Get ready for back-to-back big events on Lake Erie starting with the Sunset Bay Shootout on Friday and Saturday followed by the Costsa FLW Series event July 26-28. On Lake Ontario, the Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Association will be holding its club tournaments Friday and Saturday, and the Wilson Bicentennial tournament is Sunday. The Lake Ontario Counties (LOC) Derby continues through July 29.
Walleye fishing continues at an amazing pace. It’s not if you’ve caught a limit of six fish per person, but how long it’s taken you to fill your cooler. From Buffalo to Barcelona, anglers have been submitting good to very good reports on the walleye action.
Capt. Jim Skoczylas running out of Cattaraugus Creek netted up plenty of walleye the past week from Eagle Bay to Evangola in 55 to 70 feet of water. The key was keeping all his stickbaits above the thermocline at the 40-foot level. Any bright Bomber colors were working, best Renosky baits were rainbow trout and copper, while Bay Rat lures also produced plenty of fish along the way, too, such as the Flashy Muff pattern. Running three to seven colors of lead core line worked for their program. Divers were on a No. 2 setting, 60 feet back. Riggers were 25 to 30 feet down.
The key for the Sunset Bay Shootout will be locating the biggest fish and those tricks won’t be shared until after the contest is over. Show up at the weigh-in at Cabana Sam’s in Irving at 4:45 p.m. to see and feel the excitement. Ditto for bass anglers preparing for the Costa FLW Series contest set for July 26-28 out of Safe Harbor Marina. Check out Scattershots for details on the Shootout and the FLW tourney.
Sometimes you end up with a surprise catch on the end of your line, even if you are targeting bass or walleye. John Yerico of Sheridan was trolling a worm harness with Capt. Jim Hanley in 42 feet of water when he hooked into something big. When they finally got it in the boat, it was a 26-pound catfish. Capt. Zachary Yetzer of Reel Time Sportfishing was fishing with his father, Tom (both from Warsaw) off Cattaraugus Creek with a stickbait when the line started screaming. At first they thought it was a big walleye. Then they were thinking lake trout. When they finally netted the fish, it turned out to be a king salmon, a fish no longer stocked in the lake.
Mark and Jake Romanack of Fishing 411 television show fame are in town filming on Lake Erie this week and they will be making an appearance at the Southtowns Walleye club meeting at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 5895 Southwestern Blvd., Hamburg.
With the Lake Ontario Counties Trout and Salmon Derby going on until July 29, your odds of catching a winning fish are better than playing the lottery. Time and time again, possible winning fish are caught by people who did not enter the contest.
Steve Nichols and his son Arri are the latest victims of fate. They were fishing east of Wilson with Capt. Mike Johannes of On The Rocks Charters over the weekend and Steve reeled in a 27-pound, 3-ounce king salmon on a 400-foot copper rod rigged with a custom painted flasher and meat. The leading fish is a 26-pound, 15-ounce Wilson fish hauled in by Scott Foster of North Tonawanda. Of course, that could change this weekend with a flurry of fishing events from LOTSA and the Wilson Bicentennial contest.
In the meantime, Capt. Joe Gallo of Two Bulls Sportfishing hit the water last weekend outside Wilson in 250 feet of water using a meat rig on a long copper line. His reward was a 26-pound king that is in third place on the LOC board. Scott Rohe of Cheektowaga did well off Olcott in 200 to 300 feet of water. His best rigger was 60 feet down, 20 feet behind the ball with a spin doctor and fly. The two-face spinny and a stud fly did the trick. His 85-foot rigger also took a couple of fish as did some divers set back 180 feet on a No. 3 setting. A green Pro Troll paddle in front of a green hammer fly was the ticket. His biggest was 22 pounds.
Bob Migra of Lorain, Ohio, heard about the good king fishing and decided to give it a try. Most of their fish were 15 to 26 pounds. Yes, 26 pounds. No, they weren’t in the derby. The 26-pounder was caught in the afternoon in 140 feet of water just east of Wilson. They also caught steelhead of more than 10 pounds in 400 feet of water. It’s not too late to sign up for the Wilson Bicentennial Trout and Salmon Tournament on Sunday. Call Mike Johannes at 523-1727.
Walleye are still hitting on worm harnesses but action has slowed, according to Mike Sperry at Chautauqua Reel Outdoors. If you locate healthy green weeds, the fish are there. Slow troll around 1 mph. Colorado and willow leaf blades are good bets with hammered brass a staple. There are plenty of perch in 20 feet of water in the north basin. Small ones are abundant with a few bigger ones mixed in. Jig and crawler or vibes will work. Musky is still good casting and trolling. Cast jerkbaits tight to and over weeds in 8 to 12 feet of water. Black, black and orange, and perch colors are working. Work them fast to trigger a reaction strike according to Sperry.
The moss is starting to dissipate. We’ll have more for you next week.