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Will Elliott: Point Breeze earns Ultimate honor

The Buffalo area offers anglers accesses to some of the best fishing sites in North America.

Fisher folk can travel to distant hot spots in New York or Canada, but some of the most productive waters can be fished within an hour’s drive from downtown Buffalo. That fact was proved last year when the World Fishing Network chose Olcott and Olcott Harbor on Lake Ontario in Niagara County as an Ultimate Fishing Town for 2012.

This prestigious award elated folks in Niagara County and brought deserved attention to the fabulous fishing Lake Ontario and its feeder streams offer to area anglers and to visitors.

This year, the WFN reported a close vote count at the very end of the nomination procedure, and the first-place winners for both the United States and Canada are destinations within an hour’s drive of Buffalo.

In the U.S., Point Breeze at the mouth of Oak Orchard Creek finished first, nudging out some prestigious eastern sea coast towns in the balloting. Canada’s Port Colborne also saw stiff competition from popular fishing ports at Gananoque and Campbellford in Ontario. Point Breeze, on Lake Ontario, is a small locale compared with sites such as Cape Hatteras in North Carolina, Grand Lake in Colorado, or Bridgeport in California.

Nonetheless, “The Oak” proved mighty, leading all U.S. vote getters at the end. Point Breeze is formed where the Oak Orchard River flows into Lake Ontario in Orleans County. Reviewers were impressed by the outstanding year-round fishing prospects at Point Breeze, with species including brown trout, salmon and steelhead for boaters on the open waters and assorted panfish species in Oak Orchard Creek (which is actually a river), in adjacent feeder streams and in nearby Lake Alice.

On most days, an angler at Point Breeze could catch a king salmon and then catch a bucket of perch on a morning or evening outing. Along with its variety of species offered, the point is popular because anglers have opportunities to fish area waters year round in the lake, streams and ponds on open water and on ice-fishing forays.

Sharon Narburgh at Narby’s Superette in Kent nominated the town for theb honor and did not expect a winning place in a competition that takes in about 700 sites for considerations. She was elated when World Fishing Network officials announced the Point Breeze victory two weeks ago and later said: “We are a small fishing town elated to win the title of Ultimate Fishing Town. … We have a unique small town with many needs for our fishery and are thankful to our residents and anglers for their diligence in voting.”

Mariko Izumi, Ultimate Fishing Town host, and other Network officials will be at Point Breeze on Wednesday for a presentation at 11 a.m. at the county park near the lighthouse. A similar ceremony will be held in Port Colborne on Thursday.

Port Colborne is located on the north shore of Lake Erie. Fish species are numerous in this area between the Welland Canal and the Niagara River. While the port is located on Lake Erie, resident and visiting anglers can make a short run north to catch trout and salmon in Lake Ontario.

Port Colborne has become famous for its bass and walleye, but many a boater can fill buckets with sizeable yellow perch and other panfish that inhabit the shallows and deeper waters at that port. This port has hosted fishing competitions such as the 444 Walleye Tournament, the Can-Am Invitational and the Pro Am bass tournament, plus local and club tourneys and derbies.

After receiving notice of the port’s win, Port Colborne Mayor Vance Badawey said: “A great deal of credit belongs to Keiran Wittmaier, Colleen Van Kralingen and their team for championing this initiative. Their efforts have exposed to the world another reason to come and enjoy all that we have to offer within Niagara.”

Port Colborne beat Gananoque by less than 100 votes.

World Fishing Network, an entertainment-destination and digital-resource provider for anglers throughout North America, conducts this competition each year and provides first-place winning towns with a $25,000 community donation to be used for fishing-related activities.

During the awards presentations at both sites, WFN will produce a video feature about the great fishing both of these Ultimate Fishing Towns provide; the video will be presented on air and online throughout the year. That video will be available on line shortly after the Denver-based network has the sights and sounds set for both sites.

To view preceding winners’ sites, standings in the competition and other WFN activities, go to