Rod, Gun & Game: Walleye, perch and bass dominate Lake Erie fishing
Last week, many boaters were entered into the Southtowns Walleye contest, the largest non-professional walleye tournament in North America. The early season warm weather has put the fishery into July fishing mode, with walleye anglers’ using downriggers, diving planes, slide-divers, Dipsy Divers® and lead core line rigs, with planer boards to reach fish that were identified on sonar rigs 40 – 60 feet from the surface.
That was before the big northeast wind came howling down the lake shoreline, followed by easterly breezes, to turn the lake over. The deep thermocline was dissolved and confused fish populations pushed the predator walleye upward to find suitable water temperatures for their species. The walleye followed the smelt and emerald shiners that had moved into shallow, fewer than 25 foot, depths from the surface.
Anglers using sideplaners caught most of the fish with four colors of leadcore line, with a 40 – 60 foot leader deployed off their sideplaner rigs. The bites turned off for spinner and worm rigs and turned on for stickbaits.
Anglers who ran the long, skinny, smelt-like lures caught lots of walleye. When I was fishing from Barcelona Harbor by myself last week, I ran only the three legal lines allowed per angler and 17 walleye found my worm-free lures. I did not use a worm on anything, because I wanted to see what would happen. The fish didn’t care!
My biggest fish was a rather meager 8.15-pound walleye, but I lost a 35-inch monster when the lure hook got caught in the landing net and the fish wriggled away to freedom.
Assembly crossbow bill
New York is seeking a sponsor to help add the crossbow to the New York conservation management law’s legal status.
Senator Patrick Gallivan held an open meeting at Allied Sportsmen to request public opinion. While gathering evidence and data is only the beginning of authoring a legislative bill (S.6747A) in NYS, when the bill came up for a Senate vote last week, it passed 37 – 18.
Law changes also require support from the Assembly. A companion bill was introduced by Buffalo area Assemblyman Sean Ryan (A.9682). Together, these bills would grant the NYSDEC the management authority to regulate crossbow season use.
Both bills met opposition from the New York Bowhunters. That organization’s management is attempting to convince others that crossbow is not for the archery season, breaking the hearts of thousands of aging hunters hoping for a second chance to return to the woods during warmer weather. Many older hunters are simply not strong enough to pull back a regular long bow or compound bow.
To support the Ryan crossbow bill, the companion bill to the Gallivan Senate bill, the Assembly needs to hear from you. If you want to see crossbow legalized for the DEC management, call Speaker of the House Sheldon Silver at 212-312-1420, Majority Leader Ronald Canestrari at 518-455-4474, Minority Leader Brian Kolb at 315-781-8383 or Assemblyman Bob Sweeney at 631-957-2087.
Children in the Stream School
The first national interdisciplinary fly fishing conference will be held June 25 – 28 in Fredonia. The Children in the Stream’s four-day conference will train adults who are interested in starting a youth fly fishing program in their community, school, organization or company project. This workshop will use fly fishing as the foundation for incorporating science, math, English language arts and visual arts into the curriculum.
For more information, email email@example.com or visit www.fishhound.com/blog/when-you-live-and-love-fishing-possible or www.orvisnews.com/FlyFishing/Children-in-the-Stream-Conference.aspx.
June 22 – 24: Lake Erie 444 International Walleye Tournament, Port Colbourne. Call 905-834-1780 or visit pcdcc.com.
June 23: NYS Archery Certification class, Erie Conservation, Chaffee, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Call 680-2519.
June 23: Southtowns Walleye annual contest picnic, Club Lorelie headquarters.
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.