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The Fishing Beat (Oct. 2, 2019)

With the exception of the Salmon River in Oswego County, and a few other eastern basin tributaries, salmon hunters are waiting for more action in the way of returns. With the arrival of a few hunting seasons, it should leave many waters with fewer anglers.

Lake Erie and tributaries

Winds have kept many people off the lake and those that give it a go struggle with the conditions. In the bass arena, Robert Geiger and Dave Stahura Jr. of Lackawanna won the final Safe Harbor Open Bass Tournament of the year when they hauled in a 5-fish limit that totaled 23 pounds, 12 ounces last weekend. They were fishing in 30 feet of water near the north gap using crawfish-colored Strike King coffee-infused tubes. Their largest fish weighed 5 pounds, 5 ounces and it was the first fish they caught in the morning. Capt. Jim Hanley of Angola reports that bass action has been spotty near the round house. Golden shiners were the best bait for him. For walleyes, try straight out of Cattaraugus Creek near the 70-foot mark. Worm harnesses in purple and watermelon fished off a dipsy diver 55 to 65 feet down at a 1.8 mph speed was best. Nothing was around on the bottom, so bottom-bouncers were not as effective. Off Sturgeon Point and to the west, Roy Larson tried for perch and picked up 10 hefty ones, but that was drifting the bottom with 4 footers. He also caught a walleye, fishing with Capt. Ned Librock of Pendleton. Capt. Joe Fonzi of Gasport supported that when he reported that there are perch to be had in the standard spots, targeting 55 to 60 feet of water. Wind has been the issue for adequate boat control. There are a few more trout in the tributaries and the best seems to be Cattaraugus Creek, but too much rain will make that muddy. You have to work for them. Rain this week could help the cause in the medium to small tribs.

Dr. George Smutko of Lewiston enjoyed a banner day on the lower Niagara River with his son, Kurt, now from North Carolina, fishing with Capt. Joe Marra of Lewiston. (Photo courtesy Niagara Rainbow Charters)

Niagara River

Charter captains have been struggling in the Devil’s Hole area for salmon. In fact, some captains have cancelled their salmon season due to sparse numbers. The shore guys are catching some off the NYPA fishing platform. Glow spoons have been the ticket. A few brown trout have been caught by casters using spoons and spinners, according to Lisa Drabczyk of Creek Road Bait and Tackle. Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls caught two steelhead and two smallmouth bass casting spinners off the platform on Tuesday morning, so some fish are available. Many have opted to switch gears and chase bass in boats. Capt. Joe Marra of Niagara Rainbow Charters took out Kurt Gregory Smutko of North Carolina and Dr. George Smutko of Lewiston on the Niagara Bar area this week around Fort Niagara, and they had a banner day, catching about 50 fish in the process – and no sheepshead. Minnows were the top bait and they caught several smallmouth bass over 5 pounds. The fishing days aren’t all like that, but this day was special. Check out the Catches of the Week gallery to see some of the bass they caught.

Lake Ontario and tributaries

Fishing for salmon and trout picked up off the piers at Olcott on Monday morning, followed by more good fishing on Tuesday morning. When fishing the piers at night, use blues and glows for spoon colors. They are fish jumping in the lake, too. The piers at Wilson have produced brown trout, northern pike and the occasional salmon. Getting them to bite has not been easy. In 18 Mile Creek, there appears to be fishable numbers of salmon. At Burt Dam, they’ve been picking up a few kings, browns and steelhead, but the main run has not yet started according to Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctors in Olcott. This week’s weather could trigger more fish movement. Heavy rain is in the forecast.

Collin Voss of East Aurora holds up a largemouth bass he caught in Lake Alice recently (Photo courtesy Dave Barus)

Lake Alice

The impoundment created by Waterport Dam in Orleans County is called Lake Alice. Dave Barus of East Aurora and his grandson, Collin Voss, also of East Aurora, hit the lake last Friday afternoon. Using big bite pumpkin pepper and most twister tri-alive plastic worms with 4/0 hooks, they fished in 8 to 14 feet of water along diminishing weed beds to take a mix of smallmouth and largemouth bass.

Chautauqua Lake

The walleye bite is good with decent numbers of fish landed in the past week by slow trolling Hot-n-Tots and Rapalas off lead core on the south basin, reports Capt. Mike Sperry of Chautauqua Reel Outdoors. Also, try slow trolling worm harnesses in open water behind bottom in the south basin. Jigging the edge of the holes in the north basin has been producing fish but it has not been a consistent bite. Jigging Raps, Snap Raps and Flat Jigs have been working in 30 to 40 feet of water. This bite will pick up as the water cools. Some nice-sized white bass mixed in as well. The musky fishing is still hit or miss with fish landed by casting and trolling the last week. The musky bite will pick up, too, with cooler water temperatures. There will be a casting-only musky tournament Oct. 19 that is open to the public, sponsored by the Muskies, Inc. Chapter 69. Registration is at the Prendergast launch at 6 a.m. Cost is $100 for members, $110 for non-members. Top 3 catches receive cash prizes.

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