Lake Erie is still on fire for walleye action and Lake Ontario salmon fishing is keeping close pace as we head into the hazy, lazy days of summer. Fishing contests certainly help keep things interesting this time of year. Remember that the 23rd Annual Southtowns Walleye Kids Fishing Derby is July 14 at Chestnut Ridge Park from 8 a.m. to noon with hot dogs and awards to follow. Registration at 7 a.m. at Shelter No. 10. Call Dennis Stoberl at 861-5687 for info.
Walleye fishing continues to be very good for fishermen from the Barcelona to Buffalo. When seeking out bigger fish, a few anglers have ventured into Canadian waters and taken a gamble, only to be rewarded with occasional jackpot of lunker walleye. Rayzor’s Big Dawg Walleye Classic was no different last weekend. Congrats to the Mid-River team led by Jeff Bognar of Grand Island. For all of the details, be sure to read this week’s outdoor column on where the winning fish came from and what baits they were using, as well as the tactics required to get the baits where they needed to be. Closer to Buffalo, Steve Brzuszkiewicz of Marilla did some exploring around the Buffalo breakwalls. After catching only sheepshead at the north gap, he managed to reel in some walleye heading toward the middle gap with a firetiger worm harness. Then he headed to the foot of Ferry Street and bottom bounced an 8-pound walleye near the Erie Basin Marina. Out in the lake, boaters trolling the international line are doing well in 50 to 55 feet of water. Capt. Joe Czyrny of Anglers Obsession reported some bigger fish up to 9 pounds were caught last weekend. For the bass chasers, summer haunts like Myers Reef and Seneca Shoal are producing some decent fish according to Capt. Joe Fonzi of Thumbs Up Charters. Tubes, drop shot rigs and crayfish are all triggering bites. Focus in 26 to 38 feet of water. During a recent trip of 30 fish, his five best would have weighed 23 pounds. With the FLW Costa Series Tournament set for July 26-28, look for some big bags to show up at Safe Harbor Marina for weigh in each day.
King salmon fishing continues to be good to very good on the lake. A new LOC Derby leader came to the scales out of Wilson this past week when Scott Foster of North Tonawanda recorded a 26-pound, 15-ounce king to take over the lead for the $10,000 Grand Prize. Another notable catch was a 19-pound, 4-ounce brown trout that tipped the scales for Kurt Charland of Victor while he was fishing out of Bald Eagle Marina in Orleans County. A 21-pound Niagara Bar lake trout was weighed in by Steve Klejdys of North Tonawanda this week to take over the lead for the weekly prize as he sat in 4th place. The leaderboard is posted at www.loc.org. If you want a reason to get into this month-long derby, ask Capt. Tom Pearse of Grand Island. His customer reeled in a 36-pound, 41-inch long king salmon while fishing out of Olcott this past week. It’s not a fish story. There are pictures. No, they weren’t in the derby. If you are looking for mature kings, run flasher-flies or meat rigs 90 to 110-feet down over 90 to 140 feet of water according to Wes Walker at the Slipper Sinker in Olcott. Boaters are also picking up kings 60 to 80 feet down over 150 to 250 feet of water, fish the top 60 feet if you want to try for steelhead or Coho salmon with spoons. On the Niagara Bar, John Van Hoff of North Tonawanda had good success over the weekend fishing spin doctors and flies as well as spoons over 150 to 200 feet of water.
Niagara River/Erie Canal
Moss is still a problem for many in the main river but Mike George hit the river not long ago using big shiners and he caught some of the biggest bass he’s ever reeled in in the upper river while fishing with his brother Tom. The 28th Erie Canal Fishing Derby in memory of Steve Harrington, the contest’s founder, is entering into its final weekend. Since the awards ceremony isn’t until July 22, we won’t have a recap until the following week. So far some pretty impressive fish have come to the scales from Albion to the Tonawandas. Lee Hathaway of Gasport is leading the carp division with a 22-pound fish and Mike Boncore of Buffalo is pacing the sheepshead category with a 10.63-pound drum. Rob Robel of Wheatfield is tops in the catfish grouping with a 9.8-pound whisker fish and Judy Woolson of Lockport weighed in a 1.56-pound bullhead. Richard Hawes of Lockport reeled in a 7.69-pound pike, Mike Wrobel of Newfane has the biggest bass so far at 3.77 pounds and Joe Torregrossa, Jr. of Grand Island is first place in the walleye slot. Check out www.eriecanalderby.com for an updated leaderboard. We will cover all of the winning catches at the conclusion of the derby.
Walleye action is still decent according to Mike Sperry with Chautauqua Reel Outdoors. The same approach of slow-trolling a worm harness along the weed edges in the shallows around 1 mph is still working. You can also catch ‘eyes by jigging. Use a black jig tipped with a crawler or Mister Twister. Vibes are working, too, if you want to try and pull a fish off of the bottom. Musky action has been good for trolling and casting, however Sperry cautions anglers to not take the fish out of the water due to the high water temperatures. The southern basin hit 80 degrees this week and the northern basin was 78. Unhook the fish while in the net and get it back in the water.