OUT­DOORS Ni­a­gara re­gion of­fers time­less get­away

The Oneida Daily Dispatch (Oneida, NY) - - Sports -

When some­one men­tions Ni­a­gara the first thought that prob­a­bly comes to mind is the ma­jes­tic thun­der­ing wa­ter. That is nat­u­ral since it is one of the won­ders of the world and New York State and Ni­a­gara County have done a great job of mak­ing it at­trac­tive and ac­ces­si­ble. But there is more to the Ni­a­gara re­gion and all those at­trac­tions and re­sources are rea­sons that you should put this area on your list.

The falls re­main spec­tac­u­lar no mat­ter how many times you have seen them. My wife Carol and I never tire of go­ing to Ni­a­gara Falls. New York State Parks Com­mis­sion is do­ing a nice job of mak­ing im­prove­ments to the area and mak­ing it easy to en­joy the var­i­ous beau­ti­ful and awe-in­spir­ing views. Ni­a­gara County Tourism also makes it con­ve­nient to en­joy the area and all the other at­trac­tions.

Last year when we were there it was a beau­ti­ful warm au­tumn day so we also en­joyed the ex­pe­ri­ence of the Cave of the Winds at the base of the Amer­i­can Falls and later took a ride on the Maid of the Mist. We stayed at nearby Lewis­ton at the charm­ing Bar­ton Hill Ho­tel and Spa (bar­ton­hill­ho­tel.com) over­look­ing the Ni­a­gara River.

For a com­plete list of at­trac­tions and other in­for­ma­tion con­tact Ni­a­gara Tourism and Con­ven­tion Cor­po­ra­tion, 10 Rain­bow Blvd., Ni­a­gara Falls, NY 14303. Call 877-325-5787 and ask for their great book­let as well as Western NYHot Spots Fish­ing Map

With all of the at­trac­tions it is easy to over­look the great fish­ing that the Ni­a­gara area has to of­fer. Muskie fish­ing on the Up­per Ni­a­gara River, and salmon, steel­head and lake trout, wall­eye, as well as bass fish­ing on the lower river and Lake On­tario pro­vide world class en­ter­tain­ment. I have fished the lower Ni­a­gara River near Lewis­ton for lake trout, steel­head and small­mouth bass in re­cent years and it is great ac­tion.

Last year Bill Hilts Jr. and I went fish­ing for small­mouth bass on the lower Ni­a­gara River near Youngstown where the river emp­ties into Lake On-

tario. We fished with lo­cal guide Bruce Blake­lock (River­side Sport­fish­ing 716-754-4101) who spe­cial­izes in bass and steel­head. We had barely left the launch ramp at Fort Ni­a­gara State Park when Bill and I had a dou­ble of two small­mouth bass on at the same time. These are the broad-shoul­dered chunky small­mouth bass that de­velop ex­tra strength from fight­ing the river cur­rent and typ­i­cally put up a lengthy and ex­cit­ing bat­tle. We en­joyed the ac­tion along with the scenery and a pleas­ant con­ver­sa­tion with Bruce.

Lake On­tario fish­ing in Ni­a­gara County has a well-de­served rep­u­ta­tion for ex­cel­lence. Ev­ery year some of the big­gest salmon, steel­head and lake trout are caught in these wa­ters. Skilled char­ter cap­tains keep track of the daily move­ments of the trout and salmon and put their cus­tomers into some great ac­tion. Re­cently they have been tak­ing some nice salmon be­tween 2030 pounds in the Ol­cott or Wil­son area.

The lower Ni­a­gara River from the Devils Hole down to the Ni­a­gara Bar is a hot spot for fish­ing for salmon when they start to run. Au­tumn and even in win­ter it pro­vides great ac­tion for steel­head, brown and lake trout. The area around the Art­park down to Lewis­ton is a pop­u­lar drift with char­ter cap­tains and skilled an­glers who know the river and have the proper equip­ment and boat.

Drift­ing this area and fish­ing with Kwik­fish, egg sacks or min­nows is a proven method of get­ting into ac­tion with the trout men­tioned above. Most of them will prob­a­bly av­er­age 8-12 pounds and when you com­bine a fight­ing fish this size with the strength of the cur­rent you are in for ex­cite­ment. Of course many larger fish be­tween 15-20 pounds are also taken in each of the three species.

The big lake trout that in­habit the lower Ni­a­gara River are not like some laker winched up from over 200 feet on heavy salmon rigs. By con­trast when caught on lighter tackle in shal­low wa­ter, es­pe­cially the cur­rent of the Ni­a­gara River, they put up a spec­tac­u­lar fight.

Steel­head are al­ways ex­cit­ing and the large size of these ac­ro­batic fish only adds to the thrill and fun. It is pos­si­ble to fish from shore in this area but an­glers should use ex­treme cau­tion be­cause of slip­pery con­di­tions.

For more in­for­ma­tion on fish­ing the lower Ni­a­gara or the Ni­a­gara Bar con­tact Ernie Ca­lan­drelli (ernieqb@yahoo.com or 716-523-0013), Dan Evans (Cap­tainDan@LoneWolfS­port­fish­ing.com or 716863-0018), or Frank Camp­bell (frank@ni­a­garachar­ter.com or 716-284-8546). All of these are great guides with lots of ex­pe­ri­ence to make your out­ing a spe­cial one.

In ad­di­tion to the falls and the fish­ing, there are other at­trac­tions to make a com­plete out­ing in any sea­son or weather con­di­tion. The Ni­a­gara Falls Culi­nary In­sti­tute of­fers a state of the art de­mon­stra­tion kitchen, a fine din­ing restau­rant, a New York style deli, a Barnes & No­ble culi­nary-themed store and more. An aquar­ium, sev­eral art mu­se­ums, NY Power Au­thor­ity Dis­cov­ery Cen­ter and other at­trac­tions beckon in all kinds of weather. For com­plete in­for­ma­tion on at­trac­tions, ac­com­mo­da­tions and more con­tact the Vis­i­tors Cen­ter at www. ni­a­gara-usa.com or call 1-877-FALLS US.

But above all you can en­joy a very dif­fer­ent and ex­cit­ing fish­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for steel­head, brown and lake trout. Even in the heart of win­ter Ni­a­gara fish­ing is hot! If you are look­ing for va­ri­ety, ex­cel­lent fish­ing and pleas­ant sur­round­ings, give se­ri­ous con­sid­er­a­tion to fish­ing the “western fron­tier” of New York State.

SHORT CASTS

King Ge­orge Fish­ing Derby: Lake Ge­orge’s third an­nual King Ge­orge Fish­ing Derby kicks off on Sept. 16 with new dates and new fea­tures de­signed to at­tract more an­glers to the “Queen of Amer­ica’s lakes.” The an­nual derby was pre­vi­ously held dur­ing the lake’s busy sum­mer sea­son and the new dates are meant to al­le­vi­ate prob­lems with recre­ational boaters and of­fer bet­ter fish­ing, es­pe­cially for bass.

This year’s Derby in­cludes a new prize cat­e­gory for land­locked salmon, along with large and small­mouth bass and lake trout in the Se­nior Divi­sion. There will be no salmon cat­e­gory in the Ju­nior Divi­sion that is un­der 16 years of age. Reg­is­tra­tion for the 2017 Derby will be at the Amer­i­can Le­gion Post on Route 9L and in­cludes free re­fresh­ments. En­try fee is $50 for adults and $30 for ju­niors. All en­trants re­ceive a free t-shirt and ad­mis­sion to the awards cer­e­mony.

Fish­ing goes from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Satur­day and 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sun­day. Reg­is­tra­tion is 4-8 p.m. on Fri­day. Boats may launch at any site with weigh sta­tions avail­able at the Hague boat dock, Roger’s Me­mo­rial in Bolton Land­ing and the vil­lage’s public docks in Lake Ge­orge.

Over $15,000 in prize money goes to the win­ners with ju­niors re­ceiv­ing a va­ri­ety of mer­chan­dise prizes. En­tries are avail­able on­line at www.kingge­orge­fish­ingderby.com and a lo­cal fish and bait shops.

Fall LOC Derby: The 2017 Fall Lake On­tario Coun­ties Derby is un­der­way and al­ready some im­pres­sive fish have been taken. The Derby runs from Aug. 18 un­til Sept. 4 with weigh-in clos­ing at 1 p.m. on Sept. 4. The Derby of­fers $68,900 in cash prizes for fish in three di­vi­sions: salmon, steel­head trout and brown trout.

See the web­site www. loc.org for com­plete rules and reg­u­la­tions, reg­is­tra­tion sites and weigh-in sta­tions. You can also reg­is­ter on line. A handy lo­ca­tion for both reg­is­tra­tion and weigh-in sta­tion is All Sea­sons Sports, Rt. 13 Pu­laski, 315-298-6433.

Oneida County Sports­men’s Youth Goose Hunt: The Oneida County Fed­er­a­tion of Sports­men’s Clubs and the Madi­son County NWTF plan to in­tro­duce young­sters and women the op­por­tu­nity to learn goose hunt­ing with a skilled men­tor. The dates are Sept. 23 and 24.

Satur­day, Sept. 23 will be the meet­ing with par­ents, ECOs and hunter men­tors, tar­get prac­tice and other prepa­ra­tion for the next day’s hunt start- ing at 9 a.m. The ac­tual hunt will take place on Sun­day, Sept. 24 with the guid­ance of an ECO or hunter men­tor in the field.

The pro­gram is open to youths ages 12-17. A small game li­cense and a HIP num­ber is nec­es­sary for all young­sters. Youths and women ages 16 and up will need a fed­eral mi­gra­tory bird hunt­ing stamp along with li­cense and HIP num­ber.

In­ter­ested par­tic­i­pants should con­tact Scott Faulkner 315-225-0192, or sfcf@tds.net, ECO Steve Lake­man 315-734-0648 or ECO Ric Grisolini 315-2406966 for an ap­pli­ca­tion or any ques­tions on the pro­gram. Space in the pro­gram is lim­ited so be sure to reg­is­ter early.

Leo Maloney Out­doors

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