Statewide opening of trout season is on Monday

Sportsman’s Journal

OBSERVER Photo by Gene Pauszek Fishing activity was very active at the City of Dunkirk Pier on Thursday and Friday.

The big news is the statewide opener of trout season, which is on Monday. No matter what Mother Nature throws at us, the waterways will be ready for the big event.

The Department of Environmental Conservation recently announced that over 2 million catchable-sized trout have been released into NYS waterways for the annual event. The vast majority of these stocked fish will be rainbow trout, brook trout and brown trout, along with over 1 million yearling lake trout, steelhead, land-locked salmon, splake and coho salmon. This will assist in generating the State’s growing sport fishing industry, which is estimated at $1.8 billion in economic activity. Our state has its share of problems, but a lack of quality fishing opportunity is not one of them.

The recent warm weather trend has brought in increased fishing opportunity for anglers. On Thursday afternoon, anglers started picking up yellow perch in the Dunkirk Harbor off the City Pier. Trout anglers were set up with slip bobbers, with a jig and minnow at the business end of the rig, when perch started to hit with regularity. Granted, an occasional trout would steal a bait, but few people can resist the thought of a fresh caught perch fish fry. Perch are usually a bottom feeder and some anglers soon resorted to fishing with traditional crappie rigs and sinkers with success. These fish were all nice-sized for two days, with 9 to 12 inch fish coming to the net.

This time of the year, you can expect the fish to be females laden with eggs. As a side note, I would like to comment that lots of old timers like to keep the perch eggs and fry them up in oil or butter for a tasty treat. It reportedly tastes like fish, with no worry of bones. Anglers have commented that they are seeing live emerald shiners, occasionally in close proximity to the shore line, that are catchable with a casting net. Rick Miller in Irving also has been keeping a supply of live minnows for sale. In a pinch, you can try using red worms, perch eyes, jigs tipped with grubs or wax worms or plastic jig bodies, but nothing beats a live emerald shiner.

I spoke with Skip Bianco at Hogan’s Hut/Stow, and any remaining ice on Chautauqua Lake is unsafe. Most of the south end is now open water. On the plus side, crappie started hitting in the evening at Smith Boys, Tri-James and the other channels. Look for a bull-head bite to start after a couple of warm rainfalls. As of Saturday evening, the Dunkirk Harbor was all open water, but a strong north wind can change that in a hurry. The fishing should continue to improve along with the weather, and that’s “No Fooling!”

Calendar: The WNY Chapter of the Safari Club Intentional will have their monthly meeting this Wednesday, 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.

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 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 a.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.

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 LRsportingEvents.com.

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 vince@villageofwestfield.org 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 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.