Mother Nature continues to impact offshore fishing

Submitted photo Blake Diate displays a 32-inch walleye he caught while fishing with his dad, Adam, on July 26.

Rainfall, wind and the threat of thunderstorms have made this past week a catch-when-catch can scenario. There is another factor that may be having an impact on the fish bite, too — a full moon phase. My charter captain friend, Lance Ehrhardt of Sassafras Charters, used to say that the full moon seemed to change the fish feeding pattern. In particular, walleye seemed to bite better at night. A number of outdoor publications believe that the full moon phase is when trophy fish and wild game are often harvested. Here is some evidence to back up those theories. Captain Larry Jones, who is another contact, commented that lately most fishermen are struggling to connect with walleye.

It seems that early in the morning there is a quick flurry of action, followed by a lot of down time. However, out of the Buffalo Small Boat Harbor at the east end of the Outer break wall, limit catches of walleye have been taken at night, by anglers trolling with black and silver rapalas set back 100 feet.

There was a report of some nice fish taken during the daytime out of Dunkirk recently. Two fish were reportedly 32 inches in length. One reportedly weighed in the 13-pound range, and will be mounted by a taxidermist. The other trophy-sized walleye was taken with a stick bait by Adam and his son Blake Diate on July 26. Either one of those fish would be a likely winner in this weekend’s walleye tournament, the Bart’s Cove Walleye Invitational. This event is a Go-No-Go event like the Con Club Derby. That means it will be up to the decision of the individual captains of the fishing teams whether to fish or not. An estimated 32 teams will participate in this year’s event on Saturday an Sunday. All teams will launch out of the Dunkirk Harbor at 6 a.m. with a shotgun start. They must report back by the 3:30 p.m. deadline or forfeit the day’s catch. Each team can bring a maximum of three walleye to the scales. Legal-size walleye are eligible.

Cash prizes will be awarded to the top five heaviest walleye. Weigh-in will be around 5-5:30 p.m. at Bart’s Cove. Entry fee was $500 per team with optional calcuttas. Mark Mohr, the originator of the derby, stated that his contest is a no-frills event.

“A get together of friends, throw the cash in a hat and let the best teams win,” he said.

From the weather report, the teams will have their work cut out. Mohr did mention that next year’s event may be moved to the third week in June. The date for this year’s event was influenced by COVID-19.

Pascal Wilkens from the Dunkirk based DEC Fisheries station reports that the creel census report indicates that a lot of walleye activity is taking place out of Barcelona in shallow and also close to the Pennsylvania border. Rick Miller in Irving reports that anglers are doing well near the Canadian border. Some yellow perch success was reported out of the Catt. near Center Road in 68 feet of water. Out of Dunkirk, another contact reported catching six walleye, a few steelhead trout and a couple lake trout in front of Dunkirk in 85 to 100 feet of water. Zach, at Hogan’s Hut, reports that there was a bass tournament over the weekend at Chautauqua Lake with some impressive fish caught, but overall the fishing has been slow. White perch are providing lots of action with fish in the 10- to 13-inch range. For walleye action, try the north end of the lake and bottom bounce worm harnesses along the weedline edges in 10 to 12 feet of water. Musky fishing has been slow lately.


¯ Look for coverage of the Barts Cove Invitational Walleye Tournament in Monday’s OBSERVER.

¯ The Con Club three-day walleye derby will be this Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

¯ Look for a special edition of this event on Friday, Saturday and results on Monday in the OBSERVER. The VIP Day event hosted by the Eastern Lake Erie Charter Boat Association will be on Wednesday Aug. 11. Coverage of this event will appear on Thursday. The last scheduled walleye derby on Lake Erie in our area will be the Innovative Walleye Challenge sponsored by Jim and Diane Steel of Innovative Outdoors. The two-day event will be on Aug. 20-21.

¯ A Sportsman’s Rendezvous will be presented by the Cattaraugus County Trappers Association on Aug.13-15 at the Cattaraugus County Fair Grounds. Admission is $5 per person with youngsters under 16 admitted free with an adult.

If your club is conducting an event with an outdoors-related theme, like a turkey shoot, hunter education course, contact me at 366-1772, 785-3659 or 366-3000 after 7 p.m. and ask for sports and leave a message. Give a call if you have a story or photo you would like to share.


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