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Rod, Gun and Game: Despite mayhem at the boat launch, the fish are cooperating

SPRINGVILLE — Every year, boaters and anglers travel to local marinas, to recharge and enjoy Lake Erie, a local resource that is limited by inadequate access to the waterway.

Last weekend, the number of boaters’ looking for access left little room to park trailers and vehicles at Sturgeon Point Marina after 10 a.m. Most people were patient, but the wait resulted in wasted time, both for those waiting in line to launch and those preparing to exit, later in the day.

At 3 p.m., the boat departure line led from the four-lane boat ramps, around the Lake Erie breakwall and into Lake Erie, with about 12 – 14 boats’ waiting, at one time.

The exit time was long, because boaters had to reach the ramp and then walk to their vehicles. This is a problem that I am surprised politicians have failed to recognize.

The Southtowns Walleye Association is in the middle of its annual, nine-day Lake Erie walleye contest. During these type of activities, it is a shame that an overcrowded marina can dampen what should be a fun day. Anglers grow to be frustrated with transportation and access limitations.

With New York’s sporting the highest taxes in the country, why do such deplorable conditions exist? It is up to our leaders and citizen groups to meet our needs.

New York fishing
At the last count, the Southtowns walleye contest saw several big fish entered into the adult division. The top three weighed in at 11.04, 10.91 and 10.79 pounds. The top three in the youth division, including anglers 15 years old and younger, was 9.94, 9.20 and 9.01 pounds.

Many anglers reported limit catches. The best action has been straight out from Smokes Creek, off the giant windmills, east of Myer’s Reef, in 30 – 40 feet of water.

Simple fishing styles are dominating the catch, with three-way spinner and worm rigs at the top of the list. Black and purple are hot colors, this summer, although blades that reflect pink, purple and red also draw attention, from the fish.

Many anglers are using electric motors, to slow troll the spinner/worm rigs just off the bottom, while other anglers have gone back to the 1950s-manner of catching walleye, drifting with a light wind and adding enough weight to keep the sinkers just off the bottom, pumping the rod action to add extra action to the presentation.

Farther west, at Dunkirk and Barcelona, the biggest fish are suspended, 10 – 15 feet off the bottom, in 60 – 65 feet of water, following the forage with changes in wind direction. Savvy anglers are using lead core line and fluorocarbon leaders off side-planer boards, to spread out their presentation and cover a wide swath of water on their troll patterns.

I recommend also checking depths of 25 or 30 feet. Water columns on Lake Erie are still setting up and are not totally stable, so you never know where a 14-pound walleye may be lurking.

Test old or new lures or change up the rod action or boat speed, if you are trolling. Try out an assortment of tackle.

March on Albany
A crowd of people from all over New York met in Albany, to protest the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Act, on June 11.

New York’s newest gun control law was passed, overnight, in the wake of the Newtown, Conn. attack. Voters were not party to the decision-making, because the usual waiting period was overridden.

The June 11 event was supported by a number of national speakers, including Jeanine Pirro, the host of “Justice with Judge Jeanine” and a former district attorney from Westchester County; Dan Bongino, a former Secret Service agent and candidate for the Maryland Senate; Carl Paladino, a gun rights advocate and former New York gubernatorial candidate and Bill Nojay, an assemblyman and radio talk show host.

The group walked, with Assemblyman David DiPietro, to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office and met in the park, below the legislative office building. Approximately 18,000 individuals who oppose the SAFE Act made a similar trip to Albany on Feb. 28.

Cabela’s coming to  Buffalo
Cabela’s has made a commitment to open a 88,000 square foot store in Buffalo. Erie County has the highest number of licensed sportsmen in New York state. Those who hunt, fish, shoot, trap, camp, hike and picnic will be able to take advantage of the new location. The new Cabela’s store will be located across the street from the Galleria Mall on Walden Avenue in Cheektowaga. The store will open in 2014.

Outdoor calendar
– June 16: Southtowns Walleye Association annual Lake Erie walleye contest ends at 4 p.m.

– June 16: Niagara Frontier gun show, Alexander Fireman’s Hall, Route 98, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. For more information, visit

– June 23: NYS archery certification, Erie Conservation Society, Miller Avenue, Chaffee, 8 a.m. For more information or to register, call 585-680-2519.

– June 23: Southtowns Walleye award and ceremony picnic, noon – 4 p.m., 5895 Southwestern Blvd., Hamburg.

– June 24 – 27: Children n the Stream, interdisciplinary fly-fishing conference, $350. For more information, visit

– June 26: Summer fly fishing with Ray Marks, six-week class, Lake Shore Central School. For more information, call 926-2270.

– June 28 and 29: BassEye celebrity fishing challenge, NFTA Small Boat Harbor, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation fundraiser event and bass/walleye contest. For more information, call 204-2535 or visit

Send information for the Journal’s Forrest Fisher column, 10 days in advance, to

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