Upstate New York Fishing Report – August 13, 2020

Greater Niagara Region

Bill Hilts, Jr.

This year’s Greater Niagara Fish Odyssey Derby, set for August 22-30, will be paying tribute to a couple big names in the fishing world that we lost this past year. Mark Daul, co-founder of the Niagara River Anglers Association, left his mark on the local fishing scene through the NRAA. He also had a popular website and penned a few articles for the local paper, too. Capt. Joe Toomey was a popular charter captain who fished the waters of Niagara every spring and also was a perennial Top 10 boat in many of the local tournaments. Thanks for the memories. To find out more about the Fish Odyssey derby, check out On to the fishing …

Mike Rzucidlo
Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls shows off one of the walleye he caught fishing from shore in the Niagara Gorge this week.
Bob DiCesare
Bob DiCesare of Tonawanda caught this personal best walleye in the lower Niagara River fishing with Capt. Arnie Jonathan of Lockport.

In the lower Niagara River, walleye fishing turned on this week. According to John Van Hoff of North Tonawanda , he caught a limit of eyes while fishing with Kevin Gunther of Niagara Falls. They were drifting off the mouth of the river on the Niagara Bar using worm harnesses off 3-way rigs, as well as along the Stella drift. In addition to the walleyes, Van Hoff out-wrestled a 6-foot long sturgeon to the boat before it was released without taking it out of the water. Remember that they are a protected species. Also remember that you must stay in New York waters at all times. Up in the gorge, Mike Rzucidlo of Niagara Falls managed to cast some body baits between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m. to catch some walleye and bass. Shad raps and hot-n-tots worked for the walleyes, Mister Twisters and paddletail jigs worked for bass. Lisa Drabczyk with Creek Road Bait and Tackle says the NYPA platform is still a good spot for bass when water levels allow for it (286-6662 for updates on opening). In the upper river, Rzucidlo did well from a boat working a jig around Grand Island for smallmouth bass. The head of the river is a good spot for bass and sheepshead, too. Ned rigs and Crayfish.

Marielle DiCesare
Marielle DiCesare with a lower Niagara River bass she caught fishing with Capt. Arnie Jonathan of Lockport.
Tanner Niezgoda
Tanner Niezgoda of Newfane and a respectable king salmon he caught out of Olcott.

In Lake Ontario, Capt. Mike Johannes of Wilson reports that the water is still recovering from the east winds we experienced over a week ago. Mature kings are scattered, and a few can be caught from 150 feet of water to 300 feet of water, but it is a grind. The most consistent fishing has been offshore straight out of Wilson from the 28 north line out to the international border. Most of the fish, primarily steelhead, are in the top 50 feet of water and can be caught on bright pink and orange spoons in smaller sizes. A few mature kings are starting to show up mixed in with the steelhead. His best presentations were from a 200-foot copper set-up and 10 colors of lead core. He said to always adjust your direction according to the currents under your boat. Fishing seems to be more productive when your downrigger cables are straight behind the boat and not crabbing or running offset. Always vary your speed especially if you see fish on the screen and they aren’t biting. Karen Evarts with The Boat Doctors in Olcott says the fishing has been tough the last few days, but UV spoons have been working to pick off some salmon and trout. Some mature salmon were caught out deep this week in over 500 feet of water according to Capt. Tom Pearse of Summer School out of Olcott. There was decent bass fishing in Olcott and Wilson harbors on crayfish according to Evarts.

Scott Rohe
Scott Rohe of Cheektowaga hoists a big Olcott salmon he caught this week.
Nick Calandrelli
Capt. Nick Calandrelli of Lewiston with a lunker walleye caught on the Niagara Bar.
Haven Hiller
Haven Hiller of Burt with a couple salmon she caught while fishing with Capt. Tom Pearse of Grand Island while fishing out of Olcott.

August 21 is the Reelin’ for a Cure ladies tournament out of Wilson and Olcott and there is still room available. Call Stephanie Pierleoni at 481-6388. The website is August 21 is also opening day for the Fall LOC derby with nearly $70,000 in cash prizes up for grabs. Visit for details on weigh stations and registration outlets. Good luck and stay safe out there!

Wayne County Fishing Update

Chris Kenyon

Lake Ontario

The king bite was from deep water over the weekend. Straight out from Hughes’ Marina the salmon were in 500 to 600 fow. They were hitting flasher-flies and meat rigs down 100 to 120 fow.

Some of the salmon were turning darker, which is the usual color for August kings.

Start deep and work that water before trolling towards shore.

The current was a problem and you needed to have a good captain at the helm. Some steelhead were in the mix out deep from Sodus Bay.

Don’t forget about the LOC Fall Derby which starts in 10 days. (August 21 through September 7th)


There was a bass contest on Sodus Bay over the weekend and the parking lot at Margaretta Road was ‘packed’ with trailers. The bass fishing on Sodus Bay is excellent with most largemouths hitting rubber and plastic rigs.

You can also launch at Bay Bridge Sport Shop on the south end of the bay. If you decide to do some summer bass fishing, try to be on the water early. Recreational boat traffic can make fishing a challenge on both Sodus and Port Bays.

The 22nd annual Wayne County Youth Derby wrapped up with the McDonalds’s Awards ceremony held outside at the Sodus Point fire hall on Sunday August 9th. Anglers fished in three separate tournaments in one and received prizes and awards for places 1-6. Ken Miller, Chairman of the Wayne County Board of Supervisors, assisted with the awards.

Check out Isabella Vuittonet’s six-pound northern pike on the Wayne County Tourism Facebook page.

Erie Canal

The kayak anglers were fishing the canal on Sunday and were hooking largemouth bass at Widewaters. The catfish are also on the bite in the deeper pools.

Keep informed from the NYS Canal web for changes and restrictions with canal waters.

Charters in Wayne County are Opened for Business

Wayne County Charters are now opened for business. The Finger Lakes region has currently met all the necessary requirements during Phase One to operate their business. All steps and guidelines to ensure safety are listed HERE.

Charters in Wayne County are Opened for Business

Wayne County Charters are now opened for business. The Finger Lakes region has currently met all the necessary requirements during Phase One to operate their business. All steps and guidelines to ensure safety are listed HERE.

Boat Launches Opened

Privately-owned marinas, boat launches, and many other recreational marine locations are now opened.

The official statement from New York State is made in conjunction with similar ones from the governors of New Jersey and Connecticut, is the latest change to the guidance from Empire State Development on what is and isn’t affected by the governor’s Executive Order 202, which ordered employers to reduce the number of employees working at individual locations to help fight the coronavirus pandemic.

The guidance regarding privately-owned marinas, boatyards and recreational marine manufacturers allows for operations and boat repair/maintenance so long as the facilities ‘adhere to strict social distancing and sanitization protocols.’ However, watercraft cannot be used for charters or rentals, and any restaurant facilities there must remain take-out or delivery only.

Safety Precautions from DEC

While enjoying the outdoors, please continue to follow the CDC/New York State Department of Health guidelines (leaves DEC’s website) for preventing the spread of colds, flu, and COVID-19:

  • Try to keep at least six (6) feet of distance between you and others.
  • Avoid close contact, such as shaking hands, hugging, and kissing.
  • Wash hands often or use a hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid surfaces that are touched often, such as doorknobs, handrails, and playground equipment.

When fishing, DEC recommends avoiding busy waters and following the guidelines on DEC’s website about fishing responsibly in New York State. If an angler arrives at a parking lot and there are several cars, they should consider going to another parking lot. If an angler is fishing upstream, they should fish downstream of the other angler or consider fishing another day. Anglers fishing from boats should be able to maintain at least six feet of distance between one another. For more information about the benefits of being outdoors safely and responsibly, go to DEC’s website.

New York State is open for fishing and DEC encourages anglers to recreate locally at a nearby waterbody. New York’s lakes and streams offer great opportunities for fishing in a wide array of settings across the state. Even during the current COVID-19 public health crisis, getting outdoors and connecting with nature while angling in New York’s waters is a great way to help maintain mental and physical health.

Charters and Guides

The “New York State on PAUSE” Executive Order, a 10-point policy to assure uniform safety for everyone during the COVID-19 response, includes a directive that all non-essential businesses statewide must close effective at 8 p.m. on Sunday, March 22, and temporarily bans all non-essential gatherings of individuals of any size for any reason.

At this time, fishing guides or charters of any size have been determined to be not essential and are subject to workforce reduction requirements of the Executive Order. The full and updated guidance on which types of businesses are determined essential and other designations associated with the order can be found online. For more info

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