Lake Erie Experience puts focus back on lake

There is a old saying, “You don’t miss the water until the well goes dry!”

I guess a comparison could be made to how many of us view the importance of Lake Erie, from drinking water, to industry, recreation and of course a world-class fishery.

Sometimes it takes an event like the Lake Erie Experience, which was held on Wednesday to bring our lake back into focus.

Hopefully you had the opportunity to read the Publishers Notebook presented by John D’Agostino on Friday as well as a front page article on waterspouts written by Nicole Gugino that appeared in the OBSERVER on Thursday.

Following those articles, I would like to add a little more background on the event. First off, an event like this requires a lot of thought, work and preparation. And two, make that three individuals need to be mentioned front and center. Joe Jemiolo, captain Lance Ehrhardt and Zen Olow have been behind the scenes presenting and preparing events like the LEE for several years now.

Invitations, to politicians and dignitaries, business people and those involved with fish and wildlife are approached and asked to attend the event that historically has been held during the first week of August. The weather is anticipated to be stable (for Western New York), and the fishing is usually good to excellent.

You would be surprized how many people who have lived on or traveled along the shoreline of Lake Erie and have never been fishing on a boat, especially on Lake Erie. Once they have the opportunity to fish with a professional in a safe, friendly atmosphere, they want to come back, AND tell their friends and family about the experience.

The Great Lakes are a treasure and this event wants everyone to know just how important our lakes, especially Lake Erie, are to us. Former Assemblyman Richard Smith talked about the demise and comeback of Lake Erie from the ’50s to present day. Department of Environmental Conservation biologist and chief of operations at the Lake Erie Unit, Don Einhouse gladly informs the public about the importance of the most prolific fresh water fishery “on the planet!”

Sea Grant specialist Helen Domske voiced her concerns about algal blooms, which bear watching but hopefully will not have a concentrated effect at our end of the lake and Rich Davenport “the numbers guy” quoted some impressive figures on the economic importance of Lake Erie for our area, which with proper management and utilization, will only improve.

Like I said earlier, the Lake Erie Experience could only happen with a lot of help and the cooperation of a great crew, and here are some of the people that made it happen. Charter Captains: Bill and Peter Beiger, Don Walters, Gary Katta, Ron Berger, Fred Forsythe, Jim Tunney, Dan Dietzen, Phil Swiatkowski, Bud Marsh, with cooperation from the Eastern Lake Erie Charter Boat Association Captain Larry Jones and Lance Ehrhardt.

Acting captains were Tom Barr, Roger Corlett, Jim Leonard, and Mark Hitcome. The Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club was the host site for the dinner, which was a fantastic fried walleye dinner prepared by Phil Swiatkowski and Tom Barr with sides prepared by Jane Gominiak, Joann Ehrhardt, Cindy Dietzen, Sharon Sprague and club officers President Doug Jaffray, and Ken Sikorski. Jeff Gambino provided assistance with ice and fish cleaning/launch services, while Dunkirk Tim Horton’s started the morning off right with coffee and donuts.

A big thank you also goes out to Don Ruppert and the directors and participants of the Sunset Bay Shoot Out for helping to supply walleye/fish donations for the event, and also cheesecake by Ray. Hats were donated by the Chautauqua County IDA. Lake Erie is a treasure, let’s treat her like one!


The Busti Trap Club, located at 1181 Southwestern Drive, Jamestown, will present the BUSTI GRAND TODAY Sunday, Aug, 10. The event will feature 125 targets with an auction starting at 9:30 a.m. and the shooting event starting at 10 a.m. For information, call 487-9539 or 814-489-3534, or log on

The Cattaraugus County Sportsmen’s Rendezvous, held at the Cattaraugus County Fairgrounds, in Little Valley, is today from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. Admission is $5 per car, per day. This event will feature Conservation Displays, archery, black powder, trapping, fishing, guns, taxidermy dealers, Big Buck displays and live seminars, as well as the coon dog show, chicken barbecue, raffles, live demonstrations and the Mountain Man encampment. For more information, call 492-0432.

The Bear Lake Rod & Gun Club will host 3-D archery shoots Aug. 24 and Sept. 14. They will also host a 200-yard gun shoot on 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.

There will be a Pistol Course on Aug. 16 at the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club from 9:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Note the price for attending these courses is now set by the county, and is now $75. Pre-sign for the course by calling Gary at 366-3397.

The Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club will also host the following free courses: Firearms (gun) hunter training Aug. 27-28 from 5-10 p.m. each day with two-day attendance mandatory.

Another gun course will be held Sept. 24-25 from 5-10 p.m., with two-day attendance mandatory.

A one-day archery course will be held at the Con Club on Saturday, Sept. 20, from 9 a.m. until 5:30 p.m., with a lunch break. Note: To register for all courses, you must register online at the DEC website.

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