Sportsman’s Journal

Opening day of Black Bass season is this Saturday. Starting Saturday, the minimum size limit will be 12 inches, and the creel limit is five per day.

Walleye anglers have been having a tough time finding a consistent pattern locally, with cooler temperatures, strong winds and almost daily rainfall, preventing ideal conditions to set up. There were reports of limit catches of walleye coming from the Athol Springs “Windmill” area, but I have not heard recent reports with the ongoing Southtowns Walleye Association Tournament in process until June 19. There were also reports of good catches from the Barcelona area, west of the launch site in shallow water 40 to 60 feet. Expect lots of boat traffic.

The “Cotton is still flying” and that means the catfish are biting in Cattaraugus Creek. Matthew Miller, the grandson of Jerome Miller, the original proprietor of Miller’s Bait & Tackle shop in Irving, has estimated he has caught more than 100 catfish from the “Cat” this year. He had a 20 pounder that he released earlier this year, but Saturday he caught not one, but two fish that he thought might break the state record. He was unable to fish his “hot spot” Saturday evening because someone else was already there. He decided to move closer towards the mouth of the “Cat” and cast his crappie rig tipped with a half of night crawler into the muddy current, using 12-pound test line, too. The rod erupted into action and after about an hour battle, he reeled in a catfish that pulled the scales down more than 28 pounds. He then caught another whopper that weighed in at 26 pounds at his uncle Rick’s tackle shop. The catfish are still biting too.

Rick Miller reports the perch anglers did excellent off the mouth of the “Cat” on Wednesday in 54 feet of water just west of the mouth. Miller also reported that emerald shiners are starting to get scarce so golden shiners may soon come into play.


Tonight the Department of Environmental Conservation will be hosting their second annual Fish Management Workshop, focusing on Lake Erie and the Upper Niagara River. Some of the topics that will be discussed by key members of the Lake Erie and Upper Niagara Fisheries management, and research communities will be: Steelhead studies, walleye status, fish passage for the Springville Dam , and habitat initiatives on the Niagara River. The event is free and will be held at the Woodlawn Beach State Park. The event is free and will start at 6:30 p.m. and conclude at 9 p.m. Included in the presentation will be fish aging demonstartions, poster exhibits, and informal discussions. Open to the public!

If you are hoping the cross bow bill will surface or survive, it is important to contact our senators and request they support Senate bill S1699B. Call or write and let your legislators know if you are a current or former bowhunter. If you have any current or former archery/crossbow affiliation. Be sure to let them know that you support crossbow regulatory authority being given to the DEC! Rick McDermott is the rep for NY Crossbow Coalition at

There will be a pistol course at the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club on July 6 from 9:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. There is a $55 fee for the course. For information, call Gary Dudek at 366-3397.

This Saturday marks the first time the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Festival and the Great Lakes Experience (GLE) will be held in Dunkirk.

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.

Several safe boating courses are being offered in the area. These classes are New York State-approved boater safety classes required for anyone between 10 and 18 years old to operate a motor boat and everyone age 14 and above to operate a personal water craft like a jet ski. There is no pre-registration required. All registration will be done on site. Parents of attendees under the age of 18 must sign a release form.

On June 15, the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club will host a course at 1 North Mullet Street. The course is from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Lunch will be provided. The course is free to anyone ages 10-17. Attendees age 18 and over will have to pay a $10 fee to New York State prior to receiving the certificate card.

Gene Pauszek is an OBSERVER outdoors columnist. Send comments to