Bait schools on both Great Lakes have held out deep and anglers have had to do some running and sonar reading to find where the fish are foraging.
With gas prices high and seeing spikes if not soaring spells, boat-motor running has become a big factor in planning trips and treks.
Both Erie and Ontario offer good schooling of bait and game fish at depths and distances boaters with mid-sized vessels can work, with prospects of nice catch successes.
Inland lakes with some depth and defined weed lines show prospects for both bass and cold-water species. Cayuga, Seneca and Keuka lakes all got mentions for better-than-average trout and salmon presence this late summer season.
For a panfish panoply, Honeoye, Conesus and Chautauqua lakes all offer varying sizes of yellow perch. Silver Lake cottagers have seen nice numbers of bigger bluegills throughout this season.
Waters not on the level
Boaters have to be cautious when launching and motoring near shore this drought-stricken summer.
On two recent northern Ontario fly-in fishing trips and a visit to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Erie’s shoreline on Saturday we saw water marks close to two feet below normal.
Check ramp runways before launching, watch for reefs and rock crops that usually are well below a motor’s prop and skeg, back up slowly to clear weed masses from the propeller, and watch to make sure the motor is pumping water through the cooling system and is not clogged with mud.
Boaters out of Buffalo Harbor and Sturgeon Point have seen some nice walleye and perch schooling. Walleyes remain in 40-foot depths at the head of the river; trollers out of Sturgeon Point head farther west and set up well past 60-foot depths to roll a few marble-eyes.
Perchers are seeing a tightening of schools and fair numbers at 60-foot depths off Evans-Angola Bar and west toward Point Breeze.
For either walleye or perch, the trip word is “search.” Bait schools move somewhat fast and walleyes move even faster. Few sonar readings of suspended bait come clear of walleye at or just below their center mass.
Trollers from Barcelona to west of Sturgeon still see greater numbers when running worm harnesses. With all the talk of purple/black, green/silver, silver/blue and other spinner blade color combinations has come major mention of copper and orange – cited two weeks ago for not only first-light flights, but also throughout the day during overcast or direct-sunlight stretches.
Charter Captain Joe Fonzi of Thumbs Up Charters has had some happy days at bass competitions. On Aug. 11, Fonzi finished first with a five-bass total weight of 21.55 pounds in an ABA (American Bass Association) competition at Henderson Harbor.
The next weekend he upped his standings in FLW Everstart rankings with a 13th place finish at Clayton Aug. 17 and 18. His 10-fish total there was 36.6 pounds.
This past weekend, Fonzi teamed with Larry Mazur, both Ranger Boat pros with area and national winnings, to win the Canadian Sportsmen Fishing League competition on the upper Niagara River.
On Saturday, Fonzi and Mazur posted 25.25 pounds for five fish; Sunday total went to 25.65 pounds. The team won best total and individual weights for both days, along with a motor-class win for their Ranger boat entry.