A look at a pleasant day of fishing in Dunkirk

Photo by Gene Pauszek Father and son team Michael and Joey Valentti of Niagara Falls show off some nice Opening Day walleye caught out of Dunkirk.

Mother Nature put a midnight opener for walleye on hold for a lot of nocturnal anglers, with threats of thunderstorms and high winds. The morning after was a lot more pleasant.

This columnist spent an enjoyable afternoon watching a girls JV softball doubleheader at Dunkirk High School field, but did take a drive around the pier to see if there was any action. Two young men were walking away from the Harry Probst Memorial Fishing Platform (the former hot water discharge area). They reported lots of small mouth bass action, all catch and release.

The bullhead action hot spot by Tim Horton’s was slow, with several families out enjoying the warmth and fresh air.

Back at the pier, a pair of anglers were busy strapping down their boat for a trip home. The answer to the question “how did you do?” was met with smiles and some useful information. Michael Valentti and his son, Joey, admitted to catching three nice walleye. Two of them were in the 7 pound plus range. I expected to hear they were fishing the Van Buren Reef area but instead found they were long line trolling in 43 feet of water a bit east of the boat launch.

One fish came on a reef runner stick bait long line trolled about 30 feet back in the “purple nurple” flavor/color pattern. The other two took worm harnesses, one firetiger and one purple, presented on bottom bouncers.

Submitted Photo This turkey was shot by Steve Purol. “I love when a plan comes together and it did opening day,” Purol said. “The turkeys gobbled on their roost early and I saw one tom pitch down. He gobbled in his strut zone for over an hour till some deer walked by him. I made some soft clucks and purs on my slate call to get him really fired up. He then strutted and gobbled the 100 yards towards my decoys. At 25 yards all it took was one shot and he was down. He weighed 22 lbs., with 10 beard and 1 1/8 spurs. Nothing better than spring turkey hunting!”

The anglers admitted they did not start fishing until around noon. What was refreshing was to see the joy and enthusiasm of the family. They even took the time to display some of their other “trophy walleye” they have caught. The senior Valentti had three fish bigger than my personal best, including a 34 inch long 13 pounder.

Mike also has an older son and a wife who enjoy fishing as a family unit. It is a great way to spend time as a family especially when the fish are biting.

Just like clockwork, you can expect our out-of-state- anglers to appear for the first week of May bass fishing. There were about a dozen trailers with license plates from Virginia, West Virginia, and New Jersey, and during the next few weeks we will see even more. On behalf of the City of Dunkirk and Chautauqua County, we bid you welcome and hope you enjoy your stay. Tell your friends about our great fishery!

Just a reminder that the Lake Erie regulations on small mouth bass allow anglers to harvest one bass a day, a minimum length of 20 inches, until the third Saturday of June when the state wide regulations kick in. The “lunker bass” season used to start the first Saturday of May, but now effectively starts on Dec. 1. See page 46 of your NY fresh water fishing regulations booklet.

If you do go out at night, keep an eye out for floating debris and wear a flotation device. That water will still be cold.

Calendar: The Bear Lake Rod & Gun Club will host a 3D Archery and Benefit Shoot for Chappy’s Outdoors on Saturday, May 12 from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m. and Sunday from 7 a.m. until 1 p.m. For more information contact Rudy Abersold at 397-9717.

Bear Lake R&G will also host a rimfire shoot on May 27 For information contact Tom Kessler at 680-0209.

There will be a safe boating course held on May 19 at the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club starting at 7:30 a.m.

The Eastern Lake Erie Charter Boat Association will hold their monthly meeting on Friday, May 18, starting at 7 p.m. The meetings are open to the public and are held at the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club.

The Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club will present their annual Take-A-Kid Fishing event on Saturday, June 2, from 8 a.m. until noon. There is a $10 fee for this event. First time attendees will receive their own rod and reel outfit which they keep. Veterans to this event will receive a grab bag of tackle. All youths will receive a T-shirt. The days activities start with fishing from 8 a.m. until 10 a.m. Then activities and food at the “Con Club.” ALL youths must be accompanied by a parent or adult. Mandatory registration is available at the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club. Questions? Call 366-1772 and leave a phone number, when necessary.

Cassadaga Lakes Association will host its 25th annual Lew Meade Memorial Youth Fishing tournament on Saturday, June 23 on Cassadaga Lake. This event is open to the public for age groups 7 years old and under, 8-10, 11-13 and 14-16 years old. Fishing will be from 7 a.m. until 11 a.m. Trophies will be presented in each age group and for boys and girls. In addition, first place winners will receive their own kayak. For more information call Steve Wickmark at 595-2900.

Monday night, free fly tying courses at the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club are from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. Tying vises, instruction and materials are all provided free. No registration is necessary. The Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club is located on Mullet Street in Dunkirk. Turn towards the lake at the Country Fair store located on Lakeshore Drive West (Route 5).

The Children of the Stream Youth Fly Fishing Program will be starting its 18th year of providing weekly free fly tying and fly fishing classes to both youths and adults in our area. Classes are Wednesday evenings from 7 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. at the Costello Community Room (P84) in the new addition to the Rockefeller Arts Center at SUNY Fredonia. You do not need any prior experience to attend these classes, and the course is geared towards ages 10 and older. For more information contact Alberto Rey at 410-7003 or alberto@albertorey.com.

The Great Lakes Experience Festival in Dunkirk will return this year on June 9 from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. The event will once again be held in Memorial Park. More details at a later date.

If your club or organization is holding a hunter safety training/trapping course or a turkey shoot or any other outdoors event, and would like to see it posted in the calendar, send information to the OBSERVER, 10 East Second Street, Dunkirk, NY 14048, or call the sports department 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, ext. 5, after 6 p.m. or email Sports@observertoday.com