After a few days of westerly winds, things started to change around a bit for salmon and trout trollers. According to Capt. Bob Cinelli of Olcott, things are starting to improve for the better. Best action off Wilson and Olcott for salmon, as well as other locations along the lake, seems to be in the 200 to 250 foot depth contour, using your baits in the top 80 feet of water. Use a mix of spoons and flasher-fly. For steelhead, best action has been from the 27 to 30 bar on the lake, using spoons in the top 40 feet of water.
The summer Lake Ontario Counties Derby, which runs through July 27, still has a couple weeks of action to go.
Tony Scime at Scime's Tackle in Buffalo sends word that bass fishing has been good in the river and moss wasnít too much of a problem. Smallmouth and silver bass are being caught from the Foot of Ferry to the foot of Hertel streets. Some walleye were reported at the head of Strawberry Island on blue-silver or purple worm harnesses. The occasional musky is also showing up from anglers working large 8-10 inch tubes around the weeds. Good spots have been around Strawberry Island and around Thompson's Hole.
The moss is still in the river, hampering all fishing action below the falls. Will it be gone in two weeks? According to Capt. Steve Drabczyk of Lewiston, the moss is starting to subside a bit. Hopefully it wonít be long. The Annual Niagara River Smallmouth Bass Contest is set for July 26 in the Lower Niagara River and Lake Ontario from sunrise to 2 pm and it could make for a very interesting competition. Best two fish total weight wins.
Walleye fishing continues to be very good all along the lake shoreline. Joe Famiglietti sends word that he had a great trip with his 14 year old grandson, Ryan Pfohl who was visiting from Kure Beach, NC. Fishing with Capt. Ernie Calandrelli they targeted walleye off Hamburg to take a limit of walleyes by using worm harnesses off three-way rigs. According to Capt. Ernie, they were bouncing bottom in 44 to 48 feet of water using copper blades with orange beads or clown blades with silver beads. His drop weight was three ounces and his leads were never longer than six foot. Later in the week he focused in 47 to 60 foot of water. Bass fishing has been good for the most part with jerk baits and spinners baits working in closer, say less than 10 feet of water; shiners, tubes and drop shot rigs working in deeper waters over 30 foot depths. Perch action has slowed but some limits are still being reported in the 40-55 foot depth contour. You can also find some fish in shallower if you search around. Move if you donít find active fish. Silver bass have been very active in Dunkirk Harbor.
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.
Moss is still a problem in the lower river at present, requiring constant lure cleaning. When the moss relents, smallmouth bass will be the main draw. Boaters can target bronzebacks by drifting with a bottom bouncing rig with minnows, crayfish or plastics, or by casting towards shore with jerkbaits and stickbaits. The same baits and lures will work for shore anglers as well.
Rough conditions have kept most anglers off the big lake lately. Fortunately, there are light winds forecasted for the next 4 days!
Some of the Olcott reports that trickled in this week showed promising graph readings over depths of 80-150 foot. Electronics showed a ton of bait and plenty of good marks or "hooks", but very few takers. That may be a good starting point this weekend. Recent reports also showed that the most consistent catches have been over deep water of 450-500 feet. Lures run in the top 50 feet have produced mainly steelhead catches, with some small coho salmon and shaker king salmon mixed in. Brown trout catches were also fairly consistent inside 50 feet of water. Between Oak Orchard and Sandy Creek, trollers are starting to see an uptick in large king salmon catches in 200-300 feet of water.
Fishing for warmwater species has been quite good at times in Wilson Harbor, Olcott Harbor and the lower section of Oak Orchard River. Northern pike and bass have been readily caught in all locations. Some yellow perch and crappie have shown at Olcott.
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