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Niagara Fishing Forecast for Sept. 8, 2016

Bill Hilts Jr

1. Lake Ontario and tributaries – The $25,000 winner in the Fall LOC Derby was Drew Kersic of Philadelphia with a 34 pound, 9 ounce king out of Oswego. He caught it the second last day of the 18 day contest – his first salmon ever on his first fishing trip ever on Lake Ontario. He’s already booked his charter with Capt. Chad Gehrig and “Son of a Gun” for next year. Salmon were caught during the derby all along the lakeshore and the largest caught locally was a 33 pound, 8 ounce king caught by Derrick Martek of Clearfield, PA while fishing with Capt. Harry Zimmerman of Northfork Charters. It was caught on a DW spoon, placing 4th. Mature salmon are continuing to stage and one of the hotspots right now is the drop off at the Niagara Bar. Capt. Matt Yablonsky of Youngstown sends word that fish are holding in 100 to 150 feet of water and flasher-fly is the way to go. Green has been a good color. In Olcott, Wes Walker reports salmon in 60 to 90 feet of water; even shallower under low light conditions. A few salmon and brown trout are starting to show up off the piers, too. Cast heavy spoons like Cleos and Wobblers. A mix of trout and salmon are also available out deep. In the harbors, panfish, pike and bass are available. Not too much to report at Burt Dam. We heard a few browns caught but it was mostly bass and a mix of other fish. Continuing with the LOC Derby, the Niagara USA area did extremely well in the other two divisions – brown trout and steelhead. In the Brown Trout category, the top three fish came from the waters between Wilson and Olcott. First place was Skip Foster of Wilson using a Bay Rat Lure, a stickbait, called “My Secret” behind a dipsy set back 120 feet in 50 feet of water. His son, Scott, also caught the third place brown, a 15 pound, 13 ounce fish on the same day. Second place was Dennis Stabler of Lockport with a 17 pound brown. In the steelhead class, John Jankowski of Sloan reeled in a 15 pound, 15 ounce fish off Olcott and Wilson, 65 feet down over 490 feet of water with a doctored up DW black and silver spoon dressed up with a pink ladderback. Overall, more than 50 percent of all the winning fish came from Niagara USA waters!

2. Lower Niagara River – Bass fishing in the river has been pretty good. So has the walleye fishing, especially on the Bar off the mouth. For bass, Capt. Bruce Blakelock has been using tubes and Ned rigs to take smallmouth up to 5 pounds. Last week, Kim Stricker and the Hook ‘n Look TV Show were putting a hurt on smallmouth and then filming the bottom structure to show off why the fish were hanging out there. They also used a drone to show the effects of currently. Look for that episode of the show in February. For walleye, the duo of John Van Hoff and Randy Tyrrell of N. Tonawanda did well with worm harnesses, catching fish up to 12 pounds. A few fish are being caught off the NYPA platform, but only a couple have been salmon. Mostly it’s been a mix of other fish … including a musky.

Upper Niagara River – Bass fishing in the upper river has been decent, but you do have to work for them. To find out more about upper river bass fishing, check out the new outdoor page with the Buffalo News this Thursday … and every Thursday. Bill Hilts, Jr. shares his insights each week. He no longer writes for Niagara Falls and Lockport papers after making the switch to the Buffalo News last week. For musky, the Niagara Musky Assn. is recommending that you NOT target those fish because it’s just too warm. Water temps are 75 degrees right now. If you do catch a musky incidentally, don’t take it out of the water – release it immediately. Be aware that if you are taking a picture of a musky, do NOT hold it vertically. That’s a no-no. Horizonally-positioned fish only.

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