Fishing tournament time returns to Dunkirk this weekend with the 21st annual Amara-Can Walleye Classic, hosted by the New York Walleye Association.
The tournament is set to take place Saturday and Sunday. This is a team event which allows a minimum of two anglers, and a maximum of four, per team to try to accumulate the heaviest total weight of five walleye per day for two days. All teams depart from the Dunkirk Harbor/Chadwick Bay Marina area at pre-determined start times.
The first wave departs at 7 a.m. and must return by 4 p.m. on Saturday, and the second wave departs at 8 a.m. and must return by 5 p.m. On Sunday, the start times reverse for the contestants. Wave B departs at 7 a.m. and must return by 2 p.m., and wave A departs at 8a.m., and must return by 3 p.m. Sounds easy enough. You would be surprised how many teams do well on the first day and struggle on the second day. It is a true test of skill, and will put some of the area's best fishermen in competition with each other. The top 10 finishers will claim the prize money made up from the entry fee of $250 per team in U.S. funds. In a best case scenario if the full slate of teams participate (150 maximum) First place would pay out $3,750 declining to the final place paying out $300. It's exciting, and the weather conditions that kept most of the anglers off the lake for the past few days will even the playing field. Look for more coverage in the OBSERVER on Saturday through Monday.
Willie Duliba, 5, and his sister Ella, 6, display a huge grass carp that Willie caught on six-pound test fishing line. The weight of the fish is estimated to be more than 30 pounds.
The OBSERVER has covered this event for all 21 years, and I have had the privilege of speaking with many of the contestants over the years. However, there is a youngster that is possibly destined to join the ranks of these fishing foes.
Five-year-old Willie Duliba was watching while his grandpa mowed the lawn around the farm pond in Forestville. The pond was stocked with grass carp, which feed on the green to keep the weeds in check. Willie noticed that big fish would feed on the clippings that were blown into the water. So he used some grass clippings around a hook and successfully enticed one of the big fish to the business end of his fishing rod that was loaded with 6-pound test line. After a 25-minute struggle Willie finally beached the brute that was as long as he was. Not too many fisherman can lay claim to that accomplishment , especially in fresh water. Willie's dad, Ron Duliba, was almost as proud as the youngster was when the fish was landed. Congratulations!
Muskies might enable a fisherman to fulfill that claim and muskie fishing has been good on Chautauqua Lake from reports from Hogan's Hut/Skip Bianco and Mike Sperry at Chautauqua Reel Outdoors in Lakewood. Trolling the open water areas has been productive with short 20- to 30-foot leads. Many of the strikes reportedly are occurring in the prop wash. Large mouth bass have been targeted lately under the numerous boat docks and walleye fishermen head for the weeds and weedlines to find action.
Locally, before the storms set in during the earlier part of the week, walleye were active straight out front in Dunkirk as well as east, and in about 70 feet of water off Cattaraugus Creek, again a bit east. Check your rigs if they seem running unusual as silver bass have been in the area in large numbers. Checking the shallows and along the edge of the mudline, could be productive for yellow perch anglers.
Upcoming Lake Erie fishing tournaments include:
The Sunset Bay Shoot Out Big Fish Friday is July 25 and the main event is Saturday, July 26. This event is sold out. For details contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club Walleye Derby is a three-day event that is also sold out. The event is Aug. 1-3. Contact information is available by calling 640-2776.
The Bear Lake Rod & Gun Club will host 3-D archery shoots on July 13, Aug. 24 and Sept. 14. They will also host a 200-yard gun shoot on Sept. 21. New members are welcome and the club's monthly meetings are on the first Sunday of the month at 4 p.m. They start the meeting off with a hot meal, so come hungry.
The Lakeshore Longbeards, our local chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, will be holding a meeting on Tuesday, July 8 at 7 p.m., at Liberty Vineyards, which is located on Route 20, in Sheridan. The agenda will focus on the Youth Day event called JAKES Day, which will be held on Saturday, July 19 at the Westfield Fish & Game Club located on Ogden Road in Westfield. The meeting is open to the public.
During JAKES Day, sign in starts at 9 a.m. and the groups will visit various learning stations located at the Westfield Fish & Game Club located on Ogden Road in Westfield. Youngsters must be accompanied by a parent or guardian and there is a $10 fee, which will cover their membership in the NWTF, the cost of a T -shirt, lunch for the kids and guardians as well as turkey box calls and other goodies. To sign up, call Bob and Judi Turk at 934-4538. Even though same day sign in is available, you are encouraged to pre-register. The Longbeards are also looking for volunteers to dispense food, and general assistance.
There will be a two-day gun safety course at the Bear Lake Rod & Gun Club on July 10-11 from 5- 10 p.m. You must register on the DEC website to attend this course.
There will be a Pistol Course on Aug. 16 at the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club from 9:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Note that the price for attending these courses is now set by the county, and is now $75. Pre-sign for the course by calling Gary at 366-3397
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. I also am available to take photos and hear your success stories by calling 366-1772 or 467-2079.
Gene Pauszek is an OBSERVER outdoors columnist. Send comments to email@example.com.