Largemouth bass fishing still is the hot ticket on the jewel of Chautauqua County, Chautauqua Lake. The bass bite is still hot and heavy close to shore, which on Chautauqua means docks. Surface lures are always a hot bait during the dog days of summer. Chuckers, pop R’s and spinnerbaits continue to produce good limits. The weed edges in the northern basin alone Warner’s and Mayville bays have produced the best this past week. Anglers can target musky along weedlines by trolling or casting large stickbaits. Trollers can also target suspended musky over deeper waters of 25 feet plus. Fishing along weed edges and pockets with live minnows and worms is a good bet for a mix of yellow perch, white perch, white bass and bluegill.
LAKE ERIE & TRIBUTARIES
Lake Erie walleye bite is still running strong. From Buffalo Harbor, walleye are starting in about 50 feet of water, however the large schools have moved a bit deeper and bit west. Between Buffalo and Sturgeon Point, anglers are picking up quick limits along the international line in 58-62 feet of water, on gear run within 20 feet of bottom. From Cattaraugus Creek to Barcelona, depths of 60-75 feet have been very productive. West of Dunkirk, some anglers are also catching walleye in deeper waters of 100 feet or more. The Lake Erie Fisheries Unit will be setting coldwater nets between Dunkirk and the Pennsylvania state line this month. Please avoid trolling between or around any orange floats that you might encounter. If you do snag their gear, please contact the office (366-0228) and they will save your gear for you.
Off Dunkirk, yellow perch are a bit scattered in 40-60 feet of water. Searching will be required. 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 presentation this time of year.
LAKE ONTARIO & TRIBUTARIES
Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctors in Olcott reports that the king and steelhead action out deep has been good of late in Lake Ontario. Look for 350 to 400 foot depths and put your baits down 40 to 60 feet. Spoons and flasher-fly are working. Mirage and purple flies were the best colors. The inside waters of 120 to 220 feet was hot and cold. Try meat or flasher-fly for those waters. Terry Walker of Kennedy had an early leader in the Orleans County Derby last weekend with a 25-pound king weighed in at Olcott, but it didn’t last long. The current salmon leader is a 27 1/2-pound king reeled in by Larry Duckworth of Corfu. Dark magnum spoons were his best. Carbon 14, Sea Sick Waddler, Road Toad and Frostbite patterns all worked. Divers were 110 to 150 feet back. All the fish were above the thermocline, which was down 80 feet.
Huge news for Lake Ontario anglers this week when Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the launch of a new campaign to boost tourism in the Lake Ontario region following recent flooding that has hampered tourism in communities along the shoreline. The new initiative includes free fishing on Lake Ontario, St. Lawrence River and Lower Niagara River through Labor Day as well as 50 percent off state campgrounds and vehicle entrance fees along the lake and rive.
LOWER NIAGARA RIVER
In the lower Niagara River, Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls managed to climb around the gorge a bit this week and caught some nice smallmouth bass, walleye and silver bass from shore. Water is still high but fish are available. A No. 3 spinner did the trick on the 7-pound walleye and small tube jigs were working on the bass. Also, outdoor writer Bob Holzhei of St. Mary’s, Michigan was fishing with Captain Joe Marra of Niagara Rainbow Charters last Sunday. They boated over a dozen walleyes using a worm harness off three-way rigs. Holzhei caught some bass using crabs, too. Action was decent throughout the morning. In the upper river, Jeff Pippard with Niagara Outdoors in North Tonawanda sends word that the bass fishing in the east river has been good along the shoreline. Time of day is key. Focus on early morning or later afternoon/early evening. Crabs and golden shiners are the best live baits for bass. Drag a worm harness and you can catch a walleye.