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Pecks Lake Resort and Marina Manager Wendy Cosselman holds the 47-inch, 22-pound northern pike she caught while fishing off the marina's dock. Her first pike, and the biggest fish she has ever hooked, Cosselman said she caught the fish on a dead minnow. (Photo submitted)


Hamilton County Outdoors -- 08/27/2014 Sporting licenses available, but not always easy to get By Dick Nelson

Wednesday, August 27, 2014 - Updated: 5:03 PM

You haven't accomplished half the things you wanted to do this summer, and already some early signs of fall have arrived. One is the availability of sporting licenses, and while many license-issuing agents are still having problems with the new electronic system, licenses are available. _I don't know if the DEC dumped the previous provider (Verizon) when the contract ran out or vice-versa, but since the transition took place last year the agency has had plenty of time to get the kinks out.

It's been nine months since the old DECALS license system was replaced by a supposedly "updated" system developed by Accela Inc., a California-based server that powers thousands of daily services and millions of transactions for large and small public agencies.

In this case, a single platform will not only provide hunters, fishermen and trappers with sporting licenses, it will be used to issue driver licenses and other privileged and professional licenses.

This new system is how the state gave holders of hunting and fishing licenses the option of consolidating their recreation licenses onto their New York state driver's license -- the hunting portion identifiable by a motif of a buck deer.

When the option was announced, I pointed out how hunters that did so would essentially be telling everyone who sees the license they own a firearm (bow hunters have an arrow head) and for that reason I recommend not doing so.

I also recommended that hunters not switch over to the so-called Adventure Series license plates for the same reason; further questioning as to what would happen should you to be pulled over by the State Police or other law enforcement agency for a minor infraction such as an expired inspection sticker or burnt-out tail light bulb?

Would having a buck deer, turkey, grouse or duck give the law enforcement officer cause for concern? How about hunter profiling?

In any event, according to Accela's website, its passion for civic innovation makes it the provider of choice; something I don't believe the more 1,100 sales agents would agree with.

During an interview with The (Syracuse) Post-Star, DEC Commissioner Joe Martens acknowledge the problem, saying, "We're doing everything we can think of to help solve the problems and to make sure that licenses are getting sold as quickly as possible."

Martens announced in a press release back in January "the new computerized sporting licensing system is operational, allowing sportsmen and sportswomen to conduct license transactions."

That was after the two-week shutdown for sales of hunting, fishing and trapping licenses and harvest game reporting.

"The data transfer has been completed and individuals can resume normal transactions and reporting on the new system," Martens said at the time. Adding, "I encourage New Yorkers to utilize the new license system to purchase their sporting licenses, report any deer harvested during the system blackout period and enjoy the many outstanding outdoor activities available in New York state."

So what happened between January and August, Mr. Commissioner? Did someone accidentally pull the plug or has the self-described "provider of choice" lost its "passion?"

Whatever it is, both sportsmen and sales agents are losing patience with the system and with the DEC for letting it happen. What's that they say about not fixing things that aren't broke?

And, just as a point of information, under the new and "updated" system the 2014-2015 sporting licenses run from Sept. 1 through Aug. 31.


Wendy Cosselman, manager at Pecks Lake Resort and Marina, (518) 725-1294 tells us 65 participants took part in the Pecks Lake annual Catch and Release Fishing Derby. Held Aug. 9, Hailey Bortell took both first and second place in the largemouth bass category with the only two bucket mouths entered; while Luke Page's 18.75-inch smallmouth bass gave him the top spot in that category.

Carter Bullinger was runner-up with a 13.5-inch smallmouth, while Dalton Stocking was third with a 13-inch smallie.

Stocking also caught the only walleye in the event. Weighing 4.25 pounds the fish measured 23.5 inches.

In the "Pan Fish" category Stocking was first with a 9.75-inch rock bass while Christopher Doph captured second and third place with a 9-inch rock bass and a 7.25-inch sunfish.

The two pickerel James Moore caught landed him in the first and second spot -- one 14 inches, the other 12.5. No other pickerel were entered so third place went unclaimed.

It's hard to say if anyone would have caught a northern pike if the toothy fish were added to the list of derby categories, but one thing is certain, none would have been as large as the one Cosselman caught July 11.

Taken off the marina dock on a dead minnow, the pike measured 47 inches and weighed 22 pounds.

Noted for a strong population of black bass, this 1,370-acre impoundment also has a good population of trout, walleye, pickerel, crappie bullhead and rock bass, many of which Cosselman has caught on other occasions, so you can just imagine how excited she must have been when she found this huge prehistoric looking fish on the end of her line.

"I never expected to hook anything as large as that when I cast the line in the water; it was my first northern pike and the biggest fish I have ever caught," she said.

Caroga Lake taxidermist Bill Morris is mounting the fish.

Dropping anchor 'til next time.

To contact Dick Nelson email


Aug. 28-30 -- NYS Trappers Association Convention and Sportsman Show, Herkimer County Fairgrounds, 135 Cemetery St., Frankfort. Wayne Jones (716) 772-1059 or

Aug. 31 -- New York State Conservation Council YSCC Region 5 Director Rod Boula has scheduled a meeting for all Region 5 sportsmen and clubs, at the Schroon Lake Fish and Game Club, Hoffman Road, Schroon Lake, from 12-4 p.m. For more information contact Don Sage at (518) 585-7250 or

Sept. 6 -- Great Sacandaga Lake Fisheries Federation Fall Fishing Contest. Registration of $30 is due by Sept. 5. $5,600 in cash prizes will be awarded -- $2,600 in cash paybacks plus $3,000 for tagged trout. Download contest applications from or pick one up at a local bait shop. For more call Jack Smith at (518) 0863-4271 or Randy Gardinier at (518) 848-7248.

Sept. 12-14 -- Beginner Fly Fishing Workshop, Adirondack Interpretive Center, Newcomb. Registration of $199 includes meals, lodging, instruction, equipment and hands-on guided fishing. For reservations call (518) 582-2000 or email


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