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Lake Erie fishing reels in Western New York anglers

FISHING IS GREAT! — Collin Voss caught this 1 1/2-pound yellow perch in Lake Erie, 3 miles west of Sturgeon Point, with emerald shiner minnows.

BUFFALO –– It could be that rare blue moon that graced the skies last Friday, or maybe this summer has simply offered incredible fishing.

Herb Schultz and I wet a line together on a Lake Erie fishing trip, last week. Schultz has been a friend of mine for the last 40 years and was a fishing mentor to hundreds of anglers. These individuals wash their lures more than they prefer to, fish the wrong spot or simply do not catch many fish. Shultz is there to bolster anglers and assure them that fish will soon be biting. He also provides information about which hooks and bait to use.

Schultz heads to Lake Erie from Sturgeon Point, in his 22-foot, fiberglass Starcraft™ fishing boat. The marina is not far from his Hoover Beach homestead and he fishes both east and west from there, in 55 – 65 feet of water, often finding schools of yellow perch, while fishing for walleye.

Bob Bermel and I joined Schultz and his fresh dip of West Ferry Street emerald shiner minnows and perch rods.

Schultz said, “It’s not unusual to see 10 or 15 fellas and ladies from Southtowns Walleye Association, when I go to the marina.” The SWA is a grassroots walleye fishing organization that Schultz and 17 other walleye anglers from Southern Erie County started in 1983. I had just begun writing this outdoor column earlier that year and this new SWA group made for great outdoor news.

During our fishing trip, we reminisced about the changes in Lake Erie, concluding that the walleye and perch fishing in Lake Erie has never been better than this summer’s.

The New York Walleye Association held its early meetings at the George Washington Fishing and Camping Club on Niagara Street in the 1980s, but there is room for two walleye organizations in Western New York.

Under the leadership of Ed Soda, Herb Schultz, Dick Smith and others, the SWA grew to 2,500 members and is still the largest amateur walleye organization in the United States. Today, both the SWA and the NYWA appeal to anglers who share their fishing stories, tactics, tricks and favorite spots. These organizations worked with legislators to ban gill nets, which may have influenced our incredible summer fishing.

The NYWA holds its monthly meetings at American Legion Post 1041 at 533 Amherst St. on the first Tuesday of each month, at 7:30 p.m. The organization provides annual kids fishing derby events at Delaware Park Lake and hosts the annual Amara-Can walleye fishing tournament, with headquarters at Dunkirk Harbor, one weekend in July.

The SWA boasts a large and growing membership, under President Dave Woodworth, and holds its monthly meetings on the third Thursday of each month, at 7:30 p.m. in its new clubhouse facility, located at 5895 Southwestern Blvd. in Hamburg.

The SWA has provided the leadership for the Agri-Center Outdoor Show, working with event organizers, hosting the kid’s trout-pond and other events, such as an annual yellow perch contest in May, annual eight-day walleye tournament, handicapped kids trout fishing derby and more.

The late Keith “Bedbug” Dickerson had assisted with the handicapped kids fishing derby each year and set up the trout pond with others from the SWA, adding input for kids events all year around.

Dickerson shared his fishing secrets with many others. He enjoyed Lake Erie perch fishing in the summer and winter, dragging his one-man sled behind the Woodlawn Diner at Athol Springs.

This angler admitted that he enjoyed fishing even more when his wife, Laurie, went with him. The couple often won tournament prizes together and stocked the freezer for Friday night fish fries.

This year, Bedbug was memorialized by Tony Anthony, an ice fisherman. Anthony and Laurie Dickerson created the Keith “Bedbug” Dickerson yellow perch wall plaque/trophy to annually honor anglers who catch the five biggest perch by weight, to win the annual perch fishing event.

Herb Schultz won the plaque its first year. More than 150 entrants registered, but Schultz caught five perch that weighed in at 7.67 pounds.

Anthony funded this gesture, which will become an annual SWA tradition. Recipients’ names will be added to the plaque and the trophy will be displayed at the SWA headquarters. Individual trophies will also be awarded to each annual winner.

Anthony’s new repair station, Tony’s Reel & Repair, is located at 7686 Michael Road in Orchard Park. He carries parts for Cannon® downriggers, electric motors, fishing reels and rods and items for general outdoor repairs. For more information, call 662-5692.

While you’re there, ask Anthony about bass or musky fishing on the Upper Niagara River.

Schultz uses 20-pound test leaders to tie hooks on, because “I hate losing fish when my line snaps off as I hoist them into the boat. It doesn’t happen anymore, with 20-pound test!” Schultz uses size 2 thin-wire Mustad© hooks on a two-hook rig he ties himself with a sliding-loop top hook.

The SWA’s next meeting will be held on Thursday, Sept. 20.

Bow season to open

The New York state deer archery season will begin on Oct. 1, a full two weeks earlier than last year. Check your broadheads, adjust new strings, tune up your bow and buy new arrows. Dick’s Sporting Goods and Wal-Mart carry archery hunting supplies, but not many of their employees can suggest tuning optimization techniques for hunters.

For that kind of information, visit an archery supply shop, but tell employees where you bought your supplies. It is sometimes better to save money by going to the place that will supply, install and adjust those new items. Ask staff members to perform an inspection of your bow.

There are several qualified archery shops in WNY: S&S Taxidermy at 455 South Cascade Drive in Springville (for more information, call 592-2404); Doc’s Archery at 908 Niagara Falls Blvd. in Tonawanda (for more information, call 693-2703); Bison Archery at 2459 Seneca St. in Buffalo (for more information, call 254-7527) and Nick’s Archery at 1212 Kenmore Ave. in Buffalo (for more information, call 875-9218).

After adjustments are made, take in some range time to establish your regimen for successful shooting, before you go hunting.

Check your camouflage, hat, gloves, boots and face masks. Wash them in scent-free soap and put them in sealed plastic bags after air drying. To assure a scent-free aroma, add two halves of a cut apple in the bags, to assure that no human scent is left behind.

NYS Conservation Council news

The annual New York State Conservation Council convention will be held Sept. 14 – 16 in Ilion, N.Y. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Martens is expected to be in attendance. Region 9 representatives include Dan Tone from the West Falls Conservation Society, Joe Fischer from the Southtowns Walleye Association and Rich Davenport from the Erie County Federation of Sportsmen. The NYSCC is requesting financial support in its annual fund drive, the “Buck a Member Program.”

The NYSCC announced that proceeds will go toward meeting future needs for the only conservation rights lobbying organization in NYS. To donate to the cause, make checks payable to the New York State Conservation Council, 8 East Main St., Ilion, NY 13357.

To receive the NYSCC “Grass Roots News” monthly publication, which provides updated information on state legislation and conservation issues, contact the NYSCC at 315-894-3302 or

Clubs are encouraged to send their club news for publication to NYSCC by the second Monday of each month. The council does not release private club information. Visit the NYSCC website for more information.

Outdoor calendar:

Sept. 8 and 14: Pistol permit class for women, North Forest Rod & Gun Club, Old Niagara Road, Lockport; 3 – 6 p.m. on Sept. 8 and 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. on Sept. 14. To register, call 628-9023 or 439-1464.

Sept. 8: NYS archery course, Allied Sportsmen, home study, 12847 Clinton St., Alden, 7 a.m. – 4 p.m. Call 474-0460 for more information.

Sept. 8: NYS archery course, Hawkeye Bowmen, 13330 Clinton St., Alden, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. For more information, call 633-5324.

Sept. 8: NYS archery course, West Falls Conservation, 55 Bridge St., 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. For more information, call 655-9131.

Sept. 9: NYS archery, East Aurora Fish & Game, home study, 1018 Luther Road, 8 a.m. For more information, call 507-6837.

Sept. 9: 3-D 30 Target “Funanza shoot” for all ages, 8 a.m. – 2 p.m., Evans Rod & Gun Club, 864 Cain Road, Angola. For more information, call 866-5072 or 698-3008.

Sept. 9: 3D Shoot, Erie County Conservation Society, 13319 Miller Ave., Chaffee, 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. Call 560-9613 for more information.

Sept. 12 and 13: Cystic Fibrosis Cast for a Cure Steelhead Challenge. The event was moved from April to September this year. Raises money for CF. For more information, call 1-800-344-4223 for more information.

Sept. 15: Annual fall festival, Reinstein Environmental Education Center, 93 Honorine Drive, Depew, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Will include interactive exhibits, crafts for kids, live animals, hands-on activities, K-9 demonstrations, music, food and more.

Send information to 10 days in advance.

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