I was informed Saturday afternoon that the Department of Environmental Conservation website for issuing sporting licenses, which included licenses for hunting, fishing, trapping, etc., is now up and running. There was a temporary shut down while the DEC changed internet services, but license sales are back on the menu!
It is that time of year again where I announce the winners of the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club's annual year-long fishing contest. The reason I focus on this contest is it is sort of a replacement for the now defunct Genesee Beer fishing contest that would give out monthly and annual awards for the largest fish caught in various species from across the state. The "Con Club Contest" is a lot smaller, but does give out awards for a wide variety of species and is only open to members and their children. Entry fee is $10 per adult and $5 per child under 16 years of age. Eligible fish are from Lake Erie and it's tributaries only. All fish must be weighed in at the Con Club on their LED scale and must be witnessed by a club member with appropriate information including species, date caught and witness. Prizes are small, but it is a fun event with a free party in February for all the contestants.
The Walleye Division had a number of 10-pound entries. Jeff Tintsman recorded the largest walleye, which weighed in at 10.08 and was caught on July 26. Ron Szwejbka took second place with a 10.04 entry taken on Aug. 29.
OBSERVER Photos by Gene Pauszek
Pictured at left, from left to right are Ray Pauszek and Gary Pleva. Like most local anglers, the duo prefers to fish for yellow perch and walleye. Pictured at right are a group of mounted small-mouth bass, which are so plentiful in Lake Erie that local anglers take them for granted.
Catfish have become a hot species over the past few years with some impressive catches were recorded. Vinny Tenamore landed the heaviest "cat" weighing in at 20.08 caught on June 8, followed closely by a 20.06 entry caught by Fred Rosing caught on June 14.
Trout are another glamorous species noted for their fight and beauty, as well as being tasty when properly prepared. Tenamore took top honors in the Steelhead Division with a 12.4-pound entry caught on July 5, followed by a 9.0 entry caught by Paul Pomietlasz on July 27. In the Brown Trout Division, I entered a 7.6 pounder caught while fishing with Lance Ehrhardt on June 30 and Mike Lawhead took second place with a 5.2-pound brown caught on March 16.
The most entries in the contest were in the Yellow Perch Division, with Jerry Miller recording the heaviest yellow perch on April 26, which weighed 1.6 pounds. There was a tie for second place with Gary Pleva weighing in a 1.4 pounder on Sept. 19, and Dennis Pomietlasz weighing in a 1.4 pounder on Sept. 26. Many anglers will agree they all look much bigger before they hit the scale. I would have bet several of my fish weighed at least two pounds, but the scale tells the truth.
Paul Pomietlasz took top honors in the White Perch Division with a 1.6-pound entry caught on July 26 followed by Jamie Pomietlasz with a 1.2 entry caught on July 27.
Dan Sobczak took the top spot in the Silver Bass Division again with a 2.0 pounder caught on July 31, while Jeff Tintsman tied for second place with Rob Gloff with 1.8 entries caught on July 26 and Aug. 18, respectively.
Rock Bass seemed to be on the feed for about two weeks in late May and early June. Julio DeLeon remembered to weigh in a .4 pounder on May 31, which took the top and only prize awarded for that division.
Just an observation: I recently was asked to do an article about Lake Erie's early bass season. This is a growing attraction for out-of-towners, with local anglers tending to focus on other species, primarily walleye and yellow perch. In this year's contest, there were no entries in small-mouth or large-mouth bass, salmon, carp, sunfish, bullheads or lake trout. The little fish are fun to catch, especially with the youngsters. They pay the same amount as the monster-sized fish, but sometimes you just forget, or don't have time to weigh the fish in. I know I had at least three opportunities to weigh in lake trout and forgot. You snooze, you lose. I hope you enjoyed the information.
The Lakeshore Longbeards, our local chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, will meet on Tuesday, Jan. 14 at 7 p.m. at Liberty Vineyards, located on Route 20 in Sheridan. The agenda will include last-minute details for the Membership/banquet on Jan. 25 at St. Hedwig's Hall, located on Townsend Street in Dunkirk, as well as reviewing the scholarship applications. The Longbeards will also meet at Liberty Vineyards on Monday, Jan. 20 for a final head count for the banquet.
The Monday night Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club Fly Tyers will resume on Monday, Jan. 13, at 6 p.m. Weather permitting. The event is open to the public, free of charge.
The Southtowns Walleye Association, located at 5895 Southwestern Blvd., Hamburg will host a Used Fishing and Hunting equipment sale (no guns or ammo) on Jan. 18, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Tables are limited and will cost $20. There will be free parking and entry.
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, Jan. 19 and 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.
There will also be a raw fur auction on Jan. 18 at the Hinsdale Fire Hall, in Hinsdale. No furs will be checked before 7:30 a.m. There will be fox, raccoon, muskrat, mink, beaver, as well as deer hides up for auction. The auction starts at 10 a.m., and will go until all furs sold. For more information, call Andy Smith at 492-0432 or Dale at 763-3416.
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 the 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.
The New York State Ice Pro-Am is scheduled for Chautauqua Lake on Jan. 18 and Jan. 19, weather permitting. For more information go to www.NYSiceproam.com. Open division will cost you $30.00 while the Pro-Am is $160 per team. I am told there are a lot of perks that come with the Pro-Am division so check it out.
A recent email announced that the Harrisburg, Pa. Sportsmans Show is back with the backing of the National Rifle Association . The Harrisburg show schedule is Feb. 1 until Feb. 10, with Country Western star Trace Adkins performing on Feb. 8. Check it out!
Gun Shows: The Ashtabula County Sportsman's Gun Show in Jefferson Ohio will be on Jan. 18-19 at the Ashtabula County Fairgrounds located at 127 N. Elm, For more information call 569-6810.
The Chautauqua county Sportsman's Show will be held on Jan. 25 and Jan. 26 at the Chautauqua Lake Auction Center located at 2118 Magnolia Avenue, in Ashville.
The Sportsman's Show at the Seneca Allegany Casino & Hotel, which is located off I-86 at Exit 20, 777 Seneca Allegany Blvd., in Salamanca, will be on Feb. 22 and 23. Call 569-6810 or log on to www.yorkpennshows.com.
The Frewsburg Gun Show at the Frewsburg Firemans Rec Hall located at 25 Hazard St., in Frewsburg. The show will be held on March 8 and 9.
Gene Pauszek is an OBSERVER outdoors columnist. Send comments to email@example.com.