by Joe Fisher | May 24, 2023 | Inside Line
With June just around the corner The Erie County Federation of Sportsmens Clubs (ECFSC) is preparing for our annual fishing clinics at Tifft Nature preserve and Chestnut Ridge park. The State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) are also co-sponsors of these clinics. The Tifft Nature Preserve clinic is on June 10 th and the Chestnut Ridge clinic is on June 24 th. They start at 9:30 AM and run to 12:30 PM. The format is the same as in the past with children and their parent/guardian first checking in at the registration desk. They then go through a series of “learning stations” such as Knot tying, Fish Identification, etc. They have a punch card which is punched at every working station for verification. They must go through all working learning stations. When completed they drop the fully punched cards into a container at the registration desk.
If they have their own fishing equipment they can go fishing after obtaining the bait at the fish equipment station. The people without fishing equipment obtain fishing equipment and bait. Federation and DEC volunteers and will police our fishing area and assist the novice fishermen were needed. If a fish is caught they should bring it back to the equipment station where it is measured and released temporarily into the lunker pool. After several hours of fishing names will drawn from the punched cards and prizes will be awarded based on the child’s age.
This is the 25 th year that the ECFS has been running this popular program. The ECFS will also be assisting at several other fishing clinics. They will be at Bison City Rod and Gun June 4th, East Aurora Rod and Gun June 3rd and Southtowns Walleye Associations July 22nd fishing clinics. Watch for the time of these events on the internet or local news paper and be sure to check the ECFSC calendar page for more information.
If you’re an Erie County resident with children under 16 years of age before March 2024 be sure to register your children on our website for the ECFS annual lifetime license
program. We give away approx 6 each year and this drawing is held at our annual December meeting at the Bison City rod and Gun club.
Erie County residents are encouraged to stop at the Federation booth in the Conservation building at the upcoming Erie County Fair and sign the children up for a chance to win a fish pole and reel. The ECFS will be giving away 2 pole/reel combinations every day.
The ECFSC sincerely thanks the fraternal order of the Eagles for their donations totaling 2000 dollars to the lifetime license for children of Erie County residents. The ECFSC also thanks Bison City Rod and Gun for their donation of 400 dollars to the aforementioned fund.
by Joe Fisher | Apr 29, 2023 | Inside Line
I recently attended a State of Lake Erie meeting at Woodlawn State Park. This meeting was hosted by the NYSDEC Lake Erie fisheries unit located in Dunkirk New York. There were approximately 100 people in attendance including DEC officials from the Buffalo and Olean offices. This was a great turnout even though I don’t believe that the meeting was well advertised. The meeting results by species are as follows:
The eastern end of Lake Erie has experienced 8 consecutive years of superb walleye recruitment and we now have an estimated 150 million walleyes in the lake! Their diet has changed from primarily rainbow smelt to gobies due to a diminished smelt supply. The growth rate has slowed a little due to reduce forage but still is good by all standards. The average walleye caught was 20” and the catch rate per boat was 6 which exceeded the norm of 3. The bottom line is. We should have excellent walleye fishing in Eastern
Lake Erie for the foreseeable future…The good old days is actually right now!!
The eastern basin had excellent hatches in 2016 and 2019 so we should have continued good fishing with the average perch being in excess of 11 inches” Once again permitting the catching of perch full of spawn was questioned but the DEC felt that the prolific
nature of the spawning perch with thousands of eggs negated the effect of catching a few ‘spawners”. In fact one DEC official felt that there are so many perch in the eastern basin that many of them die of old age. Bottom line again, we should have excellent perch fishing for the immediate future.
This fishery is very stable and again ranks as one of the top 5 smallmouth fisheries in United States. 95% of the bass caught are released back into the fishery which is typical for bass fishing. Spring and fall seem to be the best times to fish and the catch rate per
hour is above normal. The shore fishermen especially in the Buffalo and Niagara River area also catch a lot of bass so having a boat is not required to enjoy this fishery. The DEC noted a slight downturn in size caught but felt it was not significant. I will have more information on this State of the Lake seminar in the next column along with upcoming events.
by Joe Fisher | Apr 1, 2023 | Inside Line
Spring is almost here and that means that the Erie County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs “Teach Me to Fish” committee is busy preparing for the 2023 fishing clinics. They recently met with DEC Fish Biologist Mike Todd to review their clinics to see what can be done to improve the 2023 season.
The general concept will be the same with a registration table and requiring learning stations which the children will go to which can vary depending on volunteers’ availability. They will have a punch card with the learning stations on it. After completing a station, it will be punched, and they can move to the next station. Be sure to turn in the fully punched card when you are finished as these will be used to draw prizes. Upon turning in the completed punch card, participants can go fishing with their tackle. The last station has bait and poles so they can fish.
Once again, our ECFSC/DEC sponsored clinics will be at Tifft Nature Preserve (June 10th) and Chestnut Ridge Park (June 24th). The Erie County Federation also participates in other organizations’ fishing events. Please visit the website and look at the EVENTS CALENDAR and the Teach Me To Fish page for more details
by Joe Fisher | Mar 14, 2023 | Inside Line
The comments/concerns of the fish committee regarding the state of the New
York State fishery are as follows:
1. The fish committee was opposed to the unprecedented walleye spearing incident which occurred
last year at the Oneida Lake hatchery. Hopefully it was an isolated incident and will not recur
this year or in the future.
2. We are now one year into the new bluegill/crappie imitative which reduced the daily
bluegill/crappie take to 25 and the minimum size of crappie increased to 10”. There were also
special regulations for 11 lakes with daily creel reductions and size increases for bluegills. The
fish committee supported this imitative but has heard some concerns that many bodies of water
do not have the ability to grow 10” crappies, ex. Black Lake. S.Hurst will be giving the NYSCC
a preliminary report on this program on April 1st .
3. Lamprey eel infestation continues to be a problem in Lake Ontario and its tributaries. The
committee recommends a treatment on TFM as soon as possible.
4. Les Monostory reported a water Chestnut infestation in several bodies of water in region 5. He
was wondering if the DEC will implement a program to combat this problem.
5. A recent Lake Erie survey revealed that 70% of fishermen were in favor of reducing the
minimum legal size of walleye from 15” to 12” in the New York waters of Lake Erie. Many
fishermen however feel that the vast majority of these fish are in near shore shallow water and
very likely survive after being caught and released. Offshore water charter captains report very
few small walleyes are caught in the deeper water. They also felt that the near shore waters act as
a nursery for the smaller walleyes until they grow and venture out into deeper waters. If a lot of
these walleyes are caught, will it harm the future walleye population?
6. Some Region 5 waterways are experiencing a heavy infestation of water chestnut. Hopefully the
NYSDEC will implement plans to eradicate this nonindigenous invader.
7. Members of the committee wonder if the NYSDEC is considering a pilot program of stocking
the “wiper” which is a combination of white bass and striped bass. They are reportedly great
fighters, excellent table fare and grow up to 12 pounds.
8. The inland trout stocking has become a serious problem as many landowners will not sign PFR
forms to allow stocking on their property as they are worried about property damage and liability
claims etc. 70% of inland trout stocking water will be lost in Erie County as an example. Are
there enough public parks, bridges etc available for these fish? This seems to be a problem in
many areas of the state.
9. Lake Erie fishing access is a major problem with Barcelona harbor closed until the middle of
May and Sturgeon Point being closed for the season for break wall repairs. This 30 miles stretch
of NY waters has, outside of Dunkirk, Cattaraugus Creek and the Safe Harbor in buffalo very
little access to the lake especially for small boat fishermen.
Submitted by Joe Fischer
NYSCC Fisheries Chai
by Joe Fisher | Mar 11, 2023 | Inside Line
The NYSDEC decided not to implement a reduction in the size limit for walleyes from 15″ to 12″. The sportsmen were close to 50/50 on a recent survey for approval of this possible initiative with strong opposition from some groups. Based on the fact that this was a social issue without a strong consensus, it was dropped at this time.
The total allowable commercial catch (TAC) for perch and walleye was recently determined by the binational Lake Erie Committee for 2023. It was 6.573 lbs for perch and 13.526 million lbs for walleye. This is a reduction of approximately 5-7% from 2022.
*NOTE* 2022 levels were some of the highest on record.