Take advantage of free fishing on Lake Ontario proper, the lower Niagara River and the St. Lawrence River until Labor Day – just in time for the numerous fishing derbies. Check Scattershots this week.
The walleye bite off Buffalo remains top notch according to Capt. Ryan O’Neill of Orchard Park. He found the best depth to target is 58 to 61 feet on the international line between the condos and Point Abino. The fish are definitely sliding farther west every few days. Big schools remain consistent and will show on the graph. However, they tend to scatter after high winds. “Don’t be discouraged by the lack of marks,” insists O’Neill. Those fish are there still. Keep your program simple by bottom bouncing with a spinner and worm, moving at 1.2 to 1.5 mph with single Colorado blades in silver and copper colors.
Fishing was good around Sturgeon Point for Rob Oram of Franklinville, fishing in the Con Club Tourney over the weekend. Most of his action was between Sturgeon Point and Buffalo, catching his big 10.59-pound fish in 42 feet of water with a Storm Thunderstick behind a diver.
Off Cattaraugus Creek, Steve Brzuszkiewicz of Marilla switched gears and moved to this popular area from Buffalo. After some intel from a buddy, he set his 30 Jet in 62 feet of water and picked up a fish right away. When he hit 65 feet of water, it was non-stop until he had his limit by 8 a.m. He caught three near the bottom and three on 30 and 40 jets that he dragged at 1.5 mph with his electric motor. His best bait was large firetiger spinners on the jets and small ones on his bottom rig.
Frank Schoenacker with Infinity Charters reports he did well over the weekend west of Dunkirk, using 5 to 8 colors of leadcore line with stickbaits. Spoons worked behind slide divers and off the riggers, where they limited out on walleyes and did well on some big lake trout. Check out the online catches of the week to see a few.
Outdoor writer Bob Holzhei of St. Mary’s, Mich., hit the lower river with Capt. Joe Marra of Niagara Rainbow Charters on Sunday. They boated over a dozen walleyes using a worm harness off three-way rigs. Holzhei caught some bass using crabs, too. Action was decent throughout the morning. In the upper river, Jeff Pippard with Niagara Outdoors in North Tonawanda sends word that the bass fishing in the east river has been good along the shoreline. Time of day is key. Focus on early morning or later afternoon/early evening. Crabs and golden shiners are the best live baits for bass. Drag a worm harness and you can catch a walleye or a sheepshead.
Niagara Bar action was picking back up for Scott Rohe of Cheektowaga over the weekend. On one day, he went 5 for 8 on kings and the biggest was about 19 pounds. Cut bait on copper was hot. Also flasher-fly was a good enticement for the salmon. The next day he reported going 9 for 13 on salmon. The biggest king was 26.41 pounds. They caught fish on spoons, cut bait and flasher-fly. The best area was just off the ledge in 90 to 220 feet of water. His 300-foot copper rod was hot, along with his rigger set at 60 feet. Dipsy divers set back at 120 and 160 feet worked. Another good one was cut bait on a twinkie rig with a spin doctor. Rohe caught some fish on Pro Troll paddles and A-Tom-Mik flies.
Off Wilson, Capt. Mike Johannes of Ransomville reports that action was good in 300 to 350 feet of water, putting his baits 45 to 60 feet down on the riggers. Dark magnum spoons were his best. Carbon 14, Sea Sick Waddler, Road Toad and Frostbite patterns all worked. Divers were 110 to 150 feet back. All the fish were above the thermocline, which was down 80 feet. Johannes says that there has been a real strong current lately, so you have to watch down speed and direction closely.
Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctors in Olcott reports that the king and steelhead action out deep has been good. Look for 350 to 400 foot depths and put your baits down 40 to 60 feet. Spoons and flasher-fly are working. Mirage and purple flies were the best colors. The inside waters of 120 to 220 feet were hot and cold. Try meat or flasher-fly for those waters.