Fishing action has been great all the way around – Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, the Niagara River, the tributaries and even some of the inland lakes. Add in the fact that the inland muskellunge opener occurs this Saturday and places like Chautauqua Lake will have a new option to include in a long list of choices going into a holiday weekend.
After a crazy couple of weeks of salmon fishing on the lake, things slowed down a little bit as the waters need to set back up again following a northeast blow. Most consistent action has been to the northeast of Wilson and Olcott in 250-plus feet of water. Capt. Mike Johannes of On The Rocks Charters, coming off a second-place finish in the Wilson Harbor Invitational tournament last weekend, reported he had to go a bit deeper on Tuesday morning. His best rigger was set at 80 feet down, divers were back 150 and he was hitting fish with 200 feet of copper wire out, too. Best baits were a sea-sick waddler and a 2-face. Everything was magnum size. Earlier, most of the fish were up high in the 30- to 60-foot range, with divers working the best getting spoons out away from the boat. Lake trout were stacked up on the Niagara Bar again, but there weren’t too many salmon around according to reports. Next big events on the angling calendar include the Don Johannes-Pete DeAngelo Memorial Big Fish-Three Fish Contest on May 31 and the 34th Annual Lake Ontario Pro-Am Salmon Team Tournament. Check out www.lakeontarioproam.net.
Lower river trout and bass action continues to be good for boaters. Using three-way rigs, bounce bottom with minnows to take steelhead or lake trout. Lakers up to 17 pounds were reported this past week. Bass are hitting swimbaits and tubes. White and silver jigs will work off the NYPA fishing platform for trout and bass. Silver bass were hitting along Artpark from shore. The Lewiston Landing area is still producing walleye at night on plastics. During the day, bass and sheepshead have been hitting zoom swimbaits according to Gianni Etopio of Lewiston.
In the upper river, some big rudds have been hitting jigs, bass are all over the place and some walleye were hitting around Unity Island. For smallmouth bass, use tubes or swimbaits around Strawberry or Motor islands.
Perch action has been hit or miss for anglers. The key is to stay on them once you find them. For the Southtowns Walleye Association perch contest competitors, there were mixed reviews. Joe Jemiolo and Anthony Quick, both of Boston, hit the waters off Hamburg near the 40-foot depth mark to take a quick limit of 100 fish using emerald shiners. Jemiolo won the contest with five perch weighing 7.585 pounds and Quick placed eighth with 5.49 pounds of perch. Dave Bieganski of Harris Corners limited out 1.2 miles out of the Catt in 49 to 53 feet of water on emeralds. He placed second with 6.935 for his five fish. Mark Mohr of Springville did the same thing with his fishing partner off Evangola in 56-60 feet of water. Mohr’s total weigh for his best five was 5.910 pounds. So, the key is not only finding fish but staying on them. Three different areas and all with limit catches. Walleye action is slowing starting to pick up during the day, but the best action is still at night according to reports. Bob Rustowicz of Cheektowaga says that trolling the shoreline from Buffalo to Barcelona will produce in 5 to 12 feet of water with large stickbaits. Chartreuse and Firetiger Rapala’s in No. 11 or 13 have been working best for him. Bass fishing has been a bit spotty in the lake. Action has been good at the tributary mouths and in the tributaries with a variety of flies, streamers, spinners and hard baits. Live bait is legal bait in Lake Erie for bass.
Walleye fishing has been good early in the morning and late evening through the night according to Mike Sperry at Chautauqua Reel Outdoors in Lakewood. Trolling worm harnesses in the morning and casting Rapalas through the evening are the two best times. The south basin surface temperature is in the mid 60’s. Walleyes are hanging in the shallows early, as well as after dark. Best depths have been 3 to 10 feet of water. Worm harnesses will catch fish, too. The lake is still very clear. Crappies are still being caught on small jigs and minnows. There are lots of fish in 5 to 10 feet of water. The inland musky season opens up on Saturday and this lake will be a hot spot. Sperry says cast or troll tight to the weedlines for muskies. The weeds are just getting going, so there are tons of baitfish and walleyes in the weeds. Cast with small spinnerbait or 6 to 8-inch jerkbaits in black. The water is really clear so the fish will spook and turn if they see the boat. Try to be stealthy and not use the electric trolling motor much according to Sperry.