Nature Notes: Lake Chautauqua

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Sorry for the lapse in blogging. I was doing some fishing at one of my favorite places on Earth and certainly my favorite place to fish, a beautiful resort lake just into western New York. I've been to Lake Chautauqua every summer since I was born, and it's where I learned to fish.

Where is this wonderful place and how can I get there, you ask?

Well, for starters, it's about 4 hours from Columbus, located here, and I'd suggest going there for a long weekend. If you're just starting out as an angler - fly or baitcasting - this is like Lake Erie with training wheels. You can catch plenty of panfish and bass with a rudimentary setup, and the big suckers are out there for the more advanced.

Chautauqua Lake regularly hosts fishing tournaments and is considered a world-class water for bass, muskie and walleye.

I normally fish with my Uncle Terry, who turned me on to fly-fishing and tied most of my first flies. He and I went out a couple times this year, like we always do. Thankfully, my sister's new boyfriend, Mike, was eager to learn on my old fly rod. He was also a powerful paddler of the two-person Old Town canoe we used to hit my favorite spots each morning.

We caught tons of rock bass, white perch, yellow perch and sunfish.

I didn't land my normal haul of smallmouth bass, but this trip was about quantity - not quality. After all the times this summer that I stood fishless on Alum Creek and the Scioto River, that's just fine with me.

My guess is that my hot streak started last Friday, when I went out to Griggs Reservoir with Rich Carter, Division of Wildlife employee and owner of a super-fly bass boat.

More on this tomorrow.