We are well into the 2012 deer season with snow in the higher elevations and some early reports of snowmobiling last weekend.
Just when you think you should break out the ice fishing gear, Mother Nature throws you a curve. The weather prediction for this weekend is temperatures in the 50's - possibly into next week. Well Go Fish!
My brother Ray no longer hunts, so a fishing trip was just the ticket for a warm mid-November day. We opted to head to Cattaraugus Creek, pick up a bucket of live emerald shiners from Rick Miller and try our luck.
Photos by Gene Pauszek
Bigger perch are shown which were caught Nov. 16 in 56 feet of water off Cattaraugus Creek by Gene and?Ray Pauszek.
The 97 perch caught in two hours.
About two dozen boaters had the same idea as the parking lot saw a decent amount of activity. Heading out to 70 feet of water, we scratched up four smaller sized yellow perch. We noticed a small cluster of boats in closer to shore and headed to check it out. As soon as we dropped anchor, I hooked up with a 14-1/2 inch perch and together we landed nine more larger sized ringbacks.
Other anglers around us also were into fish. We returned Tuesday with the rest of our bucket of bait still alive and tried to find the same near shore spot unsuccessfully. We moved, and drifted and looked for fish until noon when we spied one other boat barely visible on the horizon. After going out north-west for several miles, we came within view of two anglers obviously into fish but releasing a number of small ones. In my book, small is better than zero. Upon dropping anchor in 70 feet of water, we had to fish with one rod only because the action was that hot, including one triple header and numerous double headers. By 2 p.m., we had 97 perch and ran out of bait. The fish finder marked "lots" of fish. Then the weather turned nasty over the weekend. If the lake lays down, it should be worth another trip.
Jim Markham at the Dunkirk based Department of Environmental Conservation Fisheries station reported they had been placing near shore nets for Lake trout assessment near 18 Mile Creek. There is reef type structure in that area and the DEC encountered not only lakers but walleye. Really big walleye that were gorging themselves on shad to the point that they looked like they would burst. Markham stated that anglers should be able to find this activity wherever you find reefs and structure similar to what the walleye use in the spring for spawning. Those walleye were in 15 feet of water and should hit shad raps or other minnow imitating baits.
Remember to dress warm keep an eye on the sky and carry a cell phone as there are few boaters this time of year. Wear your life jackets. It's the law. Bring waders as the docks are out at most launches.
The SAREP Youth Fly Fishing Program will continue its 14th season of free fly tying and fly fishing classes on Monday evenings from 7-8:30 p.m., at the Fredonia Middle School Cafeteria. Field trips will occur shortly afterwards. Classes are free and are open to children and community members. Children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult. The classes will continue to meet every Monday until early summer.
The Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club also will host free fly tying instruction compliments of Willie Fedrick, Jeffrey Rasmus, Ken Hollander and Monte Kennedy on Monday evenings starting at 6 p.m. All are welcome. This would be a great opportunity for young boy or girl scouts to earn merit badges for learning how to tie flies and learn about fishing.
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.
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.
Gene Pauszek is an OBSERVER outdoors columnist. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.