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Charter fishing on many Great Lakes is shut down

Sportsman’s Journal

No docks in yet at the City of Dunkirk boat launch. OBSERVER Photo by Gene Pauszek.

No fooling! The yellow perch fishing has been pretty good lately, in 55 to 64 feet of water off Evangola State Park, weather permitting. Close to 50 boats have been spotted in the general area on fair weather days, and most of the anglers have been reporting decent catches of fish.

Before you rush out to Irving to try your luck, be advised there will be some boat launching issues. The state launch in Irving will be open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Starting on Monday, the state launch (the launch closest to the mouth of Cattaraugus Creek) will be closed from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m. The launch will be open from 4 p.m. until 9 p.m. The closing is because the state parks will be doing work on the launch site and will begin putting in the docks. The time frame for completion is about three weeks. Hours of operation will be posted at the launch entrance.

Further down the Cat, anglers have the option of using the Hanover boat launch, at least for now. As of Thursday, the docks have not yet been put in and may not be put in until May 1. No word on Hidden Harbor yet. Be patient.

Rick Miller in Irving and Lee Weber in Derby are still open for business and both places have emerald shiners (live) available. Hogan’s Hut/Stow also has bait available for anglers wanting to try their luck on Chautauqua Lake. My buddy Skip Bianco is on vacation for a while, but the Hut is open for business from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m.

Fishing action out of Dunkirk has been slow off the pier. Stream fishing might be your best option, and expect suckers to start running. The bullhead bite should be happening soon also.

Crappie are reportedly biting at Smith Boys and the Ashville Bay Marina. Another hot spot is at the mouth of Goose Creek, according to Captain Larry Jones the President of the Eastern Lake Erie Charter Association. Jones reported that they have shut down charter fishing for now on Lake Ontario, Lake Michigan, and Lake Ohio. Several Lake Erie charter boats have also canceled reservations for the near future, and potentially all year for fear of COVID-19. Cabela’s reportedly has also been closed recently. The status of some of the local walleye tournaments is also up in the air. Obviously, people are concerned about the COVID-19 virus, and how long it will impact social activities. Though some of the fishing events have a May 1 deadline for sending in tournament deposits.

Southtowns Walleye Association remains optimistic and has sent word that they as a group will adhere to safety protocols and will be following all federal, state and local mandated regulations. Members and potential members can still renew their memberships, sign up for their walleye derby, register the kids for the Kid’s Day event, register for the perch fishing contest (mid May), or volunteer for working a weigh-station spot all by going to their website at www.southtownswalleye.com.

You can also keep in touch with the club by calling (716) 649-8202 and leave a message. The SWA club sends word that they have secured all of their corporate day sponsors for 2020, so once the virus threat is over, they can hit the ground running. For more details go to Facebook at www.facebook.com/SouthtownsWalleyeAssociationOfWnyInc/.

April 1 saw a lot of anglers hitting the creeks in search of in-land trout. New York anglers also met with a lot of out-of-state anglers especially from PA who have been impacted by COVID-19. This problem is global, so be cool, use your head, avoid crowds, and stay healthy.

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