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The Fishing Beat

Lake Ontario

The water has been moving around a bit. One day it’s hot on the Niagara Bar at the drop off, the next day trollers struggle to catch a king. As long as the winds are light and consistent for a few days, bar action should be good with spin doctors and flies or flashers and meat rigs for staging kings. Over in Olcott, the deep water action has been good. Capt. Jim Gordon of Appleton hit the 29 bar to the north and found a mix of mature and immature kings, decent Coho salmon in the 10 to 12-pound range and some nice steelhead 50 to 60 feet down on spoons. The next day it was the 27 bar with the same type of action. Spin doctors and flies also produced some fish. In closer to shore, some bigger kings are starting to stage. Ricky Deubel of Cleveland, Ohio and Mark Lewandowski of Buffalo used a spin doctor and meat rig in 120 feet of water to take a 31 pounder earlier this week. There will be 3 different fishing contests running concurrently this weekend – the Lake Ontario Counties (LOC) Fall Trout and Salmon Derby August 18-September 4 (, the Orleans County Rotary Derby (through Sunday, August 20), and the 41st Annual Greater Niagara Fish Odyssey Derby August 19-27 ( The Second Annual Reelin’ for a Cure will be held out of Wilson and Olcott on August 18. Lots of excuses to be on the water. Top fish in the Orleans County Rotary Derby is a 30-pound, 9-ounce king out of Bald Eagle weighed in by Keith Sheffield of Henrietta. Top rainbow is a 15-pound, 14-ounce fish out of Point Breeze, hauled in by Robert Griffith of Copley, Ohio. Jason Grager of Lyndonville is leading the brown trout division with a 12-pound, 12-ounce fish from Point Breeze. Top laker taker is Dan DeGeorge of Rochester with a 17-pound, 10-ounce fork-tail out of Bald Eagle. The contest ends on Sunday.

Niagara River

Walleye and bass are still cooperating throughout the system, with bass at the top of the list. Some 5-pound class bronzebacks have been caught. Mike Dulmes of Wisconsin was fishing with Capt. Jake Joseph on Sunday and his biggest was a 5 pounder caught on a shiner. This is the time of year when some fat walleyes show up for the Greater Niagara Fish Odyssey Derby, which runs August 19-27. Worm harnesses or a Yellow Sally fly, spinner and a worm rig are both effective. Joseph noted that the walleye bite picked back up in the past week. A few salmon have been sighted already in the lower river, but it’s still a month off before the regular run should be starting up. In the upper Niagara River, some feisty bass have been reeled in on crabs and shiners. Tubes will also work. Strawberry Island is always a good bet, as is the head of the river. Some big largemouth are also available in the right spots. The Erie Canal is still producing some nice pike and bass as well. Check out the online catches of the week gallery to see some respectable fish.

Lake Erie

Lots of smaller fish are around from the Pennsylvania state line to Buffalo, which is good news for the future. If the fish are 15-inches and you are pulling them from deeper water, you are better off keeping them – a percentage of them won’t make it. Off Dunkirk and west, writer Dave Barus (aka Forrest Fisher) was fishing with his grandson, Collin Voss, and Capt. Jim Tunney aboard the Looney Tunes this week and they did well from 90 to 110 feet of water using purple-black spinner worm rig. Off the dip 230 feet back on a No. 3 setting, Voss hit one ‘eye that was near the 9-pound mark. It was interesting to note that Barus reported no thermocline set up so it was essential the same temperature from surface to the bottom. Riggers were set 70 and 90 feet down. Board had 3 colors of lead core line, as well as 8 colors. Hot bait there were black and silver Bombers. Heading east, Capt. Joe Fonzi of Gasport had a walleye trip upon returning from his most recent bass contest and relied on information from some friends. He kept his Ranger Fisherman in 65 feet of water and worked worm harnesses on the bottom with three-way rigs to take a limit of walleye from Dunkirk to Cattaraugus Creek. Speaking of the creeks, a few scouts have been reported in 18 Mile Creek getting some trout fishermen excited for the pending falls runs in all of the tribs. It’s hush-hush on the bass. There’s another big tournament, this one out of Port Dalhousie this weekend. We’ll keep you posted on how they do.

Chautauqua Lake

Capt. Frank Schoenacker of Infinity Charters sends word that the walleye fishing has slowed a bit along the weed lines in the lake. The normal approach would be to work the edges with worm harnesses rigged with a rubber worm. However, fish seem to be adapting to the deeper water and it’s more of a transition time according to Schoenacker. This is when he starts to switch over to blade baits and snap jigs the deeper holes in the north basin of the lake. One area he’s been catching a few fish has been around the Bell Tower. Mike Sperry at Chautauqua Reel Outdoors is slow trolling worm harnesses from the weed lines out, trolling cranks off lead core in the south basin. Crappie can be caught jigging in open water in the south basin. Small jigging spoons, vibes and the like are productive. Musky is just okay with the majority of the fish landed trolling the south basin. Trolling speeds around 4 mph is working using deep and shallow running crankbaits to cover the full water column according to Sperry. Target 12 to 18 feet of water.

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