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MAY BRINGS TOURNAMENTS TO AREA WATERS

The pleasures of pressures are on for anglers keying on walleye, salmonids, bass and panfish.

All these species become tourney targets during the spring and early summer seasons, starting with the New York State walleye opener next Sunday.

Walleye

Oneida Lake has become the comeback inland lake of the decade. In recent years, Oneida's walleye population has recouped after suffering severe predation from double-crested cormorants and clarity changes from exotic mussels that began more than 10 years ago.

Regulations limiting creels to three fish per day and an 18-inch length limit were imposed to protect Oneida's walleye. Now their presence -- in sizes and numbers -- has improved to the degree that anglers can take 15-inch 'eyes.

Through peak and drought years, the Cicero Mattydale Lions Club has held its tourney during the first weekend of walleye season. The 27th annual Walleye Tournament begins at 12:01 a.m. Saturday and runs until 3 p.m. Sunday.

Entrants can sign up at 16 sites. Entries, which must be alive when checked, can be measured at the Gander Mountain store in Cicero or at four locations around the lake. For information about this tourney, call (315) 699-4506.

The Gander Mountain Grand National Walleye Cup lists two area sites for Eastern Division competition: Kinzua-Allegany next Sunday and Chautauqua Lake on June 5. Go to: www.walleyecup.com.

Southtowns Walleye Association has developed the largest public-entry walleye contest on Lake Erie and perhaps North America. The 21st annual Southtowns Walleye Tournament starts June 11 and goes until June 19, with a top prize of $20,000 and corporate prize daily.

Tournament winners will be announced and prizes will be given during an awards picnic at the Newton Abbott Fire Hall Grove on June 25. For entry details, call 825-7619.

New York Walleye Association's Amara Can Tournament on July 9 and 10 at Chadwick Bay Marina in Dunkirk brings teams vying for top weigh-in totals of 'eyes taken from Lake Erie waters.

Entry forms are available at area sporting goods stores or by calling 874-2522, 897-1522 or 876-6425.

The Can-Am Walleye Classic at Port Colborne, limited to 100 teams of three or four entrants, is set for July 23 and 24. Teams pay $300 (or $400 Canadian) to compete for the top 15 prizes, payable in Canadian funds. Top prize is $10,000.

For entry details, call Dave Malloy (905) 834-9218 or write: Erie Tracker Outfitters, 111 Killaly St. W., Port Colborne, Ont. L3K 3L7.

The Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club plans a tourney for Aug. 5-7. Check with officials there for details.

Salmon and trout

The Lake Ontario Counties Derby begins at sunrise Friday and goes until May 15. A surprising spring run of salmon last year boosted boat numbers on Ontario throughout May. This year, early signs appear for a repeat arrival of kings in time for the LOC Derby.

A respectable presence of steelies and browns could add to the east-west competition that has evolved over the years between the Niagara-Orleans County set to the west and the Salmon River easterners working to bring in the biggest trout and salmon.

To get details visit the Web site www.loc.org or call (888) 733-5246.

Bass

U.S. Anglers Choice Lake Erie Division holds its first tourney May 15 at Buffalo Small Boat Harbor. For details, call (315) 343-2731.

The fifth Lake Erie Bass Fishing Challenge, to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation, goes out of Buffalo Small Boat Harbor on May 21. The 10 top teams earn money prizes, with the first-place team taking a guaranteed $3,000 and a trophy. Additional prizes include those for the three heaviest lunkers. For entry information, call Don Staszczak (893-0607) or Dave Konsek (913-3761).

Brighton Volunteer Fire Department holds its "Pause for the Day Bass Tournament" July 9. Call 984-6707.

Panfish

Avon Anglers' Bluegill & Crappie Tournament at Honeoye Lake has boaters heading out of the Neptune Restaurant at Trident Marina on Saturday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. For all tourney details, call (585) 229-7291 or (585) 226-3149.

Crappie USA returns to Chautauqua Lake for a team tourney May 14. A pre-tournament seminar begins at 5 p.m. May 13 at the Village Casino on Lake Side Drive in Bemus Point. Teams can enter at the seminar or by calling the Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau at (800) 242-4569 or see: www.tourchautauqua.com.

e-mail: wille@pce.net