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Fishing report: Good fishing to be had throughout WNY right now

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jake darlak lockport brown trout wilson

Jake Darlak of Lockport with a nice brown trout he caught off Wilson.

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There is good fishing to be had throughout Western New York. You can pretty much pick a spot and a species and your chances for success are good. Some special fishing contests are coming up that have youth options, including the Greater Niagara Fish Odyssey and the Lake Ontario Counties Trout and Salmon Derby.

Lake Erie and tributaries

Fishing continued to be excellent in 70 feet of water west of Sturgeon Point according to Capt. Ryan O’Neill of Buffalo Wingz Waterfowl and Sportfishing. However, after the high winds last week, he decided to fish the Niagara River instead of canceling customers. Water temperatures continue to rise in the lake and the big school of walleyes continues to slide further away from Buffalo, which is the typical late summer pattern. Saturday was O'Neill's first trip of the week on Erie, with plans to hit Cattaraugus Creek and go west towards the Purina plant in 80 feet of water. The plan was foiled when he ran over top of a large school of walleyes in 66 to 68 feet of water before travelling halfway there. He stopped and made one short pull and hooked 10 fish, landing seven. The second pull sealed the deal. They had boxed out and hooked over 30 fish before heading to the cleaning station. His program was just four rods, two green/silver No. 5 Colorado meat rigs with 6-ounce bottom bouncers off the bow and two 4-ounce bottom bouncers off the stern with blue and silver harnesses. His back bouncers didn't produce much. He kept changing speeds and line lengths but no luck. He switched to small in-line boards just 20 feet from the boat and that worked. All the fish were tight to the bottom. His baits were five to seven feet from the bottom. Shub Stevens at Catt. Creek Bait and Tackle in Irving reported success straight out of Cattaraugus Creek in 60 to 75 feet of water. Early mornings have been more productive. Bottom bouncing purple and chartreuse worm harnesses was a hot ticket this past weekend. Popular stickbait colors were Wonder Bread and Perch. Steve Brzuszkiewicz of Marilla saw good action out of the Sunset Bay launch this week. After finding the fish had moved from his last trip out, he focused around the 68- to 70-foot area to catch a limit of walleyes and five perch before noon. He believes that the perch could be caught consistently if someone were to try for them. He used his favorite worm rig on the bottom.

Con Club recap

The big walleye for the three days of fishing was a 9.39-pound fish reeled in by Mark Mohr of Springville. He used eight colors of lead core line pulling a Mooneye Minnow stickbait in 82 feet of water off Dunkirk. First place overall, with three consistent days of walleye fishing for his best three fish each day, was Daryll MacNeil of Lake View. Fishing out of his Polar Kraft 200 with his son Derek of Eden, Tom Nelson of Hamburg and his son Tommy of Cicero, MacNeil’s Mac Attack team scored a nine-fish total of 55.04 pounds. They started in 80 to 85 feet of water on Friday and by Sunday, they were in 95 to 100 feet of water. Best patterns were a Pink Ghost Thunderstick behind eight colors of lead core line early in the morning and a green Renosky behind a diver in the afternoon. Check out a continuation of this report on Sunday in Scattershots.

Niagara River

Matt Wilson of Wheatfield reports that he enjoyed a great weekend in the lower river and Niagara Bar. Good numbers of walleye could be found. Best colors were copper and firetiger for harnesses. He caught fish between 19 to 40 feet. Fish went deeper as the day went on. Later in the day, the river bite was a little better. Bass action was good all day. He used all plastics with drop-shotting as the best approach using KVD Dream Shots and Yamamoto shad-shape worms. The lake is holding bigger bass overall, but the river produced a couple over five pounds. It seems the hotter it got, the deeper they went. He caught fish as deep as 40 to 48 feet in the river. In the upper river, bass and walleye fishing have been decent in front of Strawberry Island, in the Emerald Channel, and along Grand Island in the east river in various locales. Thure Larson of East Amherst and Jim Williams of Lockport caught good numbers of smallmouth using crabs along Grand Island.

Anglers make “Reel Impact”

The highlight last week was the Reel Impact Fishing Tournament on Friday to help raise funds for the PUNT Pediatric Cancer Collaborative and the Catching Dreams program run by Capt. Ned Librock of Pendleton, who arranges for fishing trips for kids dealing with cancer. Capt. Joe Marra of Niagara Rainbow Charters took the Canas Family from Eden – Juan, Janette, Edward and Delphina. Edward is a cancer survivor. Their boat won the Mark “Sparky” McGranahan Memorial Award for the most fish for the morning, catching 27 bass, plus some other non-target species like sheepshead. Largest fish for the morning was a 29-inch, 10 1/2-pound walleye reeled in by Bob Powaski III of Buffalo. He was with Praxis Financial Group, title sponsor for the morning. He was fishing with Capt. Chris Cinelli of Grand Island. Powaski’s big fish won the Jed Woomer Memorial Award, named for a young gentleman who battled and lost to cancer.

Lake Ontario and tributaries

Capt. Tim Sylvester of Tough Duty Charters reports that fishing in Lake Ontario is still offshore from 7 to 12 miles out. The prime fish zone is in the top 60 feet with standard size spoons working the best. You can mix in flasher-fly combos, but it has been mainly spoons attracting steelhead mixed with some kings and cohos. There are some 10-plus pound cohos out there. The kings are not as numerous this year, with a lot of smaller kings coming to the boat. Anglers should be prepared to release these small fish. Sylvester is putting these small kings on a small fish gripper attached to a line and towing the fish behind the boat until they revive. This will allow them to release the fish. It’s important to revive these fish to sustain our fishery. There are some mature kings close to shore if you look for them. In front of Wilson, the brown trout action is back. Bob Hood and Mike Darlak of Lockport split up to fish their own boats over the weekend. Hood's granddaughter Kendall Duncan of Lewiston caught her first brown, focusing on 30 to 40 feet of water, where the thermocline hit bottom. Darlak had his son Jake on board, and they caught fish to 10 pounds. Both boats used small spoons in a variety of colors. On Aug. 19, three Lake Ontario fishing contests will take place, headlined by the Fall LOC Derby. Grand prize for the largest salmon is $25,000, and there is more than $68,000 in cash and prizes. Check loc.org for details. The Greater Niagara Fish Odyssey Derby will start on Friday and run through Aug. 28. There is more than $15,000 in cash prizes for seven different species categories for adults. Kids can fish for free in a special youth division. Everything is through the Fishing Chaos smartphone app and you can sign up through the fishodyssey.net website. Sign up soon to qualify for some great early bird drawings. The Reelin’ for a Cure tournament is Aug. 19, an all-ladies team event that helps raise money for various cancer causes. Sign up a team by contacting Stephanie Pierleoni at 481-6388.

Chautauqua Lake

Fishing has been slow this past week according to Capt. Mike Sperry with Chautauqua Reel Outdoors. The walleye bite really fell. The musky bite is slow as well. Bass fishing has been the one bright spot. The south basin is in a heavy algae bloom, which slows things down. Mark Dzimian of Lake View, his son Nicholas and Brian Rybarczyk of Clarence Center fished the weed lines in 11 to 13 feet of water at Lighthouse Point, the park in Mayville and Dewittville Bay, seeking early morning walleyes before the heat of the day moves them deeper. After three hours of casting a worm and a split shot along the weed line, they concluded this is a panfish paradise with endless catches of bluegill, small perch and silver bass. According to Brian, the weeds recently were cut, so they should have been deeper in 16 to 20 feet of water.

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