The weather seems to have had an impact on fish and wildlife movements over the past week, with the temperature and wind doing a dramatic see-saw impact.
Observers witnessed some of the largest waves tossed at our shorelines that I can remember in recent history. Before and after some of these storms, several duck hunters were in the area taking advantage of the bountiful waterfowl. I was told by a fellow hunter that one of the television stations broadcasted the weather from Memorial Park and used a zoom lens to focus on a huge flock of about 300 blue bills (ducks) seeking safe haven inside the inner breakwall. The hunters used a combination of lay-out boats and retrieval boats to effectively limit out on a wide variety of diving ducks.
Prior to Opening Day of firearms season for deer and bear, I had the opportunity to tour near Chautauqua Creek and the Barcelona harbor. Near the boat launch of the Barcelona area, I spied a number of gulls - or possibly terns - concentrating in one area diving and retrieving minnows. The Barcelona Harbor was also loaded with geese, mergansers and a flock of at least a dozen male Hooded Mergansers. No one was fishing.
OBSERVER?Photo left by Gene Pauszek
Photo right, submitted
At left, the birds were on a feeding frenzy lately at the Barcelona Harbor. At right, Jacob Kaczor, 11, tagged a nice buck during archery season.
On Saturday, I spied a fisherman pulling out a boat from the Dunkirk harbor. I asked if he spied any perch on this adventure. He remarked he was trying out some downriggers and marked only a few "hooks," but commented it looked like inside the Dunkirk Harbor there were what he surmized as clouds of perch. Several fishermen commented on the amount of bait which was stacked up at the Dunkirk boat launch area also, complete with the opportunistic gulls.
Most of the snow cover seems to have disappeared with the weather man predicting more towards the weekend. Hopefully the snow will give deer hunters an edge on spotting deer.
The water levels in area streams have subsided to favorable fishing conditions and Rick Miller in Irving reports Cattaraugus Creek should be in good shape for a day or two, until the next rainfall.
Mike Sperry from Chautauqua Reel Outdoors Guide & Tackle, who operates a live bait store located at 165 W. Fairmount Ave., Lakewood reports that a lot of the fishing action on Chautauqua Lake has subsided. The week prior to firearms season was a good one for muskies and anglers have been having good luck on small mouth bass using larger sized minnows.
Note: The monthly meetings of the Chautauqua County Chapter of SCOPE are held on the third Tuesday of each month at the VFW Post 8647, 10 Memorial Drive Mayville - between Webb's and Chautauqua Suites.
The Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club will continue its non-perishable food collection "Hunters Helping the Hungry" during the big-game hunting season. Club members are reminded to bring their canned goods to the club for donations to be distributed during the upcoming holiday season.
Free fly-tying and fly-fishing classes have resumed on Monday evenings at the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club, from 6-8 p.m. Fly tyers at all stages are invited to attend. The Monday night tyers will provide fly tying vises and all materials for anyone who would like to learn how to tie a fly or how to start fly fishing. Ken Hollander and Willie Fedrick, along with guest tyers, will provide the know how, in a safe, enjoyable facility located at the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club, on Mullet Street, in Dunkirk. Note: Participants will get to keep what they tie and will receive one-on-one attention. No registration required, so just show up!
The Forestville Fire Department will offer a 'Deer Hunters' breakfast of scrambled eggs, sausage, pancakes, hash-browned potatoes, coffee and juice for a friendly price, from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. Proceeds will be used to purchase firefighting equipment and gear. This breakfast special will be available for take-out, or dine in, on every second Sunday of each month. You don't have to be a deer hunter to stop in and enjoy.
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.
The Federation of Sportsmen from Sullivan County are hosting a three-day coyote hunt from Feb. 7-9. They offer a $2,000 grand prize for the heaviest coyote weighed in for the three-day hunt, a $200 daily prize for the heaviest coyote in each of the three days of the hunt, a $100 prize for the heaviest coyote taken by a youth (12-15 years old) and a $100 prize for the heaviest coyote taken by a female hunter during the three-day event. $100 will be awarded for all other coyotes weighed in during the three-day event. Early registration post marked by Jan. 27, will be $30 per hunter, which will include the three-day hunt, a weigh-in dinner held at White Sulphur Springs Fire House, located on Route 52 (exit 100 off Route 17). After Jan. 27, the entry fee is $40 with the deadline of 7 p.m. sharp on Feb. 3. For details, visit the website at www.sullivancountysportsmensfederationny.com.
Gene Pauszek is an OBSERVER outdoors columnist. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.