Plenty of open water at Dunkirk harbor prior to blizzard

Prior to the Wednesday re-freeze, the Dunkirk harbor experienced more open water than it has had in a month.

Anglers fishing from the City of Dunkirk Pier were connecting with some decent-sized steelhead and an occasional brown trout. Look for this opportunity to return later in the week.

One technique that was working was utilizing a long-noodle rod with about a nine-foot long, four-pound test fluorocarbon leader. At the business end of the rig was a jig fly which the fisherman, Jeffrey Rasmus, had tied. A small bobber was positioned about eight or nine feet above the fly. The guys would cast the rig out as far as it would reach and twitch it back toward the pier, watching for any movement on the bobber. The fish often will hit the fly as it is falling towards the bottom. Tipping the jig/fly with a Berkley Gulp Maggot or trout bait will increase your hook-ups at times. Note that casting a spoon with a treble hook is unproductive due to the extreme abundance of shad.

The trout seem to be hanging toward the bottom below the shad which are experiencing a very high mortality rate due to the extremely cold winter. I spoke with two anglers who tried their luck from a small boat inside the harbor and they encountered one trout and commented that the amount of dead and dying shad is staggering.

This columnist also noted a small flock of turkey buzzards already in the harbor on Sunday. The various gulls and carrion eaters are finding ample food sources due to the shad and duck dieoff.

Yellow perch fishing has really picked up as of last weekend according to Lee Weber in Derby. Anglers fishing out of Sturgeon Point are doing good with live minnows, usually out at the 60 to 62 foot mark.

Mike Sperry at Chautauqua Reel Outdoors in Lakewood reports that some anglers have been limiting out on keeper-sized calicos fishing close to shore by Lakewood Bar and Smith Boys. Walleye fishing, which closes on Saturday, has been sporadic with fish coming from Witney Bay, Dewittville, and the upper end of the lake.

Calendar:

The next meeting of the Great Lakes Experience Planning board will be on Wednesday, March 26, 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 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 Saturday, March 15 at the Dunkirk Moose Lodge, located at 296 Lake Shore Drive West. This event will feature a live and silent auction as well as other raffles throughout the evening. 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.

Our local chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, the Lakeshore Longbeards, will be meeting Tuesday, March 18 at 7 p.m., at Liberty Vineyards, located on Route 20 in Sheridan. The agenda will include highlights of the banquet and plans for the JAKES Youth day in July. The event is open to the public.

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 is 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 7-10 p.m. The class will then resume on Saturday, March 29, from 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. They will also offer a Trapping course on September 17 & 18 from 6-10 p.m. Limit 30 students.

The Falconer Rod & Gun Club will host a trapping course on Sept. 24 & 26 from 5:30-10 p.m. each day. Register the first day.

There will be gun safety courses also at the Bear Lake Rod & Gun Club located on Route 310 Cassadaga-Stockton Road on April 10 & 11 from 5-10 p.m. Must attend both days and pre-register by calling Rich at 595-3917. There will also be another course on July 10 & 11, which will use the same time frame. The archery course at the Bear Lake club will be on August 20 & 21 from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m. Two-day attendance is required as well as pre-registration. Their trapping course will be on Oct. 16 & 17 from 6-10 p.m. both days. Limit of 35 students.

There will be a gun safety course at the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club on April 16 & 17 from 5-10 p.m. Two-day attendance mandatory. Call Gary at 366-3397. There will be another two-day course given on August 27 & 28. Note these classes are limited to 35 students.

Another two-day course will be on September 24 & 25. Same time frame.

There will be one date for the archery course at the “Con Club” on Saturday, Sept. 20, from 9 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. There is a Class limit of 60 students. Bring a lunch. Pre-register by calling Gary at 366-3397.

The trapping course at the “Con Club” will be on Sept. 27 from 9 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. Limit 60 students.

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 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.

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. 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.

Gun Shows:

There is a gun show at the Harbor Creek Fire Department Social Hall located at 7275 Buffalo Road, Route 20 on March 16 from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. and March 17 from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.

The Sportsmen’s Show at the Little Valley Volunteer Fire Dept. will be on April 5 & 6. Admission will be $5 with kids under the age of 12 admitted free. For information on directions, or to be a vendor, call Jim Miller at 938-6928.

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