Bill Hilts Weekly Weekend Fish Locator 

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Bill Hilts Jr. is a past president of the 
New York State Outdoor Writers Association.
In addition to the above, Hilts is an avid outdoorsman, 
an outdoor writer who has contributed articles to numerous 
national and local magazines, newspapers, and other publications. 
Hilts is also responsible for Niagara County Tourism Sportfishing Programs.
He freelances from his home in Sanborn N.Y.  
Hilts was inducted in the New York State 
Outdoorsmen Hall of Fame in the Spring of 2007! 

Email Bill at; Bill Hilts Jr.     
  This column as it appears here is seen in the Niagara Gazette on Fridays.
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Bill Hilts Fish Locator
Bill Hilts Jr.



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On this page is the complete, uncut, unabridged, unedited version of the weekend fishing forecast

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Up to date fishing report for your weekend fishing;
FRIDAY MAY 15 2015   

Weekly Weekend Fishing Report and Weather Forecast [at top]           

A new outdoor show on LCTV (Time Warner Cable Channel 22; Phone number is 716-434-1733; www.lctv.net  is on Wednesdays at 4 pm called “The Outdoor Beat”, bringing aboard local experts on area outdoor activities. It will be live for call-in and also air several other times on Thursday and the weekend. Check it out!

1. Lake Ontario and tributaries – Fishing continues to be very good out in Lake Ontario off the shores of Niagara County for both salmon and trout. According to Capt. Dan Evans of Wilson, fish can be found in the 60 to 140 foot range from 30 Mile Point to the Niagara Bar. While spoons are the primary lure being used, a fair number of fish are also being taken on flasher-fly rigs. Find the river current and locate baitfish to find active fish. Some trout are still available in 18 Mile Creek below Burt Dam, but warm water fish like pike, bass and perch are starting to trun on, too. The ˝ inch of rain earlier in the week helped conditions a little bit. For the fishing trio of Mike Hay of Lake Luzerne, Scott Keeler of Lake Luzerne and Randy Savage of Queensbury, going to school proved to be the ticket to success as they combined to collect the $15,000 Grand Prize check in the spring Lake Ontario Counties Trout and Salmon Derby held May 1-10 by weighing in a 24 pound, nine ounce salmon at Wilson after catching the fish on the Niagara Bar. Hay was the angler reeling in the fish and he was the one who collected the check at the awards ceremony at Sodus Bay last Sunday, but it will be split three ways in the end. As far as credit, they pointed a finger at the Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Association’s Salmon School held during the Greater Niagara Fishing and Outdoor Expo last January. They attended the school and were so impressed with the area that they decided to fish on the Niagara Bar and give it a go. The rest is history. First place in the salmon division was Lee Beaton of Clifton Springs with a 24 pound Niagara Bar king. First place lake trout was Casey Prisco of Matamoras, Pennsylvania with a 24 pound, one ounce fork tail taken out in front of Wilson. Big brown trout was a 16 pound, 10 ounce fish taken by Mike Wichtowski of Rochester taken near Devil’s Nose east of Sandy Creek. Big walleye was hauled in by Travis Parker of Glen Park, a 12 pound, 13 ounce fish taken near Point Peninsula near the Black River. A total of 17 of the top 21 salmon were taken from Niagara USA waters and 19 of the top 20 lake trout were from these productive waters, too. Two of the top brown trout were Niagara fish, as well. For a complete leaderboard list check out www.loc.org . In the Wilson Harbor Invitational Tournament last Saturday, it was the Oh Baby team led by Matt LeClair of Plattsburgh that won the $25,000 check by catching a six fish limit to earn a total score of 152.02 points based on 10 points per fish and a point per pound. Less than 10 points separated the top six teams for the one day contest. Next big fishing contest will be the Lake Ontario Pro-Am Salmon Team Tournaments May 30-31 and June 6-7 out of Wilson and Olcott. Deadline for registering for the Trophy and Classic divisions online is midnight on May 18. For the recreational open division, deadline is 14 days prior to each event – all one day contests for a total of four. Go to www.lakeontarioproam.net  for all the details or for registering.

2. Lower Niagara River – Steelhead are still available throughout the system but the best spot has been in Devil’s Hole according to Capt. John DeLorenzo of Niagara Falls. Fishing three-way rigs with a small minnow or small egg sac has been the most productive method. A small yellow float in the sac is working, like an Oregon cheese color. That same color has been working with small pieces of yarn. A few lake trout have been found throughout the river, but the majority of them have been stacked up at the mouth. Loads of bass around Fort Niagara, too. Jeff Samsel, a writer from Georgia who was in town last week to sample the fishing, had this to say about the area’s fishing action: “I fished three days, and each was a bit different. Day one was on Ontario, just off the bar, and the lake trout bite was crazy good, with the fish hitting crankbaits presented on three-way rigs. I believe our most productive depth range was 50-70 feet, but that was changing daily. Day two we mostly fished at the mouth of the river, where big smallmouths were plentiful and seemingly quite fond of Strike King Gobylicious tubes. We also caught some Coho salmon on tubes. On day three, I fished Buffalo out of Erie, and the bite was a bit off. Of course, “off” for there means about 20 smallmouths up to 5 pounds. The top bait was a bright-colored Yo-Zuri crankbait, but we caught a fish or two on several different things, including tubes, minnows, a drop shot, a jerkbait and a Rat-L-Trap.” The area makes us look good to outdoor media.

3. Upper Niagara River – Waters in the upper river are finally starting to heat up enough to turn on some warm water fishing like perch and crappies. Small tubes, minnows or plastic shadpoles will catch fish for you in any of the bays that offer a bit warmer temperatures from the main river. Excitement is running high with the new proposed muskellunge season in New York. Inland waters musky will open up on the last Saturday in May (May 30 this year), with a minimum size of 40 inches and a limit of one fish if you wanted to keep one. However, this new season does NOT include the Niagara River (upper or lower), Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. Great Lakes regulations will continue to be an opening day of the third Saturday in June (June 20 this year). In addition, the minimum musky size for all Great Lakes waters will be 54 inches in length with a daily limit of one. Scott McKee, president of the Niagara Musky Association, was worried over the possible confusion and asked that we emphasize this a few times in our reports so that anglers better understand the changes. The DEC press release was not clear on the Niagara River. For a greater understanding about musky fishing in general, check out the excellent article in the new Freshwater Fishing Regulations Guide for 2015-16 written by McKee and Tony Scime.

4. Lake Erie and tributaries – Perch action has been good to very good from Sturgeon Point to Cattaraugus Creek. When you launch your boat just look out onto the lake and you can see where everyone is fishing. The 50 foot mark has been a good starting point with limit catches of yellow perch being reported by anglers. A few walleye are starting to show up on some of the reefs and shoals. Night time trolling off Hamburg Beach has been a bit spotty. Work harnesses or stickbaits. Bass action has been a bit slow, but that still means some decent action and some trophy-sized fish. Working the breakwalls is one way to catch fish, using tubes, jerk baits or live bait. Some trout are still available in the tributaries.

5. Chautauqua Lake – Crappies are being caught in the Southern Basin of the lake just off Lakewood Bar in 10 feet of water. Trollers are picking up some walleye from the bell tower to the Prendergast launch with worm harnesses and jointed Rapalas according to Craig Robbins of Jamestown. Try surface trolling just below the top of the water. Evening bite is the best. This water will be a hot target for the new musky season that opens on May 30 this year. Remember that the new regulation is for inland waters only, not for the Great Lakes and the Niagara River.

6. Finger Lakes-Inland Waters –

Oneida Lake – Walleye action has been mostly in the shallows, especially around creek mouths and reefs-shoals. Worm harnesses or jigs tipped with a crawler. Stickbaits, too. Pickerel are all over the place. Use anything flashy. Bullhead are hitting worms and leeches, while a few black crappie have been reported in Toad Harbor. Remember that bass season is catch and release only, artificial baits only.

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<<<<< This was the catch of the week with 9 year old Corey Fekete of Ransomville reeling in his first ever lake trout while fishing with dad and grandpa off Fort Niagara in 30-40 ft of water, dragging spoons (silver and black) Corey (just turned 9) caught this by himself but it was too big and jumpy for him to hold




<< << Pier casters are picking up browns in Olcott and Wilson, including Mark Vogt, Jr. of Newfane who landed a dandy 12 pounder.






<<<<Patrick Beckman of Traverse City, Michigan was trolling between Wilson and the Niagara River in 130 feet of water when he hooked into a 29 pound, 11 ounce king salmon.






<<<<< Ed Klejdys of North Tonawanda is tops in the lake trout category with a 32 pound, four ounce Niagara Bar fish.




Comerford [on right]  from E. Aurora - Darryl Day [on left] from St Catherines Ont.   Summer 2013 LOC Derby

Grand Prize LOC Winner John Tustin (L) with Sammy White. [Left Picture] 
Right Picture: Area anglers Marc Dunn (left), Matt Dunn (right) and Doug Parker II with the First Place LOC salmon

From a prior weeks Hilts Locator and its about dropshotting for bass: [Lake Erie] Capt. Jim Hanley sends word that just prior to the Labor Day weekend and the nasty weather he had experienced some of his best fishing of the year around Sturgeon Point, Myers Reef and Seneca Shoal. You could catch all the 14-15-inch smallmouth bass you wanted in 25 feet of water or you could slide out a bit deeper – out to 45 feet – to catch some bigger fish up to 5 pounds, six ounce for him. He had back to back days of 120 bass coming to the boat. Top bait was crayfish and Gulp green worms fished on a drop shot rig. « Go to Link

 Outdoors Forum Here  [Daily Reports]

Olcott Beach Wins Ultimate Town Fishing Contest!

Drop Shotting the Niagara River and Lakes! HERE ODN Exclusive!  
A perch killer at Seneca Lake tipped with live minnows!- Feel everything -Almost weedless!

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Go to the Official DEC Press release regarding the VHS Disease in fish


Niagara River Cabela's Masters Walleye Tournament story in photos HERE 

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FRIDAY FEBRUARY 13 2009 - We must preface this report with some sad news. One of the local giants in the sportfishing industry passed away this week. Capt. Doug Stein of Grand Island, a charter captain and guide for many years, died after a valiant bout with cancer. Doug was the president of the Niagara River Anglers Assn. for nearly a decade, with one of his big initiatives being the first pen rearing project for salmon in the county. He was one of those guys willing to go out on a limb to support what he believed in and always willing to help when work needed to be accomplished to help the sportfishery along. He was a big man with an even bigger heart and I’m proud to say that he was a friend of mine. We fished, hunted and shot together and he will be sorely missed by many. Bill Hilts Jr.

Shawn Pinkham [L] Gary Rammy Jr. [R]
With 35# 12 oz. Salmon ~ LOC Derby Leader
Wayne Peters Photo

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