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Walleye tourney this weekend

This black squirrel with a white spot on the end of its tail was spotted at Dunkirk’s Washington Park recently.

The popular Big Dawg Walleye tournament that usually takes place in early July got derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mark Mohr, tournament director, canceled the July event, but opted to attempt a scaled-down event this weekend. With social distancing protocols in mind, the tournament will have a limited field of participants. The mandatory captains meeting took place Friday at the Clarion outdoor pavilion.

The two-day derby will start at 6 a.m. each day and conclude at 3:30 p.m. Three walleye maximum per cooler; all legal-sized walleye are eligible. Big fish prizes will also be awarded each day. The prize structure was announced at the captains meeting. There is a $500 per-team entry fee.

This two-day event brings back memories of the now-defunct Amera-Can Walleye derby that was run by the New York Walleye Association. Just like the Amera-Can, whenever a two-day event happens a lot can change during the course of 24 hours. How often have we observed the leaders do great on day one and run into difficulty the following day? With a two-day total of six-walleye weight deciding who the winner will be, it is difficult to guess what that total weight will be.

To make things even more challenging, the fishing conditions have been less than ideal all week long. Strong winds and thunderstorms have stirred up the old fishing hole, and fish over 22 inches in length have been hard to come by. Whenever a tournament is upcoming, detailed fishing information becomes scarce. Captain Larry Jones offered that good catches have been coming from the borderline off Sturgeon Point in 65 feet of water. Bottom-bouncing techniques, towing worm harnesses and/or stick baits are the ticket. Closer to home, heading west off the Brocton Shoals in 55 to 70 feet of water seems to be most productive with lead core presentations getting the job done. Reports are that 7 and 10 colors of lead line, presenting purple and/or pink stick baits are working.

No positive information on yellow perch lately but then again it’s that time of year. Look for improved catches in mid- to late August. Jones also commented that the muskie bite has been good on Chautauqua lake, but the water temperature is climbing. Jones commented that most die-hard muskie seekers take a break when the water temperature hits 81 degrees. The fish have a hard time recovering after being released.

In the middle of July my mailbox got loaded with deer hunting magazines. Before you know it , bow season will arrive. The Department of Environmental Conservation announces that DECALS, its automated licensing system, will be up and running with an all-new upgraded system according to Dan Ladd, NY Outdoor News editor. Don’t forget to purchase a habitat stamp too.

Calendar

The popular “Con Club Walleye tournament” usually takes place early in August and features a three-day tournament, weather permitting. Like so many other events, the Con Club derby along with the VIP day were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Look for the Con Club event to return in early August 2021.

Schools out for 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 Ed 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 game changer especially for students who are in sports programs that will not excuse anyone from mandatory practices.

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