Fishing success is hit or miss lately

Fishermen are familiar with the phrase, “You should have been here yesterday!”

Whatever the time frame, it often seems the fish were on a better bite previous to an expected arrival. One of my contacts announced the walleye were on the feed prior to the New York State Ice Pro-AM Tournament series held last weekend on Chautauqua Lake.

During the event however, the walleyes were reportedly in short supply. Ice conditions were safe with at least five inches of good ice reported on most of the lake, and an endless supply of runt yellow perch located all around the lake. Utilizing hand-held underwater cameras confirm the sonar “blips and dots” are indeed fish and will reveal to the anglers that the fish are perch in the 7-inch size range. Culling through about 30 of these bait snatchers will usually yield a slightly larger perch, but they sure do provide a lot of action. If you are looking for crappie or some nice sized bluegills, try Mayville or Burtis Bay. For walleye, concentrate on the breaks by Prendergast and Long Point. Jigging Rapalas usually in some perch pattern will be a good starting tactic and just before dark appears to be the best time for walleye hook ups.

The next leg of the NYS Ice Pro-AM Tournament is at Tupper Lake on Feb. 15- 16, and the final weekend event will be Feb. 22-23 at Sodus Bay. For more information, log onto

The freezing temperatures are locking down most open water, and fishing in the Dunkirk Harbor has been limited. One angler I spoke with indicated a few brown trout have been taken off the pier, but for most parts, it has been slow. Fishing from the Probst Platform in Dunkirk has also been slow. One of my sources who frequents the platform this time of year gave a rule of thumb to his approach. If the NRG power station has smoke coming from two stacks there will be a sustained strong release of warm water into the Dunkirk Harbor, providing a good current. Smoke from just one stack won’t be as good. Veteran fishermen of the Dunkirk area both off the pier and in the harbor area will remember just how good the trout/salmon fishing was and can be at this time of year when the conditions are right. You should have been here yesteryear!


The Lakeshore Longbeards membership banquet is Jan. 25 at St. Hedwig’s Hall, located at 324 Townsend St., Dunkirk. The doors open at 5 p.m. with dinner starting at 6:30 p.m. The Longbeards , our local chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation will still be able to accept a few ticket sales at the door on Saturday. The Longbeards also commented that as per the NWTF regulations, anyone wishing to procure seed corn for 2014 will have to be a member, with primary consideration given to banquet attendees. You can still get tickets by calling Bob Turk at 934-4538. The event will not be cancelled due to the weather.

The Greater Niagara Fishing & Outdoor Expo will take place Jan. 24-26 at the Niagara Falls Conference and Event Center. The Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Association will have a flea market Jan 26. The main show will feature guides, outfitters and the BASS School. Visit for more information.

The Monday night Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club Fly Tyers will meet Monday evenings at 6 p.m., weather permitting. The event is open to the public free of charge.

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 March 9 and April 28. The agent is Ernest Mosher and he can be reached by calling 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, 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 March 14.

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. $100 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

A recent email announced the Harrisburg Pa. Sportsman’s Show is back with the backing of the National Rifle Association. The Harrisburg show schedule is Feb. 1-10 with Country Western star Trace Adkins performing Feb. 8.

Gun Shows: The Chautauqua county Sportman’s Show will be held on Jan. 25 and Jan. 26 at the Chautauqua Lake Auction Center located at 2118 Magnolia Avenue, in Ashville.

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

Gene Pauszek is an OBSERVER outdoors columnist. Send comments to