Fishing Beat: LOC Derby, Wilson Harbor Invitational on tap as trout head to Lake Ontario | Outdoors

The focus will be on Lake Ontario May 6-15 as the Lake Ontario Counties fishing derby kicks off, followed by the Wilson Harbor Invitational May 14-15. Congrats to Capt. Jim Hanley of Angola, the first fisherman to be named to the Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame.

Lake Erie and tributaries

The “Dash for Cash” bass contest came off without a hitch Saturday and some impressive smallmouth bass were caught in Lake Erie. The tournament was designed a bit differently, offering weigh zones for two-hour time frames from 6 am to 2 pm, first and second place only. For the 6 am to 8 am weigh zone, Ryan and Grant Claypool took top honors with a 5.93-pound bass. In the 8 to 10 am “dash for cash,” Casey Rohring and Marc Gertz won with a 6.23-pound bass. From 10 am to noon, Mike Schmitt Jr. and Johnny Morotta scored first with a 6.38-pound bass. The final weigh zone was won by Mario Velez and Angel Velazquez with a 6.32-pound smallmouth. The largest bass for the tournament, earning an extra bonus, was the Schmitt/Morotta bass. A total of 24 boats competed in the competition. Schmitt, from Eden, and Morotta, from Sloan, targeted 20 to 35 feet of water with bottom baits like Ned rigs, tubes and swim baits. They also caught fish on 1-ounce Hopkins spoons and blade baits. Yellow perch action is still going strong. Steve Brzuszkiewicz of Marilla did well in several spots between Cattaraugus Creek and Wendt Beach. He launched at Sunset Bay for perch fishing at 5:30 am and the lot was already half full. He hit 53 feet of water and caught 33 fish right away but then action slowed. He moved around to eventually fill his limit. Steve’s largest fish was 15 inches and his five largest perch weighed 8.125 pounds. If he can only do that for the Southtowns Walleye perch contest May 21. You must be a member. Check out southtownswalleye.org for details. Perch seem to be in 50 to 60 feet of water from the Catt to Sturgeon Point. As waters slowly warm, the perch will go into spawning mode and it will make fishing a bit more difficult. Not many walleye reports other than some catching ‘eyes while perch fishing. Night walleye fishing with stickbaits in shallower waters should become more consistent very soon. Now that dredging is underway at Sturgeon Point Marina, there will be a community cleanup at the marina Saturday starting at 8 am Sad news with the closing of Dave’s Bait and Tackle in Derby. It is the end of an era.

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Lisa Drabczyk of Creek Road Bait and Tackle says that the smelt are done for the year. Trout and salmon are on the Bar and the bass action is picking up in the river. A few steelhead and lake trout are being caught off the NYPA Platform and along Artpark. A good number of walls are being caught in the river from boats. Many of the trout are almost gone from the river and are heading into Lake Ontario, according to Mike Ziehm of Niagara Falls. He still managed to catch some nice fish in the gorge over the weekend and saw an uptick in smallmouth bass action as the waters continue to warm. He caught a good number of steelhead and lake trout on his homemade No. 5 chartreuse spinners and his blue and white bucktail jigs. There’s bait fish all around the river above and below the power plant. Water visibility is good and is now at 5 feet. Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls had the same report, catching lakers, steelhead and bass on Monday. He caught most of his fish on jigs. Tommy Ortolano with Lake Effect Bait and Tackle reports that walleye, lakers and rainbows are being caught at Ferry Street in Buffalo on white plastics. Capt. Andy Full of Full Fishing Guide Service has had some banner bass days, casting the upper river this week with jerkbaits along I-190.

Lake Ontario and tributaries

The salmon and trout action on the lake is on fire, according to Karen Evarts at The Boat Doctors. Reports have been coming in like crazy from the Niagara Bar to Olcott. You can pick your poison for how you want to fish for salmon and trout right now in the lake. Some of the media guys, including Jay Feimster with Point-Click-Shoot and Matt Crawford with Game and Fish, were on the Niagara Bar with a fleet of other boats drifting with emerald shiners off 3-way rigs to take a mix of kings, Cohos, brown trout, lake trout, steelhead and walleyes. Strike King’s Swim-n-Shiners also were working, as were other swim baits. Evarts reports that for trollers, the spoon bite is great right now with greens for kings and oranges for cohos. Sticks and flasher-fly will work. Many of the big charter boats have moved into Wilson and Olcott to get ready for the spring salmon fishing, the Lake Ontario Counties Trout and Salmon Derby and the Wilson Harbor Invitational Tournament along with the $1K a day and the Trout and Salmon Slam running from May 7-13. For LOC Derby information, visit loc.org. For the Wilson events, call Kevin Jerge at 863-1001. Capt. Rich Hajecki of Crazy Yankee Sportfishing will host the “dock talk” for the Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Association on Thursday at Bootleggers Cove Marina Hot dogs at 6 pm and the seminar at 7. He will talk about spring king fishing and electronics. It’s a good time for it, too. He slew the salmon over the weekend using spoons and Bay Ray sticks northwest of Wilson. The Fat Rat in orange worked well off 10 colors of Stealthcore on the boards for cohos. Riggers were 40 to 60 feet down and spoons with ladderbacks were working best for kings and lakers. Divers back 85 feet on a No. 2 setting also caught fish. There are still some trout in the tributaries, but they are quickly being replaced by warm water fish like bass.

Crappie fishing has been inconsistent as fish are not on the beds yet, reports Mike Sperry with Chautauqua Reel Outdoors. Anglers are catching some fish in the late morning but they’re finicky. Use a 1/32-ounce jig head tipped with a minnow under a slip bobber. Water temperature is still around 50 degrees. The perch bite is decent with recent reports. Fathead minnows are the popular live bait for perch. according to Sperry. Sperry is starting to hear good reports on walleye from guys casting in the evening. F9 and F11 Rapalas are working in shallow water later in the evening and after dark. This tactic will work early in the morning as well.

Antique Fishing Tackle Show is Saturday

There will be an antique fishing tackle show from 10:30 am to 2 pm Saturday at the Elks Lodge No. 41, 6791 North Canal Road, Lockport. If you have antique tackle that you would like appraisals on, take it to the show. Admission is $5. Spouses and children under 16 years of age are free. If you would like to exhibit your vintage tackle, tables are $20. Setup for the show will take place at 9:30 am For more information, contact Dan Bedford at 713-9410. For questions on appraisals, contact Mark Schmitkons at 751-6611.

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