Rod, Gun & Game: Bass and musky season opens statewide
While most anglers who fish for fun catch and release these two species, the daily creel limit for keeping these varieties varies with the waterway. All NYS bass need to be 12 inches minimum to keep, with a five-per-day creel limit. Musky need to be 30 inches minimum, with a one-per-day creel limit, except on Lake Erie, where the minimum size limit has been increased to 54 inches with a one-per-day creel limit to protect the species which has been damaged by recent fish disease. Check the game syllabus for the waterway you plan to fish and verify any changes.
Last month, “In-Fisherman” magazine “Outdoor Life” and other publications visited Buffalo to test the waters for these famous bass. Writers were guided to medium-depth waters bordering Buffalo and along the rocky bottom of the Hamburg shoreline, casting 1/4-ounce jigs in 15 - 25 feet of water.
Some of them caught 100 fish, catch and release, with some specimens’ reaching 6 pounds in weight. Bass that big are not common in many places, but 3- and 4-pound smallmouth bass are often found in Lake Erie off the coast of Buffalo.
In the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Angler Achievement Awards Program, the minimum-size bass for recognition is 4 pounds. For more information on this program, visit www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7727.html.
Most anglers, when bass fishing, will take a picture and release a trophy fish to fight again. This makes a big difference in maintaining or improving the quality of any bass fishery, especially inland lakes.
Perch and walleye
Lake Erie walleye anglers trolling 5-inch minnow stickbaits near the bottom are catching limited numbers of walleye, but reaping scores of 2-pound yellow perch. The perch are in an unusual feeding binge for this time of year, maybe because of the forage population in the lake this year. The perch are spitting up 4 and 5-inch emerald shiners upon being landed. Anglers not trolling for walleye, but fishing for perch the usual way, with two-hook bottom rigs and emerald shiner minnow bait, are still catching daily limits in 56 – 58 feet of water, straight out from Sturgeon Point.
The early season warmth, recent wind direction changes and resulting in shifts in lake currents have added an “X-factor” to the usual easy fishing for walleye, this year.
Some anglers are catching walleye in 50 – 72 feet of water, south of the harbor at Barcelona, while others are traveling out to 140 feet or more and fishing in the top 20 feet to catch their walleye.
No matter the location, angler top offerings for catching walleye include solid color spinner and worm combinations and modified stickbaits in orange, green or blue with a half-worm trailing.
The anti-hunting Center for Biological Diversity and six other groups filed a lawsuit designed to pressure the Environmental Protection Agency into banning traditional ammunition containing lead components last week; this was an action that the National Shooting Sports Foundation immediately responded to, saying it would intervene to represent the interests of industry, hunters and target shooters.
The EPA has twice denied petitions filed by the CBD to ban traditional ammunition, citing that it does not have the authority to regulate ammunition under the Toxic Substances Control Act. “This is a frivolous lawsuit, clear and simple,” said Lawrence G. Keane, senior vice president and general counsel for NSSF. “There is no sound science that shows the use of traditional ammunition has harmed wildlife populations or that it presents a health risk to humans who consume game taken with such ammunition.” The NSSF called on industry members, hunters and shooters to support an amendment to the farm bill that contains legislation that would clarify the exemption.
June 16: NYS bass and musky seasons open.
June 16 – July 23: Lake Ontario trout and salmon summer derby. Visit www.LOC.org for more information.
June 17: Buffalo Riverfest Park, “Take Your Father Fishing” contest, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. at 249 Ohio St. Sponsored by the Valley Community Association. For more information, call 823-4707.
June 22 – 24: Lake Erie 444 International Walleye Tournament, Port Colbourne. Call 905-834-1780 or visit pcdcc.com for more information.
June 23: NYS Archery Certification class, Erie Conservation, 13319 Miller Ave., Chaffee, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. For more information, call 680-2519.
June 23: Southtowns Walleye annual contest picnic, Club Lorelei headquarters in Hamburg.
June 23 - 24: NYS free fishing days (no license required).
July 7 - 8: NYS Walleye Association Ameri-Can Lake Erie walleye tournament. For more information, call 875-8148.
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