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Warming trend bringing ice fishing to a close

Submitted Photo A sunset walleye is pictured on the ice at Chautauqua Lake.

The days are getting warmer and next week’s weather forecast calls for temperatures in the mid 40s, so ice fishing will be coming to an end.

In the Dunkirk harbor, ice shoves have been pushed into the area due to northerly winds. There is plenty of open water visible on Lake Erie, with more expected in the near future. A word of warning. There were a few people climbing around on the ice “mounds” that are on the shoreline by the beach area near our local parks and points. Sometimes these mounds can hollow out due to wave action, or shifting ice. There is a possibility of these areas becoming dangerous. If you do travel this area, don’t go alone and take a cell phone, in case you get into trouble.

Zach from Hogan’s Hut/Stow reports that the shoreline ice on Chautauqua lake has been getting slushy and thin, especially near Long Point and Prendergast. Further out on the lake the ice is still good for now. The action has died down recently at the Mayville end of the lake, but anglers continue to pick up white perch and some yellow perch. Long Point has been producing some decent-sized perch and keeper-sized walleye during the night bite.

Hogan’s Hut will be offering a one-day fishing contest today. The event starts at 5:30 a.m. and concludes at 6:30 p.m.. Contestants must be in line by 7 p.m. Entry fee is $25 per angler, and $15 per youth 15 and under. This is a walleye contest. Prizes will be awarded for the heaviest three walleye entered, with a 100% pay out. Winners will be posted next week. Anglers have been marking lots of fish, but getting them to bite is the trick. Good luck.

A tip of the hat to Zach and Dillan from Hookedon Fishing for providing the walleye photo for this week’s column. It won’t be long before fishing kicks in for many of us. Make sure you check your fishing line and change it if it shows signs of deteriorating. Sun light, heat and old age will weaken your line, so be prepared.

Captain Larry Jones reports that there is about 10 inches of ice at the Erie Basin Marina/Boat launch area, and a nice yellow perch bite has been producing some decent catches. Anglers have been connecting with browns, lakers and rainbow trout in the Lower Niagara River, drifting blue/green beads. Decent-sized crappie have been providing action on Silver Lake near the gray condos. The hot bait is trout magnets in chartreuse/black. If you like waterfowl watching, there has been a lot of divers like blue bills, red heads and canvass backs seen in the open water areas of the Dunkirk Harbor. Area creeks have started to open up a little but no action reports yet.

CALENDAR

¯ The Lakeshore Longbeards, our local chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, will not be having their annual fundraiser banquet this year. Instead, they are offering a 30-day gun raffle ticket. The ticket costs $25 and includes a membership to the National Wild Turkey Federation. The winning number will be determined by the New York State evening lottery number drawn for the entire month of June 2021. All guns have a cash value of at least $250. If you don’t want a gun, you can take the cash option. For tickets or more information, contact Scott Dibble at the Sinclairville Superette; call 680-3715, Leroy Franklin at 679-5862, Rich Lazarczyk at 595-3917, Gary Dudek at 366-3397, Bob Turk Sr. at 673-6703, Bob Turk Jr. at 673-6705 or Gary Burmaster at 672-4520; or stop in at Liberty Vineyards in Sheridan. Thank you.

¯ The Department of Environmental Conservation is accepting applications for people interested in the cooperative day-old chick program, which allows people to participate in raising and releasing pheasants to enhance fall hunting opportunities. The day-old chicks are available at no cost from the Reynolds Game Farm. Approved applicants will receive the chicks in April, May or June. None of these chicks can be released at private shooting preserves and all release sites must be pre-approved in by the DEC and open for public pheasant hunting opportunities. Applicants are required to provide shelter and daily care to the rapidly growing chicks, monitor the birds’ health, and ensure the chicks have adequate feed and water. Filing deadline is March 25. A Pheasants Rearing Guide and applications are available on the DEC’s website. Go to wildlife@dec.ny.gov or call 607-273-2768.

¯ 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.

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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