Scholarship winners bring back fond memories
As the 2019 Memorial Day weekend descends upon us, it is sure to rekindle moments from our past. This column usually features someone displaying a prize fish or turkey or deer, but instead, there are a group of smiling people. Included in the photo are the winners of the Northern Chautauqua County Conservation Club scholarship award. They are: Sarah Quadt of Maple Grove Central School and Diego Rey of Fredonia High School, who each received a $1,000 check. Sarah is headed to SUNY Environmental College of Forestry at Syracuse and Diego is headed to Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont, with a focus on Environmental Studies and various ecosystems. These young future graduates, along with numerous other grads, are waiting to carve out their niche in the world and hopefully change our world for the better.
Looking at Diego, his sister Graciela and his mom Janiel, brought back memories of when I first met the father figure of the Rey family, Alberto. He was getting ready to do an art exhibit at the Adams art gallery, with various other displays around the world. Later, Alberto took time out to help us at the Take-A-Kid-Fishing Day event, by teaching kids how to use a fly rod. Rey and a group of like-minded individuals expanded their efforts and continue to conduct fly tying instruction, various youth activities involving conservation and the Canadaway Creek clean-up campaign. Pleasant memories!
After snapping the photo at the Con Club, I drove by Bart’s Cove. The boat dock area was loaded with bass fishermen, searching out the structure areas for active/aggressive bass. What memories that scene stirred, to back when Joe Vacanti was the main focus on the harbor front. Anglers would have to place an order to rent a boat to fish the Dunkirk harbor a year in advance. Anglers waiting to launch their boat would be stacked up all the way out to Lake Shore Drive almost to Main Street. Back then, the focus was bass, but now, walleye is the prize species.
Last night, as our group returned to the Dunkirk boat launch after a successful day of fishing, we counted 50 boats offshore of the Shorewood Country Club, with more heading out as we headed home. The old timers tell me it was like that when there were blue pike. Back in the day, it used to be kwik fish, flat fish, casting Abu-Reflex spinners, Erie Dearies, 3-way swivel rigs, chugging irons, Yellow Sallys and cigarettes were 25 cents a pack.
The harbor has changed too, now that the NRG Power station has shut down. With no more hot water discharge, the harbor got crunched last winter. It might have been 20 years ago or more, but the “Con Club” used to have a wooden dock connected to the shore line. That dock was there almost as long as the club, which is celebrating its 100-year anniversary. The club has undergone numerous improvements and the wooden dock is gone. However, the concrete retaining wall on the south side of the boat launch has seen the lake water level creep up to its peak on several occasions, now that the Lake Erie water level is reportedly 30 inches above normal. Lots of changes, lots of memories. Enjoy the weekend and be safe. This year the walleye season is going to be memorable.
Calendar: Expect County Executive George Borello and the Sport Fishing Advisory Crew to soon start visiting local schools who participated in this year’s essay contest.
Take-A-Kid-Fishing Day at the Con Club is open primarily for club members. However, The “Con Club” has never refused anyone who would like to attend the event and learn how to fish. New attendees receive a brand new fishing rod and reel, as well as a fishing gear. All the kids receive a t-shirt and veteran kids get a tackle grab bag. The club meets at the Dunkirk Yacht Club in Memorial park and start fishing at 8 a.m. until 10 a.m. Then, they meet back at the Con Club for a picnic and hands on activities that include one on one archery shooting at 3-D targets, a safe shooting range for the youngsters, how to tie flies course and more. All for $10. Kids must have a parent or guardian in attendance. Sign-up sheets for the Con Club annual Take-A-Kid-Fishing Day on June 1, are now available at the Con Club. You can also sign-up by calling 366-1772 before June 1.
The fly tying instruction classes at the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club in Dunkirk are still ongoing. The tyers will also be in action on Saturday, June 1 for the Take-A-Kid Fishing day event. Sign-up sheets for the Con Club annual Take-A-Kid-Fishing Day on June 1, are now available at the Con Club.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.