Donald Stacknick had never fished in a Lake Ontario Counties Trout and Salmon Derby before the summer of the novel coronavirus. The Dalton, Pa. angler was invited to fish in the contest with his friends, Cody and Scott Reese of Nicholson, Pa., on July 18.
The rest is history.
The trio managed to reel in a 30-pound, 6-ounce king salmon while fishing out of Fair Haven in Cayuga County to take the $10,000 grand prize in the competition that began June 27 and ended July 26.
Fishing out of Reese’s 24-foot Penn Yan named Grey Fox, Stacknick and the Reeses headed into the lake off Moon Beach in 120-240 feet of water. They were trolling a Rhys Davis meat rig behind 8-inch Pro Troll E-Chip Flasher in Mountain Dew — the meat was an alewife that they had caught in the harbor last June when they were spawning.
Using a Chinook Diver on a 4 setting, 190 feet back, the feisty salmon grabbed hold of the baitfish and took off. Twenty minutes later he was in the net.
“We don’t have any plans for the grand-prize money yet,” Stacknick said at the scaled-down awards ceremony in Sodus Bay. “We were more concerned with hoping our salmon ended up as the grand-prize winner.”
Cindy Culverwell of Ransomville came up just short on the final weekend of the derby. Fishing with her husband, Wayne, aboard their 21-foot Fish Hawk Celebrity named All In, they were fishing five miles west of Wilson, Niagara County, in 60 feet of water.
“We came into shallower water, running a wire diver 108 feet back on a No. 3 setting with an 8-inch Dreamweaver 2-face Spin Doctor with a Diabolical meat rig and N & D cut bait,” Culverwell recapped. “And, at 29 pounds, 12 ounces, it was the biggest salmon that I have ever reeled in.”
That catch did win the $1,000 first-place Salmon Division prize as well as a $500 check for the big salmon of the week. All In also earned a check for $750 for the largest salmon caught by a Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Association member.
The second-place salmon, a 29-pound, 9-ounce king, was reeled in by Brandon Weiland of Pine City. He was fishing with Dan Jochem of Elmira, who owns the 28-foot Baha named Escape to the Oak they occupied, and Chris Bernal of Elmira. The trio was trolling out of the “Oak” in Orleans County; it was Weiland’s first time fishing Lake Ontario and first time trolling. They were using a wire diver set back 150 feet on a No. 2 setting, using a 2-face green DW Spin Doctor and an A-Tom-Mik stud fly.
“The fish screamed out 700 feet from the reel, and we had to turn the boat to chase it down,” Weiland relayed. “We thought we lost it.”
Dustin Presutti of Montour Falls caught a 29-pound, 8-ounce king that led the grand-prize chase for more than two weeks; he wound up third in the Salmon Division. He was fishing out of Hughes Marina in Wayne County with an A-Tom-Mik meat rig behind a wire diver set 260 feet back on a No. 4 setting over 82 feet of water. He was fishing with his son, Emmitt, his stepdaughter, Kendra Huntsinger, Beaver Dams resident Jason Oakes, and Shawn Horrstan of Watkins Glen. They were aboard Horrstan’s 24-foot Bayliner named Irish Rose.
Cody Milanese of Ballston Spa outlasted a 26-pound king to take the Youth Award in the Salmon Division. He was using a Pro Troll e-chip flasher with a meat rig in Henderson Harbor.
In the Brown Trout Division, Marc Skirvin of Henrietta had always dreamed of catching a 20-pound brown trout, even from his days of fishing Flaming Gorge when he lived in Utah. On July 4, he accomplished that magical feat when he weighed in a 20-pound, 1-ounce brown he caught off Wautoma Shoals. Trolling in 60 feet of water behind a Chinook diver set back 150 feet, it was a Psycho Perch Warrior spoon that tricked the trophy fish into hitting.
Yes, he is mounting the fish through a local taxidermist, he said.
The second-place brown trout belonged to be Skirvin’s fishing buddy, George Lusink of Rochester. He reeled in a 17-pound, 3-ounce brown from Skirvin’s 21-foot Lund named Cash Auto. Lusink was using the same Chinook Diver setup and Warrior spoon to cash.
Bobby Mallory of Baldwinsville caught a 14-pound, 14-ounce fish to win the Youth Award in the Brown Trout Division. He was using a Michigan Stinger spoon off Wayne County at Hughes Marina.
It was a bit of a monopoly for charter captain Richard Nau and the Praying Mantis boat out of Pulaski. His 28-foot Steigercraft was responsible for the top three lake trout this summer, starting with the 24-pound, 9-ounce fish reeled in by John “Jack” Rosenswie of Smethport, Pa. They were fishing off the north dunes at Montario Point in 145 feet of water, right on the bottom. The lucky lure was a combination of an 8-inch Pro Troll e-chip flasher with a homemade lure, producing the biggest laker ever for Rosenswie.
Second place went to Rosenswie’s fishing partner, Richard DuBois of Pulaski, with a 23-pound, 3-ounce lake trout. The attractor for this fish was cowbells, but used Nau’s “secret” homemade lure. It was a personal best for DuBois.
Dominic Shombs of Lexington Park, Md., was the Youth Award winner for the Lake Trout Division with a 19-pound, 4-ounce Orleans County fish reeled in off Point Breeze. It placed 14th overall in the division.
In the new Walleye Division for the Summer Derby, Mike Daley of Sackets Harbor pulled some last-minute fishing heroics out of his hat to reel in a 12-pound, 1-ounce walleye the final Saturday of the contest to win first place by 2 ounces. He was fishing with his wife, Faye; Robert Parker of Sackets Harbor; and Sue Matthews of Cato. They were fishing just outside Calf Island, in 40 feet of water, aboard Parker’s 23-foot Islander named Fishing Impossible.
Trolling a Reef Runner lure in a Gray Ghost pattern 130 feet back behind their planer board, the fish hit on a turn as the stickbait increased its speed. That’s when the winner hit, the largest walleye that Daley has ever caught.
The runner-up walleye, a fish that led the division for two weeks, was an 11-pound, 15-ounce trophy hauled in by Matt Plumpton of Watertown. He caught the fish on a Husky Jerk lure he simply referred to as “the weapon.” He was fishing with Jason Smola of Liverpool, trolling the lure 150 feet back over 35 feet of water in “the eastern basin of the lake.”
The Youth Award walleye was a 9-pound, 8-ounce catch reeled in by 14-year-old Parker Kohlback of Sandy Creek. He was fishing with his father Frank aboard his 19 1/2-foot Islander, Pondskipper. They were fishing in Henderson Harbor, using a purple Reef Runner, 125 feet back behind a planer board. The fish placed fifth overall in the division.
For a complete leaderboard list, check out www.loc.org.
The granddaddy of the three annual LOC Derbies, the fall event, is slated for Aug. 21 through Sept. 7. The grand prize is $25,000 for the largest king, and more than $69,000 in cash prizes will be up for grabs.
FLW Tour visits Cayuga Lake
Last month’s news that the Bassmaster Elite Series event on Cayuga Lake would not be held due to New York’s COVID-19 regulations came as a blow to the Union Springs and northern Cayuga Lake area.
However, the Fishing League Worldwide Outdoors event — it’s commonly referred to as the FLW Tour — went ahead as scheduled July 25-26. The tour’s Phoenix Bass Fishing League Northeast Division doubleheader featured anglers hailing from New York and neighboring states not on the “hot list” issued by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office.
John Lorenzo of Kane, Pa., totaled 21 pounds, 6 ounces with his five bass to take first place in Saturday’s boater division. He bested Bethlehem, Pa. angler Mike Shumanis by 14 ounces while taking home $4,037 in prize money.
George Yund of Glenmont, Albany County, was the leading New York angler. Yund was fifth.
Tim Nichols of Pittsgrove, N.J., was the top co-angler in Saturday’s event with 18 pounds, 15 ounces. He took home $2,019. Pennsville, N.J. contestant Logan Fitzpatrick was 7 ounces off the winning pace in second place.
William Allie of Wynantskill, Rensselaer County, led New York anglers, finishing in a three-way tie for fifth place.
Clifford Chilson of Liverpool (boater division, 6-4) and Matthew Karil of Boyertown, Pa. (co-angler division, 5-11) weighed in the heaviest basses on July 25.
On July 26, Cato angler Chris Sperling topped the boating division with five bass weighing 21 pounds, 4 ounces. That was more than a pound better than runner-up Tyler Conde of Chepachet, R.I. Sperling carted home $11,761 in prize money.
Macedon contestant Casey Smith placed fourth with 19 pounds, 4 ounces of bass.
Bradford fisherman Evan Luta’s 6-pound, 1-pound smallmouth was the heaviest weighed in the boater division.
Mike Wotanowski of Lake Hopatcong, N.J., was the top co-angler July 26. His five bass totaled 19 pounds, 10 ounces, nearly 3 pounds better than runner-up Michael Burke of Breinigsville, Pa. Woatnowski won $1,835.
Fifth-place finisher Kyle Smith’s 6-pound, 6-ounce bass was the biggest in the co-angler division. Smith hails from Williamstown, N.J.
Jordan LaClair of Morristown, St. Lawrence County, led New York anglers in sixth place.
Hunting, trapping licenses to go on sale
New York state hunting and trapping licenses and Deer Management Permits for the 2020-2021 season go on sale Monday.
Licenses and permits can be purchased at any one of DEC’s license-issuing agents, by telephone at 1-866-933-2257, or online (leaves DEC website). The new hunting and trapping licenses are valid from Sept. 1 through Aug. 31, 2021, while annual fishing licenses are valid for 365 days from date of purchase.
Purchasing a hunting or trapping license helps support DEC’s important conservation projects and ensures the future of natural resources for generations to come.
Beginning Monday, the DEC Call Center is accessible from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.,weekdays, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays through Oct. 1. Regular call center weekday hours will resume on Oct. 2.
Individuals should have the following items ready when buying a license:
• Complete contact information (e.g. name, address, email address, telephone number).
• DEC customer ID number (if applicable).
• Proof of residency (e.g., driver’s license or non-driver’s ID with a valid New York state address).
• If purchasing by phone or internet, a valid credit card.
If not already entered in DEC’s automated licensing system, individuals are required to provide proof of hunter or trapper education certification or a copy of a previous license for all hunting and trapping license purchases. For additional information, visit the General Sporting License Information webpage on DEC’s website.
New Yorkers can enjoy hunting continuously from Sept. 1 (squirrel) into April (snow geese).