Bill Hilts Jr., The Buffalo News
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Bill Hilts Jr.

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Three State of Lake Ontario meetings were held in appropriate locations around the lake the past couple of weeks (Lockport, Rochester and Pulaski), coordinated by the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation. It’s a great way to see what happened in 2016 and what the plans are moving forward in 2017. All of the meetings had good attendance, showing the interest…

Southtowns Walleye unveils club awards winners The Southtowns Walleye Association of WNY, one of the largest walleye clubs in the world, recently held its 2016 Harry A. Smith Awards Banquet to honor the unsung volunteers and club leaders for all of their unselfish work behind the scenes. The Harry A. Smith Memorial Award, which is  presented for years of outstanding…

With the opening of the inland trout and salmon season just around the corner on April 1, it’s important to note that the Department of Environmental Conservation’s fish hatchery personnel have been keeping busy. In fact, they are ahead of schedule thanks to the relatively mild winter we’ve enjoyed. With the Cattaraugus County lakes being wide open (and the fact that…

Niagara’s Conservation Federation announces winners The Niagara County Federation of Conservation Clubs announced its 2016 winners for all of it memorial awards. Unlike other Federations, Niagara County names its winners before the annual banquet to encourage more people to attend. If people knew who the winners are, there’s a better chance that family and friends …

It’s happening again, like a broken record. A severe storm warning went into place, just in time for this week’s fishing report. Heavy snow and high winds are in the forecast. We thought spring was going to arrive early? Last week’s wind storm was horrendous. Let’s hope this one isn’t as bad, but when it comes with a name (Stella), that’s usually not a good sig…

Basketball nets will be rippin’ in Buffalo when March Madness tips off Thursday in a game between Notre Dame and Princeton. While the basketball world will be focused on the court, there’s another kind of “net” that needs some attention when fans and players invade our kingdom of sorts – a fish net. Yes, Western New York is home to some of the finest freshwater f…

Erie Federation honors sportsmen The Erie County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs held its annual awards banquet last Saturday night at the Father Justin Knights of Columbus in Cheektowaga. The group recognized the organizations and individuals that support the Federation, the conservation movement and various fish and wildlife programs. And the winners are: Stan Sp…

Inland Streams According to Drew Nisbet of Orvis Buffalo in Williamsville, our inland creeks for catch-and-release trout have been fishing incredibly well over the last two weeks of mild weather. As the creek water temperatures rise the trout become more active, especially the large/mature fish. He has been fishing the upper Cattaraugus and Clear creeks in the NYSPFR se…

Collecting is a pastime that can date centuries. People collect stamps, coins, guns, baseball cards and comic books to name but a few items – why not antique fishing tackle? This is not to be confused with the collection of current present-day fishing tackle, similar to what a charter captain might do as “normal” equipment on their Great Lakes boats. After all, yo…

Special Fly Tying Event March 15 A unique and special fly tying event will take place on March 15 designed to encourage participation in the sport of fly fishing, create a networking platform and educate people on not only tying some popular flies but also learning how to use them. The demonstration will take place at the Orvis store in the Eastern Hills Mall, 4545 Tran…

Niagara River The Niagara River has been a difficult puzzle to figure out this year. Water was starting to change over from the mud bath over the weekend from the wind and rain we saw Friday and Saturday. The yo-yo temperature fluctuations are contributing to the problems. Just when things were starting to clear on Tuesday, the forecast doesn’t look good – more wind…

Dan Bylsma  played in more than 400 National Hockey League games. He followed that up by becoming head coach for the Pittsburgh Penguins and winning the Stanley Cup in his first year at the helm.  But now that he’s in Buffalo, and coaching a Sabres franchise that's been rebuilding for several years, he’s also able to take advantage of some of the finest freshwater …

Chautauqua Federation announces license winners Zen Olow, president of the Chautauqua County Federation of Sportsmen’s, announced the winners of the group’s Lifetime Sporting Licenses through random drawings that took place earlier this month at the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club. Winners were hand-picked by Dunkirk Mayor Willie Rosas. The winners were: Bi…

The countdown is starting for the New York State Winter Classic that will end on Feb. 28. Big fish this week to focus on is a 2.35-pound perch caught by Steven Wright in Seneca Lake. It nearly broke the Winter Classic record! The perch lead changed hands three times in two days – all from the same body of water. Check out the leaderboard. In the NYS Ice Pro-Am Series …

At one-half hour before sunrise on March 4, the real March madness will begin for avid (and not so avid) waterfowl hunters looking to target Canada geese in the South Area of the state. The South Area extends from Niagara County south into the Southern Tier all the way to the Pennsylvania border, then continues east all the way into the Catskills. The special season  exte…