Heat has been a factor in some fisheries, but the good bite holds for both the big lakes and inland streams and rivers.
Weed growth has given savvy anglers an advantage for both bass and pike-family fishes. With a sudden increase in surface water temperatures and the abundance of rainfall, anglers see an uptick in fishes’ metabolism and more biting when working shallow areas. Last year at this time, many a prop, and a few lower units, are headed to shops for repairs or replacements.
Great Lakes boaters move to deeper waters and inland-lakes anglers work the angles for finding weed- and shoreline-hugging fish that most fishers pass over with the presumption that the big ones have moved to deeper waters.
In recent years, the Department of Environmental Conservation has adopted a change in fishing regulations every other year, starting Oct. 1 of even years. A considerable number of entries are in the forthcoming list of proposed changes.
DEC officials seek input on changes set for statewide, area and county regulations for the 2014-2016 fishing season. Look for an Outdoors Page column Sunday with an extended focus on statewide and area-specific changes which anglers can comment on until Aug. 16.
Winds dominated walleye runs this past week. Closer to Buffalo, trollers have yet to hit 50-foot depths for good-sized ‘eyes. Side planers and down rigs do well in these relative shallows, but bottom-bouncing worm harnesses over the slightest of humps found at 40- to 45-foot depths have put many a marble eye in the cooler box.
Now and perhaps for a couple more weeks the big fish moving east have headed into the Evans-Hamburg-Lackawanna waters of New York State, but experts who follow these migrants each year caution that the schooling movement tends to curve toward Point Abino and other areas of Ontario waters as the summer progresses.
Schooling movements can be deceiving. Reports from Port Clinton and Sandusky have it that the big mamas have yet to leave the relative shallows of the western basin.
Trollers and drifters in Ohio waters still do more walleye than bass runs as water temperatures rise above 70 degrees on most surfaces.
Barcelona Harbor waters have produced more sizes than numbers for open-water who have had to deal with at least two major upwellings (turnovers) since the start of summer, according to Capt. Fred Forsythe of Castaway Charters. Forsythe has done fairly well in 60- to 80-foot depths and has had to move around to get over actively feeding fish. This week he is pre-fishing for a “Fishing with Heroes” event with Fort Drum soldier set for this coming weekend. Look for a report on these outings on July 21.
Ask 10 walleye experts and five will beat on fish with stickbaits and the other five hold with worm harnesses. For hard baits, both purple and blue backings on silver bodies have gotten much mention. Purple blades on worm harnesses do well, but rainbow patterns with light greens and blues also can be a pot of gold.
Trollers take up much space on Erie waters, but the perch bite keeps drawing boaters to deeper waters each day waves allow safe passage. While the better bite generally comes from depths of 55 feet or more, Rick Miller at Miller’s Bait & Tackle in Irving has had perchers tell him they sometimes find bigger fish at 20-foot depths.
Move bait schools and competition with round gobies along bottom areas which have perch schools constantly moving; expect to do some moving around spots that provided feeding perch schools as recently as the day before each outing.
Trollers have made runs to much deeper waters between Point Breeze and Irondequoit Bay of late, hitting 400-foot depths and running slightly above and below 60-foot depths for a run of bigger kings. Several of the bigger Chinook have weighed in close to 30 pounds.
A spoon program still picks off a king or two and can lure lake trout and erratic schools of browns, but flies on dodgers or big spinners (cow bell rigs) have been a better draw as waters warm and fish move up and down in feeding zones between 40 and 80 feet. Higher sets might pick off more browns and cohos, but the serious salmon seekers are dropping to fly-setting depths of 60 feet or so during all hours of the day.
The bass bite has been exceptional for shore casters from Wilson Harbor to Irondequoit. Ron Gatz at S & R Bait & Tackle in Rochester has restocked a solid supply of soft-shelled crayfish for the demand on either side of the bay and at its mouth.
A small segment of nightcrawler works well on rock bass at the present time, Gatz added.