Vice President Kevin Sixbey introduced Mike Sperry, Owner of Chautauqua Reel Outdoors.  Mike is s NYS licensed fishing guide.  He started his fishing guide service in 2007 and opened up his current tackle shop in 2013 in the Sav-A-Lot Plaza in Lakewood.  Both these endeavors have kept Mike very busy!

Chautauqua Lake is a gem for the area.  Mike mentioned there was a huge uptick in fishing last year during the pandemic.  It was one of the only things people could enjoy while social distancing.  He also had trouble keeping his shop stocked with tackle as well.  A bad year for many was a good year for Mike.  

Mike anticipates that it will be another busy fishing year in 2021.  Chautauqua Lake is a world class fishery.  The state-run hatchery located in North Harmony is part of a muskie stocking imitative.  It is one of the best in the state.  The hatchery crew will go out in the Spring and go through a process of milking the fish for eggs, have them fertilized by the male fish and will hatch the fish in the hatchery. When the baby muskie are four inches long, they move them to an outside pond before they are released into the lake. 

Another interesting point about our area is all the lakes in the NYS that are stocked with Muskie, all come from the State Hatchery in North Harmony.  It is a wonderful system run by the NYSDEC.  

Mike does almost 100 days of guided fishing on the water every year.  Mike also informed the club that this area has an excellent walleye and crappie population in the lake.  Because the amount of walleye in the lake is sufficient, they have not stocked walleyes in over 10 years.  Chautauqua Lake is a well-managed lake as far as fisheries are concerned, according to Mike.  

Questions from the club:

What are uncommon species in the Lake?  Huge population of long-nosed garpike (fly fishing for gar); Gar are protected species – you have to catch and release them.   Paddlefish – fished out commercially 100 years ago – in 2008, were reintroduced into Chautauqua Lake and the Allegany river system; Paddlefish are also protected – they are plankton eaters; White Perch; White Bass.  Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass are big as well.  

How did you start your business and design lures?  Started making lures around 30 years ago and made lures special for muskies; Mike is also making his own plastic baits as well.  There are lot of lure manufacturers who sell their own plugs. In fact, Mike’s friend Ryan Smith (whom the author also calls a good friend), makes a living by designing and building saltwater lures.   

How many muskies have you caught? Usually 75-100 per year – caught 164 in 2019.  Minimum inches to keep a muskie is 40 inches.  Mike practices catch and release all the time now.  Walleye and yellow perch are very good eating.  Muskie season closes end of November and opens up again end of May!  

How do people sign up to go out on a charter?  Check out his web site at  

Is there a hatchery in Randolph? Yes, they stock Rainbow and Brown Trout!

Do the algae blooms affect the fish? No, not really.  There have been algae blooms since he has been working.  Weeds are good for fish in the lake because they give them habitat.