Klejdys, McGrath win Fish Odyssey grand prizes
The 41st Annual Greater Niagara Fish Odyssey Derby ended on a high note as the awards ceremony was held on August 27 at the Olcott Fire Hall. The contest, held August 19-27 and organized out of the counties of Erie, Niagara and Orleans counties, allowed anglers to fish for six different species in the adult and junior divisions. At the awards ceremony, the first place leaders are all put into a hat and drawn by Emily the capuchin monkey (courtesy Carmen Presti and the Primate Sanctuary) to determine the grand prize winners. This year, the $3,000 Grand Prize adult winner was the Lake Trout Division and the lucky angler was Ed Klejdys of North Tonawanda. He earned the right to be in the drawing by weighing in a 21-pound, 6-ounce lake trout caught on the Niagara Bar.
In the Walleye Division, Tony LaRosa of Lewiston was dragging a worm harness on the Niagara Bar to reel in an 11-pound, 6-ounce winner. The most interesting thing about his catch is that it came during the solar eclipse – when a bunch of other anglers were experiencing the same type of increased fishing activity. The special Southtowns Walleye Association $500 prize for the largest walleye caught by a SWA member during the 9-day competition was Don Denzel of Orchard Park with a 9-pound, 2-ounce Lake Erie fish while fishing out of Sturgeon Point with a Rapala behind 10 colors of lead core line.
In the Smallmouth Bass Division, there was a tie for first place. Both were 5 pound smallmouth bass from Lake Erie … and they were caught by a husband and wife fishing duo – Dave and Kathy Muir of North Tonawanda. Since Dave’s was weighed in first, that was the tie breaker.
Biggest salmon for the Odyssey was a 34-pound, 8-ounce king caught out of Wilson in Lake Ontario by Joe Oakes of Lockport. Oakes also won a special $500 prize for the largest salmon caught by a Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Association member. Biggest brown or rainbow trout was a 13 pound 9 ounce brown reeled in by Ken Trontel of Sharon, Pa. He was fishing out of Olcott with Capt. Bob Cinelli.
The sixth and final category is the Carp Division. Paul Natiella of South Lima reeled in the winner from the Oak Orchard River using corn – a 30-pound, 9-ounce fish.
The Junior Division is for kids 15 and under. The division is free to participate in and merchandise prizes are up for grabs in each of the six categories. In the Grand Prize drawing for a $250 Cabela’s gift card, rod and reel, tackle box and hat, for the second year in a row, the species category was panfish. And, for the second year in a row, the lucky winner was 6 year old Alyssa McGrath of Niagara Falls. This time it was a 1-pound, 2-ounce Lake Erie perch that did it for her.
Other Junior Division winners were: Megan Walsh of Niagara Falls with a 7-pound, 14-ounce lower river walleye; Abigail McGrath of Niagara Falls (Alyssa’s sister) with a 4-pound, 5-ounce Lake Erie bass; Cole Gallo of East Amherst with an 8-pound Wilson steelhead; Alex Heath of Sanborn with a 26-pound, 3-ounce Niagara Bar king salmon; and Jacob Velesko of Middleport with a 16-pound, 6-ounce carp from the Oak Orchard River. It’s a great end-of-summer celebration for the kids and a great way to get them started in fishing.
Pheasant permit lottery set for state parks
Small game hunters looking to chase pheasants during the youth hunting weekend Oct. 14-15 or the three heaviest days of hunting traffic (Oct. 21, Oct. 28 and Nov. 4) in Golden Hill, Joseph Davis or Wilson-Tuscarora state park, the annual permit lottery will take place on October 2. Two separate hunts will take place each day, the first from sunrise to 12:30 p.m. and the second from 12:30 p.m. to sunset. Hunting throughout the pheasant season is allowed from Oct. 21 to Dec. 31 at these three state parks (which also receive stockings from the state). However permits are required for the dates we mentioned. The only exception for hunting pheasants in these parks is during the regular firearms season for deer. No hunting is permitted at all during that time. There is no fee for the permit. All lottery entries should be received by noon on Sept. 29. Interested parties looking to participate in the lottery should include name, address, phone number, email address, hunting license back-tag number, desired hunting date, morning or afternoon and desired park location. Send a postcard or standard 3x5 card with this information to the park you would like to be considered for. If you have any questions call 278-1764.