A warming spell Tuesday, plus a lot of rain, changed the fishing outlook for everybody recently.
Area streams were looking inviting Tuesday with good portions of open water away from the mouths of the creeks. By Wednesday, all the creeks were running fast, high and muddy.
A check with the local Lake Erie Fisheries station revealed all the creeks along Route 5 into Buffalo were also blown out. Don Einhouse, who was the guest speaker at the recent Southtowns Walleye Association monthly meeting in Hamburg, reported no one was attempting ice fishing in the Buffalo Small Boat Harbor either.
Fishing has also stalled in the Dunkirk Harbor. My resources inform us there hasn't been any significant action off the Probst Platform, probably due to a lack of warm water from the outlet area. Just an observation, but those large pancake-sized gizzard shad also seem to be absent from the Dunkirk Harbor lately, too. On Sunday, I watched a group of puddle ducks swimming in between the narrow cracks of the ice floes, rather than staying in the larger open water areas. Why? The next day the answer possibly presented itself when I observed weed growth hanging from the jagged edges of the floating ice. Puddle ducks, like mallards, usually eat vegetation. Those little black waterfowl with pointed white beaks called coots or "mud hens" appear to be dining on minnows. The main flock of ducks appears to be quite content to take up residence in the open water between the Dunkirk Pier and Bart's Cove.
Ice fishing on Chautauqua Lake has stalled. On the weekend, there was reported safe ice at Mayville, and the east shore of the lake. Ice anglers reported a lot of stunted yellow perch activity off Maple Springs, utilizing a tear drop jig tipped with grubs, fished near the bottom in 20 feet of water. Some keeper sized walleye were also caught during the weekend off Prendergast at dusk and dawn. A good freeze, which is in the forecast, should bring back some more fishing opportunities. Think Spring!
The Northern Chautauqua Chapter of Ducks Unlimited will hold its annual fundraiser membership banquet on Saturday, March 9, at the Dunkirk Moose Lodge, located at 296 Lake Shore Drive West, in Dunkirk. Doors open at 5 p.m., with dinner at 6:30. Auctions will be held after dinner. Call Steve at 410-4848 or Chris at 672-2498 for tickets or information.
Waterfowl hunters should be advised that the Dept. of Environmental Conservation has re-opened the snow goose season effective until April 15 in upstate New York. For more information, log on to www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/50514.html.
There will be a "Gun Owners' March on Albany" bus trip which will depart from the New York State Thruway Exit 49 (Depew) park-and-drive area Feb. 28. Participants will travel to the Empire State Plaza's Legislative Office Building. Departure is 4:30 a.m., with arrival time expected to be 10 a.m. The cost is $25 per passenger. Departure from Albany is scheduled for 3 p.m., and arrival back at the Depew parking area around 8:30 p.m. For reservations, call Rich at 510-7952 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. This event is co-sponsored by the Erie County Federation of Sportsmen. Note at the Thursday meeting held at Southtowns Walleye Association the guys passed the hat and raised more than $500 to defray the expenses of sending additional busses. Cool!
The Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club Fly Tyers, Fedrick, Hollander, Kennedy and Rasmus have all the equipment you will need to learn how to tie your own flies. No matter what level you are at - from beginner to advanced - you can come and have a good time free of charge. They will provide the vises, hooks and fly tying material. Youngsters accompanied by a parent or guardian are most certainly welcome.
The Jamestown Rifle Club will hold pistol classes March 24 and April 28. You must be 21 years old and a resident of Chautauqua County. All classes begin at 1 p.m., and last around four hours each. Call Pat Hayes at 484-9301 for information.
Harbor Creek PA. at the Harbor Creek Fire Dept. Social Hall located at 7275 Buffalo Road - US Route 20 - on March 16-17. Call 569- 6810 or log on yorkpennshows.com
Little Valley Sons of the American Legion present their 2013 Sportsmens Show at Green Gable Village 4343 Whalen Road, Great Valley off Route 219 between Salamanca and Great Valley on March 16-17. Call 938- 6929 for information.
Little Valley Volunteer Fire Dept. will host their Sportsmen's Show at the Cattaragus County Fair Grounds, Route 353, Little Valley, on April 13-14. Call 938- 6928 for information.
Lander PA Sportsmans Show will be April 20-21. Call (814) 757- 9466 for information
The Westfield Fish & Game Club will host their annual Ham & Steak Shoot on April 14 at their club house located on Ogden Road. Rain or shine. All legal centerfire firearms permitted. Ammo supplied for birdshot and deer slugs. 22 Cal. shoot (indoors) bring your own ammo.
Gene Pauszek is an OBSERVER outdoors columnist. Send comments to email@example.com.