Spring, warmer weather can’t come soon enough

Bring on spring!

Most everyone in Western New York has had their fill of winter and is looking forward to some warmer weather. It is a sad state of affairs that there was the waterfowl die-off this winter and you can only wonder what would have happened to the deer population if we didn’t get several warm spells during this brutal winter.

At the February meeting of the Chautauqua County Federation of Sportsmen, Environmental Conservation Officer Kevin Budniewski was in attendance. Officer Budniewski advised sportsmen to be vigilant while afield for suspicious activity and to call 1-800 TIPP DEC if you suspect suspicious activity. He also advised to obtain – if possible – vehicle descriptions and license numbers, but advised people not try to apprehend culprits.

Officer Budniewski also answered questions from the audience and touched briefly on fishers. The fisher has been sighted across the state in increasing numbers and several have been spotted south of BOCES. Others in attendance also noted they have seen fisher activity throughout the county. There are no plans to harvest fishers in our county for 2014.

There is no formal release on the deer or bear harvest for 2013 so far. Early indications are that it was down this year due to the heavy snowfall .

Ice fishing activity on Chautauqua Lake has slowed down recently according to Skip Bianco at Hogan’s Hut in Stow. There is still a good 20 inches of ice on the lake with walleyes staging up in 20 to 30 feet of water at Dewittville and Prendergast, as well as in front of spawning sites. Anglers often report now that they have to tip their jigging rapalas with minnows to get strikes.

Mayville continues to offer up decent panfish activity with crappies and bluegills mixed in with perch. Bemus Bay and Maple Springs have also offered up crappie activity. Findley Lake has been good all winter with crappies and northern pike. Quaker Lake has slowed down and the Allegheny River has given up walleyes to anglers using tip-ups and live bait, showing a preference for medium sized shiners.

Rick Miller in Irving reports yellow perch activity continues out of Sturgeon Point with better catches coming from isolated anglers fishing away from the pack. Cattaraugus Creek currently is not an option for ice fishing.


The next meeting of the Great Lakes Experience Planning board will be on Wednesday, March 12, at 1:30 p.m. at the SUNY Fredonia Technology Incubator, which is located on Central Avenue, in Dunkirk. Plans are being made for the GLE to take place at Dunkirk’s Memorial Park on June 21. This event is going should be a great time and everyone interested in attending should mark the date on their calendars. More later!

The Pistol Course that is scheduled at the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club on March 15, will be held from 5-10 p.m. There are still openings to take this course, which will cost $55. For more information, call Gary Dudek at 366-3397.

The Northern Chautauqua Chapter of Ducks Unlimited annual banquet is scheduled for Saturday, March 15 at the Dunkirk Moose Lodge, located at 296 Lake Shore Drive West. Pre-sale tickets are $45 or $70 per couple. This event will feature a live and silent auction as well as other raffles throughout the evening. Early Bird entries by March 7 will enter automatically in a raffle for a limited edition piece of DU artwork. For more information, including tickets, email to sdzentz@netsync.net or call Steve at 410-4848, Chris McKelvey at 672-2498, Scott Sinare at 410-9531, Darrin Katta at 785-0713 or Will Mead at 785-3741.

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

The Westfield Fish and Game Club located on Ogden Road in Westfield will be conducting a gun safety training course starting on Monday, March 25, from 7 until 10 p.m. The class will then resume on Saturday, March 29, 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Students must attend both days and be at least 12 years old. For more information, call 326-3218.

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