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Hooks and Antlers
By Mike Seymour
Johnson Newspapers
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Hooks and Antlers

Hooks and Antlers: DEC offers opportunities for junior hunters

First published: September 14, 2014 at 1:16 am
Last modified: September 14, 2014 at 1:33 am

DEC offers special September opportunities for junior hunters (ages 12-15) to hunt waterfowl and pheasants.

The Youth Waterfowl Hunt is slated for next Saturday and Sunday in the Northeast Zone while the Youth Pheasant Hunt is scheduled for the weekend of Sept. 27-28 in Northern New York.

For all youth hunts, junior hunters must be accompanied by an adult hunter. Both the junior and the adult hunters are required to have a small game license for the waterfowl and pheasant hunts and a current HIP registration (www.NY-HIP.com) for the waterfowl hunt. Adults are not allowed to possess a firearm or to harvest an animal while accompanying a junior hunter during the special hunts.

Regular-season hunting hours and bag limits are in effect during the youth hunts although the daily bag limit is two for Canada geese.

For more information on youth hunts, see pages 38-39 of the current Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guide or visit www.dec.ny.gov.

CROSSBOW HUNTING

DEC has adopted the final regulations for hunting with a crossbow during the 2014 seasons. Individuals who plan to hunt with a crossbow should note that while afield they must have in their possession either a completed Hunter Education Certificate of Qualification card dated on or after April 1, 2014 or the completed Crossbow Certification of Qualification located on page 8 of the current Regulations Guide.

Pages 8-9 of that guide contain detailed information on the regulations related to crossbow hunting, and anyone planning to hunt with a crossbow this fall is encouraged to consult those regulations.

General regulations require that crossbows may be used only by licensees who are 14 years of age and older, crossbows may not be possessed in or on a motor vehicle unless they are un-cocked, crossbows may not be discharged within 250 feet of various structures without landowner’s permission, and crossbows may not be used to take carp or any other fish species.

For licensing purposes, regulations treat the crossbow as a muzzleloader so hunters must possess a muzzleloader hunting privilege to legally hunt with a crossbow during any muzzleloader season or during open portions of the early bowhunting seasons. The muzzleloader license privilege is not required when hunting with a crossbow during the early bear season or the regular firearms season.

Crossbows may be used to take deer during the last 10 days of the early bowhunting season in the Northern Zone. Those dates are Wednesday, Oct. 15 through Friday, Oct. 24; and they include the 7-day early muzzleloader season that begins on Saturday, Oct. 18.

Regarding small game regulations, crossbows may be used to take wild turkey, rabbits, hares, pheasants, grouse, and squirrels during their respective seasons. Crossbows may not be used to take waterfowl or other migratory game birds, and crossbows may not be possessed afield in the Northern Zone when hunting small game (except coyotes) with the aid of a dog or accompanied by a dog.

Today’s column is an incomplete look at the crossbow regulations which can be found in their entirety in the 2014-15 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guide.

RUFFED GROUSE

The Ruffed Grouse Season in the Northern Zone opens on Saturday, Sept. 20 and runs through Feb. 28. Often called “partridge,” ruffed grouse may be hunted from sunrise to sunset. The daily limit is four birds although putting a bird or two in the game bag is a praiseworthy accomplishment.

Early season grouse hunters commonly encounter woodcock, but hunters should note that the Woodcock Season does not open until Oct. 1. Too, registration in the Harvest Information Program is required in order to shoot woodcock.

DEC is seeking grouse hunters to participate in a survey to help monitor ruffed grouse populations. For more information, visit the above-mentioned website and type “grouse log” in the subject line.

Outdoors Calendar

Saturday: Ruffed Grouse Season opens in Northern Zone.

Saturday-Sunday: Youth Waterfowl Hunt in Northeastern Waterfowl Hunting Zone.

Saturday-Sunday: 14th Annual Parishville Gun Show at Parishville Fire Hall (261-4596).

Saturday-Sunday: Rochester Gun Show at Monroe County Fair and Expo Centre (585-226-6211).

Sept. 25: September Canada Goose Season closes in Northeast Goose Hunting Area.

Sept. 27: National Hunting and Fishing Day.

Sept. 27: Early Bowhunting Season opens in Northern Zone.

Sept. 27-28: Youth Pheasant Hunt in Northern Zone.

Oct. 1: Fall Turkey Season opens in Northern Zone.

Oct. 1: Cottontail Rabbit and Varying Hare Seasons open in Northern Zone.

Oct. 1: Pheasant Season opens in Northern Zone.

Oct. 1: Early Bowhunting Season opens in Southern Zone.

Oct. 4: Waterfowl Season opens in Northeast Waterfowl Hunting Zone.

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Hooks and Antlers: Elite anglers will return to St. Lawrence River in 2015

First published: September 07, 2014 at 1:25 am
Last modified: September 07, 2014 at 1:25 am

In 2015, BASS will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Bassmaster Elite Series with a schedule that showcases this country’s world-class fisheries.

Six of the sites, including the St. Lawrence River at Waddington, have hosted Elite tournaments in the past decade, and all eight fisheries are among the finest venues the sport has to offer for the best bass anglers in the world. In announcing the 2015 Elite schedule, BASS CEO Bruce Akin said, “It’s fitting that the 10th Elite Series season features such prominent and important fisheries. The schedule spans the country from coast to coast and from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico, and it includes some of the very best bass lakes and river in the country—and some of the most challenging.”

The Elite anglers will be fishing the St. Lawrence River on July 30-Aug. 2 out of Waddington. The St. Lawrence River has been a frequent stop on the Bassmaster Tournament Trail, hosting 16 previous tournaments, including the 1980 Bassmaster Classic. In 2013, the Elite event at Waddington broke the Elite Series attendance record set months earlier in Orange, Texas, with more than 34,000 fans participating over the four-day event.

The St. Lawrence River has a reputation as a world-class smallmouth fishery, and BASS ranks the river No. 11 on the list of the 100 best bass fisheries in America. Evidence of the river’s excellent smallmouth fishing lies in Brandon Palaniuk’s winning catch. His four-day, 20-fish catch weighed nearly 89 pounds for an average of 4.4 pounds per smallmouth.

Joining the St. Lawrence River on the 10th anniversary schedule for next year are Lake Hartwell in South Carolina, Sabine River in Texas, Lake Guntersville in Alabama, Sacramento River in California, Lake Havasu in Arizona, Kentucky Lake in Tennessee, Chesapeake Bay in Maryland and Lake St. Clair in Michigan.

EARLY BEAR SEASON

The Early Bear Season in the Northern Zone opens on Saturday and runs through Friday, Oct. 17, which is the day prior to the opening of the Early Muzzeloading Season. Hunters are allowed to use firearms in Wildlife Managements Units (WMUs) 5A, 5C, 5F, 5G, 5H, 5J, 6C, 6F, 6H and 6J.

Because of a growing and expanding black bear population in the state, new regulations allow for increased bear hunting opportunities. In the Northern Zone, WMUs 6A, 6G, 6K and 6N are open for hunters who use bows during the Early Bear Season.

Resident hunters are allowed to take one bear each license year, and the hunting hours extend from sunrise to sunset. Successful hunters are required to report their kill through the DECALS telephone system at 1-866-426-3778 or via the online Harvest Reporting System at www.dec.ny.gov.

TAKING KIDS HUNTING

A recent survey by Southwick Associates revealed that nearly 46 percent of sportsmen have taken at least one child hunting during the past year. When asked how many children these hunters had taken in the past 12 months, 21 percent reported they had taken a single child. Fifteen percent had taken two children, five percent had taken three, two percent had taken four, and just over two percent had taken five or more. Meanwhile, 54 percent reported they had not taken any children hunting in the past 12 months.

In 59 percent of the reported cases, the hunter took a son or daughter. The next highest response was taking an unrelated young person in 27 percent of the cases. Too, 20 percent took a nephew or niece while 17 percent took a grandchild. Nearly four percent took a child as part of an organized activity such as through scouting or as part of a church group hunt.

Outdoors Calendar

Tuesday: Federated Sportsmen’s Clubs of SLC meet at Canton Boces at 7 p.m.

Tuesday: Regular Meeting of Canton Sportsmen’s Club at 6:30 p.m. at Nickerson Rd. Clubhouse.

Saturday: 11th Annual SLRWA Bass and Walleye Fall Classic at Waddington (705-2181 or 384-3450).

Saturday: Early Bear Season opens in Northern Zone.

Saturday-Sunday: Syracuse Gun Show at State Fairgrounds (607-748-1010).

Sept. 20: Ruffed Grouse Season opens in Northern Zone.

Sept. 20-21: Youth Waterfowl Hunt in Northeastern Waterfowl Hunting Zone.

Sept. 20-21: 14th Annual Parishville Gun Show at Parishville Fire Hall (261-4596).

Sept. 20-21: Rochester Gun Show at Monroe County Fair and Expo Centre (585-226-6211).

Sept. 25: September Canada Goose Season closes in Northeast Goose Hunting Area.

Sept. 27: National Hunting and Fishing Day.

Sept. 27-28: Youth Pheasant Hunt in Northern Zone.

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Hooks and Antlers: Elite anglers will return to St. Lawrence River in 2015

First published: September 07, 2014 at 1:16 am
Last modified: September 07, 2014 at 1:16 am
PHOTO PROVIDED
Massena’s Brittany Streeter won the Lunker Award recently at the Annual Barr’s Fishing Derby by reeling in this 10.1-pound, 29 1/2-inch walleye. She landed the fish, the she’s ever caught, in the St. Lawrence River with Robert Spears as her fishing guide.

In 2015, BASS will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Bassmaster Elite Series with a schedule that showcases this country’s world-class fisheries.

Six of the sites, including the St. Lawrence River at Waddington, have hosted Elite tournaments in the past decade, and all eight fisheries are among the finest venues the sport has to offer for the best bass anglers in the world. In announcing the 2015 Elite schedule, BASS CEO Bruce Akin said, “It’s fitting that the 10th Elite Series season features such prominent and important fisheries. The schedule spans the country from coast to coast and from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico, and it includes some of the very best bass lakes and river in the country—and some of the most challenging.”

The Elite anglers will be fishing the St. Lawrence River on July 30-Aug. 2 out of Waddington. The St. Lawrence River has been a frequent stop on the Bassmaster Tournament Trail, hosting 16 previous tournaments, including the 1980 Bassmaster Classic. In 2013, the Elite event at Waddington broke the Elite Series attendance record set months earlier in Orange, Texas, with more than 34,000 fans participating over the four-day event.

The St. Lawrence River has a reputation as a world-class smallmouth fishery, and BASS ranks the river No. 11 on the list of the 100 best bass fisheries in America. Evidence of the river’s excellent smallmouth fishing lies in Brandon Palaniuk’s winning catch. His four-day, 20-fish catch weighed nearly 89 pounds for an average of 4.4 pounds per smallmouth.

Joining the St. Lawrence River on the 10th anniversary schedule for next year are Lake Hartwell in South Carolina, Sabine River in Texas, Lake Guntersville in Alabama, Sacramento River in California, Lake Havasu in Arizona, Kentucky Lake in Tennessee, Chesapeake Bay in Maryland and Lake St. Clair in Michigan.

EARLY BEAR SEASON

The Early Bear Season in the Northern Zone opens on Saturday and runs through Friday, Oct. 17, which is the day prior to the opening of the Early Muzzeloading Season. Hunters are allowed to use firearms in Wildlife Managements Units (WMUs) 5A, 5C, 5F, 5G, 5H, 5J, 6C, 6F, 6H and 6J.

Because of a growing and expanding black bear population in the state, new regulations allow for increased bear hunting opportunities. In the Northern Zone, WMUs 6A, 6G, 6K and 6N are open for hunters who use bows during the Early Bear Season.

Resident hunters are allowed to take one bear each license year, and the hunting hours extend from sunrise to sunset. Successful hunters are required to report their kill through the DECALS telephone system at 1-866-426-3778 or via the online Harvest Reporting System at www.dec.ny.gov.

TAKING KIDS HUNTING

A recent survey by Southwick Associates revealed that nearly 46 percent of sportsmen have taken at least one child hunting during the past year. When asked how many children these hunters had taken in the past 12 months, 21 percent reported they had taken a single child. Fifteen percent had taken two children, five percent had taken three, two percent had taken four, and just over two percent had taken five or more. Meanwhile, 54 percent reported they had not taken any children hunting in the past 12 months.

In 59 percent of the reported cases, the hunter took a son or daughter. The next highest response was taking an unrelated young person in 27 percent of the cases. Too, 20 percent took a nephew or niece while 17 percent took a grandchild. Nearly four percent took a child as part of an organized activity such as through scouting or as part of a church group hunt.

Outdoors Calendar

Tuesday: Federated Sportsmen’s Clubs of SLC meet at Canton Boces at 7 p.m.

Tuesday: Regular Meeting of Canton Sportsmen’s Club at 6:30 p.m. at Nickerson Rd. Clubhouse.

Saturday: 11th Annual SLRWA Bass and Walleye Fall Classic at Waddington (705-2181 or 384-3450).

Saturday: Early Bear Season opens in Northern Zone.

Saturday-Sunday: Syracuse Gun Show at State Fairgrounds (607-748-1010).

Sept. 20: Ruffed Grouse Season opens in Northern Zone.

Sept. 20-21: Youth Waterfowl Hunt in Northeastern Waterfowl Hunting Zone.

Sept. 20-21: 14th Annual Parishville Gun Show at Parishville Fire Hall (261-4596).

Sept. 20-21: Rochester Gun Show at Monroe County Fair and Expo Centre (585-226-6211).

Sept. 25: September Canada Goose Season closes in Northeast Goose Hunting Area.

Sept. 27: National Hunting and Fishing Day.

Sept. 27-28: Youth Pheasant Hunt in Northern Zone.

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Hooks and Antlers: SLRWA Hosts Fall Bass, Walleye Event

First published: August 31, 2014 at 3:13 am
Last modified: August 31, 2014 at 3:13 am

The St. Lawrence River Walleye Association (SLRWA) is presenting its 11th Annual Waddington Bass and Walleye Fall Classic on Saturday, Sept. 13.

The event is a team competition of one or two people, and the winning team will be determined by the heaviest weight of four fish, two bass (smallmouth or largemouth) and two walleyes.

The entry fee per team is $50 for team, and a $5 restocking will be assessed to non-SLRWA members. Payout to winners will be based on the number of entrants.

In addition, there will be an optional Big Fish Contest ($20 per team), and 50 percent of money will go for biggest bass and 50 percent for biggest walleye.

Participants must pre-register by 6 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 11. Registration sites are JC River Run Bar & Grill in Waddington, Steve’s Stop and Shop on Route 37 in Louisville, and Salon 181 in Massena. Anyone signing up on the morning of the event will be assessed an additional $10 fee.

Fishing hours are from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m., and all boats must be in the water at the Waddington Boat Launch at Whitaker Park by 6:30 a.m.

Fishing boundaries extend from the top side of the Robert Moses Power Dam in Massena to the Iroquois Dam in Waddington. Anglers may fish both the Canadian and U.S. sides of the river, and anglers planning to fish in Canada are advised to contact Canadian Customs at 888-226-7277.

The weigh-in station opens at noon at the boat launch at Whitaker Park, and all fish must be weighed prior to removing a boat from the water.

Cash prizes will consist of all entry fees minus $200, and the breakdown is 50 percent for first place, 30 percent for second place, and 20 percent for third place.

The cash awards and other prizes will be awarded at JC River Run Bar and Grill at 4 p.m.

For more information, contact Mike at 705-2181 (work) or at 384-3450 (home), or visit www.stlawrenceriverwalleyeassociation.com. Rain date for the event is Sunday, Sept. 14.

BASS ELITE TOURNAMENT AT CAYUGA LAKE

Greg Hackney of Gonzales, La. topped the field of Elite Anglers at Cayuga Lake last week with a four-day, 20-fish catch weighing 85 pounds.

For his efforts, Hackney earned the $100,000 top prize, an automatic qualification in the 2015 Bassmaster Classic, and the number-one position in the Angler of the Year race.

Second-place honors went to Todd Faircloth of Jasper, Texas, who had a four-day, 20-fish catch weighing 75 pounds, 13 ounces. Rounding out the top five spots were Chris Zaldain of San Jose, Calif.; Edwin Evers of Talala, Okla.; and Jared Lintner of Arroyo Grande, Calif.

Neither Hackney nor Faircloth finished in the top 40 in the 2013 Elite Event at Waddington, but Zaldain, Evers, and Lintner finished 16th, 25th, and 32nd respectively.

Hackney’s winning weight at Cayuga would have placed second at Waddington, nearly four pounds behind Brandon Palaniuk’s winning weight of 88 pounds, 12 ounces.

Evers’ second-place weight of 75 pounds, 13 ounces at Cayuga would have earned him 12th-place honors at Waddington.

Palaniuk of Hayden, Idaho, led after day One at Cayuga, but the Waddington winner finished in eighth place with 69 pounds in the Finger Lakes.

SEPTEMBER CANADA GOOSE SEASON

Monday marks the opening of the September Canada Goose Season in the Northeast Goose Hunting Area, and the season extends through Thursday, Sept. 25. To hunt Canada Geese an individual must possess a small game hunting license and register in New York’s Harvest Information Program (www.NY-HIP.com or 1-888427-5447). Hunters 16 years and older are also required to have a federal migratory game bird hunting stamp, (‘duck stamp’).

These stamps are available at most post offices as well as some sporting goods stores, and on-line orders can be placed at www.duckstamp.com).

The September shooting hours extend from one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset except for the Youth Waterfowl Hunt Days (Sept. 20-21) when hunting hours end at the traditional time of sunset.

Non-toxic shot is required, and the daily bag limit is 15 geese per day.

SQUIRREL SEASON

Small game hunting also kicks off on Monday with squirrel season when hunters may take gray, black, and fox squirrels. Red squirrels are unprotected and may be hunted at any time with no daily limit.

The daily limit for squirrels is six, and hunting hours run from sunrise to sunset.

Outdoors Calendar

Monday: Canada Goose Season opens in Northeast Goose Hunting Area.

Monday: Squirrel Season opens in New York State.

Thursday: Seaway Valley QDMA Banquet in Gouverneur (287-4968).

Friday: Second Annual Banquet of North Country Chapter of Ruffed Grouse Society in Malone (518-521-4559).

Sept. 6-7: Beginner Fly Fishing Event for Women at Elbridge (243-7667).

Sept. 9: Federated Sportsmen’s Clubs of SLC meet at Canton Boces at 7 p.m.

Sept. 13: 11th Annual SLRWA Bass and Walleye Fall Classic at Waddington (705-2181 or 384-3450).

Sept. 13: Early Bear Season opens in Northern Zone.

Sept. 13-14: Syracuse Gun Show at State Fairgrounds (607-748-1010).

Sept. 20: Ruffed Grouse Season opens in Northern Zone.

Sept. 20-21: Youth Waterfowl Hunt in Northeastern Waterfowl Hunting Zone.

Sept. 27-28: Youth Pheasant Hunt in Northern Zone.

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Hooks and Antlers: Black Lake to host Outdoor Heritage Family Rendezvous

First published: August 24, 2014 at 1:51 am
Last modified: August 24, 2014 at 1:51 am
PHOTO PROVIDED
Caitlin Kelly reeled in this 15 plus-pounds, 32-inch catfish on an annual fishing trip with her dad Jeff Kelly. Caitlin reeled the fish in herself in a 15-minute fight.

The Black Lake Fish and Game Association is hosting Outdoor Heritage Family Rendezvous II this Saturday.

The event features outdoor sporting events for the entire family, and admission is free.

Among events at this year’s Rendezvous are outdoors seminars, demonstrations, trap shoot, chicken shoot, BB gun shoot, turkey shoot, sporting clays, gun drawings, quilt drawing, pig roast, silent auctions, fun games with prizes and mud run.

The adult entry fee for the mud run is $10, but kids mud run is free for those ages seven and under. Mud run registration begins at 10 a.m. with the actual run getting underway at 11 a.m.

Rendezvous hours extend from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and the Clubhouse is located at 1 Gilmour Road off Route 58 between Edwardsville and Morristown. For more information, call Kenny Cutway at 869-6051 or visit www.BLFGA.org.

GROUSE SOCIETY BANQUET

The North Country Chapter of the Ruffed Grouse Society is hosting the 2nd Annual North Country Chapter Conservation and Sportsmen’s Banquet on Friday, Sept. 5 at Mo’s Pub and Grill, 3357 State Route 11 in Malone. Individual membership and dinner ticket costs $60 while membership and spouse with two dinner tickets costs $85. The junior membership and dinner ticket charge is $40 for those 17 years of age and younger.

Social hour and drawings get underway at 6:30 p.m. with dinner being served at 7:30 p.m. For more information on the banquet or the North Country Chapter, contact Corey Bowen by calling 518-521-4559 or by e-mailing cbowen11902@yahoo.com.

RUFFED GROUSE SOCIETY

Established in 1941, The Ruffed Grouse Society (RGS) is a North American conservation organization dedicated to preserving sporting traditions by creating healthy forest habitat for ruffed grouse, American woodcock, and other wildlife. RGS works with landowners and government agencies to develop critical habitat utilizing scientific management practices. From Alaska and the Canadian Provinces to the Gulf of Mexico, RGS members include hunters, non-hunters, woodland owners, industries, and conservation professionals. Events and activities focus on camaraderie, learning, sharing, and supporting the goals of the organization.

For more information on RGS, visit www.ruffedgrousesociety.org.

BEGINNER FLY FISHING

FOR WOMEN

The Iroquois Chapter of Trout Unlimited is presenting a beginner fly fishing seminar for women on September 6-7 at Carpenter’s Brook Fish Hatchery in Elbridge. Participants will learn the basics of fly fishing, with topics to include fly tying, stream entomology, equipment set up, and casting. Too, there will be one-on-one instruction and actual fly fishing with experienced guides on a nearby stream.

Class size is limited, and pre-registration is required. Cost is $60 for the weekend (overnight lodging not included). For more information, call 243-7667, e-mail jsherlockfishman@gmail.com, or visit www.iroquoistu.org.

QDMA BANQUET

The Seaway Valley Chapter of Quality Deer Management Association is holding its 11th Annual Banquet at the Casablanca Restaurant in Gouverneur. Activities get underway at 5 p.m., and more information is available by contacting Teresa Whitton at 287-4968.

SLRWA BASS AND

WALLEYE FALL CLASSIC

The St. Lawrence River Walleye Association is holding its 11th Annual Bass and Walleye Fall Classic on Saturday, Sept. 13 at Waddington’s Whitaker Park. This is a two-person team event, and winners will be determined by total weight of two bass and two walleyes.

Next week’s column will include more details on the 2014 Bass and Walleye Fall Classic, and more information is available by contacting Mike at 705-2181 (work) or 384-3450 (home) or by visiting www.stlawrenceriverwalleyeassociation.com.

Outdoors Calendar

Monday: Trap and Skeet Shoot at Lisbon Sportsmen’s Club on Pray Rd. at 5:30 p.m.

Wednesday: Trap Shoot at Black Lake F&G Association at 7 p.m. (869-6051).

Thursday: Sporting Clays Shoot at Black Lake F&G Association at 1 p.m. (323-5585).

Saturday: Outdoor Heritage Family Rendezvous II at Black Lake F&G Association (www.BLFGA.org).

Saturday: Spider’s Basic Fishing Program (free) at Wellesley Island State Park (482-2479).

Sept. 1: September Canada Goose Season opens in Northeast Goose Hunting Area.

Sept. 1: Squirrel Season opens in New York State.

Sept. 4: Seaway Valley QDMA Banquet in Gouverneur (287-4968).

Sept. 5: 2nd Annual Banquet of North Country Chapter of Ruffed Grouse Society in Malone (518-521-4559).

Sept. 6-7: Beginner Fly Fishing Event for Women at Elbridge, (243-7667).

Sept. 13: 11th Annual SLRWA Bass and Walleye Fall Classic at Waddington (705-2181 or 384-3450).

Sept. 13: Early Bear Season opens in Northern Zone.

Sept. 13-14: Syracuse Gun Show at State Fairgrounds (607-748-1010).

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Hooks and Antlers: Clayton show to feature rehabilitating fly-fishing program for military

First published: August 03, 2014 at 12:51 am
Last modified: August 03, 2014 at 12:51 am

CLAYTON — Project Healing Waters will be among the exhibitors at the Clayton-Thousand Islands Gun and Sportsmen Show slated for the Cerow Recreation Park Arena on Aug. 16-17. The project utilizes fly-fishing activities to work with veteran and active military personnel in a healing way.

Trent Myer heads the current Project Healing Waters Chapter at Fort Drum, and he says, “Being in the water is good for improving balance and strength; fly casting exercises the upper body; and being on the water is good for the soul.”

Show hours extend from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for military with ID, and free for children under 12. Sponsoring the 2014 show are Route 37 Building Supply, Wellesley Island Building Supply, Greg Henry Construction, and Surefine Market of Clayton. More information is available by calling 482-4596 or 686-2832.

PROJECT HEALING WATERS

Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, Inc. (PHWFF) is a non-profit organization incorporated in Maryland. The first program began at Washington’s Walter Reed Medical Center in 2005, and the name was established in 2006 with incorporation taking place in 2007.

Since that time PHWFF has expanded nationwide and has a program in Canada.

The organization’s mission states the group is dedicated to the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled active military service personnel and disabled veterans through fly fishing and associated activities including education and outings.

PHWFF currently has 160 programs in 48 states, and all programs are associated with and draw volunteers form Federation of Fly Fishers clubs, Trout Unlimited chapters, and independent clubs. Last year, more than 2,400 volunteers donated over 130,000 hours of service to PHWFF program activities.

Program activities may include, but are not limited to, fly-fishing instruction, fly-tying classes, fly-casting workshops, rod building, and fly-fishing outings.

For PHWFF volunteers, the benefits of association lie in the giving. Volunteers can give by making cash donations, donating used fly fishing equipment, becoming a volunteer, or even starting a program if there is not one in the area.

PHWFF’s mailing address is Post Office Box 695, LaPlata, Md., 20646, and the phone number is 301-830-6450. The organization’s Web site is www.projecthealingwaters.org.

TENTATIVE WATERFOWL SEASONS

DEC has announced the tentative 2014-14 waterfowl seasons. The seasons do not become official until federal regulations are adopted later in the summer. For the Northeast Zone, youth days will be held the weekend of Sept. 20-21 while the regular season will be split into two sessions: Oct. 4 (Saturday)-Oct. 19 (Sunday) and Nov. 1 (Saturday)-Dec. 14 (Sunday).

The September Canada Goose Season for the Northeast Goose Hunting Area will run the traditional dates of Sept. 1 (Monday) through Sept. 25 (Thursday). The regular season will be divided into two sessions: Oct. 25 (Saturday)-Nov. 16 (Sunday) and Nov. 18 (Tuesday)-Dece. 14 (Sunday). By closing the season on Nov. 17, hunters are afforded an extra weekend day to hunt geese.

MEPPS SEEKS SQUIRREL TAILS

The hair on a squirrel’s tail emits a rippling, pulsating movement in the water, and that movement is a key, fish-attracting component of Mepps lures. Company representative Kurt Mazurek says, “We’ve tried hundreds of other natural and synthetic materials; bear hair, fox, coyote, badger, skunk, deer, even Angus cow, but nothing works as well as squirrel tail hair.”

The company notes that squirrels are a plentiful resource, they make excellent table fare, their skins are used in making a variety of products, but their tails are usually thrown away. Instead of tossing out the tails, Mepps is asking hunters to recycle squirrel tails by sending them to the company which buys fox, black, grey, and red squirrel tails and which will pay up to 26 cents each for tails depending on quality and quantity. The cash value is doubled if the tails are traded for Mepps lures.

More information on the Squirrel Tail Program is available at www.mepps.com, and Mazurek reminds hunters, “We do not advocate harvesting of squirrels solely for their tails.”

Outdoors Calendar

Aug. 4: Trap and Skeet Shoot at Lisbon Sportsmen’s Club on Pray Rd. at 5:30 p.m.

Aug. 6: Trap Shoot at Black Lake F&G Association at 7 p.m.(869-6051).

Aug. 7: Sporting Clays Shoot at Black Lake F&G Association at 1 p.m. (323-5585).

Aug. 9: NNY Bassmasters Tournament at Cranberry Lake (www.nnybassmasters.com).

Aug. 9: 6th Annual Long Lake Bass Fishing Derby (518-624-2145).

Aug. 12: Monthly meeting of Canton Sportsmen’s Club (Nickerson Rd.) at 6:30 p.m.

Aug. 12: Monthly meeting of Federated Sportsmen’s Clubs of SLC at Canton Boces at 7 p.m.

Aug. 14: SLC Trappers Association meets at Lisbon Library at 6:30 p.m.

Aug. 16-17: Clayton-1000 Islands Gun and Sportsmen Show at Cerow Arena (482-4596).

Aug. 23: Outdoor Adventure Day at Fort Drum (788-8450).

Aug. 23: NNY Bassmasters Tournament at St. Lawrence River, Ogdensburg (www.nnybassmasters.com).

Aug. 30: Outdoor Heritage Family Rendezvous II at Black Lake F&G Association (www.BLFGA.org).

Aug. 30: Spider’s Basic Fishing Program (Free) at Wellesley Island State Park (482-2479).

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Hooks and Antlers: state-best drum tops Chaumont mark

First published: July 27, 2014 at 1:01 am
Last modified: July 27, 2014 at 1:01 am
PROVIDED PHOTO
James VanArsdale of Henrietta hoists a state-record freshwater drum, which he landed in Irondequoit Bay.

For the second time in 2014, DEC has announced a new state record fish.

While fishing in Rochester’s Irondequoit Bay in Lake Ontario, James Van Arsdall of West Henrietta landed a 33.5-inch freshwater drum that weighed 26 pounds and nine ounces. The catch occurred on June 14, and it bested the previous record, a 24.5-pound drum caught by Chaumont’s Gregory Netto in Chaumont Bay on June 8, 2005.

An impressive feature of VanArsdall’s record drum was the fish’s girth. For example, a northern pike that measured 33.5 inches might weigh 10 or so pounds, but the record drum more than doubled that weight.

While freshwater drum are not rare catches in area waters, the fish are uncommon catches. The first drum I ever caught was when I was jigging for walleyes at the mouth of the Oswegatchie River at Ogdensburg. Like other walleye anglers who hook a drum, I thought I had a monster walleye because the fish stayed down and had impressive fighting ability.

The last drum I caught was one of the oddest catches of a lifetime of angling. That fish hit a nine-inch Cisco Kid when I was night-trolling for muskies in the St. Lawrence River several Octobers ago.

FRESHWATER DRUM

Freshwater drum are often called “sheepshead,” and they live in large rivers and lakes such as St. Lawrence and Ontario. An identifiable feature of the drum is its blunt or short head.

The drum is the only freshwater fish in North America that is a planktonic spawner whose eggs drift with the current. This fish gets its name from the sound that males emit while swimming.

Freshwater drum have numerous, round teeth that they use in crushing their food, which typically consists of snails, mussels, clams, and crayfish. The species is usually nocturnal, and once at line’s end, a drum puts up a praiseworthy fight.

STATE RECORD STRIPED BASS

The other state record fish (inland) taken this year was a 60-pound striped bass caught by Eric Lester on May 14. Lester caught the fish in the Hudson River, and it topped the previous record, a 55.38-pound striper that was also caught in the Hudson River. Ian Kiraly took that fish on May 9, 2007.

ANGLER ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS

Page 65 of the current “Freshwater Fishing Guide” lists New York’s state record fish. Too, the guide has detailed information on the state’s Angler Achievement Awards program where angler catches are recognized in three different categories: “annual award, “catch and release,” and “state record”. For more information, see pages 63-66 of the guide that is available at all license-issuing agents.

NEW ADIRONDACK MAGAZINE

If you browse the magazine section of area stores, you are likely to run across a copy of a new publication titled “Adirondack Outdoors”.

Owned and published by Michael Wade, who grew up in Ogdensburg, the glossy magazine is geared towards Adirondack outdoors enthusiasts.

Topics covered in articles in the current issue of “Adirondack Outdoors” include kids fishing, brook trout heritage, backcountry boats, Lake Champlain bass and salmon, kayak fishing, largemouth bass, Sacandaga Lake, Lake George boat inspections, Fulton Chain pike, paddling the Adirondacks, Pecks Lake, summer photography, popper fishing, Stillwater Reservoir camping, hiking tips, venison appetizers, camping and hiking rules, outdoors calendar, product reviews, and more.

“Adirondack Outdoors” is currently published quarterly, and interested persons can subscribe by sending a check or money order ($15.95) along with name, address, e-mail, and phone number to FishUS.com, P.O. Box 96, Clinton, NY 13323.

Subscriptions are also available by calling 315-624-9966 or by visiting www.adirondackoutdoorsmagazine.com where more information on the publication can be found.

BASSMASTER H.S. CHAMPIONSHIP

Garrett Enders and Nick Osman of Susquehanna High School, Pa., outlasted 59 high school teams to win the inaugural Bassmaster High School Championship.

The pair used weightless, wacky-rigged Senkos for their Day Four catch that moved them from second to first place.

For their victory, Enders and Osman received $2,000 each in scholarship funds from B.A.S.S. They were also offered $20,000 scholarships (over four years) if they attend Bethel University.

Outdoors Calendar

July 28: Trap and Skeet Shoot at Lisbon Sportsmen’s Club on Pray Rd. at 5:30 p.m.

July 30: Trap Shoot at Black Lake F&G Association at 7 p.m.(869-6051).

July 31: Sporting Clays Shoot at Black Lake F&G Association at 1 p.m. (323-5585).

July 31: Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Northern Open at Lake Champlain, Plattsburgh.

Aug. 2: SLR Walleye Association’s 13 Annual Walleye Challenge Tournament (384-3450).

Aug. 9: NNY Bassmasters Tournament at Cranberry Lake (www.nnybassmasters.com).

Aug. 9: 6th Annual Long Lake Bass Fishing Derby (518-624-2145).

Aug. 14: SLC Trappers Association meets at Lisbon Library at 6:30 p.m.

Aug. 16-17: Clayton-1000 Islands Gun and Sportsmen Show at Cerow Arena (482-4596).

Aug. 30: Spider’s Basic Fishing Program (Free) at Wellesley Island State Park (482-2479).

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Hooks and Antlers: Catching walleye requires mastering three key techniques

First published: June 22, 2014 at 1:04 am
Last modified: June 22, 2014 at 1:04 am
PROVIDED PHOTO
Mike Gagner displays a 9.82-pound walleye that took “Big Fish” honors at the St. Lawrence River Walleye Association’s eighth annual Smackdown Tournament on June 14.

Walleyes may well rank as the most popular species among local anglers who rely on three basic techniques for making their catches. Those techniques are trolling minnow plugs, dragging crawler harnesses, and casting jigs.

Certainly, the most successful anglers have developed their walleye-catching methodology to something of an art, but here is a look at the basics of each technique.

TROLLING MINNOW PLUGS

Trolling minnow plugs offers the advantages of covering a lot of water and of familiarizing oneself with an area in relatively short time. Whereas wind conditions can hamper other techniques, trolling remains a viable option regardless of wind direction or velocity.

Since river walleyes typically hold on or near bottom, a trolling key is to get the lure within a few feet of bottom. Today’s assortment of diving plugs, in-line weights, diving devices, and downriggers make it easy to reach 35-foot depths and beyond. A second trolling key is to make sure there is good lure action. An easy way to check lure action is to visually inspect the lure while running it at boat side at trolling speed.

For the best results, anglers should troll along structural edges rather than in open water.

Also, trolling up current or cross current will usually out-produce downstream trolling in river stretches of strong current. Since walleyes move shallower in low-light conditions, anglers should do likewise.

DRAGGING CRAWLER HARNESSES

Like trolling, drifting crawler harnesses allows an angler to cover a lot of water in a short period of time, and since summer walleyes generally spread throughout a water system, covering water is important in locating fish. By using heavier-weighted bottom bouncers, anglers can work deep water, a favorite haunt of summer walleyes.

A key to successful drifting is boat speed. If the drift is too slow, blades will not turn, and the rig will settle on bottom.

For St. Lawrence River anglers, this means only one thing: gobies will gobble up the bait. When the drift speed is too fast, the rig often lifts too far off bottom to entice strikes. Under ideal conditions, the current and/or wind will move the boat at a speed that allows for proper presentation, but more often than not, the angler will have to use an electric motor to speed the drift or a drift sock to slow the drift.

CASTING JIGS

Casting bucktail-hair jigs or plastic-tipped jigs doesn’t allow an angler to cover as much water as trolling plugs or dragging harnesses does, so the technique is better utilized when walleyes are somewhat concentrated in a given area.

Although casting jigs will take fish during the summer months, the technique takes more fish in early and late season when walleyes are concentrated in post-spawn or pre-winter schools not far from spawning grounds.

Jigs offer the flexibility of fishing a variety of depths, and they can be worked slowly or aggressively to match water temperature and fish mood. Casting jigs works best in areas with no current or mild current or when controlling boat speed via wind, electric motor, or drift sock.

The basic technique calls for casting the jig and letting it fall to bottom. Then the angler uses a lift-drop technique as he or she works the lure near bottom and back to the boat. Ninety percent of the strikes typically occur on the jig’s fall, and the angler will feel only a “tick” as the walleye inhales the dropping jig.

If the “tick” goes undetected, the angler will feel the weight of the fish when lifting the jig.

Skillful jiggers visualize what the jig is doing at line’s end. These anglers also have a feel for what the jig is doing, and they watch their line to detect any slack that indicates the jig has hit bottom or a walleye has inhaled it.

Tipping the jig with a piece of crawler or adding a stinger hook typically increases the number of hook-ups.

Outdoors Calendar

June 23: Trap and Skeet Shoot at Lisbon Sportsmen’s Club on Pray Rd. at 5:30 p.m.

June 25: Trap Shoot at Black Lake F&G Association at 7 p.m.(869-6051).

June 26: Sporting Clays Shoot at Black Lake F&G Association at 1 p.m. (323-5585).

June 28: Northern New York Bassmasters Tournament at Chaumont Bay (www.nnybassmasters.com).

June 28-29: Free Fishing Days in NYS.

June 30: Trap and Skeet Shoot at Lisbon Sportsmen’s Club on Pray Rd. at 5:30 p.m.

July 2: Trap Shoot at Black Lake F&G Association at 7 p.m. (869-6051).

July 3: Sporting Clays Shoot at Black Lake F&G Association at 1 p.m. (323-5585).

July 5: Spider’s Free Fishing Programs at Wellesley Island State Park (482-2479).

July 12: Northern New York Bassmasters Tournament at Black Lake (www.nnybassmasters.com).

July 20: Youth Fishing Derby at Colton (262-2225).

July 26: 14th Annual Raquette Lake Bass Tournament (www.mylonglake.com).

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Fishing equipment important, but no guarantee for success

First published: June 14, 2014 at 7:39 pm
Last modified: June 14, 2014 at 7:39 pm

Some manufacturers guarantee phenomenal fish catches if an angler uses their products, and some athletes guarantee victory in championship games. In reality, though, there are no guarantees when it comes to fishing or athletic competition.

Instead, success in life stems from implementing the fundamentals of a given activity.

GEAR PREPARATION

Before getting on the water, spend some time preparing the gear. Among the numerous possibilities are organizing tackle boxes, re-spooling reels with new line, re-placing worn hooks, studying lake charts, and installing fresh batteries in the camera. Time on the water is for fishing, not for dealing with gear.

LINE CARE

Special attention should be given to line care. Make sure that spools are full as partially filled spools cast poorly and stress the line. Also, adjust the drag, as a too-tight drag stresses line, and a too-loose drag results in line twist.

GATHER INFORMATION

Pre-trip information can contribute to success, and worthwhile information is available from angling friends, local bait shops, on-line sites, and fishing charts. Anglers who keep logs of their outings have a special source of information.

FELLOW ANGLERS

When you get the chance to fish with other anglers, to utilize a different technique, to fish for a different species, or to fish new waters, do so. Such experiences will likely make you a more knowledgeable angler.

FISHING TIMES

My motto is to go fishing whenever I can, but the best fishing generally occurs in the early morning hours and in the early evening hours. An angler who fishes at those times will likely double a typical mid-day catch.

WIND DIRECTION

Again, my motto is to go fishing whenever I can, but wind direction plays a major role in fish activity as stated in this jingle: “Wind out of the east, fish bite the least; wind out of the north, don’t leave port; wind out of the south, fish open their mouths; wind out of the west, fish bite the best.”

QUIET APPROACH

While Grandpa’s admonition of “Don’t talk so loud; you’ll scare the fish” is an overstatement, there’s significant truth in the need for anglers to utilize a quiet approach when fishing.

Always approach a fishing site with as little intrusion as possible, be sure to drop the anchor and not throw it, and make soft casts rather than splashing ones.

WORK STRUCTURE

Arguably, the three major influences on modern angling have been the spinning reel, the depth finder and Buck Perry’s philosophy of structure fishing.

Fish love structure, especially structural edges, and thanks to Perry’s influence, anglers have learned to work areas such as drop offs, mid-lake shoals, weed lines, points, humps, channels, island edges, old river beds, etc. The best sections of a river, lake, or reservoir have large and varied structures as well as adjacent deep water.

LURE CONFIDENCE

Constantly changing lures rarely leads to successful catches. Anglers are better off to use a limited number of lures and to fish them with confidence. Knowing that a lure is reaching the depths inhabited by the pursued species is critical to angler confidence.

Some anglers make the miscue of selecting a lure that fails to reach the fish zone, which is often that area within a few feet of bottom.

SMALLER LURES

There is an element of truth in the saying, “Big lure means big fish.”

Using smaller lures and baits generally improves an angler’s catch rate. Small fish are unlikely to strike a big lure, but a big fish will hit a small offering.

As an illustration, I rarely catch non-targeted species while using musky plugs, but I do catch a variety of game fish while pan fishing, and I do catch pike and muskies while casting bass lures.

VISUALIZATION

Skilled anglers have developed a knack for visualizing what is happening at line’s end.

These anglers become the lure. They can visualize how the lure is behaving, see how the lure relates to bottom and impart the desired lure action.

Such anglers can also detect any alteration such as a fish tap, a tick of the bottom, or a weed on the line. If an angler changed nothing about his or her fishing tactics this summer except to better visualize what is happening at line’s end, he or she would see an improvement in catch rates.

POSITIVE ATTITUDE

A positive attitude plays a key role in fishing just as it does in any of life’s ventures. All anglers experience unproductive outings, but at such times, a positive attitude says, “I learned something today. I learned what not to do when I encounter similar conditions on future outings.”

Outdoors Calendar

Monday: Trap and Skeet Shoot at Lisbon Sportsmen’s Club on Pray Road at 5:30 p.m.

Wednesday: Trap Shoot at Black Lake F&G Association at 7 p.m. (869-6051).

Thursday: Sporting Clays Shoot at Black Lake F&G Association at 1 p.m. (323-5585).

Saturday: Bass and muskellunge seasons open in New York state.

Saturday: SLVSC Annual Opening Day Bass Derby.

Saturday: Spider’s Kid Fishing Program at Wellesley Island State Park (482-2479).

Saturday: Long Lake F&G Club’s Bass and Pike Fishing Derby (518-624-2145).

Saturday: Sporting Clays Shoot at Black Lake F&G Association at 9 a.m. (323-5585).

Saturday and Sunday: Annual Henderson Harbor Smallmouth Bass and Walleye Derby.

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Hooks and Antlers: The sunfish is colorful and popular North American delight

First published: June 07, 2014 at 11:37 pm
Last modified: June 07, 2014 at 11:37 pm

Centrarchidae is the scientific name for the members of the sunfish family, and the translation of this technical term is “nest builders.”

The sunfish are native only to North America. In addition to 30 native species, there are over 20 hybrids due to cross breeding between species such as the pumpkinseed and blue gill or the black crappie and the white crappie.

Members of the sunfish family prefer warm-water habitat such as ponds, shallow lakes, and protected bays of deep lakes and large rivers.

During spawning, the male builds the nest, protects the fertilized eggs, and guards the fry until they abandon the nest.

The three major groupings in the sunfish family are the true sunfish, the crappies, and the black bass.

THE TRUE SUNFISH

The most popular species in the true sunfish grouping include the bluegill, pumpkinseed, and redear sunfish, all of which have a brightly-colored appearance that merits the fish being labeled as sunfish.

The true sunfish are very popular among anglers because the fish are abundant in numbers, easy to catch, excellent table fare, and scrappy fighters.

If there is a negative aspect to sunfish, it lies in their tendency to overpopulate and become stunted in waters where there is a lack of larger predators.

The true sunfish do well in a wide range of water temperatures and water qualities. Their habitat preference is the quiet, warm, and weedy water of ponds, pits, lakes, reservoirs, and rivers. Like their largemouth bass cousin, sunfish prefer shallow-water habitat where favorite feeding times are morning and evening.

CRAPPIES

Like the true sunfish, crappies can be found in waters in just about everybody’s backyard. In addition to widespread availability, the crappie’s popularity stems from its sporting and eating qualities.

The crappie group consists of the black crappie and the white crappie.

Though the two species have overlapping ranges, black crappies are more abundant in the northern portion of the United States while white crappies are more plentiful in the southern part of the country.

Crappies, pronounced “croppies,” have soft mouths, a characteristic that earned the fish the nickname of papermouth. Among the crappies other common names are calico bass and specks.

Crappies are similar to the true sunfish in the types of water the fish inhabit, in their spawning behaviors, and in their food preferences. Crappies differ from the true sunfish in that they spawn at slightly lower temperatures, they handle lower-oxygenated water better, they are roamers in their habitat, they suspend varying distances from bottom, and they have larger mouths so they have a stronger tendency to feed on small fish.

BLACK BASS

Most people don’t think of bass as sunfish, but black bass are members of the sunfish family. The three most popular bass are the largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and spotted bass, and they are likely called black bass because of their dark appearance as fry and their dark upper half as adults.

The black bass rank as North America’s favorite game fish for various reasons.

First of all, bass thrive in waters from coast to coast. In addition to their native waters in the eastern two-thirds of the United States, southern Canada, and northern Mexico, bass have been stocked in waters throughout the United States and southern Canada.

Also, bass inhabit a wide range of waters from small ponds to massive reservoirs. Other factors contributing to the bass’s popularity are its aggressive feeding nature, susceptibility to a variety of presentations, and great fighting ability.

More so than other sunfish, bass are pursued for sport rather than eating.

Much of the sport fishing interest in bass likely stems from Ray Scott’s founding of the Bass Anglers Sportsmen Society (B.A.S.S.) in 1968. B.A.S.S. has also played a key role in the popularity of catch-and-release fishing among the bass-angling fraternity.

Outdoors Calendar

June 9: Trap and Skeet Shoot at Lisbon Sportsmen’s Club on Pray Rd. at 5:30 p.m.

June 10: Monthly meeting of Federated Sportsmen’s Clubs of SLC at Canton BOCES at 7 p.m.

June 11: Trap Shoot at Black Lake F&G Association at 7 p.m.

June 12: Monthly meeting of SLC Trappers Association at Lisbon Library at 6:30 p.m.

June 14: SLRWA 8th Annual Smackdown Walleye Tournament(www.stlawrenceriverwalleyeassociation.com).

June 21: Bass and muskellunge seasons open in New York State.

June 21: SLVSC Annual Opening Day Bass Derby.

June 21-22: Annual Henderson Harbor Smallmouth Bass and Walleye Derby.

June 28-29: Free Fishing Days in NYS.

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