Weather plays tricks on local sportsmen

OBSERVER Photo by Gene Pauszek Canadaway Creek was running high and fast Wednesday evening.

Western New York fishing and outdoor prospects are in another state of transition.

It’s too warm for snow sports, too windy to head offshore, the ice is disappearing daily and the creeks are running too high and fast. There was a warning issued by the Chautauqua County Sheriff Department earlier in the week to avoid ice fishing on Chautauqua Lake due to unsafe ice/fishing conditions.

My contacts at Chautauqua Lake agreed the ice was getting rotten, especially near shore, with more rainfall and warming temperatures in the immediate forecast. As of Wednesday, there was not enough open water to justify attempting fishing from a boat. Prior to the onset of the warm weather, there were decent reports of walleye and crappie coming from Long Point. Just a reminder: law enforcement was often present enforcing litter violations, illegal parking (on lawns), size and creel limits, etc. Until the next freeze comes in, you may want to try stream fishing, once the water levels subside.

My contact at the Department of Environmental Conservation Fisheries Office in Dunkirk commented they have received positive reports from stream fishing closer to Buffalo, when the water levels subside. Pennsylvania also has been experiencing very good runs of trout. One bait and tackle dealer even commented in Pennsylvania, they were having trouble keeping egg sacks in supply. Rick Miller, in Irving, said Cattaraugus Creek has been running fast, high and dirty lately, but the smaller hard-bottom creeks have surrendered a few fish when it stops raining.

The water level on many areas is very high, with Chautauqua Lake up again. You know it’s warm out when you look at the lawn in the evening and find “nightcrawlers” on top in mid January! Calendar: The Greater Niagara Fishing & Outdoor Expo located at the Conference & Event Center Niagara Falls, 101 Old Falls Street, Niagara Falls NY, will take place this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. For more details on the shows, exhibits and general information, visit www.NiagaraFishingExpo.com, or call 278-2100. Numerous local fishing talent will be onhand for the event, so stop and say Hi! His Way Archers, located at 34 Ohio Street, in 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.

The Lakeshore Longbeards announced its annual membership/fundraiser is this Saturday, Jan. 21 at the Kosciuszko Club, located in Dunkirk. 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. 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! 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, 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 alberto.rey@fredonia.edu. 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 pistol permit course at the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club on Wednesday, Jan. 25 from 5:30-10:30 p.m.

There is a $75 charge for attending this course. For information, contact Gary Dudek at 366-3397. 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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