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Winter has arrived

Submitted Photo Strong winds and cold temperatures are moving waterfowl and icy conditions into the Dunkirk Harbor.

Old Man Winter sure knows how to make an entrance.

Most of the area has been dodging the snowy bullet, but seasonal conditions and temperatures have arrived with a vengence. Smaller in-land lakes were freezing over, but the heavy snow fall has made ice fishing these areas less than ideal.

Caleb a worker at Hogan’s Hut in Stow announced on Thursday that there was 4-7 inches of ice cover on the southern end of the lake, with some ice cover on the northern end to Bemus and Ashville. At the southern end, at Burtis Bay and Smith Boys, anglers were connecting with yellow perch ,crappie and walleye. Most of this activity was along weedline edges. Captain Larry Jones of Mostly Muskies charters remarked that a friend commented getting into a lot of perch at Ashville Bay, but lots of small ones. Hogan’s Hut noted their bait store hours of operation are from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Cuba Lake has ice fishing activity focused near the dam. Water conditions continue to be muddy for fishing at the lower Niagara River. Locally, ice and slush are moving into the Dunkirk Harbor, and Canadaway Creek was icing over on Thursday.

On the plus side, if you are into bird watching, there are a variety of birds and waterfowl coming into the Dunkirk Harbor with concentrations of birds located at the west end of the harbor. If you cruise the Dunkirk pier area, you can’t help but notice the DEC research vessel, the ARGO, is not around.

Just before the big wind storm hit the region, the ARGO was moved east to a dry dock location at Smith Boys. Steve Hurst, the chief of the Bureau of Fisheries for the DEC, commented that despite all the restrictions and problems caused by the pandemic, our fishery flourished last year.

There was a huge increase in license sales, up to 198,000-plus, compared to 182,000 from the previous year. Area streams as well as Lake Erie and Lake Ontario were stocked, but some of the waterway monitoring programs were impacted. As anglers, we can look forward to quality fishing in NYS for the near future. The Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays are history, but a friend sent a note about a menu item that most people do not know about that appeared on the original Thanksgiving feast. Eels were reportedly part of the meal. Cool! Pass the sledzie (which is Polish for pickled herring).

If you are getting the itch to purchase a new (or used) fishing boat, check out the February issue of Game & Fish (EAST) magazine, which is the former NY Fish & Game publication.

CALENDAR

¯ Our local chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, the Lakeshore Longbeards will be meeting Monday at Liberty Vineyards, located on Route 20 in Sheridan. The meeting will start at 4 p.m. The main topic will cover a fundraiser/membership drive. The plans call for a gun giveaway, every day during the month of June. COVID-19 has affected everyone, so this fundraiser will be a unified effort among numerous chapters. There will be other prize giveaways also. Stop by if you can make the meeting. We will keep you posted.

¯ Southtowns Walleye Association is making plans for another great walleye tournament in 2021. The pandemic has shut down the monthly meetings for now. There will be a great early-bird prize raffle for the members. You can keep in touch online with other club activities by going to www.southtownswalleye.com/derby.

¯ Gun Shows: Conneaut Lake, Pennsylvania, today and Sunday. Located at 11861 Sportsman Road (off Route 18). The hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. today and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday. For information, contact Larry Spicer at (716) 792-9972 or go to LRgunshows@gmail.com. Tables available.

¯ The New York State Winter Fishing Classic Fishing Tournament runs through Feb. 28. This event is open to all NYS waters. For details, go to www.nyiceproam.com.

If you have a story or a photo you would like to share call 366-1772, 785-3659 or 366-3000 ext. 3 after 6 p.m. Leave a name and number and a time you can be reached.

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