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The Fishing Beat (July 31, 2019)

Excitement is running high as king salmon are already starting to do some of its staging antics off creek and river mouths in Lake Ontario. The Orleans County Rotary Derby kicks off Saturday. In Lake Erie, the walleye action is continuing at a rapid pace as the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club tournament begins on Friday and runs through Sunday.

Lake Erie

Action out of Buffalo and so on down the lake continues to be crazy good. Steve Brzuszkiewicz of Marilla sends word that he did well off Buffalo again to pull a limit on a spinner and worm bounced along the bottom in 53 to 56 feet of water. He wanted to try something different so he threw a Thundermist Stingnose jig on his rod and worked a school in 53 feet of water, connecting with two walleyes and two drum. When things slowed, he went back to bottom bouncing with the trolling motor. In less than an hour, he had his limit. He noted that the moral of the story was that catching fish with jigs was more fun, but slow trolling increases your chances at finding fish. Fish were all in the 20- to 22-inch range, a perfect eater size. Quite a few anglers are not looking for the best size for the frying pan. With the three-day NCCC contest occupying attentions this weekend out of Dunkirk, teams will be focused on catching bigger fish. According to Gerri Begier with Bill’s Hooks, walleyes are being caught on plugs, smaller-sized spoons and worm harnesses, and they seem to be sliding out a bit deeper. Start in 60 feet of water. Some lake trout are being caught. Next Wednesday, Dunkirk will be center stage for the Lake Erie VIP Day sponsored by the Chautauqua and Erie County Fisheries Advisory boards.

Niagara River

Fishing has really picked up in the lower Niagara River according to Lisa Drabczyk of Creek Road Bait and Tackle. With the moss moving out, bass and walleye action has improved dramatically. For bass, focus around Lewiston and Youngstown using leeches and crabs. Walleye action has been decent around the Stella Drift on worm harnesses. Some of the Canadian drifts have been producing fish. Make sure you have a Canadian license if you venture across the international line. In the upper river, action is improving for bass and walleye as the moss dissipates. The head of Strawberry Island is always a favorite location, as is the head of the river.

Lake Ontario

Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctors in Olcott sends word that salmon action has been good to very good in 100 to 200 feet of water, 70 to 90 feet down west of Wilson. The hot set-up has been white with green dot Pro Troll flashers with N&D cut bait. Purple Kingfisher with meat took some nice kings, too. Sea fleas were not as bad inside, but you need to clean your lines regularly. Some browns were starting to show up, too, but it’s been spotty. The off-shore bite is still pretty strong, with a mix of steelhead and king salmon being reported. The inside kings are starting to change color. Hot spoon colors were caramel, monkey puke and greasy chicken colors. East of Olcott to the power plant has been great for an evening bite. The Niagara Bar area still has fish stacked up on it, a good option for trollers. Capt. Joe Oakes of Salmon Boy Charters, fishing out of the Oak, reports that fishing has been good there, too. There are salmon both west and east of the oak for miles. The bite seems to be best from 100 to 200 feet anywhere from 50 to 100 feet down. Spoons, flies and meat have all been working but it’s been different every day.  The Orleans County Rotary Derby is scheduled for August 3-18.

Chautauqua Lake

Fishing slowed down some the last few days according to Mike Sperry at Chautauqua Reel Outdoors. Walleye are still being caught, just not as steady as two weeks ago. Slow trolling harnesses and jigging in the north basin tight to the weed lines is the way to go. In the south basin, try trolling Hot 'N Tots off lead-core. Musky action has been tough the last few days both casting and trolling. Fish are there but you have to work for them. The lake temperature in both the north and south basin is around 78 degrees.

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