Upstate New York Fishing Report – August 27, 2020

Greater Niagara Region

Bill Hilts, Jr.

What a busy weekend with no signs of things slowing down. Okay, maybe the weather will have something to say about that. Some storms are in the forecast this week so get out while you can whether it’s for the Lake Ontario Counties Trout and Salmon Derby that ends on Labor Day or the Greater Niagara Fish Odyssey Derby that ends on Sunday.

Jayden Hubert
9 year old Jayden Hubert from Newfane is the current salmon division leader of the Fish Odyssey Junior Division. It weighed 24 pounds, 9 ounces and it was weighed in at The Boat Doctors in Olcott.

The Lake Ontario Counties Fall Derby is just getting warmed up. Leading the way for the $25,000 Grand Prize is a 30-pound salmon from Oswego reeled in by Darrick Baker of Corinth. Top brown trout is 17 pounds, 14 ounces caught by Maria Jackson of Rochester. Biggest steelhead is an 11-pound, 13-ounce fish caught by Scott Diel of W. Henrietta. Make sure you check out the daily prizes! Roll over daily prizes for salmon ($1,000) and brown trout ($500) are in effect for today and with bad weather in the forecast, those numbers will probably increase. The Rainbow/Steelhead roll over is $750. Check out for details.

Reelin' for a Cure ladies tournament
Alex Hajecki (Rick’s wife) from Monroe Co., Stephanie Carey and Ceci Salupo from Wayne County, Connie Lenbaris and Lynn Freid from Ontario County. They scored 154.75 points to win first place in the Reelin’ for a Cure ladies tournament.
Trolling for Tata's
Third place in the tourney was Trolling for Tata’s with Capt. Joe Oakes of Lockport.

In the 44th Annual Greater Niagara Fish Odyssey for Niagara, Erie and Orleans counties, John Snyder of Ransomville is the current Salmon leader with a 25-and-a-half-pound salmon out of Point Breeze. Top Rainbow is an 11-pound, 11-ounce fish reeled in by Mike Paddock of Albion. First place lake trout is currently Matt Dunn of Newfane with a 17-pound, 4-ounce fish caught on a fly on the Niagara Bar. Big brown is Marty Buczkowski of Silver Creek with a 14-pound, 4-ounce Niagara Bar fish caught on N&D cutbait. Speaking of N&D cutbait, this is the time of year when that approach really starts to work. The company is holding a free salmon contest and you do not have to register before you catch your salmon. Simply use N&D cutbait and mark it on your weigh in form for the LOC Derby or the Fish Odyssey or whatever. The winner will receive a case of N&D cutbait (25 packages). Deadline is Sept. 2 to submit a catch. For more information contact ndtackle@netzero.

Matt Mattison
Matt Mattison of Medina with a 10-pound walleye he weighed in at Creek Road Bait and Tackle for the Greater Niagara Fish Odyssey this past week.

Back to the Fish Odyssey, like every year for big walleye, it is tough to beat the Niagara Bar around the green can at the mouth of the river. Usually it is a worm harness doing the catching. However, first place so far was taken on a spoon just to the east of the green can off 4-Mile Creek. The next 3 leaders were taken by jig, jig and Kwikfish. Big bass is Tom Wilson of Lewiston and a 4-pound, 3-ounce Lake Erie fish. Biggest carp is a 17-pound, 15-ounce Olcott fish caught by Michael Boncore of Buffalo.

Fish are spread out across the lake. Being in the right place at the right time can sometimes be more luck and skill. For example, when long-time charter captain Rick Hajecki came down to fish the Reelin’ for a Cure ladies tournament last Friday, his heart told him to go for broke and head deep for bigger fish. However, he had a team of ladies on board, some of whom have never fished before. They were seasick in short order. They ran back to port, got their sea legs, and went back out to 100 to 120 feet of water. They were using flasher/flies and meat fished within 20 feet of the bottom. They won the ladies tournament. Congratulations! A total of 30 teams competed in the fun event raising money for the Breast Cancer Network of WNY. Tuesday, Capt. Mike Johannes of On the Rocks reported mature king action west of his port in 90-100 feet of water – producing a couple 23-plus pound kings that could be big fish of the day in the Odyssey. Flasher and fly, as well as cut bait set-ups are taking the big boys now, but you can still get them on spoons, too. Wednesday morning action was good off 4-Mile Creek on the fringe of the Niagara Bar.

Sen. Tom O'Meara, Sen. Rob Ortt and Outdoor Writer Dave Barus
Sen. Tom O’Meara, Sen. Rob Ortt and Outdoor Writer Dave Barus of East Aurora show off steelhead they caught during a Niagara County VIP Fishing Day last Thursday. Photos were from Dave Barus. They were fishing with Capt. Mike Johannes of On The Rocks Charters in Wilson.

Bass fishing has picked back up in the lower stretch of river from Lewiston to Lake Ontario. Crayfish and shiners have been the live bait working best, but do not rule out artificials like drop shots (rigged with Strike King’s Dream Shots), Ned rigs or tubes. If things are not working for you, try something different. In the upper river, smallmouth bass fishing was good this past week. This is an upper river team bass tournament on Sunday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. hosted by the WNY Bassmasters.

Wayne County Fishing Update

Chris Kenyon

Lake Ontario

The salmon are still scattered. Start in 400 fow and look for bait. Straight out from Hughes’ Marina they have been in 150 fow, so start deep and if your screen shows nothing, work closer to shore.

Green spoons have been working down 90 to 65 over 120 fow. Flasher flies and meat rigs are also catching fish.

Last night’s cold front and west wind should move the temperature around, so look for the breaks and troll through the bait.

Don’t forget about the LOC Fall Derby which runs through September A 30- pound salmon is currently the leader and there are fatter kings than that in Wayne County.


The bass anglers were fishing Port Bay over the weekend. They launched at the south end ramp, which has plenty of room for trailers.

The bass were hitting finesse worm rigs, football jigs, and crankbaits. Fish the weedlines and under docks.

It’s late August and the bass are starting to feed more. They will be hungry right through October.

Erie Canal

The largemouths are hitting on the southern side of canal waters in the Widewaters section. They are extra large fish, weighing five plus pounds. You can fish from a boat or along the canal path.

The canal is great waterway if you have a kayak. The calm waters are perfect for beginners.

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

anglers from New Jersey
A group of anglers from New Jersey had a rather successful day fishing off the shores of Point Breeze on Saturday, August 22nd.

Orleans County

Capt. John Oravec, Tight Lines Charters

Wow! Lake Ontario salmon action off the Orleans County coast is superb! Very solid king action from Bald Eagle to Point Breeze to Golden Hill. Choose your good weather day and run to the 27.5 north line, set up and please stay with the pack. Watch for frequently changing clouds – yank and run inshore if the sky darkens!

Mature Oak Orchard River bound king salmon are averaging 17 to 23# with frequent monsters over 25#. Narby’s has weighed in a bunch of LOC Derby contenders already! Yours truly has been “tweezering” some beauties off ledges with bonus Browns and Atlantics fishing 65 to 95 ft. Tactically, it’s flasher time. Wire divers and 400 to 500 coppers with fly or herring (aka ” meat”) set ups are fooling the big sharks.

Special notes: At the Oak, you can rely on the tackle dealers – Narby’s, Oak Orchard Tackle and Captain’s Cove as well as charters – for rigging tips colors. We here at Orleans County Tourism want everybody to enjoy the king bounty!

A side note: Capt Johnny Oravec (hey, that’s me!) recently captured the KING OF THE OAK championship on Aug. 15th with the 3 largest “sharks” in a crowded field of quality charters!

Derby Updates

The Fall LOC (Lake Ontario Counties) Trout and Salmon Derbybegan this past weekend and runs through Labor Day. $25,000 is up for grabs for the largest salmon caught in the contest. A 30 lb salmon caught off the shores of Oswego is the current leader. An 11 lb 13 oz steelhead caught off the shores of Bald Eagle Marina, Kendall, is the current leader in the Steelhead/Rainbow Trout division. View the Leaderboard here. You can sign up for the entire derby for $40 or fish just one day as long as you are registered prior to 7 AM on the day you fish for $20. Orleans County registration sites are Captain’s Cove Resort, Narby’s Superette & Tackle, Oak Orchard Tackle & Lodge and Bald Eagle Marina. Remember that you must be in it to win it!

The third contest for the trifecta is the Greater Niagara Fish Odyssey Derby for Erie, Niagara, and Orleans counties. The 9-day contest started on August 22 and there are 7 different species categories for the adults and the kids. For the adults, lake trout, brown trout, steelhead, salmon, carp, smallmouth bass, and walleye divisions are available. For the kids it is panfish, sheepshead, carp, walleye, salmon, trout, and bass.  The best part is that kids 15 and under can fish for free!

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