The Oak remains mighty.
That is, fishing for trout and salmon out of Oak Orchard Creek, “The Oak” at Point Breeze, offers a remarkable run of king salmon and some impressive brown and steelhead trout thrown into the mix of salmonids staging off the Ontario shoreline right now.
That was the target for Rush TV staging a video shoot of a competition between the Rush staffers and members of the New York State Outdoor Writers Association.
Rush Outdoors TV is a Rochester-based production company specializing in fishing and hunting outings around New York State. To highlight the spectacular season anglers are having on Lake Ontario, planner/promoters at Rush decided to hold a fun-type competition at Point Breeze, a fishing destination site the World Fishing Network selected as its 2013 Ultimate Fishing Town in the United States.
The Oak has lived up to its ranking. Parking lots at marinas all along Oak Orchard Creek get filled early each day that weather and waters allow access to the fantastic fishing.
Mike Lavender, charter captain of Intimidator Sportfishing, took the crew of Rush TV staffers; Jeff Frisby, charter captain of The King, and I piloted a boatload of writers – Melody Tennity along with hubby Frank Tennity of Honeoye, Chris Kenyon of Wolcott, Leon Archer, current state outdoors writers president of Fulton — for a morning of ideal weather and fishing conditions.
Great Lakes angling regulars have seen bounteous catches this summer, with the only downside seen in the number of days of high winds. Those buffeting breezes have often occurred on weekend days when most folks have the chance to enjoy the good fishing.
The wind gods were gracious that Sunday morning, Aug. 11, when the two charter boats joined about 50 other vessels headed out to find fish. A gentle southwest breeze put just a slight chop on the water surface as the sun rose between small patches of clouds to the east. To the west, boaters were setting up close to shore for what has been a regal run of king salmon and steady hammering of steelhead trout. Both cooperated well this day.
Frisby has seen major movement of kings and steelies at a distance of five to seven miles from shore of late. So we began setting up over 400-foot depths with both Stinger Spoons on down rigs and flasher-and-fly rigs on Dipsy Divers sent out on wide angles to pick up fish that may have been spooked by the prop wash.
Lines set 60 to nearly 100 feet have been picking off salmon and trout steadily, but it took a while before the first release went off at 9:48 a.m. Melody, first up in the catch sequence, hooked into what turned out to be our biggest king. That 18.33-pound salmon went for a green spoon.
Archer then took a respectable king, Kenyon nearly nudged out Melody’s leader with an 18-pound entry and Frank Tennity boated a 10-pound steelie that went for a Moonshine (glow-finished) spoon.
Melody’s big fish could not come close to the winning size of the Rush team’s biggest king. Dave Morgan Jr. got lucky and took a 22.7-pound Chinook. Melody’s smallest fish won small-fish honors by a few ounces.
The competition was basically fun. The outing reconfirmed the fantastic fishing going on at this and other ports west and east of Point Breeze this summer. For both Lavender and Frisby, the catch count was solid. Any time boaters can boat more than half the fish that set off releases or tripped Dipsys, the outing is considered a success.
Bigger kings have been caught during the Orleans County and Lake Ontario Counties derbies, but every fish boated this day provided a fight comparable with any saltwater catch.
This king fishery will continue until the salmon finally head into rivers and feeder streams during the fall. Getting to these fish with the right gear can be complex and expensive. Charter boaters all along Lake Ontario can book outings that often end with a box of big bruisers, limit catches and many enjoyable catch-and-release encounters. For a listing of charter boaters out of the Oak, go to wtv-zone.com/riparian/charters.html.
Rush TV has planned a four-part series on this Lake Ontario adventure with New York’s outdoors writers. For details, go to rushoutdoors.com.