By Ted Kessler | 10/03/2013

Our Niagara River salmon season started out really good, but we had a long stretch of warm weather and it’s slowed down a lot recently. It’s turned into feast or famine. One day you get two or three they next you get six.

The high sun and warm temperatures is making things tough on us. The water temperature is 68-69 degrees right now. It should be in the mid-sixties at the warmest. Our thing around here is if you are sleeping with the windows open at night you aren’t catching salmon the next day.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of salmon in the Niagara and if we get a week of heavy rain the bite would be awesome. But, we do need cooler temperatures and a lot of rain to really turn the bite on. From the look of things there’s no cooling or heavy rain in the forecast for the next week.

It’s not an easy bite. Meanwhile, the fish are around. However, they are very spooky with the clear water and they also get sluggish with the warmer water. It’s important to make eggs real light. You want a light, pinkish/orange color as opposed to pink or a red.

You don’t want red out here. Dark colors aren’t as effective because the water is clear and these fish are picky. With the water we have right now there’s probably 10 feet of visibility. You can count the pebbles on the bottom. We are using smaller pieces of bait too, like nickel size pieces. And, I’ve gone down to No. 4 octopus hooks. It’s almost like a steelhead presentation while fishing for salmon.

To achieve that lighter egg I’m talking about I’m mixing three colors of FireCure. I’m using a higher percentage of natural (50 percent) and 25 percent of each the orange and pink. I’m not even using red because the water is so clear.

Hopefully, cooler weather arrives soon. Regardless, the run will go through mid-October and then will wind down. On a positive note, there’s a lot of bigger fish this year. I’m seeing probably an average of three pounds larger than we are used to. The biggest I’ve seen is about 28 pounds.

It’s not difficult to locate salmon. We are attending to deeper sections of the river. I’ve been fishing deeper and faster sections. For the most part, 26 feet deep has been the number we are finding the most fish.

Editor’s Note: Pautzke pro Ted Kessler operates Rivermaster Charters. For more information on his Niagara River salmon trips please visit