Rod, Gun & Game: Walleye tune-up for tournament fishing
The organizations have brought together an army of anglers to share ideas, formulate new tactics and bring friends together for a lifetime of fishing.
In the days before organizations, catching walleye after May or June was a mystery, here in Western New York. In the 50s and 60s, folks could catch walleye early in the fishing year, right after the spawn, but then the wily walleye seemed to disappear.
Today we know, thanks to tournament angling and technology, that the walleye move from fishable shallow waters where old time anglers would drop their lines and get in touch with the bottom, to somewhere else that no one could ever find them during daytime fishing stints.
Then and now, a large number of the resident eastern basin walleye return to the shallows to feed on emerald shiner schools. Those schools merge along eddy current locations that form after the New York Power Authority intakes valves open to fill the power reservoir in Niagara County at around 8 p.m. each night. The current at the head of the Niagara River and over Waverly Shoal and Seneca Shoal increases a bit, the minnows move in to feed on emerging bugs that occur with the setting sun and the cycle for rejuvenating the species is set. Predators such as walleye always follow the baitfish. Among such top areas are the Buffalo breakwalls and similar areas, after the sun sets.
Today, anglers take lessons from the learning curve that has emerged over the decades of experience and idea-sharing in the organizations that exist today. We have all improved our fishing capabilities, especially the young anglers and the not-so-young new anglers.
Open water Lake Erie anglers “in-the-know” can apply their new knowledge to moving school walleye patterns far offshore, in some cases, just in time for the Southtowns Walleye Association fishing tournament that will begin on Saturday, June 9, at one second past midnight. It runs through the following Sunday, June 17, at 4 p.m. All winners will be announced at the tournament picnic set for June 23, starting at noon, at the new Southtowns clubhouse location at 5895 Southwestern Blvd.
Tournament weigh-in stations will include the NFTA Small Boat Harbor near the fish-cleaning house at 1111 Fuhrmann Blvd. in Buffalo, Sturgeon Point Marina, Sturgeon Point Marina Road in Derby, Hidden Harbor Marina, 916 Exchange St. in Irving and Barcelona Harbor, 8212 Route 5 in Westfield.
There are a number of sign-up stations that can be found at the Southtowns Walleye Association website, www.southtownswalleye.org/tournament/signups12.html. Cost of the tournament registration is $25, but registrants need to be members of the association, which also costs $25. Anglers who have not yet signed up can do so at the last meeting before the tournament on June 7 at 7:30 p.m. at the Southtown’s clubhouse, 5895 Southwestern Boulevard. For more information, call 649-8202.
Free kids fishing clinic
This Saturday from 9:30 a.m. - 1 p.m., Tifft Nature Preserve will be the site of the next free New York State Department of Environmental Conservation fishing clinic. Held in conjunction with the Erie County Federation of Sportsmen, multiple learning stations are conducted for the kids. These include knot tying, fish and fauna, plastic bait rigging, casting, where-to-fish and how-to-fish learning stations. Afterward, the kids can head for Lake Kristy and try their luck with they have learned.
Whether or not they catch any fish, all children in attendance will be eligible to win any of 100 rods/reels to be given away. Sahlen’s Hot Dogs will sponsor a free backyard barbecue lunch, complete with beverages and sweet treats for the kids. Call Mike Todd at NYSDEC to register at 851-7010.
June 7: Southtowns Walleye Association monthly meeting, 7:30p.m., 5895 Southwestern Blvd. Call 649-8202 for more information.
June 9 – 17: Southtowns Walleye annual walleye tournament, cash and merchandise prizes, call 649-8202 to enter.
June 15: New York state bass and musky season opens.
June 16 - July 23: Lake Ontario Trout & Salmon summer derby. For more information, go to www.LOC.org.
June 23-24: NYS free fishing days (no license required).
July 7-8: NYS Walleye Assoc. Ameri-Can Lake Erie walleye tournament, call 875-8148 for more information.
Send information 10 days in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org.