Cold weather puts a damper on fishing

Sportsman’s Journal

OBSERVER Photo by Gene Pauszek Turkey Vultures seen here and Red Robins have been sighted lately, announcing the arrival of spring!

Old Man Winter does not want to depart the area just yet. Freezing temperatures, especially after dark continue to leave varying degrees of ice cover on local waterways. There is a lot of floating ice on Lake Erie as far as the eye can see, at least off Dunkirk and the mouth of Cattaraugus Creek. No one has been reporting attempting to fish out on Lake Erie for now.

On Wednesday morning, there were several anglers in chest waders under the Route 5 and 20 Bridge and several at the mouth of “Cat” creek, who had some trout catching success. In Dunkirk, anglers are still having to punch holes in the ice to fish off the City of Dunkirk Pier. By 7 p.m. there was some open water seen in the harbor, but a crust of ice still remained around the pier. Anglers reportedly still managed to land a few trout including a notable steelhead and several large yellow perch.

Ice fishing conditions on Chautauqua Lake can change rapidly this time of year. For a timely report contact Hogan’s Hut at Stow N.Y. at 789-3831 and ask for Skip Bianco. Note that most of the area streams like Canadaway, Cattaraugus Creek, Silver Creek, Walnut Creek and smaller streams are now open too. Take your time if you head inland for the April 1, opening day of Trout season — you just might pick up a shed antler.

Speaking of picking up, my departed Uncle Frank taught me how to fish and also taught me to pick up and carry out all of my litter. It was also a good idea to try and pick up and remove any litter left behind by someone else. Nature sure looks a lot prettier without the junk laying around.

Calendar: The Department of Environmental Conservation in co-operation with NYS Assemblyman Sean Ryan and The Southtowns Walleye Association, will be presenting the New York Sea Grants State of Lake Erie Meeting on Thursday, April 11 from 7 p.m. until 9.m. Topics covered will include the status of cold water communities by DEC biologist Jim Markham, warm water fish communities by NYSDEC Unit leader Jason Robinson, an update on Barotrauma in Lake Erie Perch by Jesse Lepak of Sea Grant, and Inspiring Environmental Leadership and Stewardship by Sandy Smith from Nichols School Faculty. The presentation is free and open to the public and will be at the Southtowns Walleye club located at 5895 Southwestern Blvd, Hamburg.

The WNY Chapter of the Safari Club Intentional will have their monthly meeting on April 3, at Michael’s Banquet facility located on Southwestern Blvd., Hamburg. The guest speaker will be NYSDEC biologist, Emilio Rende, giving a report on the recent DEC Turkey study. This meeting is free and open to the public.

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 Ellery Rod & Gun Club located on Pancake Hill Road, Bemus Point will host their Spring Shoot on Sunday, April 7 starting at 9 a.m., which will include Lucky Shot and Slug. Bring your own size 7 1/2 or size 8 shot shells. Breakfast will be served from 8 a.m. until 11 for $6. Raffles too! Open to the public.

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 Sportsmen’s Show sponsored by the Little Valley Volunteer Fire Department will be on April 6 and 7 at the Cattaraugus County Fair Grounds located off Route 353, Little Valley NY. Show times are 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Sunday. $5 admission. Call Jim Miller at 938-6928 for information.

The Bear Lake Rod & Gun Club will host a hunter Safety Training course on Saturday, April 13 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. To register for this one day course you must register online at NYS DEC Hunter Bowhunter-Trapper Ed Course Sign Up Link. For questions go to or call 753-6347.

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

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