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Trophy catches

Changes this season in competitive fishing tournaments

Submitted Photo Dominik Flaherty caught a 13-inch bass.

Competitive fishing has seen additional challenges with the COVID-19 pandemic this year.

Southtowns Walleye was able to hold its annual event thanks to its membership and amazing corps of volunteers. The group had numerous weigh-in sites, preannounced guidelines that were stuck to, and some lousy weather which kept participation at a lower level.

The Big Dawg event was next up, but Mark Mohr, tournament director ended up cancelling the July event. Mohr did leave a glimmer of hope that he might be able to salvage this year by moving into the early August timeframe, when he learned that the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club canceled its event. A two-day event is planned on Aug. 1-2 with a limited field. Consult the calendar for details.

The “Con Club” had to also cancel the annual Take-A-Kid-fishing event held the first Saturday in June. Look forward to this event returning the first Saturday of June in 2021.

The Sunset Bay Walleye Shootout took place last Friday and Saturday with Big Fish Friday and the main event on Saturday. There were over 100 teams participating this year, and the event had a huge cash and merchandise payout. Lots of fun and pageantry.

Submitted Photo Brantley Flaherty caught an 8-inch perch.

Jim and Diane Steel have their walleye derby coming up toward the end of August too.

There was one other event that took place on June 27. This was the Lew Meade Youth fishing derby put on by the Cassadaga Lakes Association. Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, the group canceled the big top and weigh-in at the state launch site. Instead they had the kids register online and submit photos of their “catch.” Usually they award trophies for age groups in boy and girl divisions. This year everyone who submitted an entry received a medal.

It is with great pleasure the Sportsman’s Journal announces this year’s participants/winners: Jasper, Hunter and Arrowlynn Narraway, and Jayden Fahie of Tarbox Road, Cassadaga; Zachary and Alexander Bistoff of Silver Creek; Dominick, Norah and Brantley Flaherty of Lockport; Beckham, Makenna and Callie Villa who hail from Santa Clarita, California and were visiting their grandparents Cindy and Dennis Flaherty, who live in Cassadaga. Olivia Burlingame and Hunter France both caught some nice-sized fish and I believe Dominik Flaherty caught the biggest fish a 13-inch largemouth bass. Congratulations.

The walleye catch has been hampered by the weather once again. Check out the 60- to 85-foot depths between the High Rise and the Purina tower. You can also go west past Van Buren trolling north to south in 45 to 75 feet of water. Sticks and crawlers are producing fish presented on a variety of lead core lengths. Limit catches of walleye have been reported out of the Buffalo Small Boat harbor at night. Some anglers have reported doing better trolling at 2.1 to 2.3 speeds.

CALENDAR

Submitted Photo Hunter France caught a 10-inch largemouth bass.

The Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club annual walleye tournament has been officially canceled for 2020. This highly popular event annually takes place the first weekend in August for three days. COVID-19 pandemic is the culprit. In addition the VIP day which is usually scheduled for the first week in August has also been canceled for this year due to the pandemic.

The popular Big Dawg Walleye tournament that usually takes place in early July got derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Tournament director Mark Mohr canceled the July event, but opted to attempt a scaled-down event on Aug. 1-2. With social distancing protocols in mind, the tournament will have a limited field of participants, The mandatory captains’ meeting will take place at the Clarion outdoor pavilion at 6 sharp. The two-day derby will start at 6 a.m. and conclude at 3:30 p.m. Three walleye maximum per cooler, all legal-sized walleye are eligible. Big fish prizes awarded each day. Prize structure to be announced at the captains’ meeting. There is a $500 per team entry fee. Call Mohr at 998-9871 for details.

School is out for the summer, but wannabe hunters can still take the mandatory Hunter Education class by going online. This course was first available in April when COVID-19 shut down our everyday life situations. The Hunter Education course will remain available through Aug 31. The course is offered by Kalkomey Enterprises which specializes in hunter education. The course is open to anyone ages 11 and up. It can be completed on a computer, tablet, or smartphone at any time. Students who complete the online course and virtual field day and pass the final exam will receive their Hunter Education certificate and can purchase a hunting license. Only hunters ages 12 and older may purchase a license and hunt in New York. The cost for taking the course is $19.95. To find the course go to Kalkomey’s website. Note that this course could be a gamechanger especially for students who are in sports programs that will not excuse anyone from mandatory practices.

Submitted Photo Makenna Villa caught a 6-inch bluegill.

Submitted Photo Anna Burlingame caught a 7-inch sunfish.

Submitted Photo Beckham Villa is pictured with a perch.

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