Use caution while ice fishing

OBSERVER Photo by Gene Pauszek These deer found safe haven during the 2016 deer season. Early reports indicate the deer take was slightly higher this year.

Area streams were blown out after the Christmas holiday, which should bring in a fresh run of trout before the next big freeze.

A few die-hard anglers did report hooking up with a few steelhead locally, but commented the fish were widely scattered.

Ice conditions on Chautauqua Lake remain questionable again. Skip Bianco, at Hogan’s Hut, said most of the fishing activity was closer to shore off Long Point. On Wednesday morning, there were 15 anglers on the ice, but north of the point, you could see open water. In some spots, the ice was only a few inches thick. Note: With the recent thaw and rainfall, the lake level is up almost two feet. Chautauqua County is expecting lake effect snowfall, so using caution is advised.

If you know someone who would like to enter the drawing for a FREE lifetime hunting/fishing license, is 18 years old or younger, is a resident of Chautauqua County and they do not have an application, they can submit an entry by PRINTING the following information: Full name of child, date of birth, full name of parent or guardian, parent or guardian’s phone number, email address, home address,  a signature of the competing person (youth) and the name of the person submitting the application. Mail the information to: Chautauqua County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs, (Attention Lifetime sporting license) PO Box 752, Sinclairville, NY 14782.

Only one application per youth, per year. Non-legible applications will NOT be accepted. Winners will be picked Jan. 25. Winners will be notified by phone after they have been selected. The parent or guardian will be required to to bring the child’s social security and another form of identification which includes place of residence. Good Luck!


The Bear Lake Rod & Gun Club will host its monthly meeting Sunday, Jan. 7, 2017 at 4 p.m.

Time is running out! Deer Search of Western New York will once again be offering a $1,000 scholarship to a high school student who will be attending college in 2017-18. This year’s scholarship is awarded in the memory of Greg Delio, a member of Deer Search from East Otto, who passed away this year. To apply for this scholarship, students must have a valid hunting license, a parent/guardian who is a member in good standing of a sportman’s club that belongs to one of the county’s sportsmen/conservation clubs (like the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club or Westfield Fish & Game Club), include an essay of 100 words or less that states their college, field of study and why they should be considered for this scholarship. Applicants must also have proof of college acceptance and their application in by Jan. 1, 2017.

Applications can be sent to: Deer Search of WNY, P.O. Box 251, Lancaster, NY 14086. Be sure to include a contact phone number and/or email address. Any further questions can be directed to Eric Vail at Note that the purpose of this scholarship is to help enhance wildlife appreciation and environmental awareness.

The Lakeshore Longbeards announced its annual membership/fundraiser will be held on Saturday, Jan. 21 at the Kosciuszko Club, located in Dunkirk.  The next meeting of the Longbeards Committee will be at 7 p.m. on January 10, at Liberty Vineyards. All are welcome to attend. For tickets, or more information, contact Gary Dudek at 366-3397, Gary Burmaster at 672-4520, Bob Turk at 934-4538 or Scott Dibble at 595-3897.

Erie County Trappers Association will be offering a free Fur Handling Seminar this Saturday from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the Collins Conservation Club, located at 2633 Congers Road, Collins NY. The agenda will include better techniques for preparing pelts, and instruction on how to pelt, fleshing, stretching, drying and sizing for beaver, muskrat, mink, raccoon, fox and coyote. There will be events for the kids, and the kitchen will be open. For more information, contact Hoot at 532-2457 or Patti at 337-2556.

Free Monday night fly tying classes have resumed at the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club, located at the foot of Mullet Street, in Dunkirk. All materials, including tying vises, are provided free. The course is from 6-8 p.m. No sign up or registration is necessary. Students get to keep their flies, too. Bring a friend. Scout leaders are encouraged to stop by and bring their charges. This course is geared for pre-teens and those older, and is connected with Kids on the Fly. Instructors will be on hand to guide novice and veteran fly tyers. Note that often there are delicious homemade cookies too! Also note that the Con Club fly tying event will NOT be open on Monday, Dec. 26 or Jan. 2, 2017. They will resume on Monday, Jan. 9.

Alberto Rey announced the Children in the Stream Youth Fly Fishing Program will begin its 18th year of providing free fly fishing classes to children and adults on Monday evenings from 7-8:30 p.m. The program is currently underway and will continue until June 13, except for Dec. 19-26, Jan. 2, Jan. 16, March 13 and May 29. Classes will be in the Costello Community Room (P84) on the first floor of the addition to Rockefeller Arts Center at SUNY Fredonia. For more information, contact Rey at Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. All materials are provided. This is great for beginners and veteran tyers alike.    There will be a Raw fur Auction on Saturday January 14 at the Hinsdale fire Hall, Hinsdale NY. The auction starts at 10 a.m. until everything has been sold. Sellers have the privilege to withdraw any lot from the table at the time of sale. Note that no furs will be checked in before 7 a.m. help is available for grading for sale. Buying and selling of fox, raccoon, muskrat, mink, beaver and deer hides. For more information contact Matt Spittler at 716-359-5141.

If your club or organization is holding a hunter safety training/trapping course or a turkey shoot or other outdoors event and would like to see it posted in the calendar, send information to the OBSERVER, 10 East Second Street, Dunkirk, N.Y. 14048 or call the Sports Dept. at 366-3000 ext. 5 after 6 p.m.

Note: If you have a big game fishing or trapping success story you would like to share, call 366-1772, or 467-2079 and leave a name, phone number and a time you can be reached. You can also call 366-3000 after 5 p.m. at ext. 5.

Gene Pauszek is an OBSERVER outdoors columnist. Send comments to