King salmon fishing on the lake remains very good. To the delight of many that have been fishing Point Breeze at the Oak, the state launch ramp on the west side of the river has finally been reopened after a little political pressure. Capt. Jim Gordon of Appleton runs his "Hawg" out of Olcott. He reported that his best bite was just east of Olcott in 150 to 250 feet of water with spin doctors and flies down 60 and 70 feet. He's also been using spoons down 40 and 50 feet. Best colors have had anything green in them. His divers have been primarily spin doctors and green flies set back 150 and 170 feet on a No. 1.5 setting. The Niagara Bar continues to be a hot spot, too. in the Summer LOC Derby.
Water levels in the lower river continue to be a problem for shoreline fishermen. Remember that Devil's Hole State Park stair access is closed until spring of 2018, too. Bass are available for boaters, but you may have to move around to find active fish. What may be there one day, may not work the next. Usually the latter part of July is a good fishing time in the lower section of river, especially for walleye when they turn on for a summer bite. Upper river action continues to be good for bass and walleye in traditional areas like the head of the river and around Strawberry Island.
Capt. Tom Marks with Gr8 Lakes Fishing Adventures reports that if you can tough it out with the rough weather we've been experiencing of late, the walleye bite is excellent. There are fish in almost every local "hot spot," according to Marks. Myers Reef has produced good catches, the "fence" (border) from Sturgeon Point to Buffalo is loaded with walleye, too. Work your baits in 65 to 70 foot depths off Evangola where walleye stacked up, as well. Marks has even found schools of yellow perch off Evangola.
Bill Hilts Jr. is a past president of the New York State Outdoor Writers Association. Hilts is an avid outdoorsman, an outdoor writer who has contributed articles to numerous national and local magazines, newspapers, and other publications. Hilts is also responsible for Niagara County Tourism Sportfishing Programs. He freelances from his home in Sanborn N.Y. Hilts was inducted in the New York State Outdoorsmen Hall of Fame in the Spring of 2007!
Smallmouth bass fishing has been fair on the lower river, with some white bass, sheepshead and the odd walleye mixed in. Boaters can target bass by drifting with bottom bouncing rigs with shiners, crayfish and plastics, or by casting towards shore with stickbaits, jerkbaits and spinners. The same baits and lures work for shore anglers as well. Walleye catch numbers typically pick up in late summer, so keep an eye out
Temperature profiles quickly returned to normal following last Friday's upwelling event. The excellent king salmon bite quickly returned as well, with good catches reported this week from the Niagara Bar to Oak Orchard. Fish are also spread over a wide depth range with mature king catches coming between 150 to 350 feet of water. Flasher-fly combos and meat rigs run 40-80 feet down have been productive, with green and white the most mentioned colors. Not much action on spoons. In addition to big king salmon, anglers are also catching shaker kings, coho salmon and steelhead.
Harbors and pier sites are good spots to target a variety of warm water species. Yellow perch were biting well between the Wilson piers earlier this week.
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