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Scattershot: Outdoors news & notes

More on Lake Ontario high-water levels

As water levels continue to rise on Lake Ontario, county officials along the lake shore are expressing concern for boaters who may encounter debris floating on the lake. They are also asking boaters to respect a 500-foot no wake zone along the shoreline. This should not deter you from fishing any one of the many fishing events that will take place in May, like the Spring Lake Ontario Counties Trout and Salmon Derby May 5-14, the Wilson Harbor Invitational May 13 or the Lake Ontario Pro-Am Salmon Team Tournament (out of the ports of Wilson and Olcott) May 19-21.

According to Jonathan Schultz, director of emergency services with Niagara County: “There is presently no immediate public safety threat.  The Emergency Order ordering all boat traffic along the lake shore of Lake Ontario to operate at idle speed causing no wake for a distance of 500 feet from shore and in the harbors is for the safety of boaters and residents and residences along the shoreline and does not restrict access to these locations. With that being said, the marinas and boat launch sites are open for operation and fishing.  The lake can be used for trolling within the 500-foot idle zone.  These orders are for safety as many objects that protruded from the water before are presently underwater and could be hit by watercraft; and the wakes could damage the shoreline. For those fishing and participating in the Lake Ontario Counties fishing derby be certain to maintain vigilance for situational awareness in and around the shorelines and the harbors and be alert for a large amount of floating debris and other hidden objects below the higher than normal water levels.”

Sporting Celebration at Northern Chautauqua club April 29

Seminars on fly fishing and duck hunting will be part of a Sporting Celebration that will be taking place on April 29 at the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club, 1 North Mullet St., Dunkirk from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The focus of the celebration is the fact that the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy has rescued 1,000 acres of wildlife habitat in the county and the land is now open for the public at no cost – just like the free celebration. The name of this event is 1K 4 U Sporting Celebration.

There will be a Fly Fishing 101: Intro to Fly Fishing Course from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. coordinated by Orvis Buffalo of Williamsville. If you want to attend the class you are asked to arrive at 3:30 p.m. At 5:30, there will be a short presentation on duck hunting by John Michalovic, past president of the Finger Lakes and WNY Waterfowl Association and former state chairman of Ducks Unlimited. Food will be served from 5 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. For more information call Alberto Rey at 410-7003.

Strawberry Island boating concerns

If you enjoy fishing or boating in the Upper Niagara River around Strawberry Island, take special note that restrictions are now in place to help protect critical Bald Eagle nesting habitat on that island. At the same time, officials from New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the state’s Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation want to preserve the recently installed habitat improvement projects on and around the island. Yes, we have a pair of nesting Bald Eagles on Strawberry Island!

Be sure to observe the signage, buoys and other boating restrictions around the island. Maintain a 5 mph speed within 100 feet of shore. Eliminate all motorized activity within 660 feet at the north end of the island’s cove. Follow the signs that restrict visitor access to the island. Be sure to pass this information on to others. If you see any illegal activity, call 1-844-DEC-ECOS. You can remain anonymous.

Safe Harbor parking

Parking and launch ramp access has been at a premium this spring all around Western New York. With the opening of Charlie's Boat Yard this week and the fact that the Safe Harbor Marina (formerly the Buffalo Small Boat Harbor) is still under construction, marina officials are asking that all fisherman with or without a trailer please park to the north side of the restaurant. You should try and focus on the parking lot where it widens out more, between the New York State Parks barn and the restaurant until further notice. Cooperation is crucial.
Safe Harbor Marina is rapidly getting all the docks installed and the old "B" lot is open for temporary trailer parking. By May 15th the new launches should be open for use and a portion of the new parking lot should be available at the south end.

Making things even more difficult will be special events like the Bass Border War (set to be held out of Safe Harbor Marina) on May 6. Please keep this in mind if you are planning on using the facility for the opening of walleye season.

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