Warmer weather will affect sportsmen’s activities

The warming trend lately will have an affect on local outdoor sports, including fishing.

Ice fishing prospects will most likely be put on hold until safer ice conditions prevail. Jim Markham, at the local Department of Environmental Conservation fisheries station, reports that local stream fishing has been quiet. This columnist has heard of a few fish caught locally and many of the fishing holes have a lot of ice surrounding the shoreline. The Silver Creek boat launch looked promising earlier in the week with no anglers in sight and the water clarity perfect.

The Dunkirk Harbor has been murky with a lot of wind stirring up the surrounding area. If the warming trend continues it might be worthwhile bottom fishing for bull heads.

Markham reports that creek fishing for trout might really turn on as the temperature rises, especially before the predicted rainfall muddies the area waters. Fish already in the creeks can sense the subtle temperature rise and react in the anglers favor. Could be fun!

Markham said the report from Chautauqua Lake showed about two inches of ice on the south end near Burtis Bay, with anglers hooking up with decent catches of panfish. However, the ice has been deteriorating quickly especially with the warming weather and caution is advised. Anglers seeking active fish have had to venture a distance from shore and the ice conditions keep getting questionable.

If you enjoy rabbit hunting, be sure to check the calendar for information on this weekend’s rabbit contest, which is open to the public.

Calendar:

On Jan. 19, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at the Southtowns Walleye Hall, there will be a flea market-type sale of used fishing and hunting equipment, with free parking, free entry and food and drinks available. Tables are $20, with reservations due by Jan. 17. Call 649-8202 for information.

A six week fly tying class will begin on Jan. 23, at the Lake Shore Central Middle School on Erie Road, in Angola, from 6:30-9 p.m. All equipment is provided and you will learn all aspects of the sport. The course is taught by Ray Marks with the federation of Fly Fishers. Enroll at Lake Shore Community Education at 926-2270, or call Marks at 549-1977 for more information. The course fee is $48 plus a lab fee of $10. payable on the first day of class.

The local chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, the Lakeshore Longbeards, will hold its annual membership /fundraiser banquet on Feb. 9, at the Kosciuszko Club, in Dunkirk. The Long Beards are also looking for scholarship submissions from all local high school seniors. For more information, find the National Wild Turkey Federation online, and look for scholarship information. The deadline for scholarship submission to be eligible for statewide and national awards is Jan. 15.

Announcing the NYS Ice Pro-Am Tournament Series: There are three Main Tournament Events scheduled (if the ice cooperates) The first is on Tupper Lake, from Jan. 4-6. The second is on Chautauqua Lake, and is scheduled for Feb. 15, 16, and 17. The final event is on Sodus Bay, from Feb. 22-24. There are three divisions: Professional (1-2 anglers per team). The entry fee is $160 per team. There will also be an Amateur Division, which will be for singles or pairs. The entry fee is at $90 per team. The Open Division, which is for single anglers, is the final division. The entry fee is $40. Check the official tournament website at www.NYSiceproam.com. The official tournament email address is info@FK sportfishing.com

The Northern Chautauqua Beagle Club will host its annual rabbit hunt on Sunday, Jan. 13. The hunt is open to all area hunters. You can enter the day of the event at the club house located 8455 Fredonia Stockton Road in Fredonia from 6-8 a.m. Entry fee is $5. Awards and hot food available at the club around 3 p.m. For information, call Pete Criscione at 366-8989, Liz Dorman at 595- 3993 and John Depew at 789-5522.

For those of you interested in taking a NYS Pistol Permit Class, there will be one held locally on Jan. 26 from 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. For information, call Gary Dudek at 366-3397.

The Jamestown Rifle club will hold Pistol classes on Jan. 27, Feb. 24, March 24 and April 28. You must be 21 years of age and a resident of Chautauqua County. All classes begin at 1 p.m. and last around four hours. Call Pat Hayes at 484-9301 for information.

Gene Pauszek is an OBSERVER outdoors columnist. Send comments to sports@observertoday.com.