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New date, rules for Wilson Salmon Tournament and other outdoors news

New date, rules for Wilson Salmon Tournament

The Wilson Harbor Invitational Salmon Tournament is doing everything possible to make the competition happen this spring. Event organizers recently proposed a date change from May 16 to June 6 for the main team tournament. At the same time, the King of the Lake Salmon Tournament, originally scheduled for the end of April and then pushed to May 16 in St. Catharines, Ont., will move its date to coincide with the WHI. With no cross-border traffic being allowed, teams can sign up for both events at the same time and have weigh-ins take place in their respective countries. Check for details.

Most rules for the WHI are the same, with changes to reflect social distancing requirements such as holding a virtual captain’s meeting, a Facebook Live weigh-in and limited gatherings for awards and weigh-in procedures. Any preregistered teams that cannot participate on the new date should email as soon as possible.

If you do not want to participate in the tournament but would like to compete in the Salmon Slam (best combined five kings and two trout over May 31-June 5) or the 1K a Day Contest (biggest king per day May 31-June 5), there is an option to sign up on the WHI website. Only 50 teams can compete in the one-day tournament (best six salmon), but it is unlimited for the other two side contests. Sign up for the Slam for $335 per boat. Cost for the $1K per day for $125 per boat. The $1K per day is free if you already have signed up for the WHI tournament. Contact the above email if you are interested in signing up for the KOTL.

Beginner fly fishing school set

Plans are continuing for the Greater Niagara Fishing and Outdoor Expo, set for Jan. 15-17, 2021, and the first big education announcement is with a new Beginner Fly Fishing School that will be open to the public by registration only. Hosted by the Lake Erie Chapter of Fly Fishers International, this specialized four-hour school will give you the information you need to get started. The school will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Jan. 16.

After a general introduction, the local experts will go through the knots needed, basic entomology, flies, fly tying, reading the water, basic equipment and offer a fly-casting demonstration. Cost for the school is $40 and includes a three-day pass for the show. There will be other fly-fishing seminars throughout the three-day show or you can attend one of the other beginner schools for salmon and trout, walleye, bass, and others that are currently being developed. Each specialized school will be limited to 30 students for each. For more information, visit

No creel census in Lake Ontario for 2020

The state’s Department of Environmental Conservation has announced that there will not be an open lake creel census conducted on Lake Ontario this year due to social distancing concerns because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Every year from April 15 to Sept. 30, two crews of two agents each will interview boats coming into port around the lake using a predetermined formula of where they need to be. Anglers are questioned as to their success, the types of fish caught and other pertinent information. This is the first time since the survey started in 1985 that it will not take place.

Results of the 2019 survey were recently released by DEC.

“Salmon and trout fishing on Lake Ontario was excellent again in 2019,” said Chris Legard, Lake Ontario Unit leader for DEC out of Cape Vincent. “After a record setting year in 2018, great fishing continued in 2019 with anglers catching an average of 4.0 salmon and trout per boat trip, the fifth highest catch rate recorded in the 35-year history of the survey.”

“Much of the quality fishing in 2019 can be attributed to near-record Chinook salmon catches throughout the season and across all ports,” he continued. “Anglers caught an average of 2.8 Chinook salmon per boat trip, 76 percent above the previous ten-year average and ranked second only to the previous record high of 3.6 fish per boat trip set in 2018. Given favorable wind and weather patterns, we are optimistic that excellent Chinook salmon fishing will continue in 2020.”

It has already started.

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