Ken Christie with one of many bass caught on Lime Lake.
This past week I was on another mission; a working vacation combined with fishing, of course. My working aspect was doing wildlife habitat work. My fishing trip was for bass; smallmouth and largemouth.
This time I was down in northern Allegany county cutting trees in a small town named Short Tract. When my sister Suzy was diagnosed with lung cancer they held an auction to raise money for finding the cause and cure for cancer. I donated a wildlife management plan to the auction. Good friends, Johnny and Carol Beitz bid on it, and won the wildlife management plan for their hunting property. I completed the wildlife plan two years ago, and now I go down once a year to fell trees on the property, creating openings for food plots and early successional growth. I also cut trees down to allow sunlight to reach the apple trees that are straining to get sunlight.
Johnny has been following the guidelines outlined in the plan and the results are showing. In just one year there has been a remarkable change in the amount of apples that are growing. Last year there were trees with no apples due to the shade. This year with the rain and life giving sunlight reaching the trees, there are apples galore! We cleared an area where brassicas will be planted, providing energy to deer this fall. A nice little buffet table is being created for both grouse and deer. Apples, grasses, clovers and brassicas will supply minerals, carbohydrate energy and protein to the deer for growth and weight gain to get through the winter. The food and food plots will keep deer near his property long enough so he can bow hunt this fall. Winter will be arriving faster than we think.
It’s all coming together for Johnny and his hunting property. Last year he was a bit hesitant about cutting trees. He is now a true believer in wildlife management and allowing the sun to do the work! After dropping about forty trees, I was done for the day. Johnny now has his work cut out for him pulling brush and tops to create designated movement areas for deer. He also will be getting some exercise cutting the red maple up for firewood. This fall should be a good hunting season for my friend and his property.
Once I was done cutting, it was fishing and hydration time. I returned to Lime Lake in Cattaraugus County where I stayed with Andy Christie, his family and friends. Bass fishing was on the hit list for activities.
Andy’s brother, Ken Christie is a semi-professional bass fisherman who competes in NYS Bass Federation tournaments and I was lucky enough to be able to get a day out on the boat with him. He will be on Lake Champlain later this year for a bass tournament.
The next morning we set out in his Triton bass boat with an Evinrude 150 engine and shot across the lake like a bullet. Lime Lake is a small lake or what could be called a large pond. It’s about 1 mile long and lean in width with a few bays. The lake is elbow to elbow with camps and cottages, so if you like solitude, that is not a daytime option. The only solitude is found during night fishing.
Water skiers, jet skis, canoes and pontoon boats are plentiful on holiday weekends, but scarce during the week. It’s a great little lake to fish with a canoe or small boat, which can be put in at the DEC access area. You can’t back a trailer with a boat into the access area to launch; it’s for carry in only boats. The camps all get access through a private launch on the lake which is for lake association members only. Despite this limitation, it’s a great spot to fish for bass.
The rain started after our first hour out, but we were catching fish so it didn’t matter. One after another, we started pulling in largemouth bass; many of very acceptable size. Ken caught the one and only norlunge; about a 22-incher. The norlunge were stocked to keep the population of bluegills, sunnys and perch from over running the lake. There were two guys in our party who didn’t catch a fish: Nick and Pat, but I won’t mention their names due to fact that they are overwhelmed with depression and embarrassment!
We broke for lunch, changed into dry clothes and went back to fishing. We were using lightweight spinning rods with 8-pound test line. The bait was a white fluke which was twitched on the retrieve, and allowed to sink. It worked superbly! We caught bass and norlunge and enjoyed the time fishing. I made some new friends and yes, life is good!
Lime Lake is no lemon when it comes to bass fishing!
Lime Lake is a small, sometimes congested lake, but a beautiful spot to fish. It’s right off of NYS Route 16, south of Arcade about five miles.
There are gas stations, restaurants and shopping areas nearby along with camping areas and motels to stay in, so if you are passing through western New York or just doing a walk about wanderlust trip enjoying life, stop in and fish this sweet little lake.
This article is dedicated to my little sister Suzy who lost her battle with lung cancer, and to all the family and friends in western New York who were there for her! Thank You. To everything; turn, turn, turn. There is a season; turn, turn, turn! I miss you Suzy!
Rich Redman is a retired District Conservationist for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and an avid outdoorsman. His column will appear regularly. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.