As of right now, the forecast is calling for 20+mph winds, temperatures in the upper 30s, and a mixed bag of precipitation as the clock strikes midnight and walleye season begins again on Oneida Lake. The good news for Saturday is that through the day, the temperature will move past the 40s and into the 50s as the day progresses. The wind is also forecast to slowly die down during the day and the precipitation will move out as well. Warmer Sunday with some early showers, we are keeping an eye on the wind again for Sunday. Much more seasonable into next week, but definitely raw conditions over the next two days.
Unless you live under a rock, you probably know that the annual Chittenango Lions Club Walleye Derby is the big event this weekend on Oneida Lake. Ticket sales are reported as strong and the derby kicks off at 12:01 am Saturday and ends at 3 pm Sunday. The entry fee is $20. The fish entered in the derby must be caught in Oneida Lake, its tributaries, or estuaries. The full rules can be found here.
The derby pays out to the top twenty-five places provided at least 1,000 anglers sign up. Assuming that number is reached, the longest fish pays $2,000; second place, $1,000, and third, $950. If less than 1,000 anglers sign up, the prize money is pro-rated. For reference, in 2019, 1,500 anglers participated–no tournament in 2020 on account of COVID. The deadline to sign up is 11:59 pm on Friday. Tickets can be purchased across the lake in many stores or online on the Chittenango Lions Club Walleye Derby website.
Additionally, anglers have a chance to win big bucks if they catch a tagged fish. Earlier this month, the state Department of Environmental Conservation, which stocks the lake, tagged three walleyes and released them into the lake. The fish will have a derby value of $5,000, $2,500, or $1,250 during the course of the event. The tag numbers and values will be disclosed on Saturday morning at Derby Headquarters, online, and at each of the lake’s six measuring stations.