Fishing has been good on the lake when Mother Nature cooperates... and even when she doesn't. The Lake Ontario Pro-Am Salmon Tournament was held last weekend and several teams made it look easy as they came in with tournament-limit catches of 12 fish to the scales in Olcott. Read Scattershot for an update on the winners for the Pro-Am. Capt. Mark Vilardo of Kingfisher Charters came through with one of the bigger catches of the spring when Jon Eckert of Lockport reeled in a 30-pound king while fishing off Olcott. According to Vilardo, flasher-fly combos have been taking kings deep (80-120 feet), spoons have been taking coho up high (20-40 feet).
Shoreline action has been good to very good for silver bass and trout. However, with water temperatures getting into the 50s, it won't be long before the trout will be chased out into the lake. Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls has been pounding the water the past week and white jigs have been working for the silver bass; spinners for the lake trout. The NYPA fishing platform has still been affected by high water.
Nighttime walleye action and bass fishing during the day has been good to very good. For the night walleye trolling, Glenn Bird of Barker sends word that he's been doing great out of Dunkirk using shallow-diving stickbaits in 7 to 10 feet of water. Color doesn't seem to make much difference, but Bird likes the black and silver or black and gold colors. The same type of action was being reported off Hamburg. A few walleye have been hitting during the day, but those have been reports from bass fishermen picking up 'eyes on minnows and shiners. Look for more daytime walleye focus this weekend.
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!
Attention anglers: Muskellunge season opens on Saturday, May 27 on the inland waters of New York State. Muskellunge fishing remains closed on Lake Erie, Niagara River and Lake Ontario until the third Saturday in June.
Charters working the upper drifts continue to see decent catches of trout. However, rising water temperatures will soon chase trout back to the lake. White bass are showing in good numbers along the shoreline. Smallmouth bass catches are better in the lower section of river. Remember, bass fishing in the lower river is by catch and release only, artificial lures only until the 3rd Saturday in May. The NYPA fishing platform has been closed due to high water at times.
All of the Niagara County launches are open in some capacity to motorboat launching except Golden Hill State Park. The north launch at Fort Niagara State Park is open, but the launch bulkheads are a few inches underwater. You will need knee high boots and a someone to help. There is limited launching at Wilson-Tuscarora State Park. The launch bulkheads are 10 inches under water and inaccessible. Waders are needed to launch directly in center of launch. Boaters on Lake Ontario should be on the look-out for floating debris at all times.
Harbors are high and muddy and pier sites are dangerous due to high and rough water. Fishing is on hold in those areas.
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