Hard to envision ice fishing this year

Sportsman’s Journal

OBSERVER Photo by Gene Pauszek Jim Hatala, of Dunkirk, tries his luck at the City of Dunkirk Pier on Wednesday.

The City of Dunkirk, along with the Dunkirk Harbor Commission, has recently been approached with the possibility of an ice fishing tournament as part of the February Winter Festival. With temperatures expected to be in the 50’s today, it might be a little hard to envision an ice fishing scenario on Lake Erie this year. A suggestion to change the name to “Cold Water Fishing” was found acceptable, at least for the time being. After all, it is Western New York, and the weather can change in a short period of time. This idea is still in the planning stages, but it has a solid foundation from the originator, Mike Porpiglia, who has some experience with hard water fishing contests. Another meeting is planned for January, and we will take a better look at it then.

Rick Miller in Irving reports that a few trout have been taken out of the “Cat” and the smaller streams. One angler was even heading offshore to try his luck for yellow perch. Last week, the same angler found active fish, but the wind picked up and he could not hold anchor. It might be worth a shot if the weather co-operates.

Not a lot of action on the City of Dunkirk Pier. On Sunday, one angler commented that there has not been a lot of bait seen in the harbor. There are not a lot of fish-eating waterfowl either, like mergansers, or cormorants in the harbor lately, either. One angler reportedly hooked a nice brown trout while dragging a stick bait along side the pier. Call it trolling, if you will.

At the Chautauqua County Federation of Sportsmen meeting last Wednesday, Captain Larry Jones commented that anglers were connecting at night with walleye by long line trolling off Donnaley’s Wall near the Buffalo Small Boat Harbor. The action fluctuates with the temperature and weather. Trolling near the bottom with kwik fish in the lower Niagara River has been productive for steel head. Skip Bianco at Hogan’s Hut/Stow reports that there was some open water fishing off Long Point, but that area iced over on Tuesday night. It will probably be open now with the warming trend. Skip reports that anglers have been doing well on trout at Chautauqua Creek. Call ahead for possible ice conditions if you do plan an outing.

Improvements to the Dunkirk Pier may start in February. Completion could be sometime in August. Winter Festival in Dunkirk is planned around Feb. 9, 2019. More information later.

Calendar: The Southtowns Walleye Association will be having their monthly meeting today 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 Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019, 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. Note that tickets must be purchased by Jan. 12 and turned in, to be eligible for Early Bird prize consideration.

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 Collins 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. They 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 alberto@albertorey.com.

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.