Walleye are quickly overtaking other species as the species of choice on Chautauqua this season. Reports continue with the outside weed edge bite producing in the northern basin. Pre-dawn and dusk have been producing best. Working a stick bait or drifting worm harnesses is a good bet. Speed seems to be the key, with slower being best. During the day, look for walleye in cooler, deeper water with a nightcrawler tipped-off jig head, black. Largemouth bass are holding in shallower areas along weedlines, in pockets within the weeds and around docks. Live shiners, weedless rigged plastics, wacky rigs and topwater lures are good largemouth bass offerings. Target smallmouth bass along deeper weedline edges, drop-offs and points. Tube jigs, Ned jigs or a drop-shot rig with crayfish, shiners or plastics work well.
LAKE ERIE AND TRIBS
Out of Barcelona Harbor anglers have been reporting walleye limits in 90-120 feet and 50-65, running stick baits when the sun is high and meat rigs during lowlight hours. Perch anglers have been hitting good limits of perch off the dumping ground outside Dunkirk Harbor and off the Catt.
Donald Stacknick of Dalton, Pennsylvania was fishing in his first Lake Ontario Counties Trout and Salmon Derby and fishing out in front of Fair Haven with his buddies, Cody and Reese Scott. They managed to reel in a 30-pound, 6-ounce salmon to win the Summer LOC contest, earning a grand-prize check for $10,000. They were using a Chinook diver back 190-feet on a 4 setting, over 120 feet of water with a Pro Troll flasher and a cut bait rig with alewives that they had caught in the bay last June. First place in the salmon division was Cindy Culverwell of Ransomville who caught a 29-pound, 12-ounce salmon west of Wilson last Saturday. Fishing with her husband, Wayne, aboard their 21-foot Fish Hawk Celebrity named “All In,” they were fishing 5 miles west of Wilson in 60 feet of water. “We came into shallower water, running a wire diver 108 feet back on a No. 3 setting with an 8-inch Dreamweaver 2-face Spin Doctor with a Diabolical meat rig and N & D cut bait,” Culverwell recapped. “And at 29 pounds, 12 ounces it was the biggest salmon that I have ever reeled in.” It came at a good time to win the $1,000 first-place prize as well as the $500 check for the big salmon of the week. The “All In” boat also earned a check for $750 for the largest salmon caught by a Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Association member.
Marc Skirvin of Henrietta saw his 20-pound, 1-ounce brown trout hold up for first place and John Rosenswie of Smethport, Pennsylvania won the lake trout division with a 24-pound, 9-ounce Oswego fish. Top walleye was a 12-pound, 1-ounce Henderson Harbor fish reeled in by Mike Daley of Sackets Harbor on the final weekend of the derby. The Fall LOC Derby will kick off on Aug. 21.
Capt. Joe Oakes of Newfane reports it is not as constant as it was a few weeks ago for salmon action. The fish have been moving around a lot with the wind that seems to be blowing one way or the other everyday lately. Some days the fish are inside of 300 feet and other days they are in 400 plus. Same goes for down depth. Prior to the northeast blow last Friday, best down depths were 60 to 100 feet, according to Oakes. Then it went to 30 to 60 feet down Saturday and Sunday, and back to 60 to 100 feet down after Sunday morning. Best baits have been flasher-fly rigs and spoons. Capt. Vince Pierleoni of Newfane reports that staging Chinook salmon are starting to show in area waters off Wilson and Olcott, focusing around 170 to 300 feet of water along with some steelhead. Dreamweaver Super Slim spoons and A-Tom-Mik meat rigs have been good enticements for the fish.
LOWER NIAGARA RIVER
Moss is no longer a problem in the lower Niagara River, according to Lisa Drabczyk with Creek Road Bait and Tackle in Lewiston. Platform action in the gorge at NYPA is still producing some fish when it is open. Call 286-6662 to find out open/closed status before you drive down. Capt. Frank Campbell of Lewiston reports that action has been slow for smallies the last few weeks. Best areas in the river have been the clay banks, Stella, and the drift below Peggy’s Eddy (between Joe Davis and Youngstown). You can always pick bass up off the coast guard station, especially when the lake flips. Around the green buoy marker, some big bass have been caught but it has been slow. Try drop shotting with Strike King Dream Shots anything green or brown. Also, try Ocho’s on a Ned rig. Remember that Canadian waters are off limits. Walleye fishing has picked up a bit and there was a nice one entered in the Summer LOC Derby last week at 9 pounds, 7 ounces by Richard Barber of Niagara Falls to place sixth. Not too much has changed in the upper river as the river waters continue to warm from a record Lake Erie water temperature. Bass, walleye and sheepshead have been cooperating, but different levels of action. Bob Wilson at Russ’s Bait and Tackle reports bass are hitting soft-shelled crabs off the breakwall off Buffalo. Be sure to mark your calendar for the Greater Niagara Fish Odyssey Derby, set for Aug. 22-30.