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The Fishing Beat

May is turning out to be a month that’s been much more favorable weather-wise. Action is happening all around WNY for bass and walleye, salmon and trout, as well as even a few Northern pike. The tributaries off Lake Ontario and Lake Erie are loading up with bass and the trout are heading back out to the main lake. Get out there and take advantage of some darn good fishing. We’re also waiting on official confirmation of a new state record walleye caught this past week on the St. Lawrence River. Brian Hartman of Alexander Bay reeled in an 18.2-pound walleye that stretched 32 inches and had a girth of 21 inches. The previous record was 16 pounds, 8 ounces.

Lake Ontario and tributaries

The Chinook salmon started to turn on between the Niagara Bar and Wilson last weekend, just in time for the start of the Lake Ontario Counties Trout and Salmon Derby that kicks off Friday and runs through May 20. Check out for details and where registration outlets and weigh stations are located. Capt. Bob Songin of Reel Excitement Charters running out of Wilson reports good action on kings, Coho salmon and lake trout in 70 to 100 feet of water. Get your spoons or spin doctors and flies down 55 to 65 feet of water with your riggers and divers. Green and gold were hot colors, but it all depends on the day. Tributaries were producing a mixed bag as well earlier in the week. It looks like it’s the end of the trout fishing as the stream waters continue to warm, but they are quickly being replaced by active bass and the occasional northern pike.

Niagara River

Lower river action continues for trout and bass from boats. Tube jigs and swim baits are working on smallmouth, especially downriver toward Youngstown. Trout are hitting Kwikfish, MagLips, minnows and egg sacs fished off three-way rigs. We reported on a 12-1/2 pound walleye caught by Mark Davis of South Carolina during a recent outdoor media event. He ended up catching another 12-pound fish. They have been catching some walleye at night off the Lewiston Landing area by tossing in a swim bait or a jerk bait. A few silver bass were also caught, good news if you like fishing for them with an ultralight outfit. Mark Plennert of Niagara Falls is reporting consistent success for steelhead on big spinners off the NYPA fishing platform in the gorge, too.

Lake Erie and tributaries

Tributary action is very similar to what’s been happening on Lake Ontario. Steelheads are on the way out and the bass are starting to migrate in and turn on. Lake action for bass and walleye has brought in mixed reports. For bass, the better action seems to be inside the break walls at the harbor right now according to Capt. Ryan Shea of Brookdog Fishing Company. Bass are loading in and he did well using golden shiners. However, ½-ounce tubes in white, goby and watermelon were all

working well and out-performed the live bait. The presentation had to be slow, on the bottom and the right profile. Bass action in the lake is starting to pick up, too. Capt. Barry Schultz of Angling Adventures managed to pick up a couple dozen fish with customers earlier in the week, split between swim baits and live bait like golden shiners. Walleye action at night for shoreline trollers has been show. You do not have to fish at night though. Michael Valenti of Niagara Falls, fishing with his son Joey, caught a couple of 7-pound ‘eyes just east of the Dunkirk launch ramp in 43 feet of water long lining Reef Runner stickbaits. It just has to be the right place at the right time.

Chautauqua Lake

The walleye opener has been working pretty well for Capt. Frank Schoenacker of Infinity Charters. He’s been slow-trolling the shallows in 8 to 10 feet of water using a Dutch Fork spinner to take some ‘eyes during the day in the southern basin of the lake. According to Mike Sperry at Chautauqua Reel Outdoors, water temperature was hovering around 60 degrees in the south basin. Casting for walleyes after dark with Rapalas has been producing some fish. The crappie bite has picked up in the lake in 4 to 8 feet of water. Use minnows or 1-inch tubes under a float. Best colors are silver, chartreuse and black.

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