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Fishing report: New tactic could change how summer walleye anglers fish on Lake Erie

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mark mohr walleye lake erie dunkirk

Capt. Mark Mohr of One Mohr Sportfishing with a nice walleye he caught on Monday out of Dunkirk.

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It was an amazing week of fishing in our Great Lakes, with the headline act being the National Walleye Tour Championships out of Dunkirk. The Fall LOC Derby is heading into its final weekend, and the Greater Niagara Fish Odyssey is over, with the awards ceremony set for the NYPA Wildlife Festival on Sept. 25. There is a one-day walleye contest on Lake Erie on Sept. 10. The final, two-day “Big Boys” Salmon Tournament will be out of the Oak on Saturday and Sunday.

Lake Erie and tributaries

Dunkirk was the perfect host for the National Walleye Tour last week, and the pro anglers didn’t disappoint. At the top of the three-day championship was John Hoyer of Wayzata, Minnesota, with a catch of more than 102 pounds of walleyes based on five fish each day. It could change how walleye anglers fish Lake Erie during the summer. He used a Berkley PowerBait The Champ Swimmer in 6 to 12 feet of water on the north shore of the lake. There will be a recap of the tournament Sunday in The Buffalo News.

Capt. Mark Mohr of One Mohr Sportfishing and Bob Rustowicz of Cheektowaga teamed up with legendary lure maker Joe Renosky of Indiana, Pennsylvania, now with the Reno Bait Company, to field test some new prototype lures out of Dunkirk on Monday. The crew trolled with the waves until noon, catching about 18 walleyes. Best bottom depth was 80 to 90 feet of water, and their top set up was 7 and 8 colors of lead core with stickbaits that Renosky picked out. A "Reno Rocket" caught some impressive fish, as did his five-inch stick with Electric Blue, a hot color. Divers were back 150 feet on a No. 2 setting. More to come on Renosky in a future column. Visit to see some new offerings.

The walleye bite has been steady out of Cattaraugus Creek, according to Shub Stevens at Catt. Creek Bait and Tackle in Irving. Best bite has been in 75 to 85 feet of water. The morning bite has been best, with most crews catching a limit within a few hours. Hot lures have been BayRat LS Coho Crush and Esmerelda, according to Stevens.

Capt. Ryan O’Neill with Buffalo Wingz Waterfowl and Sportfishing reports there are lots of fish off Barcelona and Cattaraugus Creek. He found fish mostly were in the 85-foot range along the line and 45 to 65 feet down. He switched to in-line weights and boards to target fish high in the water column away from his standard bottom bouncing program. The fish are moving a lot daily. Some traditional bottom-bouncer guys are switching to divers. Use speed and big tackle or go low and slow with in-line boards, O’Neill says.

Capt. Tom Sieczkarek of Pendleton participated in the Southtowns Walleye Veterans/First Responders’ Day on Saturday. The lake was not stable. Currents, cross currents and thermocline changed throughout the day. He finished with seven fish in the box and lost four, all in 70 to 80 feet of water. There were reports of fish being in 40 to 50 feet of water from the Catt to Dunkirk. On Sunday, the lake stabilized, and the hot bite continued. Capt. Tom had a two-man limit by 11:30 a.m., finding his last five fish in a 15-minute flurry. Chuck Booker’s P-5s are still the hot bait for him, using 5, 6, and 8 colors of lead core lines as the best rod and reel setups.

Capt. Jim Hanley of Angola reports that bass are all over Seneca Shoal and Myers Reef and almost anywhere there is a high spot or shoal. Crawfish for live bait and Ned’s and Berkley Lil’ General worms are best for artificial lures. For walleyes, he has been using willow-bladed worm harnesses. He cleaned 70 walleyes in five trips last week. Southtowns Walleye will hold a one-day walleye tournament on Sept. 10, and you do not need to be a member of the fishing club to participate. Entry fee is $35. Check out details at

Perch are being caught around 70 feet of water off the Catt, according to Stevens. Golden shiners and salted Emeralds are the ticket right now.

Niagara River

In the Niagara River, Lisa Drabczyk with Creek Road Bait and Tackle reports that walleye action is good, and the bass fishing has been consistent, for the most part. For walleye, some river drifts are holding fish, as is the Bar area around the green buoy marker. Bass are hitting off the NYPA fishing platform, on the Bar and around the Fort. Crayfish are the top live bait. Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls is picking up dandy walleyes between 10 p.m. and midnight casting stickbaits. He caught fish up to 29 inches long.

Parker Costello of Lockport reports that bass fishing in the Devil’s Hole area has been very good using crayfish as bait off 3-way rigs. He caught a dozen in short order fishing with Capt. Frank Campbell, but none were big enough to crack the top four in the Fish Odyssey contest. The Greater Niagara Fish Odyssey has ended, and the leaders can be found through the Fishing Chaos website or through The awards ceremony has been set for Sept. 25 at 3 p.m. at the NYPA Wildlife Festival in Lewiston.

Lake Ontario and tributaries

Capt. Rob Taddeo of Hideout Charters reports that the bite out of Oak Orchard River/Point Breeze has been a grind inside, but the offshore bite is still consistent. Out deep, target the top 60 to 70 feet of water, with some salmon and trout coming a little deeper. Spoons have been the ticket on riggers, meat rigs on the long lines. Hawkeye spoons worked well for Taddeo. The inside water for kings has had no consistency. Some days, flies and meat work, and the next day it is spoons. The brown trout fishing was decent last weekend in 60 to 80 feet of water. Good numbers, but not a lot of size.

The last Lake Ontario tournament of the season is the Big Boys Contest out of Point Breeze on Saturday and Sunday. Sign up and pay at the captain’s meeting at Boone and Crockett Café on Friday night, located at Ernst Lake Breeze Marina. Entry fee is $250, and the Calcutta is $1,000. Basic rules are that it is a six-fish contest, with eight rods maximum. Shotgun start is at 6 a.m., and you must be back for weigh in at 3 p.m. No communication for this event. For more info, contact Craig Hajecki at 585-303-9267, or reach out to him on Facebook.

Capt. Tim Sylvester of Tough Duty Charters reports that the offshore salmon and trout bite at Olcott has been decent from the 26 line to the 30 line. There have been a few mature kings off the port in 100 to 200 feet of water, but it has been a slow pick.

It has been a tough grind out of Wilson in 90 to 200 feet of water for staging kings, according to Capt. Mike Johannes of On the Rocks Charters. Salmon have been very finicky, but when you are in the right place at the right time, the bite it can be very rewarding. The water from Olcott to the Niagara Bar has been producing some big kings on mostly flashers and flies, but on some days, flashers and meat have been best. Johannes has been running riggers 50 feet down to just off the bottom. Divers have been anywhere from 100 to 220 back, depending on the day and the depth.

Niagara Bar action has been good to very good for mature king salmon, according to John Van Hoff of North Tonawanda, trolling aboard the Terminator. His crew primarily ran flashers and flies, and they caught mature king salmon from the Canadian line all the way to Six Mile Creek. Between the Niagara Bar and Wilson, cut bait has turned on, and there were good reports of decent salmon fishing.

Going into the final weekend of the Lake Ontario Counties Trout and Salmon Fall Derby, Joe Miller of Honeoye is leading for the $25,000 grand prize with a 28-pound, 14-ounce king salmon he caught out of Point Breeze in Orleans County. Both trout leaders changed this past week. In the Rainbow/Steelhead division, Daryl Jenkins of Factoryville, Pennsylvania, weighed in a 13-pound, 6-ounce Olcott fish. For the brown trout category, Kathryn Covin of Howard, Pennsylvania, took over the top slot with a 16-pound Wilson fish she caught on Saturday. The derby ends at 1 p.m. on Labor Day, with the awards to follow at 3 p.m. at Riley’s Bar and Grill in Sodus Bay. Check out for a complete leaderboard.

Chautauqua Lake

Musky fishing has been slow, according to Capt. Mike Sperry with Chautauqua Reel Outdoors. He has landed a couple of muskies the last two trips, but it was many hours in between. Walleye fishing is slow, as well, and many fishermen are heading to Erie. Hopefully recent rains will get the lake level back up, establish flow and reset the fishing.

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