When it doesn’t rain, boats are hitting the water in big numbers

Prior to the recent deluge, the fishing was getting very productive across the region. The yellow perch bite was improving out of Cattaraugus Creek, the calico bite was improving at Chautauqua Lake, as well as the bass bite for catch-and-release anglers. The bullheads were on the feed locally as well.

This columnist had the opportunity to try his luck fishing out of Cattaraugus Creek on Sunday. My brother, Ray, and I headed east towards Evangola State Park in about 56 feet of water at about 10 a.m. The lake was like glass and the shake down cruise went without a hitch. We found a concentration of boats and estimated there were about 40 boats stacked up in an area the size of two football fields. Some boats were doing well while others watched with an occasional perch caught. From our observation, it appeared you had to be right on top of the school to do very well while others struggled. We moved once and managed to put 17 in the boat, while other boats limited out. The Department of Environmental Conservation creel census representatve at the dock confirmed that some boats caught 200 perch, with a party of four, while others caught fewer. Emerald shiners seemed to be the ticket.

Monday evening was a bullhead trip, checking out the action at the east end of Chadwick Bay marina. It was just starting to drizzle and two previous anglers had left with about six. They reported catching 24 in the same area the day before. Live minnows again was the bait of choice, but some gizzard shad strips might have been better. Six was the magic number for me also. Checking the same area on Tuesday, I found the area was all churned up and muddy due to the rainfall.

Rick Miller, in Irving, reported that the yellow perch fishing was good off Evangola on Tuesday, despite the near flood, with several boats doing well. However, the fast, rising water sent numerous logs and debris down stream, making a return to that area hazardous for at least a few hours. Hidden Marina reportedly sustained some damage.

Skip Bianco, at Hogan’s Hut at Chautauqua Lake, reported that the calico bite was hot at Hadley Bay, which is located on the south side of the bridge and the west side of the lake. Key on five to seven feet of water.

Burtis Bay was also good, as crappie have been caught at Mayville and the yellow perch bite has improved in that area as well. Anglers have been connecting with keeper-sized walleye and casting stick baits from shore and long-line trolling works well after dark while trolling with worm harnesses early in the morning has also produced fish.

Mike Sperry, at Chautauqua Reel Outdoors, reported that the calico bite was still decent at the south end of the lake. Sperry and his friends caught 75 nice-sized calicos in the 11-12-inch range with a few 14 inchers thrown in. His store, located at 165 West Fairmount Avenue, in Lakewood, will be holding an open house the weekend of June 1.

Calendar:

Application forms for the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club’s Take-A-Kid Fishing day on June 7 are available now at the club.

Point Blank Outdoors, a group of local outdoorsmen, will appear on the sportsmen’s channel in May with film footage from the Dunkirk area. The show will be starting Saturday, May 10 at 7:30 a.m., Monday, May 12 at 1 p.m. and Friday, May 16 at 4 p.m. PBO will also be filming the entire Sunset Bay Walleye Shootout in July this year. This event will host a compliment of 65 teams with a waiting list. The event is unique, too, in that they offer a 100 percent payout. More information later.

The Bear Lake Club will hold a trail camera contest May 18 and Sept. 14. Send pictures to the Bear Lake Rod & Gun Club, P.O. Box 151 Stockton, N.Y. 14784, or bring your pictures to the club the day of the contest. Entry fee is $5 per photo. You can enter new and old photos and the public is invited to attend to help vote on the winners. For more information, contact Tom Kessler at 680-0209 or Tim Abbey at 792-6519. The Bear Lake Club will host 3-D archery shoots May 18, May 25, June 22, July 13, Aug. 24 and Sept. 14. They will also host a 200-yard gun shoot June 8 and Sept. 21. New members are welcome and the club’s monthly meetings are on the first Sunday of the month at 4 p.m. They start the meeting off with a hot meal, so come hungry.

Southtowns walleye will host a one-day yellow perch contest on Saturday for $10 per entry. Cash prizes, free perch dinner and lots of fun are on the agenda. Participants must be a member. Southtown Walleye’s annual walleye tournament is June 7-14. Must be a member and $35 entry per contestant. Note that there will be numerous prize giveaways at the monthly meetings in May and June for members entered in the Walleye tournament. Be sure to bring your tournament form or sign up at the May meeting which is this Thursday , starting at 7:30 p.m.

The Cassadaga Lakes Association will be holding their 21st annual Lew Mead Youth Fishing Tournament on Saturday, June 28, at the DEC boat launch on Dale Drive, Cassadaga from 7 until 11:30 a.m. The contest is FREE and open to youths 16 years of age and under. Sign up at the site before fishing. More information will be printed at a later date.

The Chautauqua County Sports Fishing Advisory Board has finished reading and judging over 400 essays written by Chautauqua County youngsters. Various CCSFAB members, and our County Executive, Vince Horrigan, will be visiting local schools and handing out awards and certificates in the near future.

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. I also am available to take photos and hear your success stories by calling 366-1772 or 467-2079.

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