what it’s all about and how to access it.


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