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Scattershot: News & notes from the great outdoors


The Fishing Beat by Bill Hilts Jr.

Go Take a Hike: The Niagara Gorge

Outdoors Calendar

Catches of the Week


Salmon River’s lower fly-fishing area closed due to low water

There’s another casualty as a result of the drought conditions we’ve been experiencing this year. The state’s Department of Environmental Conservation has announced that the Lower Fly Fishing Area of the Salmon River has been closed temporarily. This is a one-quarter mile section of the river located immediately downstream of the Salmon River Fish Hatchery at Altmar and upstream of the County Route 52 Bridge.

Drought condition in the Salmon River watershed have forced Brookfield Renewable to reduce the amount of water released into the Salmon River from the Salmon River Reservoir starting last Thursday. Reduced water flow and closure of the lower fly fishing area was needed to make sure the hatchery could collect the necessary salmon eggs for stocking in Lake Ontario and its tributaries. The closure will remain in effect as long as water flow reductions are necessary to meet hatchery needs.

Angler ties state bass record

Patrick Hildenbrand of Germantown was fishing in a tournament on the St. Lawrence River Aug. 28 when he caught the fish of a lifetime – an 8-pound, 4-ounce smallmouth bass. It was finally recognized through the state’s Freshwater Fishing Records program, tying a Lake Erie bass caught in 1995. A listing of all fishing records can be found on DEC’s website.

For more information about the Angler Achievement Awards Program, including a downloadable application form, go to DEC’s website or in the current Freshwater Fishing Regulations Guide.

Bass Pro Shops coming to Buffalo …sort of

After years of trying to lure Bass Pro Shops into Buffalo, the popular sportsman’s destination is finally arriving on the local scene … through a back door that was recently opened. An official announcement was made this week that Bass Pro Shops will be acquiring Cabela’s through a deal said to be worth $5.5 billion. According to reports, there will be no actual changes made to Cabela’s in Cheektowaga, one of the top stores in the national outdoor chain.

Klaczko repeats at N.Y. duck-calling champ

Chris Klaczko of Jordan, N.Y.,  won the New York State Division of the World Duck Calling Contest on Sept. 24 at the New York Power Authority’s Wildlife Festival held in Lewiston. He also won the title in 2015, as well as in 2013. Second place in the close contest was Adam David of Lockport. Bill Mayes of Niagara Falls came in third according to Ron Rezabeck, organizer from the Niagara River Chapter of Ducks Unlimited.

Klaczko will now be heading to Stuttgart, Arkansas for the 81st Annual World’s Championship Duck Calling Contest on Nov. 26, representing New York in the competition. “I will be dedicating my routine this year to my Uncle Doug Klaczko who had been dealing with cancer,” said the veteran caller. “My goal this year is the finish better than anyone ever has from New York, which is 36th.” Previously, Klaczko has finished in the Top 40 in the Stuttgart quack off.

Low water-level alerts for boaters

Drought conditions in the Empire State have raised alerts at many state boat launches. Of particular concern are the launches located at Chautauqua Lake, Oneida Lake, Great Sacandaga Lake and Lake Champlain – especially if you are trying to launch larger vessels or load up a larger boat to pull it out for the season. In addition, water levels at the Redfield Island Boat Launch on the Salmon River Reservoir in Oneida County and many Susquehanna River launches in the Department of Environmental Conservation’s Region 7 are currently below the concrete launch pad.

The south launch ramp at Fort Niagara State Park closed on Oct. 3 for launch, dock and shoreline improvements. The north launch will remain open. This will also assist with some water level issues, but not related to the drought.

SCOPE 'Meet the Candidates' night

The Niagara County Chapter of Shooters Committee On Political Education (SCOPE) will be holding its annual “Meet the Candidates” night at their next meeting Tuesday, Oct. 11 at the Wilson Conservation Club starting at 7 p.m. Already committed to the evening are: Sen. Rob Ortt (R) - NYS Senate; Mike Norris (R) running for NYS Assembly 144th district to replace Jane Corwin who retired; Judge Angelo Morinello (R) for 145 NYS Assembly district competing against John Ceretto (D); Lynn Johnson Orleans County District Legislator. Others also hope to be in attendance.
The Wilson club is located at 2934 Wilson Cambria Road, Wilson starting at 7 p.m. For more info call Ed Pettitt at 421-1967. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

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