Anglers still have until March 15 to try and catch a few walleye before the season closes. Whether we will have safe ice conditions until then remains to be seen.
There have been some good reports on ice fishing out of Chautauqua Lake recently, with a few anglers connecting with keeper-sized walleye at dusk and dawn. As a bonus, anglers can also cull through loads of small perch to find a few dozen bigger-sized ones (9-10-inchers) to fill out the day.
Oneida Lake is the place for better action on both walleye and perch. The 20-foot mark was active for many anglers with the larger-sized jigging rapalas doing the trick on both walleye and perch.
OBSERVER?Photos by Gene Pauszek
Note the low Lake Erie water level at the City of Dunkirk boat launch. Anglers would have to jump several feet to get in or out of most boats.
Rick Miller, in Irving, reports that anglers were connecting with trout out of Silver Creek and out of the upper end of "The Cat." Lee Weber, in Derby, reports that anglers have started fishing through the ice off the Hamburg beach area. Anglers who had been heading out to Chautauqua Lake also reported decent catches of fish.
Almost on cue, the large gizzard shad have started showing up in the Dunkirk harbor. Large flocks of ducks like blue bills, red heads, canvasbacks and loads of coots have vacationed in the Dunkirk Harbor recently dining on half-dollar sized shad. The fishing thus far has been slow. Warmer weather may bring in a trout bite with bullheads usually right behind.
If you are thinking about spring and fishing, be prepared for low water conditions. The docks at the Dunkirk launch site are well above the water line. With Lake Erie reportedly two feet below its average depth, a lot of launch sites will be in trouble this year unless action is taken. If dredging is necessary, who will be able to do the work and where will funding come from? If modifications need to be done at launch sites, now is the time to start thinking of a plan of action. But that is my opinion.
The Northern Chautauqua Chapter of Ducks Unlimited will hold its annual fundraiser membership banquet this Saturday, at the Dunkirk Moose Lodge, located at 296 Lake Shore Drive West, in Dunkirk. Doors open at 5 p.m., with dinner at 6:30. Auctions will be held after dinner. Call Steve at 410-4848 or Chris at 672-2498 for tickets or information.
The next meeting of the Southtowns Walleye Association is Thursday, March 21, at their club house located at 5895 Southwestern Blvd. The meeting starts at 7:30 p.m., and is open to the public. Note that the Southtowns Walleye official newsletter 'The FISHLINE' now has a new editor Dennis Young, who replaced Sue Guenther. Guenther is still active on the Board of Directors and other committees. The new editor has a new feature called 'The Captains Corner,' which will feature articles from Capt. Don Ruppert of Wave Tamer Fishing. If you are looking for some excellent tips on fishing and competitive fishing, check it out. You have to become a member to receive the newsletter. In order to fish their tournament, which is from June 8-16, you will also have to join, so why wait? For more information, log on to www.southtownswalleye.org, or call 649- 8202.
The New York Walleye Association hosts its monthly meetings on the first Tuesday of the month at the American Legion Niagara Frontier Post No. 1041 at 533 Amherst Street, in Buffalo. Their newsletter is also filled with fishing facts. The N.Y. Walleye Club hosts the two-day tournament the AMARA-CAN Walleye Classic, which is based out of the Chadwick Bay Marina, and will be held on July 13 and 14. This contest is a team event. For more information, contact Tom at 876-6425 or Bob at 875-8148.
The Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club Fly Tyers, Fedrick, Hollander, Kennedy and Rasmus have all the equipment you will need to learn how to tie your own flies. No matter what level you are at - from beginner to advanced - you can come and have a good time free of charge. They will provide the vises, hooks and fly-tying material. Youngsters accompanied by a parent or guardian are most certainly welcome.
The Jamestown Rifle Club will hold pistol classes March 24 and April 28. You must be 21 years old and a resident of Chautauqua County. All classes begin at 1 p.m., and last around four hours each. Call Pat Hayes at 484-9301 for information.
Harbor Creek Pa., at the Harbor Creek Fire Department Social Hall, located at 7275 Buffalo Road - US Route 20 - on March 16-17. Call 569- 6810 or log on yorkpennshows.com.
Little Valley Sons of the American Legion present their 2013 Sportsmens Show at Green Gable Village 4343 Whalen Road, Great Valley off Route 219 between Salamanca and Great Valley on March 16-17. Call 938- 6929 for information.
Little Valley Volunteer Fire Department will host its Sportsmen's Show at the Cattaraugus County Fair Grounds, Route 353, Little Valley, on April 13-14. Call 938- 6928 for information.
Lander, Pa., Sportsmen's Show will be April 20-21. Call 814-757-9466 for information
The Westfield Fish & Game Club will host its annual Ham & Steak Shoot on April 14 at its club house located on Ogden Road. The event will be held rain or shine. All legal centerfire firearms will be permitted. Ammo supplied for birdshot and deer slugs. The .22-caliber shoot, which will be held indoors, is a bring-your-own-ammo event.
Gene Pauszek is an OBSERVER outdoors columnist. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.