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Fishing clinics and contests are plentiful

Area anglers have many options for introducing young and new anglers to fish-catching and for entering contest competitions at many levels.

>Clinics

Dad, mom or caregivers of youths can learn a bit more about fishing lore during a variety of clinics staged all around Western New York. Adults can participate -- rod and reel in hand -- during the license-free statewide Free Fishing Days June 23 and 24.

At all clinics, helpful state Department of Environmental Conservation, club and federation volunteers will be available to instruct both youths and adults before and during fishing sessions on nearby, accessible waters.

Here are a few of the upcoming youth-focused clinics:

*Erie County Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs and the DEC combine efforts at Chestnut Ridge Park June 23 for a kids fishing clinic on the pond next to the Commissioner's Cabin. To register a youth, call 652-4180 or 851-7010.

*Long Point State Park on Chautauqua Lake is the site for a free fishing day June 23. For registration details, call 549-1050.

*Southtowns Walleye Association's Catch and Release Kids Fishing Derby at Tifft Nature Preserve starts registering kids at 7:30 a.m. July 21. To enter a youth, call 861-5687 or 649-8202.

*New York Walleye Association's Kids Fishing Derby is set for a 9 a.m. start July 29 on Hoyt Lake. For details, call 897-3290.

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Contests

Bass season opens statewide Saturday and a mid-June to midsummer slate of fishing contests abound. Here are a few options:

*The Wagon Wheel Restaurant in Niagara Falls holds its annual Opening Day Smallmouth Bass Contest Saturday with a 100 percent payout for the top three bass entered. For complete details, call 283-9861.

*As part of the Valley Community Association's 12th annual Buffalo River Fest, visitors can register for a "Take Your Father Fishing" contest that goes from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 17. The River Fest, held on Friday to June 17 at Buffalo River Fest Park, 249 Ohio St., features a variety of exhibits, live performances and hands-on activities.

For a complete schedule of festival events and a registration form for the fishing contest, call 823-4707, Ext. 2, or go to thevalleycenter.com.

*The 21st annual 444 International Walleye Tournament heads out of Port Colborne June 22 to 24 with an entry deadline on Friday. For directions and entry details, call (905) 834-1780 or go to pcdcc.com.

*Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's BassEye Contest has events set for June 28 and the competition on July 29 this year. For activities and entry information, go to basseye.com.

*New York Walleye Association's Amara Can Walleye Classic is very much alive and quite lively, pitting 2- to 4-angler teams in a competition out of Dunkirk Harbor. Entrants have seen differing conditions and catches during each of the preceding 18 years.

This 19th Amara-Can goes July 7 and 8, with a captains' meeting at 7 p.m. July 6 prior to the event; $15,000 cash and draw prize payout, plus daily big fish awards, make this a promising source for fishing fun and prize winnings. For complete details, check with Dayton Kane (875-8872) or Bob Zoeller (875-8148).

*The Lake Ontario Counties Summer Derby rewards anglers for the top 20 places in four divisions: Salmon, Lake Trout, Rainbow/Steelhead, and Brown Trout. The contest goes from July 16 to 29 on Lake Ontario and its tributary waters. For entry details, call (585) 545-4247 or go to loc.org.

*Niagara River Anglers Association stages its annual Niagara River Walleye Contest July 28 in the lower Niagara River, Lake Ontario and its tributaries. For details, call 807-6111. For a printable entry form, go to niagarariveranglers.com.

Other area fishing tourneys, derbies, contests and clinics will be held this summer and early fall. To post an event not included here, send details to the email address below.

email: odrswill@gmail.com