Sites from the Conservation Club’s Annual Take-A-Kid Fishing event

The Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club’s annual Take-A-Kid Fishing event was another success. The weather was picture perfect Saturday with sunny skies and just enough of a breeze to keep the temperature comfortable.

About 50 kids signed up for this year’s event and challenged the club’s motto of never turning a kid away that wants to go fishing. Every newcomer received a fishing rod and reel that they got to keep, as well as a T-shirt, picnic cuisine for kids and their guardians, and a grab bag of fishing gear. All the kids tried their luck or tested their skills on fish located at the beautiful Dunkirk Yacht Club facility from 8-10:30 a.m. The group then headed to the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club, where they had hands-on archery lessons provided by the Bear Lake Rod & Gun Club, an indoor shooting gallery provided by the Ellery Rod & Gun Club, fly tying with the Monday Night Fly Tyers, worm harness building provided by Paul and Christine Pomietlasz and oral presentations from trapping gurus Rich Lazarczyk and Gary Dudek, who have a informative display, and video for the youngsters.

The Con Club has been doing this event for about 10 years now. It started off with an idea, when one member overheard a father telling his youngster he would have to put a fishing rod on lay away, because he couldn’t afford it. He had several kids and because of a divorce, was strapped for cash.

The rest is history.

Funds for this event are generated by donations from The Con Club’s Ladies Auxiliary, the annual February Chicken BBQ, Hometown Auto Service, Bill’s Hooks, the Sportsman’s Journal, The OBSERVER, various club members who have made private donations, The Chautauqua County Sportsmen Federation, Weekly’s Bait, Chadwick Bay Marina and Tony Guido, who has been doing our T-shirts for the last several years. Guido also takes great pride in seeing the kids get their T-shirts, even if they sign up the day of the event. Thanks so very much, Tony!

Dennis Gullo brought 4-1/2-year-old Milan Wilson to the event this year. She was supplied with a Kiddie “Toy Story” fishing rod and reel. Gullo was showing her how to cast the rig and accidentally tossed the rig into the water where it sunk, with only the smiley face bobber remaining. Gullo grabbed a landing net and secured the bobber and started to bring in the line, hand over hand. After emptying the spool, because the reel’s drag was set so light, he retrieved the rig and respooled as much line as possible. He re-tied the remaining line, re-rigged and cast out again, this time holding on. The bobber went down the hook was set, and Gullo and Milan landed the biggest fish of the day – a huge catfish caught on the Toy Story fishing pole.

Thanks to everyone who helped make this year’s event a success, including the cooks, kitchen help, the exhibit people, the T-shirt, life jacket and fishing rod guardians, the Yacht Club private donors and the parents and guardians who take the time to Take-A-Kid Fishing!


The Lakeshore Longbeards, our local chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, will be having a meeting on Tuesday, June 10 at Liberty Vineyards, located on Route 20, in Sheridan. Agenda will focus on the upcoming youth day event: JAKES Day. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. and is open to the public.

The ninth annual Canadaway Creek Conservation Project is scheduled for Saturday, June 14. Activities schedule will be: 11:30 a.m.: Meet at the pavilion behind the Fredonia Fire Hall to sign-up, distribute maps of Canadaway Creek and have a cook out. 12:30 p.m.: There will be an educational presentation about Canadaway Creek. 1 p.m.: Select teams and move to designated sections on maps and begin to clean-up, remove invasive species or plant dogwood whips (trees). 3-3:30 p.m.: return to the pavilion for celebratory group get together and cake. Note, participants are encouraged to bring felt bottom boots (if available) or other shoes that can be used for wet wading. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

The Great Lakes Experience is happening on June 21 in Dunkirk’s Memorial park. Momentum for this project continues to grow, to present an “outdoors themed event” that is geared towards all ages, and a focus on the youngsters. Building on the success of last years event, the GLE will return bigger and even better this year with The Buffalo Zoo mobile, the reptile exhibit, Raptors Bird of prey, the Jamestown Audobon, Center, The Trappers Association, The Monday Night Fly tyers, and more to name just a few of the exhibits. And it’s FREE.

The Bear Lake Rod & Gun Club will host 3-D archery shoots on 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.

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