The LOC Derby came to a close on Labor Day so now is the time to get out and enjoy a staging king fishery with not a lot of fishing pressure. The first salmon of the year was caught off the piers last weekend. Lake Erie walleye action is still full-steam ahead, but weather has a tendency to slow things down in the lake this time of year. Take advantage while you can.
Lake Erie and tributaries
Lake action for walleye is still very good. Capt. Lance Ehrhardt of Sassafras Charters left his home port of Dunkirk on Tuesday morning with Frank Schoenacker of Ashville, Gene Pauszek of Dunkirk, and first mate Zen Olow. The program is the same one he’s been running the past week with all stickbaits and spoons on the ends of his rods. On the boards off to the side, best stickbaits were Bombers in Northern Lights and black and silver. Run 5 colors of lead core line up high with no weight and 3 colors with 3 ounces of weight attached. A rod with 10 colors of lead core is run off the back down the chute. Spoons are 40 to 50 feet back of the slide divers set at No. 2, 140 and 150 feet back. Ehrhardt said the walleyes are still stacked up off Dunkirk, feeding on emerald shiners. It took the foursome 3 1/2 hours to take their 24 legal walleyes and get off the water for the day.
The same consistent walleye action was being reported out of Cattaraugus Creek, but those fish are slowly sliding out a bit deeper into the 65 to 75 foot range. Bass fishing is still an option, too, seeking out any kind of bottom structure in the 30 to 50 foot depth contour along the lake. Tubes and drop shot rigs work for artificials, crayfish and shiners for live bait. No reports on any consistent perch fishing … that we’ve heard about.
Lake Ontario and tributaries
The big news for shore anglers was Keegan Walczak of East Amherst reeling in the first salmon of the season off the Olcott piers early Saturday morning casting spoons. Since that time, there have been a few more salmon caught, but it’s still very early and we could use a cool rain. In the meantime, salmon action for mature fishing is continuing to improve as they are staging off the ports. Off Wilson, the salmon were stacking up in 40 to 80 feet of water, Kyle Duncan of Newfane said. He was fishing with Capt. Carl Martin of Dublin Up Charters and doing very well on matures. Duncan says use spoons and cut bait early in the day and switch over to spoons later, using your electronics to help identify prime areas. These fish could feed at any time so stay on them until you figure out what they want.
Flasher-fly also was catching numbers of fish, including brown and rainbow trout while boaters are targeting salmon. That’s what happened in the LOC Derby when some boats were fishing out of Olcott last Saturday. A white with green dots Moonshine spoon tricked a 14 pound steelhead to hit 75 feet down over 150 feet of water just west of Olcott for Braden Petrucci of Coal Center, Pa. Over at the Oak, Capt. John Oravec of Tight Lines Charters reported a hot spot west of Johnson Creek in 50 to 70 feet of water, while most boats were hitting the mid-water in 150 to 250 feet of water for a mix of salmon and trout. A few early salmon arrived for casters there, too.
Water temperatures spiked again to 80 degrees this past week, Capt. Mike Sperry of Chautauqua Reel Outdoors said. Walleye fishing has been just OK with fish coming on worm harnesses slow-trolled off bottom bouncers. Another effective method is trolling Hot-n-Tots and Rapalas off lead core line. Vertical jigging with blade baits or ice Rapalas will also pick up fish. Both ends of the lake are producing fish, but you do have to work for them. Try moving around 1 mph with the harnesses and 2 mph with lead core line and crankbaits. If you are using worm harnesses, you will catch both white and yellow perch. There is no shortage of them. Musky has been slow, but fish are being landed trolling on the north basin from 15 to 30 feet of water. Small to medium sized crank baits such as Tuff Shads, Rapala Shad Raps, 22 Longs, Leo Mojoes are examples of baits that are working. When the water is this warm, though, try not fishing below 20 foot over 25 to 50 foot depths according to Sperry. They are more difficult to revive in this heat. Wait until the waters cool a bit more. Best speed for trollers is 4 to 5 mph.
No reports of salmon in the lower river yet, but we should see some this week. Walleye and bass action from shore off Artpark under low light conditions has been good. Stickbaits and Booker in-line spinners are good baits to toss.