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Published: October 15, 2009 11:44 pm

FISH FORECAST: King salmon action still hot

By Bill Hilts Jr.
Niagara Gazette

1. Lake Ontario and tributaries

Burt Dam has been snapping pretty consistently the past week according to Wes Walker at The Slippery Sinker. Another large slug of salmon made it up to the dam the past week through 18 Mile Creek, both kings and cohos. Catch of the week was a 33-pound, 12-ounce male Chinook reeled in by William Roberts of Pennsylvania and caught at the dam. Quite a few brown trout moved in at mid-week, too, and some steelhead have joined in on the party. Pier fishing for all these species can be good if the winds allow for access. Casting spoons, spinners or stickbaits — anything with some flash — should produce some fish for you. Some browns and kings were being caught off the piers in Wilson, too. Some perch and pike were being reported in both harbors. Wilson was also producing a few crappie.

2. Lower Niagara River

Action is the lower Niagara continues on for king salmon with most boaters averaging two or three fish. Capt. Steve “Two Fish” Drabczyk of Lewiston lived up to his name last Wednesday as he managed to catch local angler Tim Prendergast of Pendleton his first salmon ever. Treated egg skein fished off three-way rigs did the trick. Finding the right color eggs can sometimes make a difference and once the right combination was found, boating two salmon came easier for the boat. Just a reminder that the Lewiston launch ramp will probably be closed down for construction work starting Oct. 20, anywhere from two to four weeks. Last Sunday was the annual Bunky Derby held out of Lewiston Landing. The fun contest is held in memory of the late Capt. Ron Messig, a celebration of his life as a lower river guide. This year, a total of 18 boats competed for cash prizes and trophies, with the remainder to be donated to the American Brain Tumor Association. By the close of weigh in at 2 p.m., Capt. Ted Kessler of Grand Island was the top dog at 23.4 pounds. Just a fraction off the pace was Vince Kaminska of Niagara Falls with 23.3 pounds. Third place went to the boat of Capt. John DeLorenzo of Niagara Falls. When the cash prizes were presented, each and every one donated their money back to the cause. And after outside donations were received during the event, a total of $1,000 will be sent to ABTA — the group’s largest donation to date and a tribute to the quality of people associated with this event. Connie Adams-Meesig of Lewiston spearheaded the event with a long list is volunteers to help out. What a food fest to top off the celebration, along with a beautiful sunny day. That’s what it’s all about. Tip of the week comes from Ernie Calandrelli of Lewiston who shares that if you’re throwing your salmon in someone else’s boat when heading up the hill at Lewiston for the cleaning station, make sure that the females — prizes for the precious egg cargo — are not wedged between the motor and the boat. When the motor is trimmed up, it could crush the eggs and render them useless as bait.

3. Upper Niagara River

As water temperatures continue to drop, musky action will continue to improve. Casting large tube jigs is one way to produce a fish or two and some anglers are having success around Strawberry Island, Thompson’s Hole and the Huntley Power Station. Trolling large body baits in Buffalo harbor and other favorite musky haunts should produce some fish a bit more consistently. Bass fishing is an option right now, too, as they go on their fall feeding frenzy.

Bill Hilts Jr. is a past president of the New York State Outdoor Writers Association. Contact him at bhiltsjr69@cs.com.