There’s still plenty of fishing opportunities to become involved with for all levels of angling proficiency. From big derbies on Lake Ontario and Lake Erie to fun family contests on the Erie Canal. There are even statewide competitions. Just remember you must be in them to win them.
There will be plenty of boats on the water Friday. The CF Celebrity BassEye tournament will be run out of Safe Harbor, and the WNY Heroes group will be holding a veterans fishing event out of Dunkirk with Innovative Outdoors.
Next weekend is Rob Ray’s Lake Erie Big Dawg Tournament in Dunkirk Harbor. Deadline to sign up is July 1. Call Mark Mohr at 998-9871 for details.
Walleye action continues to be good to very good for many, especially in the waters off Buffalo. Reports have been coming in hot and heavy sounding off limit catches of fish by anglers bottom bouncing with three-way rigs and worm harnesses or trolling with stickbaits using divers or lead core line. John Van Hoff of North Tonawanda reported limit catches of 'eyes in the waters from Buffalo to Seneca Shoal using all stickbaits off five colors of lead core line in 40 to 45 feet of water. Greg Kalbach and Steve Brzuszkiewicz of Marilla boated more than 30 walleyes with nine keepers between 15 and 18 inches on Tuesday. Once again, it was a firetiger spinner with a worm bouncing bottom with a three-way rig doing the damage.
Bass action has been a bit spotty of late, as the smallmouth are going through their late June funk, according to Capt. Jim Hanley of Angola. However, last Saturday was opening weekend for the Province of Ontario waters and Jason Clay of Niagara Falls, Ontario, reported some great fishing in the shallows on the Canadian side of the lake. He fished with Jay Borelli of Thorold, Ontario, and their best five fish weighed in at 24.70 pounds. Their big fish was 6.69 pounds. And they finished in second, to Eric Hill and Victor Papaiz with 25.24 pounds of bass. For Clay, they were using Set the Hook baits off a drop shot in the color “half a cado” in less than 10 feet of water. They also caught fish on Set the Hook dead quiver ned rig in white and a Jackal 2.8-inch rhythm wave on a ¼-ounce jig head, catching over 50 fish for the team contest for St. Catharines Bassmasters.
Believe it or not, there are still a few trout hanging around the river. Devil’s Hole in the lower river has produced a few steelies and the upper river has a few trout hanging around, too. Capt. Joe Czyrny of Anglers Obsession Charters hit a brown trout this week while drifting a worm harness in the upper river. For the most part, though, it has been bass and walleye. Live bait like minnows, shiners and worm harnesses are fair game. Tubes, drop shot rigs and body baits will catch fish, too. With the opening of Ontario’s bass season, it opens additional waters for these fish. However, if you do use live bait, make sure you abide by the baitfish regulations. They are very stringent across the border. No baitfish or crayfish and worms must be in approved bedding.
Fishing for salmon and trout continues to be good off the ports of Wilson, Olcott and Point Breeze. While east winds have put a bit of a damper on the comfort end of things, it hasn’t seemed to affect the fishing that much. For Capt. Joe Gallo of Two Bulls Sportfishing out of Wilson, he has seen consistent fishing right in front of his home port 40 to 80 feet down over 100 to 160 feet of water. They also caught fish in 250 to 300 feet of water, running a couple of afternoon trips with Capt. Alan Sauerland of Instigator Charters. Spoons, flasher-flies and cut bait on twinkie rigs all produced fish. On Monday afternoon, they were 14 for 18 on salmon and trout in four hours of fishing. They had 30 bites Sunday afternoon. Capt. Mike Johannes of On the Rocks Charters caught a limit Sunday for his customers, hitting those same waters and running primarily a spoon program of Green Hulk and Geezer spoons. He was hitting some fish up high using sliders off his riggers and 100-foot and 200-foot copper line set-ups. Remember that the Lake Ontario Counties Trout and Salmon Derby starts Saturday and runs through July 29. Check out www.loc.org for details.
In the Muskies Inc. Chapter 69 tournament last Saturday, the winning boat (John Haffner and Bryan Farmer) caught (and released) five fish, according to Mike Sperry of Chautauqua Reel Outdoors, a sponsor for the competition. The big fish for the day was a huge, 51-inch muskellunge. A total of 95 anglers fished in the tournament. Both casting and trolling has been working, but casting has been the most effective for Sperry. The walleye bite is still good, with the best fishing tight to the weed lines slow-trolling worm harnesses or vertical jigging in the weed pockets with Vibes or a 3/8-ounce jig head with a twister tail. Capt. Frank Schoenacker of Infinity Charters agrees that the walleye bite is still good. He caught seven keepers for Norm Wilson and his son-in-law Will, both from Buffalo, on Tuesday. Best depth was 14-15 feet of water.
Get ready for the 28th Annual Stephen Harrington Memorial Erie Canal Fishing Derby July 4-15. Boundary waters are in the main canal from Albion to the Niagara River. Seven species categories are available for young and old alike. Check out www.eriecanalderby.com for details.