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July 2003

Chautauqua County


As I write this column in mid-May the ground is saturated and more rain is in the forecast. My deer management plot has been plowed and is now waiting for drier weather to allow planting. Howard Lux of Lux’s Wildlife Management says brassicas have been successfully planted throughout the summer, but in general should be planted prior to July. If you can’t plant by the first of July it’s a good idea to wait until after August 15. The crop will still be ready for the deer to eat after the area has had a hard freeze. The theory behind planting brassicas is that the deer prefer other food until the brassica plants release their sugars after a hard frost and become a favorite much needed high protein deer food.

For those readers that wondered about the photo under my last month’s column showing three hunters with four super-racked deer, it was meant to show the results of ten years of deer habitat and hunting management at the North Country Whitetail research center. The deer, which are typical of the area, were all taken within 48 hours of each other on adjoining managed property. I am always looking forward to readers e-mailing me at with any questions or comments.

The rain hasn’t hurt the fishing in western New York. Fishing reports from the website confirms other reports that the crappie are back in Chautauqua Lake in both numbers and size. Crappies in the 12 to 15 inch range are commonly being caught on minnows and jigs. This spring’s lure of choice for walleyes seems to be a #11 black and silver Rapala. Yellow and white perch have also been abundant all spring in the seven to nine foot depth. This, of course, can change as the temperatures rise.  Muskie have continued to bite on just about anything as they did during the ice fishing season. Muskie season opens June 21 on Chautauqua Lake with the minimum keeping length of 40 inches.  The Deli Market located in Maple Springs on Rte. 430 across from Midway Park is handling live bait and tackle. The convenience store and gas station has a good selection and is just one mile from the Long Point State Park launch ramp.  The Deli Market is an excellent place to get those last minute needs before taking to the water.

The water has been high all spring on the Allegheny Reservoir. Boat launching at the Onoville Marina has been progressing a little behind last years schedule. The ice cream parlor at Bayview Lodge opened in May. They offer an excellent view of the Onoville Bay as well as a fine fast food menu. While you’re there you may want make reservations for the fall hunting season. The lodge is in the middle of some of the best hunting area in western New York. The Reservoir will be easier for campers to access this year with the reopening of Highbanks Campground. The campground has completed phase one of a half-million dollar renovation project. Highbanks Campground and Bayview Lodge are on the scenic West Perimeter Road off from Interstate 86 exit 17.

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