What a difference in the weather compared to this time last year.
Columbus Day last year was warm and Lake Erie waters were calm, like a glass mirror. The wind hasn't given offshore fishermen much of an opportunity to try their luck this year during the same time frame. Jim Markham, from the Department of Environmental Conservation Fisheries station, reports that the perch will be dispersed after the latest strong session of wind as Lake Erie has turned over and the thermocline is gone.
The last decent opportunity for perch found the fish active in 65 to 70 feet of water, both off Cattaraugus Creek and off Dunkirk in 70 feet. The fish might start moving closer, as Markham reported, when he was on the research vessel ARGO, he and his team found lots of bait minnows near shore. Look for the forage to attract a variety of predators, including bass, walleye, trout and even catfish.
OBSERVER Photos by Gene Pauszek
Frank Mutka used a blue and silver cleo spoon to entice these brown trout on Sunday during a cold rainfall.
I remember, as a youngster, an old saying that the fish bite best when it rains. Two weeks ago I witnessed a flurry of action fishing for perch offshore during a down pour. On Sunday, while enjoying a cup of coffee on the City of Dunkirk pier, I watched a lone fisherman casting off the end of the dock despite a bone-numbing rain.
A few minutes later, two vehicles appeared and one fellow grabbed a landing net as the anglers rod tip bent over. A nice female brown trout came to the net. Frank Mutka had another smaller one laying nearby. Anglers had reported spying the browns surfacing for about two weeks, but few were actively biting. Mutka commented that he had been fishing all week with no luck, but on Sunday, as soon as it started raining, the fish started biting. Mutka used a 1/2 ounce blue and silver cleo spoon. Another angler joined him and had a dandy one after two casts, but the fish got off. Look for more trout action in local streams once the water level starts to come up.
Ken Hollander and Willie Fedrick teach free fly-tying clinics on Monday evenings at the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club starting at 6 p.m. All equipment, vises and materials are provided FREE.
The Westfield Fish & Game Club will host turkey shoots at its club located on Ogden Road on Sunday, Oct. 28 and Nov. 4. The events will start at noon and last until they're finished. These events will be held rain or shine. The public is welcome. All legal centerfire firearms are permitted. Ammunition will be provided for birdshot and deer slugs only. There will be 22 caliber shoots on the indoor range. Bring your own ammo.
If your club is holding a similar event contact the OBSERVER at 366-3000 ext. 5 after 5 p.m.
The Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club will resume its annual Hunters Helping the Hungry program. On Tuesdays Con Club members are urged to bring a non-perishable food item with them . All donations will be distributed to the needy in the community through the efforts of the Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Youth Organization during the Christmas season.
The Bear Lake Rod & Gun Club has scheduled a two-day trapping course on Oct. 18 & 19 from 6-10 p.m. You must pre-register by phone by calling Roger Witt at 595-3418.
Fly tying classes have resumed on Monday evenings from 6-8 p.m., at the Sinclairville Free Library. Classes will continue until May. All tools and materials are provided free. For more information, call 962-3635 or 485-3919 or log on www.countrykidsonthefly.blogspot.com.
The Gowanda Chamber of Commerce will be hosting its annual Fall Fishing Tournament on Saturday, Oct. 20, in Cattaraugus Creek. Sign-in gets under way at 5 a.m. at the Gowanda Moose Club, located on Aldrich Street. The tournament begins at sunrise and is a catch-and-release event following DEC rules and regulations, with tournament personnel on site to measure and weigh-in the catch. There will be awards, door prizes and food for the participants at the Moose Club after 3:30 p.m. For more information, log on to www.gowandanychamber.org, or call 532-2834 or 532-2288.
Gene Pauszek is an OBSERVER outdoors columnist. Send comments to email@example.com.