Ice cover expected at ‘Winterfest’

Sportsman’s Journal

OBSERVER Photo by Gene Pauszek The National Wild Turkey Federation banquet is this Saturday. See the Calendar below for details.

It looks like Old Man Winter has come to stay. Freezing temperatures have set in, and brought along ice cover and some snow, at least in the higher elevations. Bear Lake was one area that had some safe ice cover for a while and numerous anglers were able to try their luck over the weekend.

I received one report of an angler that landed a 19-inch calico that weighed in over three pounds. That was the exception, not the rule, as most of the other anglers were hooking up with sub-legal crappie. Skip Bianco at Hogan’s Hut/Stow reports that the ice fishing on Chautauqua Lake has finally turned on, as well. As of Wednesday afternoon, the hot spot has been on the north side of Long Point. Bemus has about five to seven inches of ice, while Long Point reports about three to five inches. By the Bell Tower, the ice cover was only around three inches, but in the shallows you could see the bottom through the clear ice, until you got to the drop-off, then it was all black. Skip recommends anglers test the ice thickness with every step using a spud, especially where thinner ice has been reported. There has been some evening activity near Prendergast and Magnolia Bay. For safety, wear a flotation device and carry ice grips and travel with a buddy.

It looks like we will have ice cover for the ‘Dunkirk Winterfest’ fishing contest to be held on Saturday, Feb. 9, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Tournament entry fee will reportedly be $20 per angler, with cash prizes awarded for two fishing categories. The fishing contest will take place on the City of Dunkirk Pier, if the harbor is not frozen for ice fishing. All anglers must register before 8 a.m. the day of the contest. The two categories will include A: Walleye, pike and trout. B: Crappie, perch and panfish. More information later.

Rick Miller in Irving reports for the most part area creeks are froze over, but he does have live bait for ice fishermen.

Calendar: The Southtowns Walleye Association monthly meeting will be held today at their club, located at 5895 Southwestern Blvd., Hamburg. Guest speaker will be Ronald Klimowicz from the Hamburg Water Rescue Unit. The meeting starts at 7:30 p.m. Open to the public.

The Greater Niagara Falls Fishing and Outdoor Expo will be held this weekend, Friday-Sunday. This is a great way to start of the new year with three days of intense walleye education from over a dozen regional and local experts. Many of these seminars are free. Be sure to stop at Booth 64 during the event and check with father and son team Mark and Jake Romanack, who have their own fishing show. They are giving away a free fishing trip, and you just might appear on one of their TV productions. If you are wondering what to expect from the Lake Erie Walleye, perch and steelhead fishery on Lake Erie, be sure to take in the seminar presented by DEC biologists Jim Markham and Jason Robinson, on Friday at the show. Look for the latest in fishing gear to be on display and for sale. For more information go to

The Lakeshore Longbeards, our local chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, announce that the banquet date has been set for this Saturday. Last minute tickets are on sale, by contacting Rich Lazarczyk, Gary Dudek, Gary Burmaster, Bob Turk, Leroy Franklin, or Scott Dibble.

There will be a Gun Show this Saturday and Sunday at 11861 Sportsmans Road, (off Route 18), Conneaut Lake, PA. The show on Saturday will be from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Adult admission is $5, children under 12 years of age free with an adult. For more information go to LRsporting or call Larry at 792-9972. The next show will be on March 2-3 at the Hickory Post VFW located at 5550 East State Street, US route 62, East of PA 18- West of Mercer on 62, Hermitage PA. Saturday show times are from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Sunday from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. There will be another show on March 16-17 at the Harborcreek Fire Dept. Social Hall located at 7275 Buffalo Road, US Rt 20 (located between North East PA and Harbor Creek Pa.) Harborcreek Pa. Show times 9 a.m. – 4 p.m Saturday and 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Sunday. On April 13-14 there will be a gun show at Ashtabula County Fairgrounds (Ashtabula,County Expo Center Building), 127 North Elm Street, Jefferson, Ohio. Show hours are from 9a.m. – 4 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Sunday. Call 792-9972 for information.

Free Monday night fly tying instruction has resumed 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 Children of the Stream Youth Fly Fishing Program have changed the dates to their program to Mondays from 7 p.m. until 8 p.m. at the Costello Community Room (P84) in the new addition to the Rockefeller Arts Center at SUNY Fredonia. This program is in its 18th year of providing weekly free fly tying and fly fishing classes to both youths and adults in our area. 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

There will be a pistol permit class at the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club on Sunday, Jan. 27, from 2:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. There is an $85 fee for this course. To register or for more information contact Gary Dudek at 366-3397.

The annual Con Club Sportsmans party will be Feb. 2. Anyone who signed up for the year long fishing contest, or the deer hunting contest, is welcome free of charge. Guests may come for a fee of $10, Attendees are encouraged to bring a dish to pass. This is a good time, and a great way to re-live the past years memories.

The Northern Chautauqua Ducks Unlimited Annual banquet and Live Auction will take place on Saturday, March 9 at Blessed Mary Angela Parish Social Center located at 324 Townsend Street, Dunkirk. The doors open at 5 p.m. To purchase tickets on line go to or call Ron Romance at 969-5166.

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