Slight chance of ice fishing ahead

OBSERVER Photo by Gene Pauszek Canadaway Creek looked inviting on Monday with pristine conditions and fishable water levels.

Mother Nature’s ice machine may provide ice fishing on Chautauqua Lake this weekend IF the weather stays cold for a few more days and the wind will die down during the evening.

My contacts on Chautauqua Lake — Skip Bianco from Hogan’s Hut in Stow and Mike Sperry at Chautauqua Reel Outdoors in Lakewood — reported there was a lot of open water on Chautauqua Lake on Wednesday afternoon.

Strong winds on Tuesday evening blew a lot of the skim ice to shore, and only an inch of ice was present in some of the sheltered areas of the lake. Any significant amount of snowfall could also have a negative impact on safe ice forming. And the long-range weather forecast predicts warming temperatures again next Wednesday.

Play it safe and call for ice conditions before heading out.

Locally, Cattaraugus Creek was flowing high and dirty earlier in the week, but hard bottom creeks locally and near Buffalo look very fishable, but drawing few fishermen. Water clarity and levels looked great on Canadaway Creek earlier in the week. Rick Miller in Irving reports there has not been a lot of fishing effort on any of the streams lately. The Dunkirk City Pier has also been slow with not a lot of action to report. I did talk with one angler who took advantage of the fishing trips offered on the Niagara River during the sport show and he commented they did find an active school of steel head, but the fish were feeding heavily on smaller sized smelt. In the Dunkirk Harbor, there was a lot of slush ice forming inside the harbor with waterfowl leaving trail marks through the slush as they paddled around.

Think Spring!

It should be an interesting season on Chautauqua Lake this year with plenty of yellow perch and a growing population of walleye and crappie. On Sunday, I will post the winners of the Chautauqua County Federation of Sportsmen Raffle which generated most of the money for the purchase of the FREE lifetime licenses that will be given away Monday.

Check the calendar for details.

Calendar:

The Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club will be holding its annual sportsmen’s party on Saturday, Feb. 4, starting at 5 p.m. Anyone who was entered in either the year-round fishing contest, or the deer contest, is invited to attend free of charge. Other club members who would like to attend can pay $10 at the door. Children are free to attend. Anyone who would like to bring a dish to pass can do so. There will be plenty of food and prizes, too.

His Way Archers, located at 34 Ohio St., Jamestown, started its youth archery program on Saturday, Jan. 14. The program runs the second and fourth Saturday mornings of the month. They will have archery instruction for youths ages 6 to 18, starting at 10 a.m. and ending at noon. Equipment will be provided for those that need it. The cost is $5 per child. The range will be open to the public on these days starting at 12:30 p.m. For more information, call 484-7046 or 485-3598.

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! Note that on Monday, Feb. 6, the Chautauqua County Federation of Sporstmen will be present to draw the winners of the FREE Lifetime fishing/hunting licenses from 6-7 p.m.  Check it out!

The Northern Chautauqua Ducks Unlimited Chapter of Ducks Unlimited announced its annual banquet/live auction will take place on March 11 at the Fredonia Beaver Club, located at 64 Prospect St., Fredonia. The group moved its program to the Beaver Club location last year, and had a filled-to-capacity turnout. This year, the event will be limited to 120 seats ONLY! You can make reservations by calling 969-5166 or email BEANMACHINETWO@gmail.com. You can also call 785-4165 (Ron), 785-3741 (Will), or 679-8454 (Stacy). For more information on DU, or to buy tickets online, visit NY.ducks.org.

There will be gun shows coming up at the following areas: Hermitage, Pa., at the Hickory Post VFW located at 5550 East State St., US Route 62 East off Pa. 18, West of Mercer. Show times are 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Feb. 4 and 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Feb 5.

Harbor Creek, Pa., at the Harbor Creek Fire Dept. Social Hall, located at 7275 Buffalo Road, US Route 20 (located between North East Pa., and Harborcreek. Dates are March 18 and 19  from 9 a.m. until 4p.m. and 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., respectively.

Ashtabula County Sportsmen’s Gun Show at Saybrook Banquet Centre located at 3116 North Bend Road (off Route 20) Ashtabula, Ohio, 44004. Dates are Saturday, April 22, and Sunday, April 23, from 9 a.m. until 4.m. and 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., respectively. For more information on any of the shows, contact Larry Spicer at 792-9972, visit LRgunshows@gmail.com, or write to Larry Spicer at P.O. Box 294, North East, Pa. 16428.

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 St., 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 sports@observertoday.com

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