AMARA-CAN begins on local waters

Day one of the AMARA-CAN walleye tournament started without a hitch with one of the smallest amount of entries in the history of the event launching in two flights. A flight departed at 7 a.m. and B flight left at 8 a.m. The weather was in the fishermans’ favor as no severe weather appeared on the horizon. It appeared that the B flight had zeroed in on the active fish as a number of teams from that flight managed to weigh in five-walleye totals of 35 pounds or more.

Boat 95, led by Captain Mike Fletcher, is the team to beat with a five-fish total weight of 44.66 pounds. Fletcher’s team managed to boat the heaviest walleye of day one, weighing in at 10.46 pounds and added another 10 pounder to their five fish total. Captain Don Ruppert in boat 12 held the lead for awhile with a five-walleye total weight of 43.28 pounds. Ruppert’s team also boated the second-heaviest walleye of day one at 10.38 pounds.

Local talent Wesley Bartoo, fishing with teammates Bill Centner, Dick Kern and Greg Linder, landed the third-heaviest walleye of the day weighing in at 10.10 pounds. They weighed in a five walleye total weight of 38.07 pounds. and will be looking to increase their total weight on Sunday to end up in the money.

Team 99, led by Capt. Brad Millville, weighed in 42.68 pounds, followed by Joe Jemiolo III in boat two with a 41.06 pound total. Fifth place is held by team 96’s Dan Bognar with a 40.84 pound total weight followed by Daryll McNeil’s team 92 with a 40.70 pound total. Seventh place is held by George Jensen in team 103 with a 40.64 pound total followed by Rob Colley from team 82 with a 40.28 pound total. In ninth place is Bernard Lewandowski Jr’s team 22 with a 40.26 pound weight. Bernie’s dad commented that they had a two fish tangle, a broken windshield and a ripped seat on day one. David Niziol’s team 101 is in 10th place with a 40.10 pound total.

There are 14 other teams with a total weight of 35 pounds or more so this tournament is still wide open for anyone capable of bringing in a heavy five-walleye stringer on Sunday.

Some observations from the bleachers: Those contestants that were willing to divulge information indicated that a lot of the fish were east or over on the Canadian side. Stickbaits and worm harnesses are taking the lions share with no color scheme given yet.

One team came to the scales with a heavy cooler of fish. The heaviest one was over nine pounds followed by three more that were almost cut from the same mold. The problem was that there were only four fish in the cooler at the weigh site. The irate captain knew that they had 15 more fish on the boat including an eight pounder. Rules state that you weigh-in what you bring to the scale. Had they weighed in all five they would have been in third place. OUCH! Speaking of ouch, Bob Waines of Port Colburne, Ontario took one for the team. Fishing on team 103, Waines reportedly went to take a four pound walleye out of the net at 9 20 a.m. when the fish jumped and a large single hook got imbedded deep into his arm. If they returned to shore they would be disqualified so Waines stuck it out until they weighed in. I took him to the emergency room and when the doctor got done with him he remarked that Waines was the worst hook-up he ever removed in 30 years. He plans on fishing Sunday on the first flight. Good Luck!

Launch times are at 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. Sunday with return times of 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. respectively. Awards should take place sometime after 4:30 p.m. The public is invited to join in the festivities. Look for coverage in the OBSERVER with the final results.


The Bear Lake Rod & Gun Club will host a 3-D archery shoot today from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. All shoots are open to the public.

The newly formed Chautauqua County Chapter of SCOPE will host a meeting on Tuesday at the Mayville VFW. They indicate that Senator Catherine Young may be in attendance. Gun owners are urged to attend . The meting starts at 7 p.m.

The Southtowns Walleye Association is hosting its 21st Catch and Release Kids’ Fishing Derby on Saturday, July 21 at the Tifft Nature Preserve, located on Furman Boulevard, Buffalo. The event is free to all kids 15 years old and younger. Bring your own tackle. Sign-up starts at 7:30 a.m. with the weigh-in from 8 a.m.-11 a.m. A picnic-style lunch, including free hot dogs and goodies, will be served from 11 a.m. until noon. Coffee, milk, donuts and juice will be served from 7:30-10 a.m. All kids receive a grab bag and winners will receive awards starting at noon. For more information, call Dennis at 861-5687 or Doug at 649-8202.

The Southtowns Walleye Association’s monthly meeting will be held on Thursday, July 18 at 7:30 p.m. at their club house, 5895 Southwestern Boulevard, Hamburg.

The Westfield Fish & Game Club located on Ogden Road in Westfield, will host a Hunter Safety Training course(gun). It will start on Monday, August 12, at 7 p.m. and run until 10 p.m. The class will resume on Saturday , Aug. 17 at 9 a.m. and run until 4 p.m. Students must attend BOTH days and be at least 12 years old. For more information call 326-3218.

The Annual Hunting Expo held at the Seneca Allegany Casino & Hotel , located at 777 Seneca Allegany Blvd, Salamanca, NY. will be held on Saturday Sept. 28 from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Sunday Sept. 29 from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. For more information contact Jim Buck at (716-569-6810 or visit .

There will be a Gun Show at the Frewsburg Firemens Rec Hall, 25 Hazzard St. Frewsburg, NY on Oct. 26 & 27. Call 569-6810 for information.

Gene Pauszek is an OBSERVER outdoors columnist. Send comments to