Lake Erie is hot spot for bass

Lake Erie small-mouth bass fishing has been the hot bite for visiting anglers keying on the legendary eastern basin “mother load” of bronze-backs.

Department of Environmental Conservation creel census personnel have had glowing reports from bass anglers who have been plying the shallows of Lake Erie off the three major boat launch areas in Chautauqua County. Depending on who was asked, anglers were reporting hook ups of three dozen to 300 bass per day. These are bass anglers who head to our waters and pride themselves on catching and releasing their fish unharmed, and as quickly as possible.

The Dunkirk harbor has been picked over recently, but a lot of attention was spent just east of the harbor along the area locals refer to as the First Ward. Calm breezes and warm temperatures made fishing a pleasure, but it looks like some cooler temperatures and precipitation are in store for the weekend.

Walleye have been a tough pursuit with lots of effort over the weekend resulting in few fish. The water temperature has been on the cool side, but the DEC census people did hear of one limit catch later in the week out of Dunkirk. No specifics were mentioned.

Yellow perch have also been a tease for off-shore anglers, with some lucky anglers locating small active pods of perch while anglers 20-feet away can only watch in envy. This columnist witnessed this first hand on Saturday as after several hours, and two moves, we noticed three boats sitting almost atop each other. The anglers consistently picked up fish while others around them watched. A quick flurry of action resulted in five big perch and then lock jaw.

Several anglers remarked that maybe anglers are too deep, fishing in the 50-foot plus zone, when closer to shore just might be the ticket. Rick Miller reported two boats checked in on Wednesday with 40 fish apiece caught at the 52-foot mark just east of the mouth of the Cattaraugus Creek. Drifting for perch has also been successful in that same area. While checking Barcelona on Tuesday, we learned an angler has been doing well for perch off DJ’s campground in 26 feet of water.

Remember Mother’s Day is Sunday!


Spring turkey season opened May 1. I will be looking for stories and photos to publish. Call 366-1772, 467-2079 or the OBSERVER at 366-3000, ext. 5 after 5 p.m. Good luck and be safe!

The Bear Lake Rod & Gun club will host a 3-D archery shoot from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m., on Sunday, May 19. They will also offer a special night shoot, featuring raccoon targets, Saturday at 8 p.m. Watch for their special rifle shoot on June 9, featuring a 200-yard open rifle shoot from 8 a.m.- 3 p.m. For more information on these shoots or on the Bear Lake Club, call either Rob at 485-3773, Tom at 680- 0209 or the club house at 595-3334. All shoots are open to the public.

If your club is hosting a hunter safety training/archery/trapper/pistol course, turkey shoot or any event that pertains to the outdoors, call 366-1772 or 366-3000 ext. 5 after 5 p.m.

The Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club Take A Kid Fishing Day is set for June 8. Sign-up sheets are now available at the Club.

Saturday, June 15 marks the first time the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Festival and the Great Lakes Experience (GLE) will be held in Dunkirk. This event is a sister event to the one held in Buffalo since 2001. GLE is looking for fish & wild life related exhibitors and regional environmental groups to participate . The goal is to engage the community and work with local stakeholders to protect and enhance the natural resources of the Lower Great Lakes. There is still time to get on board by calling Jennifer Colon or to register an exhibit contact Beth Smeader @

The Cassadaga Lakes Association will host their 20th annual Lew Mead Youth Fishing Tournament on June 29 at the DEC boat launch on Dale Drive in Cassadaga from 7 a.m. until 11 a.m. This event is free for all youth ages 16 and younger. If you would like to donate a door prize, volunteer or are looking for more information, call 595-3950.

Gene Pauszek is an OBSERVER outdoors columnist. Send comments to