Fishing in Lake Ontario continues to be as hot as the weather - really! Capt. Dan Evans of Lone Wolf Charters in Wilson reports fishing was great earlier in the week - lots of kings and steelhead from 120 to 350 feet of water. He found good temperature from 60 to 75 feet down so he was setting riggers at 45-60-75 feet using spoons in black and glo, green and glo down deeper; orange and silver up higher.
Bass are your best option still and moss seems to be getting better. Just in time for some unique fishing to take place. The Bassmaster Bracket Tournament is July 19-22 on the upper river between the north Grand Island Bridge and the Peace Bridge - no Canadian waters. It should be interesting. Weigh in will take place in live time right on the boats, of which there will only be eight. Check out the website at www.bassmaster.com. Another big contest going on right now is the 26th Annual Erie Canal Fishing Derby, ending on Sunday, July 17th.
Moss is still an issue for anglers casting and drifting the section of water below Niagara Falls. Hopefully it will be gone by the time the Niagara River Anglers Association's smallmouth bass contest is here, set for July 23. Don't have any of the details yet so your best bet is to contact tournament coordinator Ed Garcia at 870-5318 for more info.
Walleye action has slowed a bit and local guides like Capt. Jim Hanley says you really have to work your butt off for a decent catch of walleye. It seems like they were still waiting for the Ohio fish to show up. Worm harness and stickbaits in 60-plus feet of water off the Catt and Sturgeon Point. Bass action has been spotty. Best depth has been 30 to 45 feet of water around structure like Myers Reef. Crayfish and minnows are the top baits, fished off three-way rigs. It should improve soon.
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!
His column is seen in the Niagara Gazette on Fridays. The Niagara Gazette is the area's leading outdoors sports information newspaper.
Fishing effort on the lower Niagara River has been light, largely due to the amount of line-fouling algae, or moss that is present. Anglers have seen some decent smallmouth bass fishing near the mouth of the river, where moss is less of a problem. Bottom bouncing rigs with live shiners or crayfish works well.
The weather has cooperated for anglers much of the past week, and so have the fish! Trout and salmon action has really heated up and trollers are picking up more king salmon (Chinook salmon) of 20 pounds plus. Even a couple of kings over 30 pounds have been reported. The productive fishing pattern is similar from west of Wilson out to Hamlin. Anglers are working depths of 100-350 feet for mix of king salmon, steelhead and lake trout. Gear run 60-100 feet down has been best for kings and gear run in the top 60 feet has been better for steelhead (all the way out to 500 feet of water). Large spoons continue to fetch a good salmon bite, but flasher-fly combos and cut-bait rigs have also been productive. In the nearshore zone, anglers are still picking up brown trout inside 75 feet of water on the bottom.
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