Warm weather puts a damper on area ice fishing

If you noticed the photo in the Sunday OBSERVER’s Sportsman’s Journal, you would have noticed an ice shelter which was set up on the east side of the Dunkirk City Pier. The anglers reported on Friday the ice was at least six inches thick. On Saturday, there was a report of two anglers setting up their hut on the west side of the pier. After 9 p.m., I finally got a chance to check it out and was amazed at how much open water there was on the west side and open water also around the ARGO. After church service on Sunday morning, I took another ride and most of the ice was gone on the west side with the skid marks left on the ice from Saturday all but gone. The assumption is that the NRG power station must have been releasing more warm water and the wind and current were moving it east. Just another bit of caution to be aware of if future attempts are made.

Lisa Green at the Happy Hooker Bait & Tackle Shop reports the ice is unsafe presently on Chautauqua Lake. Many of the veteran ice fishermen shunned trekking out as early as Saturday morning. About 30 anglers ventured out at various parts of the lake and a number of them fell through. On Monday, law enforcement agencies were warning anglers to stay off the ice. The wind, rain and warming temperature haven’t done the ice any good either so ice fishing on Chautauqua Lake is on hold. Green also commented even with the return of freezing temperatures, the ice will continue to erode for a couple more days.

Area streams were blown out on Wednesday with lots of rain and snow melt raising the water levels and muddying area waters. The hard bottom smaller streams will clear quicker once the rain/snow stops and anglers should see a nice fresh run of trout. Casting spoons off the pier and presenting meat or scented baits below a slip bobber might be in order.

Waterfowl hunters should be advised that the Department of Environmental Conservation has re-opened the snow goose season effective now until April 15 in Upstate New York. For more information, log on “http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/50514.html”>www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/50514.html.

If you are a law abiding gun owner concerned about your lawful citizen rights, read on: There will be a “Gun Owners March on Albany” bus trip which will depart from the NYS Thruway Exit 49 (Depew) park and drive area on Feb. 28. Departure will be at 4:30 a.m. You will travel to Empire State Plaza, Legislative Office Building. Arrival time is at 10 a.m. The cost is $25 per passenger. Departure is 3 p.m. and arrive back at the Depew parking area around 8:30 p.m. For reservations, call Rich at 510- 7952 or email rich@weloveoutdoors.org. This event is co-sponsored by the Erie County Federation of Sportsmen.

Sportsmen can make a difference. When word got out that certain firearms would not be allowed to be on display at the Harrisburg Sportsman’s outdoor show, more than 30 major sponsors pulled out, which prompted the cancellation of this year’s show. It is the largest show of its kind on the east coast .

Calendar:

Willie Fedrick, Ken Hollandar, Monte Kennedy, Jeffrey Rasmus and the rest of the fly tying group are back again on Monday evenings (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 www.yorkpennshows.com for more information.

The local chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, the Lake Shore Longbeards, will meet again on Monday, Feb. 4, at 7 p.m., at Liberty Vineyards, located on Route 20 in Sheridan. The agenda will include finalizing preparations for 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. Note: The deadline for Early Bird Prize consideration is Feb. 4. Paid tickets can be dropped off at the meeting.

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 five-percent commission fee for all sellers. Food will be available from the Boy Scouts. For more information, call Patti at 337-2556.

The Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club will hold a rabbit contest for members and guests on Sunday, Feb. 17. Weigh-in deadline will be 3 p.m. Entry fee is $5. Prizes awarded for the heaviest three entries. Sign up at the club. Food and prizes after the weigh-in.

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, including Professional, Amateur and Open. Professional, which is 1-2 anglers per team, has a $160 per team entry fee. The Amateur Division, which will be for singles or pairs, has a $90 entry fee. The Open Division, which is for single anglers, has an entry fee of $40. Check the official tournament website at www.NYSiceproam.com. The official Tournament email address is info@FK sportfishing.com..

The Jamestown Rifle club will hold Pistol classes on today, Feb. 24, March 24 and April 28. You must be 21-years old 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.