Battling the waves

Day two of the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club’s Ninth Annual Walleye Derby was an interesting one.

The marine weather forecast called for some more rough boating conditions and 25 teams out of a field of 100 did not weigh-in any fish over the course of the last two days. Those anglers who did venture out early in the day reported wavy conditions with some residual wave action from Friday. Five footers were reported with a forecast of possibly more wind contributing to the scene, but many of the fishermen who did head out claimed that the conditions weren’t too bad as the day wore on.

The catching must have picked up later in the day as many of the anglers waited until the final hour to show up at the weigh in. One of the earliest teams to weigh in was Team 70 with Captain Roger Corlett, Dwayne Bobik and Jose Cornier. Team 70 raised the bar high by weighing-in three heavy walleye, the largest weighing 9.97 pounds, followed by an 8.58-pounder and an 8.30-pounder. Their total weight for Saturday was 26.85 pound, which included the heaviest walleye of the day and provided the team with the large and small Calcutta prizes, Big Eye and Big Fish for Saturday prize.

Team 70 also properly declared and displayed the lure that landed its fish – a 3-D worm harness – which was the Sponsor of the Day Award. The description of the lure was a single turtle blade in a nuclear red, yellow and blue pattern that Cornier called “Cheap Sunglasses.” Team 70 used dipsey divers to land 17 walleye on Saturday on a two-and-a-half setting or three, 175 feet back with Power Pro line for backing.

No 10-pound walleye were weighed on Saturday, to the delight of team 70, but a number of 9-pounders came to the scales including a 9.13-pounder weighed-in by Team 39’s Don Mullen and crew. Mullen divulged that his team fished ten miles out of the Cattaraugus Creek area and caught 12 walleye for the day using dipsey divers, lead core line and all renosky stick baits.

Captain Don Ruppert, of Team 35, weighed in a nice trio of walleye including a 9.15-pound entry. Team 10, led by last year’s “Con Club Derby” winner Gene Strianese entered a 9.50-pound walleye with two other heavy fish for a total of 25.48 pounds.

Team 50, led by Herb Schultz, entered a 9.26-pound walleye and Team 21, led by Gary Olson, entered a 9.22-pounder. Team 20, led by George Harmony, entered a 9.20-pounder, which contributed to the eighth-heaviest total weight for Saturday at 24.99 pounds. Team 9, which consisted of Lon St. Louis, Dale Breitwieser and Randy Edwards, entered walleye weighing 9.06, 9.05 and 8.43 pounds for a total weight of 26.54 pounds.

As the deadline drew closer, Team 94 Captain Jim Tunney, along with teammates Zac Yetzer and Chelsea Provost, weighed-in the second-heaviest walleye of the day at 9.73. Their team total for Saturday was 23.44 pounds.

Team 81 was one of the final teams to weigh-in and Captain Craig Rose sent his teammates Ken Davis, Wayne Oram and Blake Davis to weigh-in the fish, which provided the third heaviest walleye of Saturday at 9.61 pounds, along with an 8.83 and 8.30-pounder for a total weight of 26.74 pounds. The total was good enough for the second-heaviest basket on Saturday.

Sunday’s weather forecast could prove to be inclement and a lot of teams are hoping to improve their three-day total weight. A total of 53 teams weighed in at least 18 pounds of fish on Saturday and many of those teams weighed in just as much on Friday. One heavy fish, or lack of, can make or break a team in this three-day event. The weigh-in hours are from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Sunday. The public is invited to attend, with commemorative T-shirts, Ladies Auxiliary cook books and food and beverages available.


The Cattaraugus County Sportsmen’s Rendezvous will be held Aug. 9-11 at the Cattaraugus County Fairgrounds in Little Valley. The show will feature archery, black powder, trapping, fishing, guns, taxidermy dealers, Big Buck displays, live seminars, food and a Saturday night auction. Camping is permitted, but there will be no alcoholic beverages for sale. For more information, call 492-0432. Hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m., 8 a.m.- 6 p.m. and 8 a.m.- 3 p.m., respectively.

Gene Pauszek is an OBSERVER outdoors columnist. Send comments to