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The Fishing Beat (June 19, 2019)

The Southtowns Walleye contest is over. The awards ceremony is set for June 29 at the group’s clubhouse located at 5895 Southwestern Boulevard in Hamburg. This weekend is the Rayzor’s Big Dawg tournament Friday and Saturday. On Lake Ontario, the next big contest is the Lake Ontario Counties Summer Derby set for June 29-July 28, followed by the New York State Summer Classic Tournament July 1-August 31. Take advantage of the great fishing in both lakes.

Lake Erie and tributaries

Walleye fishing has been very good from North East, Pa., to Buffalo according to Rob Oram of Franklinville. He’s fished all the main areas the last eight days and the walleye bite has been good in 40 to 60 feet of water from the Pennsylvania line to Cattaraugus Creek. Off Buffalo, the fish can be found in pockets, a bit more spread out. Many of the fish are suspended off the bottom in 30 feet of water, as well as on the bottom. Stickbaits and harnesses are working. No specific color seems to stand out for taking fish but he has been using green/silver and purple/silver. Capt. Hank Condes of Blade Runner Charters took a run this past weekend out of Barcelona and found good numbers of walleye in 50 to 70 feet of water. His best depth was 68 feet and his best rod was 5 colors of lead core. Capt. Ryan O’Neill of Buffalo Wingz Waterfowl Charters reports that the bass bite has been hot out of Buffalo, working structures and drop offs in 25 to 35 feet of water. The big females are just about spawned out and back on the feed as bait schools begin to head upriver and into the lake. As the spawning cycle has just about finished, the fish are beginning to seek deeper water. Live minnows off a 3-way rig in the current (drifts) and goby-like presentations off a drop shot have been the ticket. Combine the two species and it sounds like a perfect time for the Greater Niagara BassEye Challenge set for June 27 for the BassEye Bash at Rich’s Atrium and June 28 for fishing Lake Erie for bass and walleye. Call Cystic Fibrosis at 204-2535 for more information or read Scattershots. The Safe Harbor Open Bass League has started with many of the events set for Wednesday evenings from 6 to 9 p.m. Best three bass for 1- or 2-person teams. Pay $40 per boat at the launch ramp at Safe Harbor Marina. The next event is June 26. There also is an event Saturday out of Isleview Park on the Upper Niagara from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., with the best five fish for 1- or 2-person teams winning. The cost is $60 per boat.

Niagara River

The dreaded moss is slowly starting to arrive as the river hit the 60 degree mark this week. In the lower Niagara River, there were some steelhead around. Bass and walleye were cooperating, giving a nice mixed bag to anglers. Live bait like minnows fished off three-way rigs is a popular approach but bouncing bottom with a Strike King Zero cut down has been working for bass up to 5 1/2 pounds this past week. Upper river action for bass and walleye has been decent. Worm harnesses, minnows, swim baits and tubes work best.

Lake Ontario and tributaries

Despite the high-water levels and a State of Emergency along the shoreline, Niagara County and Lake Ontario are still open when it comes to fishing. Most of the launch ramps are open such as at Fort Niagara, Wilson-Tuscarora, the Town of Wilson and Golden Hill with a little caveat. You should have at least two people launching the boat due to higher water around the launch. If you don’t want to get your feet wet, the Town of Newfane Marina in Olcott has adjusted to keep the feet of boaters dry. The Town of Wilson launch is open in the West Branch of 12 Mile Creek. Once you get on the lake, salmon fishing has been outstanding. Capt. Alan Sauerland with Instigator has been fishing 55 to 75 feet down over 160 feet of water straight out from his home port of Wilson. Magnum spoons are the ticket. Capt. Vince Pierleoni of Thrillseeker reports similar success out of Olcott, 60 to 80 feet down over 60 to 250 feet of water, also with magnum and super slim spoons. The Lake Ontario Counties Trout and Salmon Derby runs from June 29 to July 28. Visit for more details. The grand prize is $10,000 for the biggest salmon. Good action for bass and panfish at Burt Dam on 18 Mile Creek if you are looking for a place from shore to fish along the lake, according to Jim Evarts at The Boat Doctors in Olcott. The Kids Fishing Derby at the Town of Newfane Marina on June 29 has been cancelled due to high water.

Chautauqua Lake

A birthday fishing trip for 10-year-old Brandt Schweitz from Waterloo turned out to be a great present. He was with his dad, Kevin, and 7-year-old brother, Garrett.  Together Brandt and Garrett combined to catch seven walleyes, keeping five with numerous panfish, according to Capt. Frank Schoenacker of Infinity Charters. It was the Schweitzs' first visit to Chautauqua and first time trying for walleye. Schoenacker fished the north basin and tucked in out of the wind. The rain held off long enough to make a special day for this father and sons. Capt. Mike Sperry of Chautauqua Reel Outdoors reported it was about the same as last week for the walleye. Worm harnesses on the weed lines and also out in open water. Use a 1/2 ounce to 1 ounce bottom bouncer close to the weedlines and 1 to 2 1/2 ounces out deeper. A troll or controlled drift around 1 mph is best. Vertical jigging in weed pockets with a Vibe or 1/4-ounce jig head and Mister Twister tail works great. This technique requires a little more skill and persistence. The musky casting bite has been decent. Eight-inch jerkbaits worked fast near and over weeds is producing. The trolling bite has been slower. Sperry landed a couple muskies Monday by casting. It’s hard work but worth the effort. South basin water temp was 68 degrees Tuesday afternoon and 66 on the north basin. Yellow and white perch are abundant.

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