Ice still not safe for fishing on area waters

It is cold outside!

As the month of December was approaching, one of the most popular questions offered by area residents was whether or not Lake Erie would freeze this year. The other popular question was whether or not the Dunkirk Harbor would freeze with the lack of the warm-water discharge from the NRG power station.

The Dunkirk harbor is well on its way to being frozen, with only a small area located by the warm-water discharge remaining open. What kind of damage the ice may do to area marinas is another question.

Cold temperatures usually spell ice fishing opportunities somewhere, so it was time to do a little research on fishable areas nearby. Lisa Green at the Happy Hooker Bait & Tackle store, in Ashville, reports that as of late afternoon on Tuesday, there was still no safe ice available on Chautauqua Lake.

On Sunday, Green and her husband toured the lake, which was brown in color and covered with white caps from one end to the other, On Tuesday morning, one angler ventured off Burtis Bay and fell through, reporting one inch of ice. Later in the day, another angler ventured out with the same results. Daily checks will be recommended.

Rick Miller, in Irving, reports that Cattaraugus Creek is icing up with one angler reporting at least 3 inches of ice near the mouth of the creek. The angler intended to try for smelt if possible. Miller’s phone number is 934-2477 if you are looking for information and a variety bait.

With decreasing open water opportunities, the Probst fishing platform might be a good choice. If the area is crowded, it might be a good idea to limit yourself to one rod, as a rapidly moving trout or carp can tangle a lot of fishing lines in a hurry. A long-handled landing net would also be a good choice of gear, as well as adequate warm clothing. It gets cold with a south or east wind blowing.


Willie Fedrick, Ken Hollandar, Monte Kennedy, Jeffrey Rasmus and the rest of the fly tying group are back again on Monday evenings from 6-8 p.m., at the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club. The Con Club Fly Tyers have all the equipment you will need to learn how to tie your own flies. No matter what level you are at – from beginner to advanced – you can come and have a good time – and it’s all FREE. They will provide the vises, hooks and fly tying material. Youngsters accompanied by a parent or guardian are most certainly welcome.

The Sportsman’s Show at the Seneca Allegany Events Center (I-86, Exit 20) will be Feb. 16-17, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. Go to for more information.

The local chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, the Lake Shore Longbeards, will meet again Feb. 4, at 7 p.m. at Liberty Vineyards, located on Route 20 in Sheridan. Agenda will be the banquet which will be Feb. 9, at the Kosciuszko Club in Dunkirk. Tickets for the banquet can be purchased at the meeting, or by calling Bob and Judi Turk at 934-4538. Paid tickets must be turned in on Feb. 4, for early bird prize contention.

The NYS Region 9 Erie County Trappers Association Fur Auction will be on Saturday, Feb. 2 at S&S Taxidermy & Archery Pro Shop, located at 455 South Cascade Drive (Route 219) Springville. For more information, call 592-2404.

Fur check-in time is from 8 a.m. Auction time at 10 a.m. There is a 5 percent commission fee for all sellers. Food will be available from the Boy Scouts. For more information, call Patti at 337-2556.

Announcing the NYS Ice Pro-Am Tournament Series: There are three Main Tournament Events scheduled (If the ice cooperates). The first was on Tupper Lake, from Jan. 4-6. The second is on Chautauqua Lake, and is scheduled for Feb. 15-17. 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 The official Tournament email address is info@FK

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. to 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