Better fishing days coming in 2019

Sportsman’s Journal

OBSERVER Photo by Gene Pauszek The Monday night Fly Tying group at the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club has Christmas tree ornaments for sale, showing off their handy work.

As of Monday afternoon, area streams were at moderate levels with decent clarity for success. Rick Miller in Irving reported that the Cattaraugus Creek was in great condition for steelheaders.

Not a lot of fishing effort lately though, as anglers are still recovering from a long deer season, or getting ready for Christmas. Skip Bianco at Hogan’s Hut/Stow reports that there is some thin ice cover at the south end of the lake, but it gets thinner about 5 feet from the shore line. Evening temperatures get below the freezing mark, but there is a warming trend coming towards the weekend.

The north end of Chautauqua Lake has some skim ice. There has not been much action on the lake due to the lack of ice cover. There are some reports of ice cover on Albion Lake and Cuba Lake, but call ahead to check on ice conditions.

Bianco did comment that Chautauqua Creek has been the hot spot for trout action, with most of the anglers resorting to using night crawlers for bait. Here is a suggestion for gift ideas for the fisher-person on your gift list. Stop off at a local bait and tackle stores and ask the owner for lure or equipment suggestions. You might pay a few cents more than ordering from a catalog, but these small shops provide live bait (minnows, worms and crawfish) while the big outfits usually do not.

More and more of the little “Mom and Pop” bait stores have been closing up shop. However, 2019 has the potential to be one of the best fishing seasons ever for both walleye and yellow perch, and it sure is convenient to drive a few miles to get a bucket of live minnows for a successful outing.

In fact, the fishing prediction is so good, you might want to consider asking Santa for a fishing boat for the whole family. In the latest issue of Great Lakes Angler, there is a story where the author read that frozen, skin-on, butterflied yellow perch fillets are selling on eBay for $22 per pound. Can you imagine five pounds of perch fillets costing $110?

Anyway, wait for safe ice cover, get your gear ready for hard water fishing, and it is never too early to start planning for summer and tournament time.

Calendar: The Southtowns Walleye Association will be having their monthly meeting on Thursday, Dec. 20 at their club located at 5895 Southwestern Boulevard, Hamburg. This is the Christmas party meeting with a visit from Santa expected.

The Greater Niagara Falls Fishing and Outdoor Expo will be held on Jan. 18-20.

The Lakeshore Longbeards, our local chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, will be having their next meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 18, at Liberty Vineyards Winery, located on Route 20 in Sheridan. The agenda will include the introduction of the new Regional Director Brain Gottfried, as well as a look at what will be available for the 2019 membership drive/fundraiser. The banquet date has been set for Saturday, Jan. 19. The meetings are always open to the public. Tickets are on sale, by contacting Rich Lazarczyk, Gary Dudek, Gary Burmaster, Bob Turk, Leroy Franklin, or Scott Dibble. A ticket would make a great Christmas gift for the turkey hunter(s) on your gift list.

On Saturday, Dec. 29, from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m., the Erie County Trappers Association, will be conducting a free trappers seminar at the Colins Conservation Club located at 2633 Conger Road, Collins, NY. The show will have lots of activities pertaining to how to handle your pelts, furs, and similar activities. There will also be other activities like raffles, games for the kids, fur hats and trapping supplies for sale, and the kitchen will be open. This is a free event. For more information contact Patti at 337-2556.

There will be a pistol course on Sunday, Dec. 30, at the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club from 2:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. There is an $85 fee for attending this course. Contact Gary Dudek at 366-3397 for registration and details.

Free Monday night fly tying instruction has resumed on Monday nights at the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club, located at Mullet Street in Dunkirk. Classes are for all levels of fly tying, but especially for beginners. No equipment is necessary. All participants get to keep their productions. Classes are from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. The classes are open to the public. Sometimes they even have homemade cookies! Note that the Monday night fly tyers will be taking a break over the Christmas holiday, The last session will be on Monday, Dec. 17 and will resume on Monday, Jan. 7.

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. Note that classes will switch from Wednesday evenings from 7 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. to Tuesday evenings 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

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