Rod, Gun & Game: Turkey season opens, fishing gets going in WNY
Erie County hunters harvested a relatively high number of bearded turkeys in 2008 with 1,365 birds. In 2011, only 513 birds were taken. The decrease was attributed to a wet spring and poor hatch from the year before. The birds have had a full year to recover their numbers and this season will likely bring better results. Last year, the top five counties for harvest were Chautauqua, Steuben and Cattaraugus.
On good hunting days, gobblers will answer to hunter calls simulating hen turkeys. Experienced hunters often try to identify turkey locations before sunrise through the careful use of owl and crow calls while the birds are still resting in their treetops. Once located, hunters settle in on the ground in full camoflauge and use cluck, yelp, purr and cackle calls to lure gobbler toms to their hunting locations.
The daily bag limit is one bearded bird, a tom, per hunting day and the season limit is two toms. No hens are allowed during the spring hunting season to allow propogation of the species and keep the turkey population healthy.
Successful hunters are required to complete the carcass tag and attach it to the bird immediately after bagging it. A turkey permit and either a small game or any small/big game combination license is required. For both fall and spring, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation requires hunters to report their turkey harvests using the new DECALS reporting system. Call 1-866-4263-778 within 48 hours to report the harvest.
Kids free fishing event
On Sunday, April 29, the Bison City Rod & Gun Club, located at 511 Ohio St. in Buffalo, will host the eighth annual Jimmy Griffin Memorial “Teach-Me-To-Fish” seminar event. The two-hour event is totally free and open to all kids and parents beginning at 2 p.m.
Kids will learn how to cast a line, tie knots, bait hooks, fish and rig for fishing with artificial plastic baits. Kids can feed the 10,000 steelhead fingerlings that are being raised in special floating fish pens at the facility, located on the Buffalo River. The pens allow the young steelhead to scent imprint to local waters, helping the fish to recognize Buffalo River as their home waterway system and return to spawn in future years. The fish are hand-fed high protein food for four - six weeks and then released under the watchful eyes of the NYSDEC during the first weeks of May.
Call 597-4081 for more information. No pre-registration is required and the event will run, rain or shine.
Spring fishing news
While the warming weather of spring had our annual spring steelhead run coming to a close in Cattaraugus Creek and other local streams, the melting snow in the Southern Tier from Monday and Tuesday weather will chill waters down again and allow latecomers of the coldwater species to remain in the stream a few more days this week and early next week.
The chilling waters will likely force the smallmouth bass that had moved into the lower sections of the tributary streams to move back out to the lake for a few days. Anglers wading the lower end of the tributaries can enjoy excellent bass fishing this early in the fishing year.
This is also the time of year when huge channel catfish move into the lower sections of our large stream tributaries such as Eighteenmile Creek and the Cattaraugus Creek and can be caught by anglers fishing with stink baits.
For anglers with a Lake Erie boat, the spring yellow perch action is on. Since the Sturgeon Point Boat Launch is still closed for dredging, anglers have been accessing the lake from the Buffalo Small Boat Harbor and from the launches located at the Cattaraugus Creek mouth at Hanover. Anglers are catching perch in waters from 40 - 60 feet deep, mostly east of the creek and off Evangola State Park. Emerald shiners fished from crappie rigs or conventional two-hook dropper rigs are the winning ticket.
Walleye season will officially open in New York state on May 4 with Chautauqua and Silver lakes’ popular opening day, inland lake destinations for shore casters and trollers. With a no-ice winter on Lake Erie this year, action may also pick up as early as opening day in favored shallows for walleye there, too.
April 26: Erie County Federation of Sportsmen meeting, East Aurora Fish & Game Club, 1016 Luther Road., East Aurora, 7 p.m. Call 597-4081 for more information.
April 28: Bison City annual hunting and fishing flea market, free entry, 511 Ohio St., 8:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. Call Dick Hurd for more information, at 725-8805.
Send information 10 days in advance to email@example.com.