If you had trouble finding a spot to drill a hole in the ice on Great Sacandaga Lake last weekend it was probably because of the Sixth Annual Walleye Challenge and the Great Sacandaga Lake Fisheries Federation (GSLFF) ice fishing derbies. Between them there were well over 2,000 fishermen competing for cash and prizes.
Hosted by Food n’ Fuel in Mayfield -- in conjunction with the Fulton-Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce and scores of others who donated cash and/or merchandise -- the Walleye Challenge had a total prize payout of $70,000, with hourly cash payouts of $1,000 and other miscellaneous prizes.
Of course hardwater fisherman who wanted to avoid the crowds really didn’t have to travel too far. Whether you live in Arietta, Benson, Hope, Indian Lake, Inlet, Lake Pleasant, Long Lake, Wells or anywhere in between, there is a fish swimming under the ice with your name on it. To identify the impoundment with your preferred species you can visit www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/32354.html.
If you don’t have access to the Internet here are a couple spots worth checking out. In Arietta, Spy Lake, Good Luck Lake and Trout Lake have a good population of perch and pickerel. The fishing doesn’t get much better in the Town of Indian Lake than Adirondack Lake, where in addition to perch and pickerel there is a small population of northern pike.
With a good population of lake trout, landlocked salmon, rainbow trout, brown trout, smallmouth bass, brown bullhead, yellow perch and rainbow smelt one of the best impoundments in Long Lake is the 568-acre Lake Eaton. It’s just north of the village.
It’s a toss up as to which impoundment is better – 1,475-acre Lake Pleasant or Lewey Lake. Both are in the Town of Lake Pleasant and both contain a healthy population of smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, rainbow trout, brown trout, brown bullhead, yellow perch, chain pickerel and rock bass. On the other hand, you’re more apt to catch a trophy walleye from Lake Pleasant, despite the scarcity of the species.
Despite a variety of fish that includes largemouth bass, yellow perch, rock bass, brown trout, bullhead, brook trout, channel catfish, smallmouth bass, pumpkinseed sunfish and walleye, Lake Algonquin in Wells is -- for some unknown reason -- often overlooked.
If you fish any of these impoundments, let me know how you make out.
SPORTING LICENSES OPTIONS
As one of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s new hunting and fishing initiatives sportsmen will soon be able to link hunting and fishing licenses, boating safety certificate or certain state park passes to their driver's license. The program is called New York State Adventure License and would be optional only for those who have or purchase a lifetime sporting license. The question is, is the plan a wolf in sheep’s clothing?
If you opt in, and have an image of a buck deer on your driver’s license, you’re essentially telling everyone who sees that license that you’re a gun owner, which brings up another question. Will that be cause for concern if you happen to be pulled over by the state police or other law enforcement for a minor infraction such as an expired inspection sticker?
Here’s another scenario. You apply for a job, and although you are qualified for the position and made a good first impression, the person doing the interview is a member of the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) or some other anti-hunting organization. Will you be hired on the spot once he or she identifies you as a hunter, or will you be given the age old “We’ll let you know” letdown?
Of course the image could also work in your favor if that hypothetical law enforcement officer or job interviewer is a hunter. But given the climate out there, do you really want to test the water? I don’t, no matter how proud and passionate I am about hunting. I don’t mind standing up for my beliefs, but I’d hate to get blindsided because of another’s ideological view.
In any event, starting Feb. 1, annual combination licenses such as the Sportsman, Super Sportsman and Conservation Legacy will no longer be sold. Individual licenses, privileges and permits will need to be purchased instead. Combination licenses that were purchased prior to Feb. 1 will remain valid through Sept. 30.?It’s all part of the DEC’s license restructuring which, among other things, lowered the cost of resident and non-resident sporting licenses; but if you’re looking for a combination license, they’re only available as a lifetime license.
NO APOLOGY NEEDED
In the meantime, if there was any doubt how Gov. Cuomo feels about the U.S. and state Constitutions, he made his position quite clear when during a recent interview he said, "The Republican Party candidates are running against the SAFE Act. Their problem is not me and the Democrats; their problem is themselves. Who are they? Are they these extreme conservatives who are right-to-life, pro-assault-weapon, anti-gay? Is that who they are? Because if that's who they are and they're the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the State of New York, because that's not who New Yorkers are."
Gun owners and others are calling for an apology, but as far as I’m concerned there is no need for him to apologize, simply because it wouldn’t have an ounce of sincerity. He said what he said because that’s exactly how he feels, and the only apology I and other sportsmen and sportswomen I have spoke with want is his resignation.
CROSSBOWS HAVE A SHOT
During last week’s Executive Budget proposal Gov. Cuomo included a number of positive steps that would benefit sportsmen, the most encouraging of which is authorizing the DEC to establish regulations allowing individuals to hunt big or small game with a crossbow.
Other promising proposals include reducing the distance from an occupied structure from 500 feet to 150 feet for discharge of a crossbow or longbow; creating three- and five-year hunting, fishing and trapping licenses; reducing seven-day fishing license fees; authorizing promotional reduced license fees and six additional free fishing days; and increasing the availability of private property for recreational activities by clarifying the liability of owners, lessees and occupants whose property is used by the public for recreational activities.
To contact Dick Nelson with event or club news or to send a photograph email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Events should include the what, where, when and cost (if any). Photographs should include name of subject(s), town of residency and a brief description of the photo.
Calendar of Events
Jan. 29 – Education Forum on the NY SAFE Act, Guan-Ho-Ha Fish and Game Club, 1451 Rector Road, Glenville, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Topics include: legislation activities, recent court cases, and with the April 15th provision of the law -- which mandates the registration of military style semi-automatic rifles and shotguns -- options to avoid registration. This will be followed by a Q&A session and a presentation on modifying these firearms to avoid registration. For more information call 607-287-8205 or by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Feb. 1-9 -- Great American Outdoor Show, State Farm Show Complex, 2300 N Cameron St, Harrisburg, PA. Produced by the National Rifle Association this show is without a doubt the largest consumer event of its kind in the northeast. If you plan to visit this show, plan on spending at least two days. Show hours: Weekdays 9 a.m. – 7 p.m., Saturday’s 10 a.m. – 7 p.m., Sunday’s 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Admission is $12 for adults, $10 seniors, $6 for children ages 6-12. A two-day pass $20, group (10 or more) $10. For information call 1-800-672-4868. Web site: www.greatamericanoutdoorshow.org.
Feb. 7-9 -- Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs of Sullivan County 7th annual statewide Coyote Hunt Contest (hunting only). Entry fee $30 ($40 after Jan. 27). Along with a $2,000 grand prize and $200 daily prizes the entry fee includes a banquet dinner on Sunday from 1-3 p.m. at the WSS Firehouse, Rte 52, White Sulphur Springs and a free $5 gun raffle ticket. Registration applications available online at: www.sullivancountysportsmensfederationny.com. Contact Kay or Jack Danchak at 845-482-4987 or Linda Loughrey at 845-482-4985.
Feb. 8 – Fish House Fish and Game Club Walleye Ice Fishing Contest, Great Sacandaga Lake, 6 a.m. – 4 p.m. Registration $20 prior to Feb. 7, $25 on the day of the event. Flyers at area bait shops. Contact Tom Ferguson at (518) 883-6533 or visit: www.fishhousefishandgame.com.
Feb. 20-23 -- 31st Annual Springfield Sportsmen and Boat Show, Big E Exposition Center, Springfield, MA. Hours: Thursday 3-9 p.m.; Friday noon-8 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m. - 7 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission is $13 for adults, $5 for children ages 6-12, and free to youngsters age 5 and under. Contact 413-467-2171. Website: www.osegsportsmens.com.