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Fishing report: Walleye bite picks up off Cattaraugus Creek

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john jarzynski lawtons lake erie walleye

John Jarzynski of Lawtons caught this Lake Erie walleye this week fishing out of Barcelona.

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The big school of walleyes in Lake Erie has moved west with the best fishing from Barcelona to Cattaraugus Creek. Bass action around Buffalo is good right now, and the Niagara River bass and walleye fishing is really improving. Lake Ontario is seeing some improvement in salmon and trout fishing. Let’s hope the weather stabilizes. Thunderstorms are in the forecast.

Lake Erie and tributaries

Congrats to Capt. Don Ruppert of Angola and his Wave Tamer team, who won the Bart’s Cove Duel at Dunkirk. The summer lead core program was on fire for the team. There is a great bite on the Canadian border from Dunkirk to Sturgeon point. Best approach was 8, 9 and 10 colors of lead core with large stick baits. Five-inch and 7-inch stick baits were working. Mixed vegetables (green/orange) and Black magic (green/black) were the go-to baits. The walleyes were feasting on big smelt, coughing up smelt 6 to 7 inches long. To duplicate the larger forage, they added 1/2 nightcrawler on stick baits to increase the presentation size and add scent. Learn more about the duel on the Sunday Outdoor Page. According to Shub Stevens at Catt. Creek Bait and Tackle in Irving, the walleye bite has picked up and many crews are catching 40-plus fish out of the Catt. Target 65 to 75 feet of water. Worm harnesses are the ticket. Hot colors are black and yellow. Bumble Bee pattern by Eye-Fish has been popular. Steve Brzuszkiewicz of Marilla launched at Cattaraugus Creek on Monday morning and headed out to 75 feet of water, where many people have been catching walleyes. According to Brzuszkiewicz, the giant school is there as he caught his limit of walleyes, a perch and a 10-pound catfish during a straight 2-mile troll with the southeast wind. Walleyes were between 18 and 23 inches long. He ended his troll at 83 feet of water, where the school continued. The walleyes were on the bottom and hit his Firetiger blades with fat worms just off the bottom. The Con Club 3-Day Walleye Tournament begins Friday. Deadline to sign up for the Innovative Outdoors Walleye Challenge is Aug. 10. The final day for the New York Walleye Derby is Sunday. Kevin Kruppa is the current leader at 10.90 pounds. Bill Austin and his grandson Sutton Austin, 8, both of Sanborn, hit Lake Erie with Capt. Tom Sieczkarek of Pendleton and fished straight out of the Catt in 75 to 85 feet of water. Hot bait was the Chuck Booker P-5 in blue and silver on a diver set on 0, 135 feet back. Sutton caught his first walleyes and is now hooked. Mike Erdt of Williamsville went to Barcelona after finding out the big school moved away from Buffalo. He did well, boating 15 walleyes and a nice bonus steelhead. He focused his efforts in 85 to 110 feet of water. He recommended to other anglers to check rods often. Fish were caught evenly on 75-foot riggers, 7 color and 5 color lead core line. Fish could be found all over the water column. Spoons and stick baits worked equally well. Same with the lure brands – using several brands with different colors. Bass lovers also have done very well. Matt Wilson of Wheatfield had a banner weekend on bronzebacks, employing some new tactics and baits. He spent Saturday and Sunday on Erie and fished out of Buffalo using all artificial baits. He says the uptick in size has been unreal, with multiple fish in the 5-pound plus range. Using the wind to his advantage was key. The faster he moved, the better the size and numbers. Waves were higher than predicted on Saturday but it paid off big time. Best baits were Berkley Hit Worms, and the new Gary Yamamoto shad shape worms. Wilson tested it for the first time, and boated seven fish over 5 pounds. Best depths were 28 to 44 feet of water. He noted that the round house area is starting to bulk up with big numbers and the Buffalo rock piles out from the middle gap were seeing increased numbers. Watch your graph. The big bass are tight to bottom and if you’re not looking on the graph, you’ll miss them.

Niagara River

In the Niagara River, action is picking up in the lower river for walleyes and smallmouth bass, according to Lisa Drabczyk with Creek Road Bait and Tackle in Lewiston. Best drifts have been Stella and the Fort Niagara/Coast Guard areas, as well as on the Niagara Bar. Walleye are hitting jigs and chartreuse or green worm harnesses. Brian Graham of New York City dragged harnesses on the bar and caught fish up to 9½ pounds while fishing with his father, Brian, of Cambria and Jon Holden of Lockport. Bass are hitting crayfish, shiners, tube jigs, Ned rigs and drop-shot setups. In the upper river, Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls continues to do well on smallmouth and white bass using jigs and spinners. Mike George of Niagara Falls has found a little bass honey hole in the East River along Grand Island using crabs for bait. He has been catching fish up to 19 inches.

Lake Ontario and tributaries

Joe Snook of Sterling won the $11,000 grand prize in the Summer Lake Ontario Counties Trout and Salmon Derby with a 31-pound, 3-ounce Fair Haven king salmon. For the full write-up, check out the Outdoors Page in Sunday's  Buffalo News. Capt. Tom Pearse of Reel Adventures Sportfishing reports there is a nice mix of king salmon and steelhead between Wilson and Olcott in 400 to 500 feet of water. Green is the hot color right now with it being primarily a spoon bite. Capt. Matt Bedient of 716 Sportfishing reports that the brown trout bite has set up again off Olcott, but you may have to look for them. He has found success in 50 to 70 feet of water. Usually, the browns will hang out where the thermocline meets the bottom, but he has been catching some browns in 63- to 70-degree water with Stingray-sized Stinger spoons and with standard-sized spoons, right on the bottom. Overall, after a couple of days of wind and some tougher fishing, action is slowly improving, according to Karen Evarts with the Boat Doctors in Olcott. It’s been a mixed bag of fish with a variety of baits. Dark and green-colored spoons are working, as is just about any kind of cut bait/meat. Flasher/fly baits are improving, especially mirage, caramel and yellow colors. Best action has been offshore. In Olcott Harbor and off the piers, there has been some bass action. She reports that there are 29 boats so far in the Twin Counties Classic tournament that runs through Aug. 21. Sign up at the Boat Docs, Lake Breeze Marina and Route 18 Tackle. Entry fee is $300 for pro boats and $150 for amateur boats. Call 778-8592 for more info.

Chautauqua Lake

The open-water trolling bite for walleye slowed down this past week, according to Capt. Mike Sperry of Chautauqua Reel Outdoors. Anglers are still getting fish, but not like a couple of weeks ago. Hot-n-Tots, Flicker Shads and Walleye divers are being used off lead core line or downriggers. Worm harnesses trolled along the weed lines on the north basin are picking up fish. Vertical jigging Rapalas from the weed lines out to 30 feet of water is working and will get better in the weeks ahead. The musky fishing has been average. Casting and trolling both basins are working. There are lots of baitfish in open water on the south basin due to a lack of good healthy weeds, so trolling and covering water is the program to use, says Sperry. Casting crankbaits and rubber baits like Medusas are picking up fish along weed lines on the north basin. The south basin is under a brown algae bloom, so visibility is only a foot. There is much clearer water on the north basin.

Finger Lakes

All eyes will be on Cayuga Lake for the Major League Fishing Stage 6 tournament that will take place Aug. 6-11. Activities will be at Frontenac Park, 15 Creamery Road, Union Springs. There will be a Major League Fishing Festival from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday with rod and reel giveaways for the first 50 kids in attendance, a kids fishing pond, fishing tips, meet-and-greets from some of the fishing pros, prize drawings and more. The final watch party and awards will take place at 1:30 p.m. Aug. 11. Bass pros launch for fishing each day at 7:30 a.m. and finish at 4 p.m.

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