A fishing event worth the price

Sportsman’s Journal

OBSERVER Photo by Gene Pauszek Lance Valentine, along with Captain Jim Steel, presented a four day event called “Walleye Fishing Education Weekend,” that proved to be a fantastic learning experience for those that attended.

Saturday evening was an eye-opening event for this columnist. As I have stated before, I have been involved with my column for over 31 years. During that time frame, we have covered numerous fishing-related events, from educational DEC/ Sea Grant seminars to most every local fishing tournament including the PWT and Cabelas Pro Walleye Circuit. With more than five fish-related magazine subscriptions, numerous books, countless TV programs taped, in my possession, I thought I had my bases covered.

That was until I attended the final day of the Lance Valentine/Jim Steel Walleye Fishing Education weekend on Saturday evening at the D&F Econolodge, thanks to an invitation from Jim & Diane Steel. The WFEW mission was: “Learn and understand techniques, tackle and locations for catching walleye in Dunkirk and how the lessons can be applied to walleye fishing in other locations, while promoting sharing of information and peer to peer learning in a relaxed and enjoyable setting.”

I missed out on Thursday, which featured Sonar updates, rigging evaluation by the Traxtech pro staff, on the water sonar interpretation by appointment, as well as fishing opportunities for those that chose to head out. The evening was dinner and basic information sharing. Friday featured more of the same features from Thursday, with breakfast, trolling basics, advanced trolling seminar, eight steps to becoming a better angler, open forum Q&A, dinner, and later on, proven deep water tactics and theories. Saturday morning featured breakfast, Lake Erie fishing, seminars on underwater currents and temperature, crank bait basics seminar and worm harness basics. Then after 3 p.m., there were hands-on workshops and demonstrations, open Q&A forum, dinner and a Walleye Telemetry and Population study, provided by DEC Biologist Jason Robinson. The group later concluded the weekend on Sunday with a day of fishing on Lake Erie, where the anglers could apply what they learned.

During the seminars, the speakers coaxed the anglers to fish “out of their comfort zone” and try new techniques. If you normally troll multiple rods, try using bottom bouncers. If you use worm harnesses, try stick bait only. Many of the attendees were from out of town. Guys from Lake Huron attended to learn more about Lake Erie. About half of the attendees were local (including the Buffalo area) and half were from out of town. All had a great time, as this columnist got to interview most of the guys. You can never learn too much. The fishermen want to learn why the fish do what they do.

Master of Ceremonies Lance Valentine announced that this was his 56th event. He started in 2003 at Lake Huron and has continued to grow from there. These courses help charter captains, tournament anglers and the average angler become better and have fun in the process. This event was the first time in New York and came with a $425 price tag that included: Three days of class room education and on the water instruction, three nights of lodging, three nights of catered dinners and three days of breakfast and boat launch at Chadwick Bay Marina. If you don’t have a boat, there was limited seating on board other boats available. Do the math, what a bargain! If you like/love fishing, you will want to attend the next program to be announced. For more information call (716) 481-5348 or (810) 965-3960. You will be impressed.

Calendar: The Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club will be resuming their FREE Monday night Fly tying instruction/program starting today, from 6 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. No sign-up necessary. Just show up. All materials and tools provided FREE. The Con Club is located on Mullet Street in Dunkirk. Turn towards the lake at the Country Fair store.

Children of the Stream will present weekly FREE fly tying classes every Tuesday from 7 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. in the Costello Room in the Rockefeller Art Center at the State University of New York Fredonia, starting Aug. 27. Children ages 12 and up, including adults are welcome and encouraged to attend. All tools and material will be provided FREE.

There will be a pistol permit course at the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club on Sunday, Sept. 15 from 2:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. There is a fee for attending this course. For details and registration contact Gary Dudek at 366-3397.

There will be a bow course at the Con Club on Sept. 21 from 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. The trapping course will be on Sept. 14 from 9 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.

There will be a bow course at the Westfield Fish & Game Club on Sept. 11 and 12, from 6 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. There will be a Trapping Course at the Falconer Rod & Gun Club on Sept. 25 and 27, from 5:30 p.m. until 10. For more information Call Gary at 366-3397.

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.