Hunters take to the fields and forests this morning for the statewide spring wild turkey season opener, which goes from a half hour before sunrise until noon daily during May.
Afternoon and evening fishing forays can double the pleasure these warm spring days with continuing good trout prospects, a great start for panfish (bluegill, crappie, perch, bullheads, etc.), and the walleye, northern pike and tiger musky opener set for midnight Friday.
Shore anglers have hoards of options. Night outings include lower Niagara River smelt dipping and bullheads just about everywhere along shallow mud flats that have yet to become weeded. Boaters head out to deep and shallow waters for good numbers of perch, trout and salmon.
First thing Friday, Lake Ontario anglers can start hooking into entries for the Lake Ontario Counties Spring Derby, which goes to 1 p.m. on May 12. Anglers can enter several divisions for trout, salmon and walleye, with cash prizes to twentieth place.
Starting at 4 p.m. May 12, a Spring Derby awards gathering will be held at Captain Jack’s on Sodus Point. For complete details on the 2013 slate of derbies go to loc.org.
Tackle store opening
Ted Decker is readying bait and tackle items for a grand opening of Ted’s Tackle on Friday, the day before the walleye opener. Ted’s motto “Good things come to those who bait” will be well served at his store on Route 15 on the west side of the road in Lakeville.
With the closing of two nearby bait and tackle shops last fall, the western Finger Lakes had a void of bait stores between Silver Lake and Canandaigua Lake, until now. For store details, check with Decker at (585) 429-0587.
Walleye trollers could see good ‘eye activity when the season starts at midnight Friday. Surface temperatures in the high 40s should have post-spawn fish foraging the shallows for feed. Perch seekers have headed slightly deeper this past week, with the better catches coming between Hanover and Evangola State Park.
“Artpark has been better than Lewiston so far for smelt,” said Lisa Drabczyk at Creek Road Bait & Tackle in Lewiston. Rainbow smelt schools move sporadically and feast-or-famine results show from night to night. But the smelt run is on and, when schools move close to the river’s shoreline, dippers can get an eight-quart limit on a few passes.
Boaters can drift over and around the edges of the Niagara bar for a solid run of lake trout, good numbers of brown trout and a hope for the repeat of last year’s run of cohos. Lakers go for Kwikfish or a live minnow; brown trout numbers increase when drifting a three-quarter to 1-ounce jig.
Wes Walker at Slipper Sinker Bait & Tackle in Olcott sees things opening in all directions for boaters and shore anglers. Olcott Pier casters hit into brown trout and coho salmon, with an occasional bass biting trout and salmon tackle. Walker also sees a continued presence of steelies and browns up Eighteen Mile Creek to below Burt Dam.
Perch fishing, depending on the wind and movement of larger predators, can be good in Wilson Harbor, Olcott Harbor, Golden Hill State Park and much of the Oak Orchard Creek/River. On the lake, shoreline trollers see hits from a nice mix of brown trout, with lake trout holding close to bottom a bit deeper at 40-to-80 feet.
“The crappie bite is on fire,” said Skip Bianco at Hogan’s Hut in Stow. Burtis Bay and the Mayville weed beds have produced the better catches. Perch have run runt-sized except in some shallow areas of the South Basin; bigger bluegills have shown at Celeron and Burtis. Walleye have moved into weeded shallows.