Weekend ice fishing tourney canceled

Questionably safe ice has prompted the decision to cancel the NYS Ice Pro-Am Tournament series event scheduled for February 15-17 on Chautauqua Lake.

On Wednesday evening, a trip to the official website located at “”> showed the news posted on Tuesday, that the Chautauqua Lake event had been canceled. The decision reportedly was reached by consulting with the Chautauqua County Tourism Office, Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau and local law enforcement officers.

Together they reached a unanimous decision to cancel the event due to unsafe ice conditions over the entire waterway that would have been eligible to fish. There were some reports of six inches of ice on some areas, but in order to be considered safe, a 4-inch minimum would be necessary across the entire surface. The upcoming weather forecast for the weekend did not look favorable either.

Anyone who already registered for the Chautauqua Lake event reportedly will be contacted for registration options. Note that the event scheduled for Sodus Bay on Feb. 22-24 will be monitored as a go-no-go situation depending on the weather and temperature.

The Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club rabbit contest should be fun. There was a report given from a group of nine hunters utilizing one beagle last weekend that they ended up with 36 rabbits. The hunters reported the rabbit population appears to be up wherever you hunt locally.

If the water levels subside, check the creeks for some steelhead action. Don Einhouse, the senior fisheries biologist at the Dunkirk based Department of Environmental Conservation Fisheries Station, reported the fish access fixture implemented on Chautauqua Creek last year appears to be functioning. A Ranger reported sighting rainbows upstream, even though the structure was damaged by the weather effects of Super-storm Sandy. Cool!

Time to start looking for shed antlers. My contacts report the bucks have dropped antlers for a couple weeks now.


There will be an indoor yard sale this Saturday and Sunday at Chautauqua Suites in Mayville. This is not my usual avenue to announce in the calendar; however, this time slot annually was filled with an outdoor show at the same place. Admission is $1 and you just might find a few outdoors-related treasures for a bargain price.

Waterfowl hunters should be advised that the DEC has re-opened the snow goose season effective now until April 15 in Upstate New York. For more information, log on to

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 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 for more information.

The Harbor Creek, Pa. Gun Show, held at the Harbor Creek Fire Department’s Social Hall, located at 7275 Buffalo Road-US Route 20, will be on March 16 & 17. The show opens each day at 9 a.m. and closes at 4 p.m., on Saturday and 3 p.m., on Sunday. For more information, call 716-569- 6810, or log on

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.

The NYS Ice Pro-Am Tournament Series: The final event is scheduled to be held on Sodus Bay, on 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 for 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 The official Tournament email address is info@FK

The Jamestown Rifle Club will hold pistol classes on, 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