Angler’s first salmon nets a $10,000 prize
Rochester, N.Y. – Josh Houghtaling of Windsor, N.Y., was
trolling for the first time ever on Lake Ontario on May 12 when a
fish of large proportions grabbed hold and headed the opposite way
from the boat.
By the time the battle was over, Houghtaling was looking at his
first salmon ever – a fish his friend, David Hodack of Susquehanna,
Pa., figured was over 25 pounds.
Since they were entered in the Lake Ontario Counties Spring
Trout and Salmon Derby, they took their catch to The Boat Doctors
in Olcott to weigh in their prize. The result was a 26-pound,
nine-ounce fish that took over the lead in the competition.
The fish, caught with a purple Renosky stick bait on the Niagara
Bar, Niagara County, held up the remaining three days and
Houghtaling was $10,000 richer as the 10-day LOC Derby
Houghtaling and Hodack had arrived the night before his catch
with the hopes of fishing Thursday morning, but the winds kept
their 21-foot Crestliner “Little Honchez” on the trailer until 2
p.m. when winds started to subside. They were trolling 70 feet down
over 140 feet of water when the king hit, about a mile or two east
of the red buoy marker. Forty minutes later, Hodack netted
Houghtaling’s first king salmon.
Gary Rogers of Liverpool, N.Y., wasn’t far off the pace with a
25-pound, 10-ounce king salmon he caught with a dodger-fly
combination while trolling off Olcott. He managed to best
Christopher Grosse’s 25-pounder that led the derby since the first
day, a king caught on a Northern King spoon while trolling out of
Wilson, Niagara County.
Rogers caught his fish on Saturday afternoon, the final weekend
of the derby, while fishing with his buddy Greg Dale of Liverpool
aboard his 24-foot Thompson, “Troubleshooter.”
Rogers’ son, Ryan, won the LOC Fall Derby back in 1999 with a
In the brown trout category, John Confer of Williamsport, Pa.,
was pulling a small black-and-silver Michigan Stinger spoon between
Fairbanks Point and Pultneyville, Wayne County, when he hooked into
a 16-pound, one-ounce fish to take the top slot in that category.
Confer had been ready to fish with his partner, Gene Spangenberg of
Farmington, N.Y., when Capt. Ken DeVey of Shortsville invited them
on his boat when he received a call that his charter was going to
be late. They headed out in DeVey’s 29.5-foot Penn Yan “Sting Ray”
and worked planer boards in 20 feet of water, using a lead of 150
Keith Hambley of Spencerport, N.Y., was working a 3/4-ounce
white bucktail jig over structure on the famed Niagara Bar when a
monster lake trout hit his offering. By the time he reeled it in,
he knew he had a chance at winning the $1,000 first place prize.
His 22.5-pound laker was the top catch for that category. He was
fishing with Keith Nehrke of Rush and Jeff Ignaszak of Waterloo;
they caught the fish on the opening Saturday at 11 a.m.
Later that day, they thought they had the mother of all lakers
on and a potential overall winner, fighting a monster fish for over
30 minutes. They ended up catching a huge sturgeon that was more
than four feet long.
In the rainbow/steelhead division, John Davis of Gales Ferry,
Conn., came up big by taking a 17-pound, two-ounce steelhead on the
final weekend while fishing out of Sodus Point. He was fishing with
his partner Richard Lewis of Norwich, Conn., aboard his boat
“Sleeping In.” The name turned out to be more than appropriate as
they hit the first-place fish at 6:30 p.m. while trolling a
copper/red Hi Tech spoon off planer boards 150 feet back. They were
fishing off Fairbanks Point, Wayne County.
In the brand new walleye division, John E. Descaro of Elverson,
Pa., was fishing with his father, John R. Descaro off the mouth of
the Oswego River in Oswego County. They were trolling a No. 18
firetiger Rapala when the 12-pound, six-ounce walleye hit their
lure. They immediately motored in to weigh in their catch, but the
station wasn’t yet open yet – it was still only 7:30 a.m. didn’t
open until 9 a.m. Rather than waste any more fishing time, they ran
back out to the same spot, using the same lures and this time it
was dad with a 10-pound, 10-ounce walleye 20 minutes later that was
good for seventh place.
Top youth awards went to Emily Kinmartin of Elma with a
19-pound, 14-ounce salmon caught off Wilson; William Holden of
Hilton with a 13.25-pound brown trout that ended up in 10th place
overall; and Zachary Ziesemer of Olyphant, Pa., with a nine-pound,
Media award winner was Dick Nelson of Palenville, N.Y., with an
18-pound, 15-ounce king he caught out of Olcott.
In an effort to increase registrations, LOC Derby officials
opted to move the dates of the derby to May, two weeks later than
previous years. The result was better weather and angling activity
that was more spread out across the lake. While final registrations
are not yet compiled, Empire State/Lake Ontario Promotions
President Dave Chilson of Rochester was happy with the move and is
excited by what the future holds.
To see the complete listing of 2005 Spring Derby winners, log on
to the Web site at www.loc.org. Dates for the fall LOC Derby are
Aug. 19-Sept. 5.