Chautauqua County is known for many things but one that keeps anglers coming back are largemouth bass. Chautauqua Lake largemouth bass are hot and heavy. Angler are finding the bass bite excellent along the shore areas and of course around docks. Bass are readily hitting surface lures, as well as live shiners, plastics and spinnerbaits. Smallmouth bass are available along deeper rocky points and drops outside of the weedline. Live crayfish, shiners and leeches work well. North basin anglers continue to catch decent to good numbers of walleye by trolling along weed edges. Trolling down the deeper, middle section is a good bet for south basin walleye. Anglers are picking up some muskellunge in the same areas as the walleye catches. Large, 6-to-8-inch stickbaits and jerkbaits are good bets for musky. Target weed edges and pockets with live minnows and worms for a mix of yellow perch, white perch, white bass and bluegill.
The walleye fishing on Lake Erie has truly been incredible, with limit catches common out of all ports this week. Anglers report consistent action along the international line from Buffalo to Sturgeon Point in 50-60 feet of water. From Cattaraugus Creek to Barcelona, quality catches can be found in 55-70 feet of water. In most areas, the best action has come on worm harnesses, stickbaits and spoons run within 15 feet of bottom. Bottom bouncing with worm harnesses at about 1.0 to 1.5 mph has worked especially well. Walleye anglers also report lots of sheepshead catches mixed in. Trolling at speeds closer to 2.5 mph helps to avoid sheepshead. Overall, walleye anglers are mostly catching “eater” size walleye between 17 and 22 inches, with a few bigger fish mixed in.
Anglers report decent yellow perch catches off Dunkirk in 45 feet of water, with many fish between 10-12 inches. Perch are biting out of Barcelona as well. Some perch are showing in 45-50 feet of water, however better catches are coming from deeper waters of 70-80 feet. Smallmouth bass fishing remains spotty with lighter angler effort. Target smallmouth bass around shoal and reef structure in 25-40 feet of water. A drop-shot rig with tubes, plastics or live crayfish is a typical tactic.
One of the hot spots on Lake Ontario this week has been the Niagara Bar off the mouth of the river. Fishing 50 to 80 feet down over 90 to 200 feet of water was producing plenty of mature king salmon. John Van Hoff hit a 29-pound king last Sunday with flasher-fly on the bar, one of many mature kings he caught the day after the LOTSA contests. On Monday, it was Doug Parker of Lockport that caught a 29-pound, 9-ounce bar king to take over the lead for the grand prize in the Summer Lake Ontario Counties Trout and Salmon Derby, also with a flasher and fly. Capt. Joe Gallo of Two Bulls Charters reports that he teamed up with Capt. Alan Sauerland for the LOTSA contests and they produced over 50 bites over two days of fishing. They fished in over 300 feet of water, a few miles west of their home port using flasher-fly and meat programs. On Sunday, they moved into shallower water in front of their home port and it paid off with a 17-for-24 king salmon day with a dozen salmon up to 25 pounds. Capt. Mike Johannes of On the Rocks had the catch of the week with a 31.5-pound salmon caught out of Wilson, but the customers didn’t get into the derby. The LOC event ends today.
Out of Olcott, Capt. Tim Sylvester of Tough Duty ran out to 300-plus feet of water to hit an early spoon bite on Tuesday. Magnum spoons off the riggers were the way to go, 50 to 80 feet beneath the surface. His best depth was 75 feet down.
The moss in the Niagara River is starting to subside according to reports from Creek Road Bait and Tackle in Lewiston. As a result, the walleye fishing is starting to pick up, especially on the Niagara Bar at the mouth of the river. Worm harnesses have been the bait of choice using hammered copper blades with red beads. Bass action is also starting to pick up. Tube jigs are the lure that seems to be working best with what moss is left in the river, both above and below Niagara Falls. In the upper river, bass, walleye and musky have been cooperating for some anglers. Add Ned rigs, worm harnesses and crayfish to the list of preferred baits and lures.