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Fishing report: Walleye bite slows in Lake Erie

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jayden hubert newfane coho salmon lake ontario

Jayden Hubert, 10, of Newfane, caught a monster coho salmon while fishing in the LOC Derby this past weekend. It weighed 17 pounds.

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The LOC Derby is over, ending the competition season for open lake salmon and trout trollers on Lake Ontario. Lake Erie has a one-day contest on Saturday for walleye thanks to the folks at Southtowns Walleye. And if you want to travel to Ohio, there are two huge walleye derbies for some big bucks – the Lake Erie Fall Brawl and the Fall Walleye Slam. Both start on Oct. 15, and you must be registered prior to the start of each contest.

Lake Erie and tributaries

On the recreational fishing front, following the intense National Walleye Tour Championship held at the end of August, the walleye bite has slowed around Cattaraugus Creek in the lake, according to Shub Stevens with Catt. Creek Bait and Tackle in Irving. The most productive area has been 85 to 90 feet of water. Worm harnesses are still catching a lot of fish. Hot colors are firetiger and gold willow blades. Stevens noted that perch are being caught around 65 to 70 feet of water west of the Catt. Golden shiners are working well. Mark Dzimian of Lake View went perch scouting recently. Working the 54-foot depth straight out of Sturgeon Point, he managed five smaller perch leading to his thought the 74-degree water temperature was too warm for perch schooling. He moved 2 miles west of Sturgeon Point and a deeper depth of 58 feet. The screen readings were strong, and he caught 15 yellow perch with seven large perch, so the perch are there. With cooler water temperatures and emerald shiner availability, favorable perch fishing awaits.

Steve Brzuszkiewicz of Marilla headed into Lake Erie off Cattaraugus Creek after a brief hiatus. He started in 75 to 85 feet of water where he found a few fish, but nothing substantial. He was fishing with one bottom line and 8 colors of lead core. He moved into shallower water at 65 to 75 feet, and caught a couple eater walleyes on a diver. Nothing after that but sheepshead and white perch. His buddy Dave Bieganski texted him to say move west. He found a school of walleyes 30-foot thick. After nothing with the diver and lead core, he put his three-way rig with a spinner and worm into the fish zone and caught the rest of his limit in short order. The lesson learned was to never give up and use a sure-fire method to put your bait into the fish zone. The fish were on the bottom, 30 feet thick from 75 to 90 feet of water.

Bass are in their normal deep-water pattern reports Capt. Andy Full of Full Fishing Guide Service. Some fish can be found around the mouth of the Niagara River. Focus efforts on isolated rock piles in 30 to 50 feet of water with drop shot rigs and tubes. The nastier the weather, the better the bass fishing for Matt Wilson of Wheatfield. His big bass came off the Buffalo rock piles and Seneca shoal. Using both plastics and crabs, he swept the sheepshead category in the Fish Odyssey with his nephews. This week, he spent time on Erie and noted that the fall transition is on. In Erie, things are changing daily with fish in 10 feet of water and out to 48 feet. Wilson says to use your electronics. You can find some big groups of fish. Erie is drop-shot heaven right now and he found a plastic that is excellent called the Reins Bubbling Shad.

Niagara River

Don’t be surprised if a few salmon start showing up in the lower river. Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls saw one off the NYPA platform recently, but the No. 1 unit was shut down. The Niagara Bar was loaded with fish before the lake flipped. Rzucidlo hit three walleyes and six bass on Tuesday in the gorge casting spinners. Matt Wilson of Wheatfield reported that the water was stained in the lower river on Friday and he used it to his advantage, finding clearer water in the lake just past Fort Niagara in 14 to 22 feet of water using drop shots and tubes. He took big bass up to five pounds. Baits used were KVD dream shots, flat worms and Yamamoto shade shape worms. Wind direction and positioning is key when fishing certain parts of the upper river, and Wilson tucked into the Huntley plant side on Labor Day. He took 30-plus bass on a Carolina rig with plastics. His graph was piled up with bait, so he threw on Z-man’s new line of swimbaits – 2 3/4-inch baits in pearl white color. Light line is key when running this set up and the leader length he uses is as long the rod, tying the hook to where the hook keeper is on the rod and then 3 inches below the last eye to a two-way swivel. He adds a ¼-ounce bullet weight before the two-way (barrel swivel), then the leader. Just tick the bottom and use floating plastics. The lower trail at Devil’s Hole State Park was temporarily closed following a rockslide earlier this week. It could take a few days for the trail to open. Be aware that this could be an issue. Best way to check is the NYS Parks Explorer App on your smartphone.

Lake Ontario and tributaries

In the Big Boys contest out of Point Breeze last weekend, Bryan Insley of Bolivar and his Happy Ending team took the top slot with 96 pounds (and 156 points) of salmon for the one-day contest. The second day was canceled due to a small craft advisory. They fished from Johnson Creek to the Oak in 100 to 140 feet of water first thing in the morning using Nick Rusin cutbait, A-Tom-Mik 41s, and a Bam glow fly as the top three enticements. One downrigger broke, so they only used one rigger, three divers and four coppers. Scrambling for the Big Boys West End Cup, Capt. Jonathan Ross of the Tomahawk team found fishing was a grind as the team could not get the stagers to bite in 100 feet of water area in front of the Oak. They had a two-point lead on Dublin Up and a few more over Thrillseeker. The two fish they caught was enough to give them the West End Cup. The West End Cup points chase consisted of four events, the Wilson Harbor Invitational and three Big Boy events -- one out of Olcott and two out of the Oak. Final points are based on three events, dropping one if you fish all four. Combining Team Tomahawk’s best three events that included a WHI win, a fourth place and a 10th place gave them the West End Championship.

Wayne Culverwell of Ransomville was on the lake Monday trying to improve his 29-pound, 7-ounce king salmon that had been in first place for the Lake Ontario Counties Fall Derby. It was all cold water. Find out what happened the final day of the LOC on Sunday’s Outdoor Page. Action on the Niagara Bar had been decent for mature salmon according to Capt. Richard Brant of North Tonawanda. Boat traffic was a bit heavy with the derby going on, but things should settle down as salmon begin to stage and get ready to run up the river. The heavy rain and cold water could pull a few fish into the Niagara. Brant found that both flasher-fly and meat rigs were working on the drop off outside the red buoy marker. Out of Wilson, fishing for staging salmon and browns had been good inside of 170 feet according to Capt. Joe Oakes with Salmonboy Charters. Best bet is to fish offshore with spoons to hit more stable water in the top 60 feet. Oakes says that both browns and salmon had been hitting flasher-fly combos in close and that should resume once things settle down. Some anglers were pier fishing in Wilson and Olcott, but no reports on success so far. The Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Association will hold its next meeting on Sept. 15 instead of Sept. 8 due to the Buffalo Bills game, starting at 7 p.m. at the North Amherst Fire Company, 2200 Tonawanda Creek Road, Amherst. A panel of LOTSA captains will give a recap of the open water season. The meeting is open to the public.

Chautauqua Lake

Walleye has picked up in the last week according to Capt. Mike Sperry of Chautauqua Reel Outdoors. Vertical jigging with jigging raps, Snap Raps and spoons from the weed lines out to 25 feet of water has been working on the north basin. Moving around until finding a pocket of fish is important. Fish are in small groups right now. This bite will continue to improve as the water temperatures drop this fall says Sperry. The musky has been slow but there are signs that the fall bite is on its way. Sperry has boated some fish casting and they are starting to get more follows than last month. Moon phases play a big role in the fall. Casting deep diving crankbaits and rubber baits on weed lines to 20 feet of water is a good approach on the north basin.

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