Despite the recent rainfall, the Lake Erie water level is low according to reports from walleye anglers.
That fact alone haunts traditional spring time starting points.
Jim Markham at the Department of Environmental Conservation Dunkirk based fisheries station commented that nocturnal anglers will have to use caution while navigating the shallows off Van Buren Point and DJ's campground.
OBSERVER Photo by Gene Pauszek
From left, Christian Barone, Stacey Butcher and Kaitlyn Barone show off a nice Lake Erie small mouth bass they caught and released while using a white maribou jig off the Dunkirk Pier.
Rock croppings and structures are even sticking out of the water at some points. There has been some walleye success reported locally, but better numbers have been taken closer to Brocton and off Hamburg Beach, according to the creel census personnel. Yellow Perch fishing has also been a catch when catch can situation with strong winds keeping offshore anglers close to home. The Lake Erie perch have reportedly already spawned which makes for better fishing, but the fish can often hold tight in small pods or groupings. Use your electronics to locate suspect schools of fish. Fish might be shallower this time of year also.
Catfish are abundant in Cattaraugus Creek right now according to DEC reports, too.
They were doing field work recently and noted good numbers of cats in the "Cat." Bass fishing has picked up too for shore-bound anglers as well as the boaters. This time of year a variety of baits will work, but a jig and white grub artificial will work on a wide variety of fish as will a stick bait trolled at a slow clip.
A report from the Happy Hooker bait & Tackle in Ashville indicates the crappie have turned on again, but anglers will have to sift through a lot of sub legal fish to find a hand full of keepers. Yellow perch and blue gills will keep you busy. Live minnows are hard to beat for action on pan fish, but tube jigs will work.
Day time bullhead fishing continues in the shallow section of Chadwick Bay Marina. There has been some walleye success reported from Chautauqua Lake with shore casters connecting off Lakewood Beach, Chenneys Point and the bridge on the Stow side. Boaters have also found fish can be selective with rapala stick baits working one day and Storm Thundersticks doing the trick the next.
Saturday, May 12, is the 8th Annual Allen Wojatkowiak Memorial Hunt of a Lifetime Fundraiser Shootout held at the Westfield Fish & Game Club on Ogden Road. The event will feature dinner for the non-shooters as well as various fundraisers and trap, skeet and doubles trap. Contact Mike Nasal at 998-9720. This event is open to the public.
The Lake Ontario Counties Fishing Derby is from May 4-13. For information, call 888-REEL-2-IN or visit www.loc.org.
The Southtowns Walleye Association annual one-day perch tournament will be May 19. Weigh-in is at the Southtowns Walleye Club and fish time is from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. The best five yellow perch by weight will win the event. For information, call 549-3515.
"Special People Fishing Days" will be May 12. This program is for handicapped youths and adults who would like to fish. Call Dave Woodworth at 549-3515 for information.
The tentative date for the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club's Take-A-Kid-Fishing Day is June 9.
Watch for application forms to be available at the Con Club this week.
The 19th Annual Lew Mead Memorial Kids Fishing Tournament is scheduled for June 23 at the DEC Boat launch on Cassadaga Lake in Lilly Dale. Free sign up starts at 7 a.m. at the launch.
Gene Pauszek is an OBSERVER?outdoor columnist. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.