Ice fishing days are dwindling

Winter is fighting a losing battle with signs of spring all around us.

When will the ice cover on Lake Erie disappear??That is the question.

Ice fishing off Sturgeon Point continues to be good with anglers remarking that the trek to and from the 52-foot mark has improved recently, affording quicker access. Ice cover is still around 20 inches, but a few consecutive warm days, coupled with wind and/or a warm rain, will start to erode ice significantly.

Rick Miller, in Irving, reports that anglers were connecting with trout in open water in Cattaraugus Creek during the warmer days recently, but Monday and Tuesday muddied the “Cat” and the colder temperatures added a lot of skim ice and slush. Look for the fishing to improve with warmer weather on the way.

The City of Dunkirk pier is another trout hot spot, with anglers trying their luck with spoons as well as bait presentations under a bobber rig. Early in the morning seems to be more productive. Another spot to try would be the Probst Platform by the NRG warm-water outlet. Two anglers, Charlie Hebner and his son Charlie W., tried their luck last Wednesday.

The city pier was loaded with anglers, so they opted to try the Probst Platform. They had the place to themselves and took pictures of the shad that were lined up in the current, packed like sardines. Casting a spoon was impossible, so they used jigs tipped with Berkeley Power bait. To get their offering below the shad, they pinched on several split shot above the baited jig. When the offering worked itself below the shad, it was “fish on!” The duo did not bring a long-handled landing net and reported losing six large trout, but did manage to land three nice keepers. They observed that when the trout chose to come toward the surface, the shad would scatter.

The ice is starting to pull away from the shore line at Chautauqua Lake, but anglers can still access safe ice in the 12 to 15 inch range. Skip Bianco at Hogan’s Hut reports that the ice by Bemus and Stow was thin, as well as by the ferry, but with the recent cold, it was starting to skim over. Lakewood has seen improved yellow perch catches and blue gills at Burtis as well as crappie action. Goose Creek is open year round and was stocked recently for the April 1 opener. Beware of washouts that have skimmed over.

Brian, at Lakewood (Chautauqua Reel Outdoors), reports that the crappie action has been good out of Burtis, Lakewood and Mayville. Small, emerald shiners and wax worms do the trick. Look for the crappie to move into the channels when the ice breaks.

Calendar:

Hanover Fish & Game will host a ten week trap league starting March 30. Cost for the league is $20 plus $5 per week for shooting. Shooters must have four weeks shot by April 27. Shooting will be Sundays from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m., and Thursdays from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. For more information, contact Mike Nasal at 679-6059 or Mark at 713-2776.

The next meeting of the Great Lakes Experience Planning Board will be in April at 12:30 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. This event is going to be a lot of fun, so make plans for you and your friends to attend.

SCOPE is putting together a bus trip to Albany on April 1. The bus will leave from Dunkirk at 4:30 a.m. sharp. The bus will be stationed at the D&F Plaza behind Big Lots. The bus has seating for 56 passengers at the cost of $40 per seat. Cash payment will reserve your seat and can be dropped off at 296 Water Street, in Fredonia from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. and 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Friday. For more information call 672-6210.

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

There will be gun safety courses at the Bear Lake Rod & Gun Club located on Route 310 Cassadaga-Stockton Road on April 10 and 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 and 11, which will use the same time frame. The archery course at the Bear Lake club will be on Aug. 20 and 21 from 6 until 10 p.m. Two-day attendance is required as well as pre-registration. Their trapping course will be on Oct. 16 and 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 and 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 and 28. Note these classes are limited to 35 students.

Another two-day course will be on September 24 and 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.

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:

The Sportsmen’s Show at the Little Valley Volunteer Fire Dept. will be on April 5 and 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.