Fishing forays are on the way for kids and adults at all levels of involvement.
A major tourney and an enjoyable youth fishing clinic welcome anglers on Saturday. Good recreational angling awaits those with the right baits on just about every public-access waterway in Western New York.
While waters warm and fish of all species are feeding in relatively shallow water, the bass and musky seasons do not open until the third Saturday each year in New York State, which is early this year – June 15. Ontario does do not open for bass until June 22.
If you think you have the perch population figured out, tell me. Each time out, there is a different pattern and progression. In general, the open-water fishery is in deep water. But, after learning that, the set-up program could be a run-and-gun one day and then a wait-’em-out the next day.
Two trips ago, we anchored five times before finding fish off Sturgeon Point.
Last Friday, it took almost an hour of sonar cruising from depths of 46 feet to a weak-looking spot at 59 feet directly off Grandview Point west of Sturgeon Point.
At that one anchor site, located without a sign of bait schools along the way, the fishing began to pick up. A 13-incher hit a spreader with a 6-incher on the other hook. The maze of monster and mini perch continued all morning. Each time I planned to pull the anchor, another 13-incher gave the minnow a slight tap and fought like an 18-inch walleye.
Boaters give differing depths for hot spots: 52 off Sturgeon Point, 58 off Grandview/Point Breeze, 48-58 off Evangola, 46-62 off Cattaraugus Creek and a few have done well in less than 40 feet off the Dunkirk Harbor marker buoy. All this could change once the weekend arrives.
The weekend includes the start of the Southtowns Walleye Association’s Annual Walleye Tournament (details below) and a Saturday kids outing. It also marks the onset of some good recreational fishing for trollers, drifters and casters.
Trollers have found walleye at depths as shallow as 35 feet off the Evans-Angola Bar and a few fish west of Cattaraugus Creek at depths of less than 60 feet. Barcelona Harbor has been the big stir for walleye action, numbers rather than sizes so far.
At Cattaraugus Creek, the perch bite has been fair, but the catfish run is outstanding, says Rick Miller at Miller’s Bait & Tackle in Irving. The action has been good day or night; sizes have run from 10-inch runts to 20-pounders. Nightcrawlers have been the best of baits.
Southtowns Walleye Tournament
The Annual Southtowns Walleye Tournament begins at midnight Friday and continues on Lake Erie until June 16. An Awards Picnic is set for June 22 at the club’s new headquarters, 5895 Southwestern Blvd. in Hamburg.
Anglers can sign up during the club’s meeting Thursday, which starts at 7:30 p.m. Anyone interested in serving as a weigh station volunteer can attend a training session at 6 p.m. before the meeting. For details on this and other club functions, call 649-8202 or go to southtownswalleye.org.
Trollers keep moving deeper and the water column is setting up fairly well for a summer-long trout and salmon fishery on Lake Ontario, according to charter captain Bob Cinelli out of Olcott Harbor.
Between lakewide and local derbies, Cinelli and other charter boaters put clients onto nice mixes of Chinook (king) salmon, coho salmon, brown trout and steelhead trout over depths out to 350 feet.
Most of the action is less than 100 feet down, with a flasher-and-fly rig working deeper and spoons, with the occasional minnow-type hard bait, connecting well right now.
Kids Fish Outing
The Erie County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs and the Department of Environmental Conservation partner to present a “Youth & Family Event” (fishing clinic and outing) at Tifft Nature Preserve starting at 10 a.m. Saturday.
Federation folk and DEC staffers will have learning stations and fishing gear, including bait, to help kids get set up and catch fish in Lake Kirsty.
The fishing will be followed with a free Sahlen’s lunch and prizes for youths. For details, call Dave Barus (597-4081); to register, call 851-7010.
The 12th Annual Greater Niagara BassEye Celebrity Challenge is set for a Thursday evening (June 27) gathering and an angling outing out of the NFTA Small Boat Harbor on June 28.
Celebrities are being confirmed and a new site for the Thursday evening bash has been established for this year. Look for a detailed column about this year’s BassEye event on the Outdoors Page this Sunday.