Waiting for safe ice conditions
Safe ice conditions on Chautauqua Lake have been a waiting game.
As of Thursday, Zach my contact at Hogan’s Hut/Stow, reports that there was ice cover on most of the lake on Thursday morning. Several anglers purchased bait to try their luck at the south end with no report. There was supposedly two inches of ice cover with additional slush ice on top. The north end of the lake reportedly did not have safe ice cover on Thursday, but with temperatures in the single digits projected for the weekend, that could change overnight.
Note that there is an ice-fishing contest scheduled on Chautauqua Lake starting today and running until Feb. 27 with a 100% cash payback. Contestants must be registered at $25 apiece prior to fishing this event. Winning fish will be determined by length, with the earliest fish entered being the tiebreaker. The top two fish in each species will receive awards. Eligible species include: yellow and white perch, silver bass, crappie and walleye. Only fish caught from Chautauqua Lake are eligible. Entry available at Chautauqua Reel Outdoors and Hogan’s Hut. Both establishments are geared up with bait awaiting safe ice cover.
Rick Miller in Irving reports that there is also a lot of ice cover on local creeks, including Cattaraugus Creek. This is not safe ice and there are a few open-water areas. Miller also is anticipating a busy ice fishing schedule with a full complement of registered emerald shiners, golden shiners, mousies and assorted trout and panfish offerings. Captain Larry Jones commented that the Lower Niagara River fishing has also been slow due to ice conditions and water turbidity.
Jones offered some keen insight into upcoming fishing season opening/closing dates. Jones has been involved with the muskie fishery for decades and has a lot of insight on how some changes can affect the tourism/clientele relationship with guides and cottage rentals or stressing out over an overworked area by concentrating fishing pressure over load.
Local streams have seen a lot of ice cover. Be aware that Lake Boulevard in Dunkirk has been blocked off for safety reasons and will remain so until the end of winter. If you are into watching wildlife , there is a huge concentration of Canadian geese in the Dunkirk Harbor and at the mouth of Cattaraugus Creek. In addition there is a big concentration of diving ducks that can be viewed in the Dunkirk Harbor at the west end. You will also notice there is one lone swan that has taken up year-long residence. I think it could be sorta cool if the city had a contest to give the swan a name. In addition, there have been several bald eagles that frequent the area of Point Gratiot.
Southtowns Walleye has sent word that the Outfitters Fair that was scheduled for today has been moved to the club, located at 5895 Southwestern Blvd., Hamburg on February 19. This change was prompted by COVID concerns. In addition the walleye class that was scheduled at the Niagara Fishing Expo has also been canceled.
Hunt-of-a-Lifetime tickets are available by calling Tina Pattison at 1-(814)-572-4387. This is a 60-day raffle offering firearms or cash prizes to qualified recipients 18 or older. Winning numbers are determined by the Pennsylvanian daily Pick Four number at 1:35 p.m. All winners are notified. Cost is $30 per ticket with two numbers per ticket. Selection starts Aug. 1 and runs through Sept. 30. Proceeds from this sale go to provide hunting or fishing trips to children with life-threatening ailments. You can also go to www.huntofalifetime.org http://www.huntofalifetime.org/.
If you have a story or photo you would like to share, especially if you head out on a vacation, call 366-1772 or 785-3659.