Safe ice unavailable on local waters

sIce is everywhere you look, but safe ice is unavailable on most local waters.

I checked with Lisa Green at the Happy Hooker Bait & Tackle Shop, in Ashville, and was informed that although there is three to four inches of ice on Chautauqua Lake, there is very little black ice. Law enforcement reportedly advised fishermen to keep off the ice Wednesday and veteran anglers who had been checking out the ice near Long Point State Park opted to do so.

Meanwhile, reports from Oneida Lake are favorable. At the monthly meeting of the New York Walleye Association in Black Rock, anglers reported doing very well on walleye and limited out before noon. Machines have reportedly been on the lake since Sunday with 10 to 11 inches of firm ice.

On the trip to Black Rock, you could see lots of ice along the shore line and out a considerable distance, but there was little evidence of anyone attempting to travel on it. Creeks also had a lot of ice shoves near the mouth and a skirting of ice along any open water, making stream fishing almost impossible.

The Dunkirk harbor has also seen a lot of ice move in, with flocks of birds inhabiting any open water they can find. On Sunday, I noticed a cormorant that appeared to have one foot frozen in the ice. It was expending considerable energy to free itself to no avail. The bird must have provided an adrenaline rush to photographers, as it finally broke free and slid along the frozen lake surface on its belly when it tried to land. That’s when I spied a heron looking very cold and grumpy. A few more weeks of this weather and we can expect spring.

Calendar

The Westfield Fish & Game Club will hold an Open House at their facility this Saturday . Steve Alstad, the president of SCOPE – a politically active, pro-gun organization – will be a guest speaker. The club is located on Ogden Road in Westfield and the event begins at noon. For more information, call Ron Catalano at 326-4997 or 326- 3867.

There will be an unscheduled pistol course Sunday at the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club from 3-7 p.m. There is a $55 fee, and pre-registration is not required. For more information, call Gary at 366-3397.

The Lake Shore Longbeards, our local chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, will hold their annual fundraiser/ banquet this Saturday at the Kosciuszko Club, located on Nevins St. in Dunkirk. The doors open at 5 p.m. with dinner starting at 6:30 p.m. Tickets can be ordered by calling Bob & Judi Turk at 934-4538.

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 to “http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/50514.html”>www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/50514.html.

There will be a “Gun Owners’ March on Albany” bus trip which will depart from the New York State Thruway Exit 49 (Depew) park-and-drive area Feb. 28. Participants will travel to the Empire State Plaza’s Legislative Office Building. Departure is 4:30 a.m., with arrival time expected to be 10 a.m. The cost is $25 per passenger. Departure from Albany is scheduled for 3 p.m., and arrival 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.

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 free of charge. 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. Go to www.yorkpennshows.com for more information.

Note: The Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club will hold a rabbit contest for members and guests on Feb. 16. Weigh-in will be from 1-3 p.m. with food and prizes available after the weigh-in. Entry fee is $5 with prizes awarded for the heaviest three entries. Those interested can sign up at the club.

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 Jan. 4-6. The second is on Chautauqua Lake Feb. 15-17. The final event is on Sodus Bay Feb. 22-24. There are three divisions: Professional, amateur and open. Professional, which is 1-2 anglers per team, has a $160 entry fee. The Amateur Division, which is also open to singles and pairs, has a $90 entry fee. The Open Division, which is for single anglers only, 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 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 each. Call Pat Hayes at 484-9301 for information.

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