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Lake Erie

Perch searchers are scattered at varying depths either side of Cattaraugus Creek but the big bite comes from walleyes from Buffalo to Barcelona Harbor.

Boaters out of Sturgeon Point head west and start working what has to be thermals now set up just east of the Catt. Few trollers will share trolling techs, but midsized minnow baits have been solid since the first schools of suspended ’eyes were first sighted in late spring.

High winds stir up waters between outings, but the walleye schools hold solid at depths of 75 to 105 feet between the Catt and westward to the Pennsylvania state line.

Trolling speeds vary, depending on the lures used. Large-lipped, round bodies such as Hot ’N Tots and banana-baits such as flatfish and Kwikfish will take some slowing down to keep the bodies from turning up and fluttering towards the surface. Boaters with big, main motors go with trolling motors that can throttle down to speeds around one mile per hour.

For short-lipped minnow/stick baits a troll at less than 2 mph might do. Best option is to check out each of the baits as they flutter next to the boat before letting them out to scout. Bait should move along with a flutter but not erratic side runs, dips and lift/arcs as it moves through the water.

Turning is another factor when trolling. Worm harnesses give off different glitter from spinner blades, but hard bodies get even more attention when they begin turning in a different direction.

Direction is yet another aspect. Many a walleye – along with bass and trout – will hit a lure that starts to head to the surface. For this reason, many trollers pop lines out of down rigs and side planers every few minutes for two reasons: (1) to check on smaller, unwanted fish (white perch, white [silver] bass, and runt game fish) and (2) to attract a fish tracking but not hitting a lure running in a straight line.

The walleye fishery may continue for another few weeks, but boaters set up for this fishery should get out there quickly. Last year at this time the bite was beginning to wane and by mid-August schools had moved out to mid-lake waters and started heading west.

Lake Ontario

The steelies still stay out deep and feed high, but trollers along the shoreline off Olcott Harbor are seeing brown trout inside 60-foot depths and some king salmon mixed in with the browns.

Wes Walker at Slippery Sinker Bait & Tackle in Olcott has the spoons working high and close to the surface and a flasher-fly rig down deeper.

Speed is essential; a J-Plug, which needs speed to run properly, has been effective at many depths so far during the early, on-shore run of salmon. Walker gets reports of the occasional brown taken on the harbor piers between bass bites.

Inland Lakes

• Conesus Lake – The bass bite, mainly smallmouths, has been good lakewide but a bit better along the eastern shore, says Ted Decker at Ted’s Tackle in Lakeville. Smallies seem to get more active as the sun rises; boaters and shore casters need not be out at sunrise for all the action.

Pike have been active at the south end, hitting sucker chubs all hours of the day.

• Honeoye Lake – The bluegill bite continues solidly, and walleye trollers have run bottom bouncers with small worm harnesses at depths of 15 to 20 feet for a nice run of walleye.

Hitchhiker hazards

All kinds of warnings were issued earlier this summer and new rules were set for Lake George waters, but the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation urges boaters to ramp up their observations of aquatic hitchhikers that frequently freeload rides on boat trailer rigging. With the increased growth of aquatic plant life, boat trailers can accumulate more green growths on their undercarriages when being pulled from launch-ramp waters.

The office has assigned checkers at various sites around the state, especially along the Great Lakes shoreline. With increased weed growth, trailers can easily collect Eurasian milfoil, hydrilla, water chestnuts; bait wells could harbor spiny water fleas, zebra/quagga mussels, and other unwanted aquatic life.

Everything from the hitch strap on the bow to the lower unit and propeller on the motor should be checked closely for green growths and creature presence.

Fishing contests

• Lake Ontario Counties (LOC) Fall Derby, salmon and trout divisions, Aug. 15-Sept. 1. Visit loc.org.

• 38th Annual Niagara Fish Odyssey, many fish species divisions for fish from Lake Ontario, Lake Erie and the Niagara River, Aug. 16-24. Visit fishodyssey.net.

• Niagara River Anglers Association Lower Niagara River Walleye Contest, Lewiston Landing, Sunrise-2 p.m., Aug. 23. Call 807-6248.

email: odrswill@gmail.com