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The Fishing Beat: Rising temps throw a curve

Some of the nicest weather of the year arrived on the Niagara Frontier the past week, but the weather could have some negative effects on the fishing action around the area. The lower Niagara River water temperatures have risen 3 degrees since last week’s report and that could hurt the salmon run moving forward. Warmer temperatures could also affect the pier fishing off Wilson and Olcott, as well as the tributary action off of Lake Erie. It may be more than a week before more traditional fall weather arrives.

Lake Erie

Walleye fishing continues to be very good. The way Bob Rustowicz of Cheektowaga put it, it’s not if you can get a limit, it’s how fast you can get one. He was fishing out of Cattaraugus Creek over the weekend and reported that most boats are returning to port by 10 or 11 a.m. every day. Focus in 75 to 85 feet of water for best success. Most of his fish are coming within 10 feet of the bottom. Worm harnesses are his preferred bait of choice, fished off downriggers, divers and copper lines to get into the fish zone. Bruce Cavage of Marilla prefers more old school by using a bottom bouncer and a worm harness with small fire-tiger blades and purple beads. His technique calls for a three-hook set-up with a treble stinger hook in the back. Most of his fish come on the stinger. A little further to the west, Capt. Joe Fonzi of Gasport was having a field day with bottom bouncers and drop shot rigs. Most of the fish came on Gulp! worms fished off the drop shot – including a limit of walleye, three bass over 6 pounds, two 10-pound class sheepshead and a 24-pound catfish. Enjoying the potpourri of fish were Virginia anglers Steve Miller and Ron Edwards. Check out the online gallery to see some of the impressive fish. John Van Hoff and Randy Tyrrell of North Tonawanda teamed up to have a pair of banner walleye days out of Dunkirk. They were fishing in 85 feet of water using downriggers, divers and 10 colors of lead core. The divers were set on No. 1 and were 140 feet back. Everything was caught on stickbaits – 36 fish in two days. There was good ‘eye fishing out of Barcelona, too. The bad news is that the warmer temperatures may have shut the perch action down. Ringbacks were hard to come by this week. Emerald shiners could improve your chances.

Niagara River

Treated egg skein was the bait of choice for salmon in the Devil’s Hole area. Capt. Mike Capizzi of Niagara Falls, owner of Michael’s Restaurant on Pine Avenue, teamed with Capt. Frank Campbell of Niagara Region Charters to hit a half-dozen salmon on Monday morning. One drift produced a double header of kings, only to have them swim in different directions. What do you do? Capizzi held on as the big salmon swam upriver until it literally reached the end of the line. The knot held on the reel for about 10 seconds before a loud “crack” sounded – the breaking of the line. Capt. Ernie Calandrelli of Lewiston has a tip of the week: Make sure you hold on to your rod when a salmon hits. Shore fishermen are still doing well on salmon and a few walleye are also showing up. Use glow in the dark spoons or spinners. Ricardo Davila of Wheatfield has been picking up a few salmon with an occasional walleye every morning before work. Glow lures work best under low light conditions like Chuck Booker’s Little Gem spoon. Some walleye are also being caught just north of Lewiston Landing area, along with a few perch. Bass are still hitting in the river, too, on crabs, shiners and tubes.  In the upper river, walleye and bass are still hitting spinner and worm rigs at the head of Strawberry Island and in the “fish market” according to Capt. Chris Cinelli of Grand Island.

Lake Ontario

Pier action slowed down as the weather kicked it up a notch to more summer patterns with very little precipitation. Casting spoons and spinners is still an option. It’s important to note that some fish are being caught off the Wilson pier – browns and steelies. In the harbor, there have been some nice northern pike being caught on spinnerbaits. Olcott pier action has been hit or miss. Ditto for Wilson. With the warm summer-like conditions and no precipitation, salmon and trout action hit a wall. Better action is in the lake trolling a variety of baits like flasher-fly, flasher-meat, spoons or J-plugs inside of 100 feet of water. You can also head out deep for salmon and trout. On the Niagara Bar, Capt. Matt Yablonsky of Wet Net Charters reports that salmon are back staging at the drop off. Target the ledge in 70 to 80 feet of water with E-Chip flashers and A-Tom-Mik flies. Meat will also work. Glow in the dark spoons work early. Some boats have anchored out front of the piers to cast spoons or body baits for salmon and trout.

Chautauqua Lake

Walleye action is doing well again with the best success coming from trolling crankbaits behind lead-core line according to Mike Sperry at Chautauqua Reel Outdoors. Both the north and south ends are producing. You could also use downriggers in the northern waters. Hot-n-Tots, Flicker Shads and J7 Rapalas are standing out as the top lures. Musky catching picked up a bit over the weekend. Troll small- to medium-sized musky lures between 4 and 5 miles per hour outside the weedlines. Perch have been small but a few anglers were catching some bigger fish by using larger golden shiners. Water temps were back up to 73 degrees.

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