Rise in temperature puts hold on ice fishing

Western New York’s infamous rapidly changing weather strikes again.

On Monday, this columnist took a ride around some of the county to check out the scenery. All area creeks were high and running fast and dirty. Cassadaga Lake was showing some open water in parts of the lake and the Mayville end of Chautauqua Lake was almost all open water. Most of the snow was gone, too. Several inches of snowfall Tuesday along with single-digit temperatures will change that almost over night, but look out for the warming trend over the weekend.

Some of the ice cover in the Dunkirk Harbor broke up. After Sunday morning church service, I took a ride to the City of Dunkirk Pier and watched numerous flocks of Canadian geese packed into the boat launch area. Then part of the flock broke off with all the birds facing north, and they started calling. A flock of about 30 birds took flight and the next group of honkers moved up and took their position. About five minutes later, the same process took place with the birds apparently leaving in flights. It was cool to watch. We also have what appears to be a group of four grey swans that have been hanging around Bart’s Cove – The Conservation Club area. These birds are a big body bird with long necks and when they tuck their head under their wings, they resemble a floating block of ice. On Tuesday, I observed a flock of a dozen swans flying over head, but the birds chose not to land. Anglers may have to wait until the first of the new year to try their ice fishing gear on safe ice. Happy Holidays!

Calendar:

Just a reminder that the DEC has announced a temporary black out period for purchasing sporting licenses and Game Harvest reporting starting Dec. 26, 2014. You won’t be able to purchase hunting, fishing or trapping licenses or secure a recreational marine fishing registration or report harvested game for about a two-week period because the DEC will be changing their computerized licensing system. If you know a friend or relative who has not yet purchased their license(s) and plans on fishing etc., have them purchase their license before Dec. 26.

The Monday night Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club Fly Tyers will be taking off the next three weeks for the holidays. The tyers will resume on Monday, Jan. 5, at 6 p.m.

Gun Owners are asked to participate in the “Fire One Shot at Noon!”on Jan. 11, 2014 in protest of the NYS Safe Gun Act. Organizers of the event, the Springville Field & Stream Club are urging legal gun owners to participate in a safe and legal manner and to spread the word on the event. Go to www.facebook.com/events/456320794486823/.

Chautauqua County Snowmobile Trails officially opened Dec. 18, pending proper conditions. For more information, email crhead@mainstream.net.

The Southtowns Walleye Association located at 5895 Southwestern Blvd. Hamburg will host a Used Fishing and Hunting equipment sale (no guns or ammo) on Jan. 18, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Tables are limited and will cost $20. There will be free parking and entry.

The Erie County Trappers Association will host a Fur Handling Seminar on Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014 from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the Collins Conservation Club located at 2633 Conger Road Collins, N.Y. The show will feature techniques for better pelt preparation, teach about pelting, fleshing and stretching, drying and sizing. This event is FREE. There will be kids games, prizes, raffles and the kitchen will be open. Trap supplies and fur hats from Hoot’s Furs will be on sale. For more information call Patti at 337-2556 or Hoot at 532-2457.

Raw fur pickup schedule: North American Fur Auctions (NAFA) location is Lucky Lanes bowling alley on Route 60, in Fredonia. Time is 4:30 p.m., on Jan. 4, March 9 and April 28. The agent is Ernest Mosher and he can be reached by calling his cell phone 315-868-6275. Note: The fur must be put up and dried. No green pelts will be accepted. First auction dates are Feb. 17-23.

Fur Harvesters Auction pick-ups will be at the old Tops Market parking lot off I -90. Take exit 59. Time of the pickup is 6-6:30 a.m. Pick-up dates will be Dec. 15, Jan. 19 and March 23. The agent is Toby Edwards. He can be contacted by calling his cellphone at 518-848-0217. Only dried pelts will be accepted. The first auction date is Jan. 7, while the second dates are March 13 and 14.

There will also be a raw fur auction on Jan. 18 at the Hinsdale Fire Hall , in Hindsdale. No furs will be checked before 7:30 a.m. There will be fox, raccoon, muskrat, mink, beaver, as well as deer hides up for auction. The auction starts at 10 a.m., and will go until all furs sold. For more information, call Andy Smith at 492-0432 or Dale at 763-3416.

If your club is hosting a shooting event, or training course (turkey shoot, etc.), drop a line and I will be glad to place an announcement in the calendar.

The Federation of Sportsmen from Sullivan County are hosting a three-day Coyote hunt from Feb. 7-9.

They offer a $2,000 grand prize for the heaviest coyote weighed-in for the three-day hunt, a $200 daily prize for the heaviest coyote in each of the three days of the hunt, a $100 prize for the heaviest coyote taken by a youth (12-15 years old) and a $100 prize for the heaviest coyote taken by a female hunter during the three-day event. One-hundred dollars will be awarded for all other coyotes weighed in during the three-day event.

Early registration, post marked by Jan. 27, will be $30 per hunter, which will include the three-day hunt, a weigh-in dinner held at the White Sulphur Springs Fire House, located on Route 52 (exit 100 off Route 17). After Jan. 27, the entry fee is $40 with the deadline of 7 p.m. sharp on Feb. 3. For details, visit the website at www.sullivancountysportsmensfederationny.com.

The New York State Ice Pro Am is scheduled for Chautauqua Lake on Jan. 18 and 19, 2014 with weather permitting. For more information go to www.NYSiceproam.com.

Gun Shows: The Ashtabula County Sportsman’s Gun Show in Jefferson Ohio will be on Jan. 18-19 at the Ashtabula County Fairgrounds, located at 127 N. Elm, For more information, call 569-6810

The Chautauqua county Sportman’s Show will be held on Jan. 25-26 at the Chautauqua Lake Auction Center located at 2118 Magnolia Ave., Ashville.

The Sportsman’s Show at the Seneca Allegany Casino & Hotel located at I-86, Exit 20, 777 Seneca Allegany Blvd., Salamanca will be on Feb. 22- 23. Call 569-6810 or log on www.yorkpennshow.com.

The Frewsburg Gun Show at the Frewsburg Fireman’s Rec Hall, located at 25 Hazzard St., Frewsburg, will be held on March 8-9 .

Gene Pauszek is an OBSERVER outdoors columnist. Send comments to sports@observertoday.com.