Rough ice conditions for upcoming fishing tournament

Sportsman’s Journal

OBSERVER Photo by Gene Pauszek Ice conditions in the Dunkirk Harbor on Wednesday were in rough shape.

Safe ice cover in the Dunkirk Harbor for Saturday’s Winterfest “Cold Water fishing tournament” is questionable. After the Polar vortex hit the area hard with sub zero temperatures, Mother Nature did an about face, with temperatures in the 60’s. Late Sunday morning there were a couple of anglers sighted pitching a tent inside the Dunkirk Harbor, and by Monday afternoon, there was open water at the West end of the harbor. Several anglers were trying their luck fishing from the Dunkirk Pier and caught several trout in the five to six pound range, on Tuesday. By Wednesday afternoon, most of the pier was surrounded by shove ice with the only open water on the east side near the marina. The Dunkirk boat launch took a big hit with the recent winter storm and it is not likely there will be any boat access to the harbor, especially if strong winds bring more ice shoves. They will be taking tournament registrations Saturday all day long, at the boat launch, so you can wait and see. Remember also that there will be a drawing for $100 awarded to one of the people registered in the contest, provided they are present at the drawing at the boat launch, after the 3:15 p.m. weigh-in deadline. There will be lots of other activities in the Dunkirk waterfront area, so it may be worth your while to check it out. Rick Miller in Irving reports locally most of the area creeks are un-fishable with a lot of ice cover or moving water with ice. Strong winds are in the forecast, so good fishing conditions are not likely. Lee Weber in Derby reports even the Buffalo Small boat harbor has turned off with lots of water on top of the ice and the fish having lock jaw.

The hot spot continues to be Chautauqua Lake with Skip Bianco from Hogan’s Hut/Stow reporting that the walleye fishing last weekend was “hot”. Presently with the recent precipitation, the lake level is rising. Gaining access to the ice from the shore line can be tricky especially by boat launch areas, but there continues to be eight to ten inches of ice cover. There are pressure cracks and some weak areas so you will still have to use caution. Walleye hot spots are: Long Point, DeWittville and Prendergast. Yellow perch action has been in the 30 to 34 foot range and crappie and perch action has been steady at Mayville. The south end of the lake has been quiet.

Calendar: Note that the free NYS Winter Fishing Days will be on Feb. 16-17.

The City of Dunkirk presents Winterfest, which will be a number of outdoor activities, including a Cold Water/Ice Fishing contest on Saturday, Feb. 9. For more information go to or call the Youth and Recreation Department at 366-9885.

The Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club will be hosting a rabbit hunting contest for members and guests on Saturday, Feb. 16. Stop by the club for details.

Southtown Walleye Association will host an Outfitters fair/fishing flea market on Saturday starting at 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. at their club located at 5895 Southwestern Blvd. Hamburg. Free parking and admission, with food and beverage available. For information call 796-5372 or 864-2938.

The Friends of the NRA fundraiser/banquet will be held on Saturday, Feb. 23, at the Samuel Derby American Legion Post 556, located at 9 Meadow Lane, Frewsburg, 14738. Cash bar and silent auction is from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., with the prime rib and live auction from 6 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. Early bird tickets must be in by Feb. 16. For information, call Jennifer Schmitt at 487-2487.

The W.N.Y. Sports and Travel Expo will be at the Hamburg Fairgrounds, on March 7-10.

The next gun show will be on March 2 and 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. to 4 p.m. while Sunday will be 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 Route 20, Harborcreek, PA. Show times are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m Saturday and 9 a.m. to 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 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday. Call Larry at 792-9972 for information or go to

The Lake Erie Outdoor & Fishing Show will return on Saturday, April 6 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the Clarion Hotel in Dunkirk. For information contact the OBSERVER at 366-3000 extension 420. This event started up last year and turned out to be a big success, and this year could be even better!

The NYS Youth Wild Turkey Hunting weekend is April 20-21.

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

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