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Southtowns Walleye tournament starts today

Submitted Photo Corey Fischer won $234 with his 24.2-pound catfish by fishing the Cattaraugus Creek weekly “scramble” sponsored by Catt. Creek Bait & Tackle.

The 37th annual Southtowns Walleye Association tournament kicks off today with over 800 entrants competing for over $75,000 in cash plus merchandise. The tournament runs through next Sunday. Cash awards will be paid out for the top 200 heaviest walleye caught during the time frame by registered contestants. This event is one of the most affordable contests with a $100 price tag that includes a mandatory $50 membership fee plus a $50 derby fee. Most everyone kicks in an extra $5 for the walleye wallet which pays out 50% in cash payouts and the rest goes to the Kids Fishing Program. There are four weigh stations for this nine-day event. They are located at Barcelona from 1-4 p.m., Dunkirk from 2-5 p.m., Sunset Bay from 2-5 p.m. and the SWA Club located at 5895 Southwestern Blvd., Hamburg from 3-7 p.m. All weigh stations will close by 4 p.m. on June 20. All of the contestants will be hoping to catch a walleye at least 26 inches in length that weighs 7.94 pounds. The first one to bring in a walleye with that exact weight, or closest to it without going over, from New York state waters only, will win the cash bounty worth $1,500. The awards banquet will be on July 10 at the club from 1-5 p.m.

Justin Stevens at Catt Creek Bait & Tackle has another catfish contest. This catch-and-release event was held on Wednesday, called a catfish scramble. The announcement is posted on Facebook. Anyone who wants to compete shows up and pays $10 apiece. They are allowed to use a maximum of two rods. Eligible waters are Lake Erie and all of Cattaraugus Creek. The event starts at 7 p.m. and ends at 10 p.m. They then have 15 minutes to get to Snows Marina to weigh-in their largest catfish. The heaviest catfish takes all. Corey Fischer won $234 with his prize winning catfish weighing 24.2 pounds, caught on a bottom rigged nightcrawler. The next event will be next Wednesday.

The fishing for catfish has been pretty good lately according to Rick Miller and Stevens. That old saying is true, the cats bite when the cotton flies and that pollen looked like snow this week. One angler fishing out of the Catt on Thursday reported taking 47 yellow perch in 62 feet of water. The fish were in a tight group, so you had to be right on top of them for action. One Dunkirk angler reported taking nearly a dozen bigger-sized perch in 60 feet of water before being blown off the lake. Everyone is searching for walleye. Expect a lot of silence with the SWA tournament going on. Numerous reports of fish being marked in 30 to 50 feet, with stickbaits being the bait of choice presented near the bottom.

Some of you readers might have noticed several trucks stocking fish into Catt Creek earlier this week. Jim Markham from the Dunkirk DEC Fisheries station reported that there were 12,000 domestic rainbow trout hatchery-raised fish left over after all the targeted stocking programs were met this year. Cattaraugus Creek was the best chance for survival for these bonus 8-to-9-inch-sized fish. Hope to see you guys next year. One of my contacts reported catching a nice sized trout on Friday in close, while targeting walleye. Anglers are reporting lots of bass are in the creeks especially Eighteenmile, Big Sisters and Catt Creek.

Zach, my contact at Hogan’s Hut, reports that the yellow perch bite has been good at Chautauqua Lake with lots of fish in the 9-to-11-inch range. Target the Bell Tower, Prendergast, Bemus, the bridge and the Institution. Walleye are around the weed edges and bass are around shoreline docks and structures. Consider using topwater frog baits for bass action. For muskie action try the weed edges at the north end.

CALENDAR

¯ The Southtowns Walleye Association annual tournament starts today and will conclude on June 20.

¯ There will be a Father’s Day Catfish tournament from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eligible waters are Lake Erie and the entire length of Cattaraugus Creek. Entry fee is $100 per two-person team. You can register starting June 14 at Catt. Creek Bait & Tackle located at 11158 Route 20 next to Heron’s Landing. Weigh-in will be at Hanover Boat Launch site. Two-rod limit per person. Big Cat side pot.

¯ Western NY Heroes fishing event out of Dunkirk will be June 25. Launch at 7 a.m. Fish weigh-in at 1 p.m.

¯ The Lew Mead Memorial Kids fishing derby will be on June 26 at the boat launch at Lily Dale. This free event is for kids ages up to 16 years old with trophies for Boys and Girls age groups, plus numerous merchandise prize giveaways. Almost every kid will receive a prize. Signup starts at 7 a.m. and the weigh-in at the same place will be until 11 a.m. Free hot dogs and beverage for everyone.

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