There is NO shortage of ice lately.
With temperatures dipping below zero Tuesday, even the ducks and gulls are having a hard time finding open water. One of my contacts at the Dunkirk-based Department of Environmental Conservation Fisheries station commented there are a large group of Bald Eagles stationed in the Dunkirk Harbor, focusing there attention at the NRG Power station water inlet. If you come early in the morning, you have a better chance of viewing large numbers of these birds, which appear to be feeding on shad and other birds, including ducks. I have viewed several duck carcasses imbedded in the ice and others have commented they have spied the remains of birds in parking lots and along the roadside. On Tuesday afternoon, I even spotted a drake blue bill resting in the middle of the road on Lakes Shore Drive West, in front of the Dunkirk Moose Lodge. Before I could ready my camera and return for a shot, it was gone. Maybe it heard about the Ducks' Unlimited event coming to the Moose on March 15.
Rick Miller in Irving reports the ice fishermen have been sparse lately out of Cattaraugus Creek lately, but there is plenty of ice. One angler trying his luck for smelt by Hidden Harbor reports the ice is almost two-feet thick. Only a few smelt for a lot of drilling. Better numbers of smelt can be had at the mouth of the "Cat" by the "Wall" focusing your attempts toward the evening.
OBSERVER Photo by Gene Pauszek
A couple of ice fishermen tried their luck on the ice at the entrance to Chadwick Bay Marina earlier in the week.
Lake Erie fishing appears to be concentrated at Sturgeon Point, with more than 200 ice fisherman trying their luck on the weekend. Lee Weber at Derby reports the success for many of the anglers varies, with some reporting a hand full of keepers and others doing close to a limit.
Mike Sperry, in Lakewood, reports he had one customer who has been stopping for live emerald shiners and did very well off Sturgeon Point over the weekend, including a few reported 17-inchers. His secret: "Stay away from the pack and head out to 60 feet!" Sperry also commented anglers have been getting smelt through the ice as well as shad and occasional trout out of Barcelona harbor. Walleyes have been taking the bait off Magnolia Bay, Victoria Bay and perch, and bluegills at Burtis Bay and a few crappie taken by Smith Boys.
Skip Bianco gave a detailed report of some nicer sized perch coming off the end of Long Point in about 40 feet of water. With the temperature dipping to 21 degrees below zero on Wednesday, Skip reports there is plenty of safe ice with two feet thickness in many areas. Walleye anglers report doing well in the evening fishing the weedline off Mayville with live emeralds doing the trick as well as jigging rapalas. Pan fish have taken a liking to the new rattling spoons by Lindy. Bigger-sized blue gills have been reported out of DeWittville. Check the shallows as well as the deeper holes for panfish action with 10 foot often giving up fish. Findley Lake has been the hot spot for northern pike action. Quaker Lake for bluegills and a few trout and Red House has been good by the deep hole by the boat house.
It has been so cold lately that the pier had a halo of ice around it Wednesday. Two anglers did try their luck by the Chadwick Bay Marina harbor entrance earlier in the week and spectators reported the auger went probably through two feet of ice. No reports on how they did. I have been writing this column for more than 20 years and have only seen ice fishing in the Dunkirk harbor three times.
The "Con Club" annual Chicken Barbecue fundraiser for the "Take-A-Kid-Fishing program will be on Sunday, Feb. 23.
The Northern Chautauqua Chapter of Ducks Unlimited annual banquet is scheduled for Saturday, March 15 at the Dunkirk Moose Lodge located at 296 Lake Shore Drive West. Pre-sale tickets are $45 or $70 per couple. This event will feature a live and silent auction as well as other raffles throughout the evening. Early Bird entries by March 7 will enter automatically in a raffle for a limited edition piece of DU artwork. For more information, including tickets, email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call Steve at 410-4848, Chris McKelvey at 672-2498, Scott Sinare at 410-9531, Darrin Katta at 785-0713 or Will Mead at 785-3741.
The Monday night Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club Fly Tyers will meet Monday evenings at 6 p.m., weather permitting. The event is open to the public and free of charge.
Raw fur pickup schedule: North American Fur Auctions (NAFA) location is Lucky Lanes bowling alley on Route 60, in Fredonia. Time is 4:30 p.m., on March 9 and April 28. The agent is Ernest Mosher and he can be reached by calling 315-868-6275. Note: The fur must be put up and dried. No green pelts will be accepted. First auction dates are Feb. 17-23.
Fur Harvesters Auction pick-ups will be at the old Tops Market parking lot off I -90. Take exit 59. Time of the pickup is 6-6:30 a.m. Pick-up dates will be, March 23. The agent is Toby Edwards. He can be contacted by calling his cellphone at 518-848-0217. Only dried pelts will be accepted. The first auction date is Jan. 7, while the second dates are March 13 and March 14.
If your club is hosting a shooting event, or training course (turkey shoot, etc.), drop a line and I will be glad to place an announcement in the calendar.
A recent email announced the Harrisburg, Pa. Sportsman's Show is back with the backing of the National Rifle Association. The Harrisburg show schedule is Feb. 1-10 with Country Western star Trace Adkins performing Feb. 8.
Gun Shows: The Sportsman's Show at the Seneca Allegany Casino & Hotel, which is located off I-86 at Exit 20, 777 Seneca Allegany Blvd., Salamanca, will be Feb. 22-23. Call 569-6810 or log on to www.yorkpennshows.com.
Gene Pauszek is an OBSERVER outdoors columnist. Send comments to email@example.com.