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Outdoors notebook: Conditions looking favorable for popular Naples Derby

The annual April Fools Day trout opener has begun for more than a half century with the Naples Creek Rainbow Trout Derby, a fun-based contest that sees different fishing conditions each year.

Last year a late freeze drew few ’bows up this popular spawning creek at the south end of Canandaigua Lake. This year, an early thaw and moderate snow-melt runoff has good numbers of male and female rainbows making the run into popular pools along Naples Creek.

Preregistration for the derby can be made at the Sutton store in downtown Naples or at derby headquarters at the Naples Fire Hall on Vine Street until sunrise on Friday.

New this year will be a Catch-And-Release Division for the largest rainbow trout overall, largest caught by a female and largest caught by a youth aged 12 or younger. Entrants must have a measuring tape and take a photo (digital or camera) of the fish length for verification.

Genesee Brewing sponsors the grand prize. Hazlitt Vineyards provides wine to all entrants ages 21 and older who bring in a trout entry. Younger entrants receive a bottle of grape juice from Arbor Hill.

Numerous divisions are in place for anglers of all ages, prizes are trophies and merchandize (no cash awards), with proceeds from the derby going to the Naples Rotary Club community service projects.

Bill Grove has taken over coordination of the derby this year, and he sees prospects for big fish being in Naples Creek on opening day. For more details, check with Grove at (585) 797-3989.

High honors

Southtowns Walleye Association presented two top honors to recipients during its annual banquet Feb. 20.

The Harry A. Smith Award, the highest award bestowed to a member for service to the association, was presented to Don Mullen. The Jim Ridge Memorial Award for volunteer and support efforts was extended to Tim Kruszka.

Two Western New York outdoors contributors will be among the eight enshrinees to the New York State Outdoorsmen Hall of Fame during its annual induction banquet at the Rusty Rail Restaurant in Canastota on April 30.

Scott McKee, president of the Niagara Musky Association, was cited for his many conservation efforts involving government agencies, schools and the general public.

The late Charles Rechlin, past president of the Erie County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs and active contributor to the NYS Conservation Council, will be inducted in the Pioneer Category for deceased honorees.

For banquet reservation details, check with Leo Maloney at (315) 363-3896.

Ontario’s bear facts

Spring bear season has been open in all eastern Canadian provinces for decades except in Ontario.

The provincial government began a pilot project two years ago, examining bear harvests and population dynamics. As a result, officials have opened all 88 management areas that have a fall bear season to an open spring bear season in 2016. This next phase of the pilot project will be studied up to the 2020 season.

All baiting and harvest rules will remain the same. The open-season study focuses mainly on public-safety and bear-population concerns.

Trapping takes

Most trapping/furbearer seasons closed in Western New York on March 15, but for trappers at the western end of the state the season fully ends with the Genesee Valley Trappers Association’s final auction on March 20.

Number of lots (949) exceeded totals for the previous three auctions. Fur numbers that day nearly matched the three earlier counts. Beaver average prices improved each month. Coyote saw the best price averages and highs all season.

Deer hides are so numerous that prices were below bringing hide or hair to the block. Fox, especially gray, held high through the four auctions. Species with earlier season closures finished so-so except for fisher and otter lots.